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In my book, anyone that gets into the DVD business, just to release an overlooked film that they love deserves a whole lot of credit. Such is the case with DVD Drive-In and their first release LADY FRANKENSTEIN. LADY FRANKENSTEIN was heavily edited in its theatrical release in America and the DVD Drive-In release represents director Mel Welles' preferred cut of the English language version of the film.

While not a great cinematic achievement, LADY FRANKENSTEIN is a rather enjoyable exploitive Italian horror film that benefits from the presence of legendary film star Joseph Cotten as Baron Frankenstein. The plot of LADY FRANKENSTEIN revolves around Frankenstein's failed attempts to restore life to the lifeless bodies that he has been experimenting on. When Frankenstein finally does succeed, his brain-damaged creature goes on a killing spree- starting with the Baron himself.

The Baron's daughter Lady Tania Frankenstein (Rosalba Neri) vows to avenge her father by building her own creature, one that will destroy the first. However, Tania decides to rectify her father's mistakes by marrying the perfect body with the perfect mind. The end result is a creature that satisfies both her insatiable lust and insatiable desire for vengeance. However, complicating matters for Tania is Captain Harris (Mickey Hargitay), who suspects that the Frankensteins are responsible from the creature that has been killing off the villagers. Before LADY FRANKENSTEIN finishes unspooling, there is plenty of carnage and a great deal of female nudity (not that I'm complaining). The cast of LADY FRANKENSTEIN also includes Paul Müller, Paul Whiteman and Herbert Fux.

DVD Drive-In has made LADY FRANKENSTEIN available on a DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for 16:9 playback. Some shots appear a bit over-matted, but for the most part the framing holds up. The transfer would appear to have come from 16mm elements, which are consistently grainy. There is also an inherent softness in the 16mm material, although some shots are softer than others. For the most part there is decent amount of detail in the image- making the DVD watchable, but nothing to show off the capabilities of the format. Additionally, the film element used for the transfer has more than its fair share of speckles and minor scratches. Colors look pretty decent, with some sequences appearing more vivid than others, although nothing appears particularly faded. Blacks look okay, but shadow detail is limited. Digital compression artifacts are not an issue on this DVD.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is adequate for one's enjoyment of the film, but I wouldn't push the volume too high. There is relatively little hiss on the track, which is better than I expected from a 16mm source. Dialogue is reasonably intelligible, but this is a post-synched Italian horror movie, so mouth movements don't always match the voices.

Full motion video animation and sound enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. For this release, director Mel Welles does an on camera interview in which he talks about the making of the film. The interview runs a few minutes shy of a half hour and is pretty informative. A shorter interview with actress Rosalba Neri is also included, although she seems far less enthusiastic than the director. Other extras include a theatrical trailer, TV spots, a still gallery, nude photos of Neri and biographies.

As I stated above, I give DVD Drive-In a whole lot of credit from releasing LADY FRANKENSTEIN. This is obviously a labor of love because a whole lot of effort went into this DVD. Certainly, there are limitations in the source materials, but DVD Drive-In went above and beyond the call of duty to produce a DVD specifically for the genre fan.

Note: LADY FRANKENSTEIN is only available directly from DVD Drive-In for $29.95.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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