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Friday, June 28, 2013


Blu-Ray Rides Out: The Devil's Bride (1969)

One devil of a Hammer horror, their last of greatness so far as I'm concerned. Aristocrat Chris Lee is a Van Helsing of Satanist debunkers who frustratingly decamps to research at the British Museum just ahead of awful things happening to ill-equipped friends/family. Charles Gray is a formidable servant to Lucifer, and 20's setting gets conveyed by natty roadsters the cast drives. Adapted from a novel by Dennis Wheatley, who was a pal of Lee's and spur toward the actor giving perhaps his best-ever pic performance. Very little gore save a goat sacrifice --- mostly it's the concept that chills. This was Hammer along cerebral lines of Five Million Years To Earth, with deviltry this time as opposed to alien presence. The two features were like last intelligent gasp before the UK company's give-way to erotic vampirism and souped-up sex.


Devil-worship had been a tricky wicket in American films, censorship for years frowning on it. Would circulation of this have been blocked a decade earlier? By 12/68 and 20th Fox release, there was no fuss toward a "G" rating, suitable for young 'uns like myself and Brick Davis when we saw it with The Conqueror Worm in a near-empty Liberty Theatre on 5/31/69. Done for negative cost of $569K, The Devil's Bride took a ruinous $185K in domestic rentals, hardly worth Fox's time to put it out. Special effects were hamstrung by budget constraints, so Region 2 Blu-Ray keyboardists went in and fixed flaws they detected, which amounts to change of existing text (to use that pretentious term), but The Devil's Bride plays smoother as result, so here's a debate I'll leave to purists vs. revisioners. The new Blu looked glorious to me. For all occasions I've seen Devil's/Rides Out, it was never so vivid as this.

1 Comments:

Blogger Reg Hartt said...

Flaws of any kind take us out of the movie. One example is when we see shots of a character playing a musical instrument and it is clear that the hands have got it wrong to those who are musicians. Similarly, special effects done poorly leave a chasm that can't be crossed. I am all for fixing those if it is possible as the intention of the film's makers is the main concern not their limited means of achieving what they set out.

I did not like the follow-up, TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER, when I first saw it. Certainly Christopher Lee makes it clear neither he nor Wheatley liked the finished film. But now I find it superior to THE DEVIL'S BRIDE.

7:29 AM  

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