• Die Bande Des Captain Clegg (Night Creatures/Captain Clegg)



    Die Bande Des Captain Clegg (Night Creatures/Captain Clegg)
    Released by: Anolis Entertainment
    Released on: May 12th, 2017.
    Director: Peter Graham Scott
    Cast: Peter Cushing, Yvonne Romain, Patrick Allen, Oliver Reed, Michael Ripper, Martin Benson
    Year: 1962

    The Movie:

    Based on Russell Thorndike's book Doctor Syn - A Tale of Romney Marsh (with some names conveniently changed so as not to suffer the wrath of Disney), director Peter Graham Scott’s Night Creatures (also known as Captain Clegg) takes place at Dymchurch, a small coastal town in 18th century England. The locals have apparently been seeing ‘marsh phantoms’ in the area and are quite convinced that something supernatural is afoot. Royal Navy Captain Collier (Patrick Allen), however, isn’t so sure. When he and his men are sent to investigate a potential smuggling ring, he starts to figure that there’s more to this than many of the locals realize.

    As Collier goes about trying to sort all of this out, he continues to butt heads with Parson Blyss (Peter Cushing), the local reverend who puzzlingly seems to be always at least one step ahead of him. Blyss is also quite mindful of his daughter Imogene (Yvonne Romain), who is involved with wealthy townsman Harry Cobtree (Oliver Reed). Complicating matters further is the presence of a mute (Milton Reid) who seems to know something about Blyss that the man of the cloth would prefer he did not.

    More of a mystery film than a traditional horror effort, Night Creatures makes for rousing entertainment. The story moves at a quick pace and throws in a few interesting twists and turns along the way. There’s good suspense in the picture and as a sort of swashbuckling thriller and judged on those merits rather than preconceived notions or genre expectations, it works quite well. Director Peter Graham Scott, working from a screenplay by Anthony Hinds (screenplay) (as John Elder), controls the action well and gets very polished work out of his performers.

    Speaking of which, the acting here is pretty great. Peter Cushing is in very fine form as the mysterious Parson Blyss, putting a lot of energy and enthusiasm in to the part and looking perfect for it as well. A young Oliver Reed, already oozing charisma and screen presence at this point in his career, makes the most of a solid supporting role while pretty Yvonne Romain is quite good as the Parson’s daughter. Patrick Allen is well cast and a great foil for Cushing’s man of the cloth. Allen has an authoritarian vibe to his acting that suits the character really well and makes him stand out in the role. If that weren’t enough, be on the lookout for a scene stealing Michael Ripper in a small part as the local undertaker.

    The film benefits from some impressive visuals, specifically those shots of the ‘marsh phantoms’ galloping on horseback across the darkened moors. Bernard Robinson’s sets also add an element of class to the proceedings, they really do look great. The cinematography from Arthur Grant captures all of this quite nicely, and the film is not only nicely lit and quite atmospheric in appearance, but it makes great use of color and of shadow as well.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Anolis Entertainment offers up Captain Clegg in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.78.1 widescreen on a 50GB disc. Image quality here is pretty decent, with detail really shining in the close up shots. Wide and medium range shots also show good depth and texture while color reproduction looks nice and accurate, never oversaturated or artificially boosted. The image is also quite clean, showing only the rare small white speck rather than any actual noticeable print damage. The picture’s grain structure is left intact, there’s no evidence of obvious noise reduction, nor are there any problems with edge enhancement or artificial sharpening. The movie is given a good bit rate on the disc, and as such there are no noticeable compression artifacts to note.

    Audio options are provided in both English and German language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono tracks with subtitles provided for the feature in German only. There are no issues with the English language track on this disc. Dialogue is easily discernable, the score sounds nice and there are no noticeable issues with any hiss or distortion to report.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary track featuring Dr. Rolf Giesen, Uwe Sommerlad und Volker Kronz. Unfortunately the commentary is a German language track and there are no English language subtitles offered for it.

    Carried over from the British Blu-ray are two featurettes, the first of which is a thirty-two minute documentary entitled The Making Of Captain Clegg which is narrated by John Carson and features film historian Wayne Kinsey. We get to check out some of the locations as they look today and we get to learn about the film’s origins, how the project came to be, the naming of the picture as Night Creatures, how the film went about adapting the Syn story for the big screen (with some welcome background information provided on the book and its author) and how/why the film was cast the way it was. We also learn about who did what behind the scenes, what occurred during the shoot, what was shot in a studio versus on location and loads more. There’s a ton of great archival and behind the scenes photographs used throughout the presentation and Kinsey’s research and Carson’s narration do a great job of exploring the picture’s history and place in the pantheon of the Hammer Films legacy.

    The second featurette is a seven minute long piece called The Mossman Legacy, in which Kinsey appears again to discuss and show off George Mossman's carriage collection and how certain models would wind up playing a fairly important part in this particular film. Again, lots of great archival photographs and ephemera here help to illustrate various points, this is quite well done. We also get some nice footage shot inside a carriage museum and Kinsey making some interesting observations about what the piece shows us.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are American (under the title Night Creatures) and German (under the title Die Bande Des Captain Clegg title) theatrical trailers, English, German and French pressbook galleries, a reproduction of a vintage German film program book, a general production related still gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Captain Clegg might not be a horror movie in the traditional sense but it is a great mix of action, adventure and intrigue with some occasionally macabre elements thrown into the mix for good measure. As you’d guess, is excellent in the lead role and it’s fun to see a young Oliver Reed show up in a supporting part. Anolis’ Blu-ray looks and sounds quite good and c all of the extras from previously released editions as well as a few new ones thrown in for good measure.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!