The Hound of Baskervilles and Rollerball
Company: Twilight Time
Hounds: Miles Malleson, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Andre Morell, Marla Landi, David Oxley, John LeMesurier
Rollerball: Ralph Richardson, James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn
My Review and Thoughts:
Hounds: 4 out of 5
Rollerball: 4 out of 5
Here is a double feature I am doing, two greats. One mystery and one sci-fi. Two classic Drive-in style entertainment at its best. Twilight Time has honored two great and worthy films on new beautiful outlets of perfection.
First up is THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (1959), I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan but most of all a huge Hammer film fan. Hammer studios or as I like to call it, The Hammer House of Horrors. One of the greatest film studios of all time. Bringing Vampires and mad men to the glory of the cinema world. Here is another one from this classic studio that never gets the limelight it deserves and to me one of their better films to praise.
The Hound of Baskervilles is directed by one of my top 10 horror directors of all time. Terrence Fisher. Fisher was a true one and kind icon that I praise highly and mention often when talking about movies. His ultimate list of films is beyond brilliant, my personal favorites The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula (1958) aka Horror of Dracula (US), The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Mummy (1959), The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959), The Stranglers of Bombay (1960), The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960), The Curse of the Werewolf (1960), The Brides of Dracula (1960), The Phantom of the Opera (1962), The Horror of It All (1963), The Gorgon (1964), The Earth Dies Screaming (1965), Island of Terror (1966), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), The Devil Rides Out (1968) aka The Devil's Bride (US), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1973).
He was a genius and a true master at just anything he touched. He is one of the greatest iconic directors of all time in the horror world. Horror movies or drive-in cinema never gets the honors or praise that certain films should get, and in my viewpoint any picture Terrence Fisher was a part of, is worthy to praise in some way or another.
Hammer started to stray from basic film plots toward 1953 when they adventured into, two Science Fiction films. Shortly after the trip into science fiction, Hammer started their ultra-cool reality that most film lovers know them for, and that's Horror. Besides Universal Horror they pretty much are the gods of the early horror cinema. They showcase the very essence of what the horror world was, and has become, or at least the beauty and birth of horror cinema. My ultimate favorite horror series would be the many Frankenstein films starring the one and only Peter Cushing. Many associate Christopher Lee's Dracula roles, but I love the Frankenstein films the best. It was The Curse of Frankenstein in 1957 that started the Horror movement. They had done Sci-fi/Horror such as The Quatermass Experiment saga. With The Curse of Frankenstein, it was the birth of a new reality for Hammer. Dracula did not start Hammer Horror; the old resurrected Dead Man Frankenstein's monster did.
It was the first main stream to use colored blood and gore. It created a massive following and the studio instantly became the one and only Hammer House of Horror. Soon Hammer Horror owned the screens and they would run rampant with vampires, mummies, knife using maniacs and legends, all done in Hammer Horror style. Soon there would be countless followings by other studios that wanted to make money on the ban wagon; there is only one Hammer. Sadly, the Hammer Film studios that became the birthright to ultra-cool gory horror faded away and went into hibernation after 1979 due to declining interest and no new worthy ideas. They would produce TV series in 1980 and again in 1984, then hibernate again.
The studio that was so promising that started the ultra-cool horror wave in 1957 only lasted a little over 20 years. In those 20 years many wonderful examples of fun, wild, gory classic horror films birthed onto the screen like never before. Hammer owned the business for a very long time. I grew up on all there re-runs. One of my favorite times growing up was when Turner Classic Movies or TV channels would run month long Halloween Marathons of all these classics.
Hammer was a vital part of my childhood and will always be dear to my heart and my horror loving mind. I grew up with Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee acting it up and Terence Fisher at the helm. I grew up with Oliver Reed and Ingrid Pitt and vampire hunters, vampire circus' and lesbian blood suckers. I grew up with the thickest, brightest red blood possible. From werewolves to a Gorgon, my childhood in the horror world was awesome. So when I adventure into Hammer films it brings out a wonderment inside me. The Hound of Baskervilles is a prime and fun example of the beauty of Hammer Studio. This film wonderfully details that classic retro style of mystery, suspense horror. They always had amazing sets, costumes and interesting stories of bad guys and good guys/gals and monsters.
Starring of the greatest icons to ever grace cinema, the one and only Peter Cushing and the one of a kind master of terror Dracula himself Christopher Lee. Cushing and Lee needs no introduction to anyone calling themselves a movie lover. Both were the very definition of performance in no matter what role they played. From drama, to horror, they were the gurus of cinema. Most fans flock to their horror films as their trademarks, but Lee, and Cushing were so much more than just horror actors. Lee and Cushing were skilled thespians.
The Hound of Baskervilles plot is complex and very interesting. It’s one of my favorite Holmes stories. Dr. Mortimer tells Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson about the death of his friend Sir Charles Baskerville. And about a so called curse. To make matters worse there is an escaped insane criminal who has killed many women. Holmes is away on another case and so Holmes puts Watson in charge. So begins mysteries’ happenings and could it possibly be a curse of supernatural means. The Game is a Foot, there is murder in the air and leave it to Mr. Holmes and his trusty side kick Watson to start the art of deduction.
Next up is the sci-fi feature Rollerball.
Rollerball is the total opposite of The Hound of Baskervilles. Rollerball is what I call a science fiction sports film. It’s a unique blend of the future and an interesting concept of life. What is so weird about it is the violent tones and the dystopian future. The setting is a game, kind of like when in the old Roman days, the Gladiators fought for the masses of people for entertainment. The setting this time is a Roller ring and teams fight each other in a bloody, violent orgy of death and winning so that the people can be anesthetized toward the violence taking place. It’s a far out, twisted film with a futuristic brilliance about it. It’s very unique and one of those cult status films. It’s a pure 70’s film and you can tell that it is. It’s a futuristic telling of mankind's ultimate control and blood lust.
Starring the amazing James Caan who really needs no introduction. He is one those brilliant performers that has acted in so many great films. From The Godfather series, The Killer Elite, Thief, to my personal favorite, the one and only 1990’s Misery. He has acted in so many wonderful films from sci-fi, to comedy, to drama, and everything else. It’s great watching him perform, and Rollerball is one of those great cult films to be entertained by.
Rollerball also stars a true personal favorite of mine the iconic legend of acting Ralph Richardson. You need look no further if you want to see one of the greatest actors of the 20th century. He is what acting was about. He gave everything, every ounce, every bit of his makeup, his soul, his heart, his mind to his performances. He was what an actor was about. He became acting in the human embodiment.
From one of his first performances 1933's The Ghoul to one of his last in 84's Greystoke the Legend of Tarzan. He owned every piece of cinema he was in. I personally will always remember him in two of my childhood favorite films. First the very brilliant underrated fantasy film 81's Dragon Slayer as the character Ulrich and the masterpiece of fantasy 81's Time Bandits as the Supreme Being. He went above and beyond in everything he did. He was what cinema was about. He was truly a brilliant and iconic actor that Graced cinema in all his glory. He gave to the fans the very reality of movies period.
There is so many wonderful greats in Rollerball. John Houseman, Maud Adams, the great John Beck, Moses Gunn, Pamela Hensley I could go on and on. It’s just really great seeing so many wonderful performers on a wonderful high quality transfer that Twilight Time has done.
Rollerball is directed by a one of kind brilliant director. Norman Jewison. Jewison is to me the very essence of top quality movie making. He mastered such greats, like one of my Top 50 films of all time, 1967’s In The Heat of the Night. Also mastered 65’s The Cincinnati Kid, 66’s The Russians are Coming, 68’s The Thomas Crown Affair, 71’s Fiddler on the Roof, 87’s Moonstruck, 99’s The Hurricane, I could go on and on, he is a master at creating memorable film and Rollerball is one of those.
Hounds: Audio 4.5 out of 5 Video: 4 out of 5
Rollerball: Audio 4.5 out of 5 Video: 4.5 out of 5
Hounds: LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.66:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
Both Blu-ray’s are amazingly restored and in High Definition. Both are must own Blu-ray’s for any lover of true classic sci-fi cinema or Hammer Studios. Both films are must see, must own films. Hammer gave so much to the cinema world and The Hound of Baskervilles is one of those examples. They created a genera of cinema that fans have become a part of. Hammer has a cult status and The Hound of Baskervilles belongs in that cult status of cinema. The audio and video is just beautiful, and is a perfect example of how to treat a film. Rollerball is no different, it to looks and sounds amazing. Rollerball is a totally different picture than Hound, but each have a classic sense of Drive-In, late night style of cinema that truly entertains and leaves a perfect reality of entertainment.
Rollerball: LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA / English 2.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
Hounds 5 out of 5
Rollerball: 5 out of 5
Hounds: Isolated Music & Effects Track. The music behind this Hammer film is the very master of many Hammer movies. James Bernard is basically a guru of Hammer Studios. He did so many of the films. He was a true gifted composer that left so many haunting scores and entertaining music that lingers with you as you are given a story inside the music itself. All one has to do is list his resume of films. The Quatermass Xperiment, The Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula, The Kiss of the Vampire, The Gorgon, Dracula Prince of Darkness, The Devil Rides out, you get my point. He created so many tingling, fear inducing ear candy to go along with the darkened brilliance of Hammer Studios.
Audio Commentary with Film Historians David Del Valle and Steven Peros
Audio Commentary with Film Historians Paul Scrabo, Lee Pfeiffer, and Hank Reineke
Actor’s Notebook: Christopher Lee. A great older program of Christopher Lee talking about Sherlock Holmes. Running about 13 minutes.
Hound Mask Creator Margaret Robinson on The Hound of the Baskervilles this is a great little over 14-minute interview with the mask maker for the film.
Christopher Lee Reads Excerpts from The Hound of the Baskervilles. This is great hearing the legend Lee read out parts of the story running a little over twenty minutes.
Original Theatrical Trailer
Rollerball: Isolated Score Track. The man behind the music for this feature film is Andre Previn. Previn has worked on many films as composer, or in the music department. He has graced the cinema world by working on 64’s My Fair Lady, 58’s Gigi, and his music has been used on many soundtracks to films and TV and projects. A great listen.
Audio Commentary with Director Norman Jewison. This was really a great listen. Listening to the man behind the film is always a knowledgeable treat. A perfect commentary.
Audio Commentary with Writer William Harrison. Another fantastic listen to. Awesome that you get to hear the views from the writer himself. Very educational for any film lover.
From Rome to Rollerball: The Full Circle, this is a little over 7-minute classic feature on the film structuring on how the Roller games resembled the gladiator style myths.
Return to the Arena: The Making of Rollerball. The is a little over 25-minute feature on the film. Great interviews.
Original Theatrical Trailers
These two Blu-ray’s are cinema perfection. Both imaginative pieces of cinema. Lovingly transferred, and fixed, and beautified on a new outlet of clarity. Both of these have 3,000 Unit pressing’s. These old school pieces of science fiction bliss, and murder mystery should be sought out. Twilight Time has done another amazing job on both of these films. Twilight Time Blu-ray, of both of these in my viewpoint should be owned.
Make sure you head over to www.screenarchives.com to buy all the wonderful Twilight Time Blu-rays. The main page that gives you these beautiful releases on top quality Special Editions.
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