Michael Scott

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The Vengeance of She


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Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :3.5stars:
Final Score: :4stars:



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Movie

Back in the late 1960s Hammer Productions was still content to deal with remakes and reboots while it’s innovative content was fading by the wayside quite rapidly. The studio (which had been around since the 1930s) had decided to take on H. Rider Haggard’s famous novel “She” and remake it on screen with Ursula Andress playing the immortal Queen Ayesha who was trying to reincarnate her love Kallikrates, whom she had foolishly murdered a millennia ago. After the solid success that was She (which is sadly only available on DVD as Warner Archive MOD title for the time being) Hammer Productions decided to do the sequel to the film 2 short years later. This time swapping the roles of Ayesha and Kallikrates a bit and changing up the tried and true formula by adding in newcomer Olga Schoberova (who was going by the name Olinka Berova at the time).

A disoriented Scandinavian woman named Carol (Olinka Berova) is inexorably drawn to the south of France through some sort of psychic calling that compels her, pushing her forward all the while whispering the name “Ayesha” to her. Mentally tortured Carol slips aboard the yacht of a rich millionaire named George (Colin Blakely) to hitch a ride and ends up accidentally killing him in her fervor to heads towards wherever the voices in her heads are drawing her to. Jumping ship on the coast of Africa, Carol is drawn across the plains towards the east, closer and closer towards a mystical force that wants her for it’s own.

On the other side of the mystical coins is Kallikrates (once again played by John Richardson), the immortal lover of Ayesha, and his mystical sorcerer Men Hari (Derek Godfrey) who is drawing Carol closer and closer so that Kallikrates can pass Men Hari and Carol under the eternal flames of immortality and give them each the immortality they desire. However, the duplicitous Men Hari has other plans in store for Carol and the flame, and his own deception well may be the undoing of the entire world if his plans are allowed to culminate.
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The Vengeance of She kind of flips the tables around a bit this time. Last time it was Ayesha drawing Kallikrates to her in her search for her lover, but this time Kallikrates is the immortal one, and searching for his queen once more. It’s a bit of a strange and overly long film (especially for a Hammer Productions film), but an enjoyable one nonetheless. Carol exudes that sort of Sophia Loren seductress charm to her (accentuated by the obviously sultry music playing whenever she’s on screen), but the movie is also heavily steeped in Arabic inspired fantasy as well, and the film runs a fine line between the both. I had to chuckle at the G rating of the film at the time, as it’s much closer to a PG (but in no way some lewd R-rated flick like something out of Cannon Productions). The story is simple and to the point, but it takes a really long time to truly unfold. Kallikrates and his plans are seen pretty early on in the film, but it’s not until the final act that we see that he’s not really the villain we were all led to believe. Also, the romance/friendship between the ship’s psychologist Phillip (Edward Judd) and Carol is a bit awkward and hammy, but what do you expect from a 1960s Hammer film?

While the film is fun, it does suffer a bit from typical Hammer films cheesiness. We know from the get go that Carol IS being drawn to the city of Kuma by magic, and there is no mystique in that aspect of the film. While Kuma was a bit of a weird city in the first film, it’s mystical presence is no more explained in the sequel, with the visuals being a few rocks and a handful of guards marching around with no explanation of how a mystically powerful city like Kuma is still undiscovered out in the desert. Or why it’s even there to begin with! This is a chuckle worthy sequel and it does what Hammer films do best. Mix in a solid bit of fantasy and action with extra layers of thick cheese and a low low low budget. And it does it with a sort of panache and style that is hilariously charming and fun, despite the hammy nature of the production.




Rating:

Rated G for General Audiences




Video: :4.5stars:
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Scream Factory touts a brand new 2K remaster for The Vengeance of She and the new scan really does look VERY impressive. I’ve never seen the old DVD, but this Blu-ray shows off some impressive details. The grain levels are very strong, but it’s an organic feel to the levels, as they are rich and full, but never overly thick and heavy. Strong details abound at every turn, as you can see Carol’s luscious wavy hair, the lapping of water against the boat during the aftermath of the party, as well as intimate clothing details on the Arabic style dress of the mystics. Black levels are deep and inky, showing off tons of shadow detail and the only “problems” I could see are the occasional bouts of crush that pop up every once in a while. It’s a great looking remaster and definitely the highlight of the entire package.







Audio: :4stars:
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The Vengeance of She comes to Blu-ray with a simple mono track, but one that is powerful, aggressive, and shows off some incredible auditory clarity as well. I was actually surprised to hear how clean and precise the 2.0 Mono track is, as I couldn’t really detect any major audio hiss, and the balance of the dulcet “seductress” score mixed in with the drum beats of the second half is done precisely and cleanly. The music can get a teensy bit “loud” at times, but overall the dialog is clean and able to be heard clearly against the score. The few moments of action show strong presence in the front of the room and it never really seems to show it’s age like some movies from the 60s tend to do.







Extras: :3.5stars:
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BRAND NEW 2K REMASTER STRUCK FROM ORIGINAL FILM ELEMENTS
• NEW interviews with assistant director Terence Clegg, visual effects artist Joy Cuff and clapper/loader Trevor Coop
• NEW Audio Commentary by the Monster Party podcast hosts Matt Weinhold, Shawn Sheridan, Larry Strothe and James Gonis
• World of Hammer – Lands Before Time
• Theatrical Trailer
• TV Spots
• Still Gallery









Final Score: :4stars:

The She movies are a unique set of film’s amid Hammer Picture’s later years in life as they really walk a weird line between Sophia Loren style Femme fatale and classic Ray Harryhausen adventure movie. Nothing ever stands out as being one over the other officially, but those comparisons sit in the back of your head the entire film. The plot of The Vengeance of She deviates pretty strongly from the plot of the original 1965 She, but it makes for a unique little adventure movie nonetheless. Those who are more willing to put up with a laid back and methodical method of pacing for the film will get a lot out of the slow burn adventure/romance/fantasy film film, but newcomers may find the movie just a tad slow for a 1960s movie in those genres. Scream Factory has given this film a fantastic video encode and great audio, and the fairly copious extras makes this a great option for fans of the series. Definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan, and newbies may want to check out one of the last Hammer Productions films before they faded away as well.



Technical Specifications:

Starring: John Richardson, Olga Schoberova, Edward Judd, George Sewell, Jill Melford, Colin Blakely, Noel Willman, Derek Godfrey, Andre Morell
Directed by: Cliff Owen
Written by: Peter O'Donnell
Aspect Ratio: 1.75:1, AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA Mono
Subtitles: English SDH
Studio: Scream Factory
Rated: G
Runtime: 101 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 26th, 2019






Recommendation: Cult Film

 
Last edited:

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. Will check it out.
 
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