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This review originally appeared in issue 13 of THE CINEMA LASER.

REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN

REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN ($35) is definitely one of the best Hammer's Frankenstein films, and my personal favorite. Peter Cushing makes his second appearance in the role of Baron Victor Von Frankenstein, and greatly enhances the character's development. Instead of the entirely cold, clinical character portrayed in the first film, we get to see a glimmer of humanity, as the Baron fashions a new body for his crippled assistant.

REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN picks up the story after the events of THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. The Baron is imprisoned and has been sentenced to death. With a little outside help, he avoids the guillotine, assumes a new identity and sets up practice in a new town. Of course, in addition to his private medical practice and work in his hospital for the poor, the good Baron continues his extracurricular "body building" with a young doctor under his tutelage. Frankenstein's attempt to give his lab assistant a good body go awry, thus turning his new creation into a cannibalistic murderer. The Baron's true identity becomes known, and Frankenstein suffers a vicious attack from the poor souls that he tried to help in his hospital. In the most ironic turn in the Frankenstein series, the Baron becomes his own creation, as the young doctor that Frankenstein had been teaching is forced to transplant the Baron's brain into a new body. In addition to Peter Cushing, the cast of REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN includes Michael Gwynn, Francis Matthews, Eunice Gayson and Lionel Jeffries.

Columbia TriStar has given REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN a reasonably good transfer, but didn't bother to go the extra mile by Letterboxing the film to its correct aspect ratio. The cropped transfer doesn't totally destroy the film compositions, but it is quite obvious that something is missing from the sides of the image. REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN was probably only 1.66:1, but even the loss of that tiny amount of information is an insult to one of director Terence Fisher's finest works, and to the collectors who love the film. Despite the fact that REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN has been cropped, the transfer is still acceptable. The image has nice detail and the colors are strong. However, the colors do not compare to those of a Technicolor print. Yes, I have been fortunate enough to see a Technicolor print of REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN at a private screening, and let me tell you, nothing compares to an actual IB Technicolor print of a Hammer film. As for the digital monaural soundtrack, it's just fine, as is the Sony DADC pressing.

 
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Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1996 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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