The YOU REVIEW feature: All YOU REVIEW features are complete and unedited written reviews independently submitted by followers of the Peter Cushing Appreciation Society , it's website and Facebook Fan Page. The opinions here in, are solely the authors and are shared here with the purpose and intent of providing a guide to dvd's and blu rays recently released featuring the work of Peter Cushing. All viewing equipment used for the reviews is domestic and typical of the range of players and tv monitors used in a domestic viewing environment.
Mill Creek Entertainment's Hammer Films Double Feature: The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll and The Gorgon : Theatrical Release: 1964 : Blu Ray Release Date: 09/06/16 Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen Duration: 84 Minutes Featuring: Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee Directed By: Terence Fisher
"The only thing wrong with "The Gorgon" is the gorgon!" Sir Christopher Lee
While Sir Christopher Lee's humorous quote above isn't 100% accurate, he does make a very valid point in regards to this film. The Gorgon is a 1964 Hammer release and by all accounts it is a top tier Hammer film. Gloriously shot and directed by Terence Fisher, A Hammer stalwart, it has a vibrant color palate, beautifully rendered matte paintings and the workman like professionalism of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee's performances are, as always, standouts. However, in saying that the special effects budget could have been given a significant boost to make The Gorgon a perfect Hammer film. The reveal of Megeara at the conclusion of the third act is almost laughable. Cheaply designed wigs and rubber snakes on wires can only go so far to terrorize a viewer. Up to that point the film is fantastically creepy and it maintains it's pace at a steady rate. If only it wasn't for that reveal. I am laughing whilst typing this.I believe this is one of the few, if only in fact, of Hammer's films steeped in Greek mythology. Overall, it works and is a nice departure from the two 'bigs' of the Hammer world Dracula and Frankenstein.
Enough about the quality of the film itself and story. This is a review of the Mill Creek Entertainment Blu Ray release for Hammer Films Double Features. This particular collection contains The Gorgon and The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll. I must admit I have yet to watch The Two Faces of Dr. Jeckyll, but will remedy that soon enough. I would like to preface this review by reminding the reader that this film was released in 1964 on a budget of approximately 150,000 English pounds. A preposterously low budget even for the times. This release is in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio so the entire screen of your television will be taken up by the film, no black bars. I don't know if a better aspect ratio would have assisted the film in it's tightness but to my eyes I felt it looked marvelous. The colors pop, detail is incredible and for being recorded in Mono the music is frightening and beautiful while the dialogue is easily heard and not muddled.
One problem I had was the obvious difference in film quality between the set shots (which are vibrant and clear) to the "day for night" shots which are grainy and hard to see. However, I have only ever seen this film previously on television from horrible prints and bad resolution so Mill Creek, in my mind, did a bang up job of cleaning this film up as best they could. Again, for a 52 year old low budget horror film, it really comes to life on blu ray. I believe if Mill Creek would have gone for a higher bit rate, say 50m as opposed to 25m and made the disc a dual layer it may have made some difference but I am not technologically inclined enough o make that a 100% true statement. There are no bonus features or subtitles but for the cost, less than $10 for two classic horror films on a budget release blu ray, I see no problem with this in any way.
Peter Cushing (Dr. Namaroff) is amazing in this film, as usual, his professionalism overcomes the quality and or price tag for any film he appears in. Funnily enough, I found Christopher Lee's character (Prof. Karl Meister) to be the comic relief! "Ill? You must have been in your grave and dug your way out!" Don't use long words, Inspector; they don't suit you." The supporting characters are all well played and I was never distracted by any kind of overacting. My problems with the gorgon herself (a very scary looking Prudence Hyman) are merely aesthetic. When she appears in long shots or in reflection she is certifiably frightful. If only if it wasn't for the final reveal. $1,000 more dollars and they could have fixed it, but I have heard that the production had literally run out of money by that point and boy does it show.
So, overall, well done Mill Creek! I have been waiting for years for a decent quality release of The Gorgon and now I have one. We should count ourselves lucky that we as fans have access to these films at all, let alone released on blu ray.
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