• The Vengeance Of She (Shout! Factory) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: February 26th, 2019.
    Director: Cliff Owen
    Cast: Olinka Berova, John Richardson, Noel Willman
    Year: 1968
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    The Vengeance Of She – Movie Reviews:

    “The ultimate female who used her beauty and her body to bring kingdoms to their downfall and men to their knees!”

    Pretty hard to resist a tag line like that, right? Well, in 1965 Hammer adapted for the silver screen H. Rider Haggard's novel She. It proved a big enough success for the studio that in 1968, a follow up was released, hence, 1968’s The Vengeance Of She, wherein we meet a beautiful young woman named Carol (Olinka Berova). We know early on in the film that something is… amiss with Carol. She seems to be hallucinating and clearly hears voices referring to her not as Carol but as Ayesha. As she wanders the shores of the French Riviera, by chance she winds up wandering onto a boat owned by George (Colin Blakely) and Sheila (Jill Melford) who are enjoying a little rest and relaxation with their friend, a shrink named Philip (Edward Judd). Unsure if Carol is well or not, they allow her to stay on the boat – they’re concerned, you see.

    George, however, is up to no good. When he gets busted, he has Captain Harry (George Sewell) set sail for greener pastures. Carol, meanwhile, becomes increasingly plagued by bizarre dreams and strange visions, the kind that cause her to flip out when she deems the voyage to be going off course. When she gets knocked overboard and George has a heart attack while trying to save her, the other passengers start to wonder what’s up with their new friend. It’s clear, eventually, that Carol must get to the lost city of Kuma where she can fulfill some sort of odd destiny as the reincarnation of Queen Ayesha! But it won’t be easy, as Philip winds up dragged into all of this as well, eventually landing in prison himself where he learns that Carol’s life is in very serious danger!

    The Vengeance Of She is a bit messy, but it’s a lot of bizarre fun. Yes, the movie does take way more time getting to the meat of the story than it really should and this definitely does hurt the movie, but there’s enough weirdness peppered throughout even these early scenes to keep our attention. Where some judicious editing would have certainly helped the picture, the movie looks solid even if it was clearly made on a modest budget. There’s some interesting visuals here and some of the sets and locations, if cheaply made, show some very creative artistic vision on display. The fact that the cinematography and score as solid helps here as well.

    As to the acting? Lovely Olinka Berova is convincingly dazed and confused, even if she doesn’t show a whole lot of range. She looks great, she’s got the whole ‘statuesque blond’ thing going on in a big way, and you can see why Hammer would have picked her for the part even if she isn’t the world’s greatest actress. Edward Judd is likeable enough here, decent in his role, while Jill Melford, George Sewell and Colin Blakely offer decent support in their parts.

    The Vengeance Of She – Blu-ray Review:

    Shout! Factory brings The Vengeance Of She to Blu-ray in a nice looking AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.66.1 widescreen on a 50GB disc. It’s a nice picture that shows solid detail and that features nice color reproduction. Black levels are good and the image is free of compression artifacts and noise reduction problems. It’s also very clean, showing very little print damage while retaining the expected amount of film grain. No problems here.

    The English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track is fine. Dialogue is clean, clear and nicely balanced and there are no problems with any audible hiss or distortion to report. Optional subtitles are provided in English.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary track by hosts of 'The Monster Party Podcast,' they being Matt Weinhold, Shawn Sheridan, Larry Strothe and James Gonis. The track is a mix of observation and trivial with healthy doses of humor thrown in throughout. Those expecting a more serious affair may take issue with that but these guys are having fun with the movie and they offer up some interesting facts about the movie and the people who made it as well as their own thoughts on what works and what doesn’t, included the rather complicated rape scene and some of the socio-political aspects of the film.

    Also found on the disc is a five-minute interview with Trevor Coop, who worked as the clapper/loader on the film. This isn’t the most exciting piece you’ll ever see but Coop does manage to offer up some interesting stories about working alongside Owen, noting that he could be quite difficult at times. He also talks about how long the days were during the production and offers some memories from the shoot. Up next is an eight-minute interview with VFX artist Joy Cuff. She spends her time talking about how she went about creating the exterior of the temple and the statue of ‘She’ that are featured prominently in the movie. Assistant director Terence Clegg spends just over three-minutes talking about the difficulties in working with actor Edward Judd. This is a pretty short one!

    Shout! Factory has also included the Lands Before Time episode of The World Of Hammer series. Here, over twenty-five-minutes, narrator Oliver Reed gives us some insight into the production of Hammer’s similarly themed films Viking Queen, The Lost Continent, Prehistoric Women and The Vengeance Of She. These aren’t really considered by most to be the best of Hammer’s output but they’re plenty fun and this is a nice retrospective look back at them.

    Outside of that we get a trailer for the feature, a few TV spots, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    The Vengeance Of She – The Final Word:

    The Vengeance Of She is not a perfect movie by a long shot and it is far from Hammer’s best but entertaining nonsense if you’re in the right frame of mind for it. Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release is a good one, presenting this quirky cult oddity in very nice shape and with some solid extra features. A definite and welcome upgrade compared to the old DVD release.

    Click on the images below for full sized The Vengeance Of She Blu-ray screen caps!