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Prior to the DVD release, THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN ($30) is one of the few Hammer movies that I never had the opportunity to see. However, it turns out to be one of the coolest little gems in their entire library. Part science fiction and part horror, THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN tells the story of Dr. John Rollason (Peter Cushing), a scientist gathering specimens of native plants in the Himalayas, with the aid of the local Buddhist monks. However, with the arrival of explorer Tom Friend (Forrest Tucker), Rollanson decides to go on a climbing expedition to prove one of his pet theories about the existence of a creature known as The Abominable Snowman or Yeti.

Halfway up the mountain, Rollanson learns that Friend’s motives for finding the creature are misguided, but carries on with the expedition because of his innate scientific curiosity. Eventually, Rollanson and Friend find what they are looking for, but their discovery does have its consequences. THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN features an intelligent screenplay by Nigel Kneale and well-paced direction by Val Guest, who manages to eke every last bit of suspense out of the story. Peter Cushing delivers another first rate performance as the thoughtful scientist hoping to expand mankind’s knowledge of the world. Tucker carries himself rather well as the unsympathetic American in this very British production. The cast of THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN also features Maureen Connell, Richard Wattis, Robert Brown, Michael Brill, Wolfe Morris and Arnold Marlé.

Anchor Bay Entertainment has done a superb job with their DVD edition of THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN; producing a disc that really shows off the beauty of this black and white ‘scope movie. THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN is framed at 2.35:1 and the DVD has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. The film element used for the transfer is in excellent condition, enabling the outstanding image quality of this DVD. Everything appears sharply focused and the picture delivers a very solid level of detail. Film grain is virtually absent from the presentation and I think one could count the markings on the print with their fingers. Blacks are perfectly reproduced, as are the whites, with all the subtle shades of gray in between being flawlessly rendered. Shadow detail is surprisingly good for a film that was released in 1957, which helps to make this presentation an absolute knockout on DVD. Digital compression artifacts do not make their presence known on this dual layer DVD.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is relatively clean sounding and free from distortions. Dialogue is always intelligible, but the film’s musical score does betray the frequency limitations of a soundtrack that is over forty years old. The interactive menus are mildly animated and utilize sound. Through the menus, one can access the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the DVDs supplements. Director Val Guest and writer Nigel Kneale provide an audio commentary that is something that every Hammer fan is certain to want to hear. There is plenty of detail on the film’s production as well as anecdotes and some warm remembrances of the film’s star Peter Cushing. Also included on the DVD is a half-hour World Of Hammer episode entitled PETER CUSHING, plus a theatrical trailer.

THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN is a genuine delight that every Hammer fan will want to own on DVD because of Anchor Bay Entertainment’s absolutely sterling presentation. Recommended.


The Abominable Snowman (1957)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 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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