The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)

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Released 19-Oct-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Earth Vs The Flying Saucers
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1958
Running Time 86:17
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:30) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Terence Fisher
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Peter Cushing
Francis Matthews
Eunice Gayson
Michael Gwynn
John Welsh
Lionel Jeffries
Oscar Quitak
Richard Wordsworth
Charles Lloyd Pack
John Stuart
Arnold Diamond
Margery Cresley
Anna Walmsley
Case ?
RPI $13.95 Music Leonard Salzedo


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Arabic
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Norwegian
Polish
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Hammer made seven Frankenstein films, starting with Curse of Frankenstein in 1956 and finishing with Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell in 1974. All but one of this series starred Peter Cushing as the Baron who meddles with Things Best Left Alone. This is the second in the series, and probably the best of the sequels.

    The story picks up where the previous film left off, with Baron Victor Frankenstein (Cushing) facing the guillotine for the murders he committed in the name of science. Frankenstein manages to escape execution, and with the aid of a deformed hunchback, Karl (Oscar Quitak), sets up practice in the city of Carlsbruck. Three years later, now known as Dr Stein, the Baron has a successful practice, with rich female clients allowing him to also work with the poor. The local medical council disapproves of Dr Stein, partly because of his success, but also as he has refused to become a member. A delegation sent to persuade him to join fails, but one of them recognises Dr Stein as the Baron Frankenstein. This doctor, Hans Kleve (Francis Matthews), rather than denounce Frankenstein, asks to join him in his search for knowledge. Frankenstein accepts, and reveals that he has created the shell of a man into which he intends to put the brain of Karl. Karl helped Frankenstein escape the guillotine in exchange for a new body to replace his deformed frame.

    So, Frankenstein and Kleve get down to basics and transfer Karl's brain into the other lifeless body, played by Michael Gwynn. But complications ensue.

    The film has not quite descended into a formulaic genre piece of the type that would characterise Hammer's later films. Frankenstein and his monster are more sympathetic here, and there is less carnage than normal, with fewer killings and maimings. Frankenstein is not the killer that he was in the first film, nor does the monster simply run amok. On the minus side, there are numerous characters in the film who serve little purpose and quickly disappear, such as the members of the medical council and the female lead, played by Eunice Gayson. Cushing and Matthews make a good team as the scientists, and Michael Gwynn is very good as the creature. There are amusing bits by Lionel Jeffries and Michael Ripper as grave-robbers. Terence Fisher directs competently and the film moves quickly, making it an enjoyable diversion, one of the better films in the Hammer oeuvre.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The print used is bookended with the Columbia logo.

    This is a reasonable transfer of the film and no more. Sharpness is good for the most part, though there are a couple of brief sequences that look to have been zoomed after shooting and are thus a little less sharp. Detail is satisfactory, on a par with other Hammer films of the era. Shadow detail is also satisfactory, though there are few sequences where this could be an issue.

    Colour is not as good as I would have liked. There is a lack of vibrancy and richness in comparison to other Hammer colour transfers I have seen. The print looks slightly faded. Black levels are reasonable, though some shadows have a blue tinge to them.

    There is some telecine wobble evident in the opening credits, and tiny amounts of aliasing are visible from time to time. There is also some noticeable edge enhancement, such as that on the guillotine at the beginning of the film. Other than that, the film has been well transferred to video.

    Unfortunately, the print material used was in less than pristine condition. There are a number of flecks, plenty of dirt and faint scratches throughout. The transfer tends to be a little on the grainy side, occasionally more than I would have liked, such as at the beginning of the film.

    Optional English subtitles are available, and these match the dialogue well and are easy to read.

    The film is presented on an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 65:30 at a cut between scenes. It is not especially disruptive.

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

Audio

    The transfer has an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack as the default, with an alternative German soundtrack.

    This is a typical mono effort, with a lack of depth in the bass and slight stridency in the upper registers, but nothing particularly disturbing. Anyone familiar with previous releases of Hammer films will know what to expect. Audio sync is not an issue.

    The music score is by Leonard Salzedo, and is effectively integrated into the film. I found myself not noticing it very much, and when I did it sounded like a typical horror score of the era, with plenty of agitated strings.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (2:13)

    This starts out with Cushing narrating direct to camera, and then the narration is taken over by an American-accented voice. Not bad of its type, it is in the same aspect ratio as the feature and is 16x9 enhanced. The print of this trailer is grainy, faded and has numerous film artefacts. Both trailers have optional French and German subtitles.

Trailer - Earth vs the Flying Saucers (2:12)

    This is the original trailer for an American science fiction film of the same era as the Hammer film. You may notice the similarities with Independence Day, and while the trailer makes the film seem somewhat ludicrous (Earth menaced by aliens with the disembodied voice of Paul Frees), I recall this as being a not bad effort in the genre.

Photo Gallery

    10 black and white publicity stills. I like the cursor, which is a scalpel for back or forth and an eyeball for back to the menu.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

    The UK Region 2 appears to be identical to the Region 4. As this film was originally released by Columbia in the United States, the Region 1 release comes from them and not from Anchor Bay. Judging by the reviews of this release, the Region 1 is a nearly identical transfer to the Region 4 with the addition of a trailer for The Bride. There is some confusion in the Region 1 reviews as to whether the transfer is 1.66:1 or matted to 1.85:1. The latter may have been the US theatrical aspect ratio. In either case there is no reason not to choose the Region 4 version.

Summary

    A pretty good effort in the Hammer Frankenstein series.

    The video quality is no better than average.

    The audio quality is satisfactory.

    There are only some trailers for extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Great Film - Anonymous