Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969)

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Released 6-Oct-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1969
Running Time 96:38
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Terence Fisher
Studio
Distributor
Hammer Productions
Warner Home Video
Starring Peter Cushing
Veronica Carlson
Freddie Jones
Simon Ward
Thorley Walters
Maxine Audley
George Pravda
Geoffrey Bayldon
Colette O'Neil
Frank Middlemass
George Belbin
Norman Shelley
Michael Gover
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music James Bernard


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Dutch
Arabic
Hebrew
Swedish
Greek
Hungarian
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    When a burglar discovers Frankenstein's basement laboratory, the Baron (Peter Cushing) is forced to flee to another town, where another doctor who worked successfully on brain transplant surgery has ended up in the local insane asylum. Dr Brandt (George Pravda) has spells of violence, but recalls nothing from his earlier life, not even his wife (Maxine Audley).

    Frankenstein takes a room in the boarding house run by Anna Spengler (Veronica Carlson), who conveniently happens to be the fiancée of Karl Holst (Simon Ward), an assistant at the asylum. Pretty soon the Baron has forced the couple to assist with his monstrous plans, kidnapping Brandt so that Frankenstein can learn his secrets.

    The character of Frankenstein portrayed in this film is unlike that in the previous four instalments. In the first film he was basically a psychopath, but solely in pursuit of his scientific aims. In the next three, he became something of a misunderstood genius working for the betterment of mankind. In this film he is amoral and cold-blooded, not above blackmail, rape and murder to achieve his ends. This actually works in the film's favour, making it one of the best of the series and one of the best Frankensteins per se. Peter Cushing, like Henry Fonda in Once Upon a Time in the West, is effectively cast against type and his sincerity makes the character even more chilling. None of the major characters in this film is especially likeable or without something on their conscience.

    The cast is pretty good for a genre effort from Hammer. Ward and Carlson are quite effective in their roles. Freddie Jones as Richter makes an excellent victim of Frankenstein's evil schemes, and although Thorley Walters is not very good as the pompous police inspector, he is no worse than he was as Frankenstein's assistant in the previous film in the series, Frankenstein Created Woman. Geoffrey Bayldon, Windsor Davies, Frank Middlemass, Peter Copley and Harold Goodwin fill out the roster of familiar British character actors, with only Michael Ripper absent without leave.

    The direction (by Terence Fisher) and art direction are very good, with more sets than normal for a later Hammer production. This is an effective chiller and well worth the cost of the disc.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, slightly cropped from the original 1.66:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    Like the other Warners Hammer releases of late, this has a pretty good video transfer. The picture is quite sharp and clear, with a good level of detail and nothing to distract from the home cinema experience. Shadow detail is satisfactory. Colour is rich and well-saturated, though some of the blacks tend to look overly bright, with a faint white film over them.

    There are no noticeable film to video artefacts, apart from telecine wobble during the opening credits. Film artefacts are limited to occasional white spots and minor blemishes, and while this is not as clean as the two Dracula films released at the same time, it is still quite good. There were two artefacts that annoyed me. One is a small translucent blemish a fifth of the way across from the left and an eighth up from the bottom of the frame from 21.15 to 31.40. The other is a visible pinhole in the centre about a quarter of the way down from the top of the frame from 36.53 to 50.30.

    Optional English subtitles are provided. These are in clear white text and correspond well to the dialogue, from the sample I made.

    There is no layer change, this being a single layered disc.

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

Audio

    The default audio track is English Dolby Digital 1.0 mono.

    This is a fairly disappointing audio transfer. There is a noticeable hiss throughout, and bass levels are not very good. In some of the more complex audio sequences there appears to be congestion resulting in a lack of clarity. There are also a couple of sequences where the sound level drops and seems muffled. The first of these is where the policeman (played by Windsor Davies) is searching the Spengler house, and the second and shorter segment is near the end where Brandt is getting documents out of his safe.

    The audio does not do justice to James Bernard's typically handsome score, lacking in dynamic range and full frequency response. It is an effective score, though I would have liked to have heard it more clearly.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (2:30)

    This is a trailer without a voice-over narration, and shows just about every scene in the film, which means that it could contain spoilers. So, don't watch it until after the film. It is presented in the same aspect ratio as the feature and is 16x9 enhanced, but the colour is a little faded and film artefacts abound.

R4 vs R1

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

    Based on the reviews I have read, the US Region 1 release is identical to the Region 4, so there is no reason to prefer one above the other.

Summary

    One of the best sequels to The Curse of Frankenstein, this one can be recommended to horror aficionados.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is below average.

    The sole extra is a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Tuesday, October 26, 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)
Rape scene intact? - REPLY POSTED
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the R1 version claims -
the R1 version claims - reply -