Plot: What’s it about?
Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) has been involved in some nefarious activities, but that seems to be all over with, as he has a date with a sharp blade. Yes, he is to be greeted by the guillotine and beheaded, ending his horrific experiments forever. But his always loyal dwarf Karl helps him to escape this cruel fate, opening the door to perhaps a new future, one without the markings of his past. Soon after his escape, he relocates to German lands as Dr. Stein and while his experiments continue, he has new goals and a new outlook. In turn, he is welcomed with open arms in new home and heralded as a genius, as well as a kind, charitable individual. So a chain of experiments follow, but not the kind with a monster, instead more humanist efforts, including one to enhance Karl’s existence. But can he give his dwarf assistant the normal body he so deserves, or will fate once again call upon Dr. Frankenstein?
The sequel to Hammer’s superb The Curse of Frankenstein, this film more than holds its own and proves to be one of the finest efforts within Frankenstein cinema. Although Universal’s picture in 1931 went on to become the defining cinematic edition, Hammer’s efforts in Frankenstein were by no means dismissible. In The Revenge of Frankenstein, screenwriter Jimmy Sangster conjures up some good notions, but gets a little muddled with characters at times and as the film closes, relents and gives way to the expected. Even so, the movie retains a lot of positive elements and especially when the focus is on Dr. Frankenstein, this is an eerie, effective motion picture. Then again, when you have Peter Cushing at the top of his craft, whatever he reads will be that much better, so his scenes always shine in this installment. The visuals are also quite good and just when you think the film is going to putter out, it comes up with a trick or two to keep pace. I do wish the finale was better executed, but even as it stands, The Revenge of Frankenstein is a terrific movie and is recommended to horror fans of all varieties, especially Hammer devotees.
This was the second of five turns as Dr. Frankenstein for Peter Cushing, but if you ask me, it stands as his best take on the role. Of course, Cushing became an icon in both horror cinema and movies on the whole, but his fame began in this very series. His work in The Curse of Frankenstein landed him the role a second time, as well as more work with Hammer and we all know how well it all turned out. Cushing was a sensation and Hammer had terrific pictures, usually with a top notch performance from Cushing involved. A true golden era of horror (especially for Hammer), this time period yielded a number of genre classics, a great many of which featured Cushing in superb fashion. Other films with Cushing include The Hound of the Baskervilles, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, The Vampire Lovers, and Star Wars. The cast also includes Eunice Gayson (From Russia With Love, Out of the Clouds), Francis Matthews (The Hellfire Club, Rasputin: The Mad Monk), and Michael Gwynn (Scars of Dracula, Jason and the Argonauts).
Video: How does it look?
The Revenge of Frankenstein is presented in a 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a solid, but flawed visual presentation that should please fans, though some cleanup work would have been appreciated. The print has some nicks at times, as well as grain in a number of scenes, though never to an extreme level. I found colors to be a tad faded, but still bright enough and flesh tones were natural on the whole. I saw no troubles in terms of contrast either, as black levels seem well balanced and no detail loss is visible. Aside from some expected tolls of time, this is a solid treatment and it should satisfy fans.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included audio track is not too memorable, but it provides the needed elements and has no overwhelming flaws to report. The years haven’t battered up the materials too much, as no real hiss, harshness, or distortion is noted, which is excellent news. A handful or so of minor age related flaws do surface, but they just that and as such, pose no serious threats. All the eerie sound effects stream through at full force, while the dialogue is crisp and smooth at all times, no volume troubles in the least. This disc also includes English & French subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes some still photos, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.