Shout at the Devil (Re-Release) (1976)

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Released 29-Mar-2008

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1976
Running Time 114:53
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter R. Hunt
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Lee Marvin
Roger Moore
Barbara Parkins
Ian Holm
Reinhard Kolldehoff
Horst Janson
Karl Michael Vogler
Gernot Endemann
Maurice Denham
Jean Kent
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Maurice Jarre


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.20:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

       

I enjoy action/adventure/war films of the sort made during the 1960s & 1970s such as Wild Geese, Zulu, Lawrence of Arabia and others. I also read all of Wilbur Smith’s novels when I was younger, loving his action/adventure style and fast flowing narrative. Accordingly, I should have been pre-disposed to love this film from 1976, Shout at the Devil because it is an action/adventure/war film set in Africa based on a novel by Wilbur Smith. It is with great disappointment, then, that I report that this is a very ordinary film indeed especially in the truncated form on this DVD. When you add to that the fact that the video transfer is quite horrible, this was not a happy reviewing experience.

Firstly, it is worth pointing out that the version presented here runs about 114 minutes and is significantly shorter than the original theatrical release at 150 minutes or thereabouts. Another bizarre change about this version is that the German characters originally spoke English but this version has had them dubbed into German. Taking into account that there are no subtitles available (either burned in or in a stream) and that there are significant chunks of German dialogue this makes some parts of the film very hard to follow indeed. These two elements will have played a significant role in my lack of enjoyment of this film. I have not seen the longer original version; however, the included theatrical trailer gives some inkling as the German characters actually speak English in that trailer. I am also led to believe that the longer version makes more sense.

The film is set in Zanzibar in 1913 and involves the exploits of hard-drinking American conman and adventurer, Flynn O’Flynn (Lee Marvin). He has a plan to lead an expedition into the German controlled territories in Africa to poach ivory and then sell the ivory in Zanzibar. In order to achieve this he plans to take a boat from Zanzibar to the mainland, flying the Union Jack. He decides to enlist the assistance of a young upper class Englishman, Sebastian (Roger Moore) to be the token Englishman on the trip. Sebastian is passing through Zanzibar on his way to Australia and gets robbed of all his money. Flynn assists him by paying his hotel bill and then enlists him to the expedition. Sebastian has no real choice as his money, passport and ticket have been stolen. They set off on what quickly becomes a farcical expedition involving fighting Germans, crocodiles, waves and battleships. After much trauma they arrive back at Flynn’s farm, with no money but plenty of injuries and illness.

Here Sebastian meets Rosa (Barbara Parkins), Flynn’s feisty daughter and seemingly falls in love with her immediately. Before you know it they have a child but then war comes to their world. This leads to tragedy, more adventure and a climactic finale.

It is worth looking out for Ian Holm (Bilbo from Lord of the Rings) as Flynn’s mute, black manservant. Obviously in 1976 actual African actors were difficult to finds so white actors needed to have their faces blackened! Ludicrous!

This film is confusing and veers wildly from slapstick comedy caper, to harrowing war drama, to action/adventure. This may be somewhat due to the truncated running time on this DVD. Marvin overacts vigorously almost like he was getting paid more for overacting more. Moore is his usual confident self and comes across the best of the main cast. The special effects are pretty obvious in places even for 1976.

The score is by the recently late Maurice Jarre, who has certainly written better scores than this one. Also the score is strangely under used, there are sequences which would certainly have benefited from music where there is none.

The director, Peter Hunt, certainly made better films. He actually kicked off his directorial career with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, one of the better Bond films. Prior to that film he was involved in the editing of many early Bond films. I can only assume that the ‘editing’ done to this film to reduce it to 114 minutes was not presided over by someone of his skills. Another link to Bond films is that the titles are by Maurice Binder.

In short I can only offer one word of advice about this DVD version of this film. Avoid!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is poor.

    The feature is presented in a 2.20:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is presented with thin black lines down each side.

    The picture was quite soft throughout especially in longer shots. Shadow detail is poor with some scenes quite murky indeed. There was some grain but no other obvious MPEG artefacts.

    The colour was quite poor, washed out and quite variable even within the same scene. One example of this is at 47:02.

    Artefacts are abundant including quite a few white splodges (eg 0:01, 6:30) plus some white lines. There was also quite a lot of aliasing and moire such as at 14:30 and 27:36, reel change markers appear regularly (eg 61:00) plus some jumping at 9:12.

    There are no subtitles which as mentioned above make some scenes unintelligible.

    There is no layer change during the feature.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is average.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was variable with some scenes being fairly clear and other very hard to understand (and I am not referring to the German).

    The music by Maurice Jarre is decent but hardly his best score. Here it is sometimes distorted and probably doesn't do the score justice.

     The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

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

Extras

   

Menu

    The menu is still and silent and does not even allow for chapter selection.

Theatrical Trailer (3:18) 

    Annoyingly this trailer features better video quality than the film and has the German characters speaking English!

Other Umbrella Trailers

 

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 2 UK release is virtually exactly the same as our local release so should be avoided. There is supposedly a French Region 2 edition which features the full running time however I cannot find any real details about this. There is no Region 1 version.

Summary

    A badly cut down action adventure film which veers wildly in tone.

    The video quality is poor.

    The audio quality is average.

    Trailer only in the extras department.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, April 06, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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