She-Wolf of London (Blu-ray) (1946)

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Released 17-May-2017

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1946
Running Time 61:16
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jean Yarbrough
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Don Porter
June Lockhart
Sara Haden
Jan Wiley
Lloyd Corrigan
Dennis Hoey
Eily Malyon


Case ?
RPI ? Music William Lava


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 mono
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format ?
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     London, c. 1900. Savage murders have been committed in a London Park and Scotland Yard Detective Latham (Lloyd Corrigan) suspects that a werewolf may be the cause, although his theory is ridiculed by his superior Inspector Pierce (Dennis Hoey). Just outside the park is the stately home of the Allenbys currently occupied by four women: Phyllis Allenby (June Lockhart), her aunt Martha Winthrop (Sara Haden), Martha’s daughter Carol (Jan Wiley) and their servant Hannah (Eily Malyon). Phyllis is engaged to marry barrister Barry Lanfield (Don Porter) in two weeks.

     Phyllis is aware of the Allenby curse, the story that members of the Allenby family can turn into a werewolf by night and kill innocents, and she is fearful that she is tainted. Then a child is savagely murdered in the park and Phyllis wakes up with blood on her hands and mud on her dress and shoes; she can only suspect that she is the killer although she has no memory of it. Her aunt and cousin reassure Phyllis, but she is distraught and breaks off her engagement to Barry and refuses to see him. The next night a policeman is murdered in the park and Phyllis again has mud on her dress and shoes but no memory of anything and so she fears she is going insane. When Barry is again rebuffed Carol tells him why Phyllis broke off the engagement; he refuses to accept that Phyllis is a werewolf and he sets out to prove to her that she is innocent, working with Scotland Yard to find the real killer and the explanation behind the murders.

     In the 1930s and 1940s Universal hit the jackpot with their monster / horror pictures, including 1941’s The Wolf Man which made a star of Lon Chaney Jr and spawned four sequels / spinoffs featuring the Wolf Man character. So it made sense to Universal make another werewolf picture, this time featuring a woman; the poster for She-Wolf of London advertises a film about a “Half Woman – Half Monster”. The film starred a young June Lockhart, who went on to have 171 credits listed on the IMDb, mostly in popular TV series such as Lassie, Lost in Space and Petticoat Junction, and it was directed by Jean Yarbrough, who ended with 127 credits including some horror films, including The Devil Bat (1940) with Bela Lugosi.

     Warning: there are spoilers below, so if you do not want to know skip to the technical sections.

     Some films in their title tell you exactly what you will get in the film: Snakes on a Plane (2006) is one obvious example. Thus, with a title like She-Wolf of London, coming soon after the Universal Wolf Man films, one might be forgiven for expecting a film about a she-wolf in London. In fact, there is no woman werewolf in the film and, indeed, no werewolf at all, so in this case the film’s title (and advertising) is disingenuous and does the film a disservice, resulting in disappointed audiences and some indifferent reviews. Instead, what you get in She-Wolf of London is a psychological murder mystery; is she a killer and, if not, who is preying on Phyllis’ fears and why? If one comes to it as a mystery the film has its moments of tension in the gloomy Allenby mansion and the foggy night time London Park although, despite a number of red herrings and possible suspects being introduced, the solution is not all that difficult to figure out.

     If you don’t come to She-Wolf of London expecting a Universal monster film there are some moments of tension, the dark and foggy park provides some nice atmosphere and June Lockhart does a decent job as a fearful and disturbed young woman.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     She-Wolf of London is presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This is a decent print for a film that is now over 70 years old. The print is reasonably sharp although there is some softness in exteriors. There are occasional marks and scratches and minor aliasing although grain is well controlled. Blacks are generally good, as is shadow detail, brightness and contrast is consistent.

     English for the hearing impaired, Spanish and French subtitles are available.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The only audio is English DTS-HD MA 2.0 (mono).

     The audio is fine. Dialogue was always easy to understand and effects, such as they are, fine, the most common being horses hooves or the howls of wolves / dogs in the distance.

     The score was by an uncredited William Lava; it is a stock score, sometimes a bit melodramatic or strident.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailer (1:22)

     On start-up you are required first to select The Werewolf of London or She-Wolf of London to watch. The selected film commences without a further menu, but you can use the pop-up menu via the remote to select top menu, play, chapters, subtitles and the film’s trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This Blu-ray release of She-Wolf of London starts with the US FBI antipiracy warning. The film does not appear to be available anywhere as a stand-alone Blu-ray but is part of The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection (see the summary below) available locally and in other regions. Buy local.

Summary

     She-Wolf of London has its moments as a mystery but those expecting a Universal monster film will be disappointed. The film is worth a look as a curiosity or to see a young June Lockhart in pre-Lassie TV days (for those old enough to remember)!

     The film looks and sounds pretty good on Blu-ray for a 70 year old film. A trailer is the only extra although there are two complete “werewolf” films on this Blu-ray.

     She-Wolf of London is included in Universal’s 4 Blu-ray The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection which has Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944) and House of Dracula (1945) on one Blu-ray, Werewolf of London (1935) and She-Wolf of London on another and The Wolf Man (1941) and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) on separate Blu-rays, a collection that is great value for fans of Universal horror.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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