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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Kidnapping > Drama > Horror > Slasher > Torture Porn > Mystery > Literature > Detective > Stage > S > The Collector (1965/Image Blu-ray)/Final Destination 5 (2011/Warner Blu-ray)/Sherlock Holmes (1922/John Barrymore/Kino Blu-ray)/Whitechapel: The Ripper Returns (2008/BBC DVD)

The Collector (1965/Image Blu-ray)/Final Destination 5 (2011/Warner Blu-ray)/Sherlock Holmes (1922/John Barrymore/Kino Blu-ray)/Whitechapel: The Ripper Returns (2008/BBC DVD)


Picture: B/C+ & C/B-/C     Sound: B-/B- & C+/B-/C+     Extras: C-/D/C-/C     Film/Episodes: B-/D/B/B-



Thrillers have a longer history than many people realize and the following releases show just how long and how it is as much a British genre as it is American.



William Wyler is one of Hollywood’s longest and most enduring filmmakers, but I was not always a fan of all of his films, but his thrillers tend to be underrated.  Like his original 1955 version of The Desperate Hours (1955, reviewed elsewhere on this site), The Collector (1965) offers the great Terence Stamp as the title collector, who “moves up” from butterflies to women when he decides to abduct and take care of a student (Samantha Eggar) in a set-up in his basement and hopes she might like him… eventually.  Instead of the tired torture porn we get today, he actually wants her to look beautiful and be in good health, but that does not make it much better as he has no plans of letting her go and Stamp is creepy in a passive aggressive way meant to compete with the best Norman Bates imitators.  Though a few things may have dated (including how much it has been imitated), it remains a solid, underrated film and I am thrilled to see it out on Blu-ray.  There are no extras.



On the torture porn side of things, we have the latest installment in pseudo-supernatural mutilation fest series Final Destination 5 (2011) in which more teens are tormented by a mysterious force (the producers of this cynical, stupid series) who are all going to die (because they simply exist?) in the most brutal, bloody ways possible.  The very, very long 92 minutes are obnoxious and I hope this is the end of the line, but did the last one do that well?  Extras include BD Live interactivity, UltraViolet Digital Copy, a new way to look as the gruesome deaths (which is literally being celebrated here), Visual Effects Of Death in two parts and the last straw to show you how bankrupt this release is Alternative Death Scenes to make sure those who died are really dead we gather.



So to go back about 80 years, the big surprise this time round is Albert Parker’s silent 1922 Sherlock Holmes with John Barrymore, thought lost for decades, but found again and restored.  Holmes takes on his criminal mastermind arch-enemy Moriarty (Gustav von Seyffertitz) in this enduring, remarkable (including that it survived) adaptation of the William Gillette’s (he played Holmes in a 1916 version himself) hugely successful play.  Roland Young makes his film debut as Dr. Watson, William Powell makes his film debut as Foreman Wells, future gossip columnist Hedda Hopper turns up in a early acting role and it is a really engrossing version of the story which shows all the more how watered down and silly the Robert Downey Jr. version has been.  This belongs on the shelf with MPI’s Blu-ray set of Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce films and is worth going out of your way for.  Extras include more on Kino releases, but I wish there were more.



Holmes took on Jack The Ripper and Holmes is referenced in the interesting, recent BBC mini-series Whitechapel: The Ripper Returns (2008) in which a copycat killer challenges a new tech-savvy police DI and his more streetwise and rough cops new to him.  Though the show seems to be in the shadow of The Hughes Brothers’ From Hell (see the Blu-ray elsewhere n this site) and this story has been done more often than it should be, it was still interesting and very watchable with Rupert Penry-Jones as the new DI and a fine cast all around.  Smart and with a good flow of energy, it puts many similar projects to shame.  A making of featurette is the only extra.



The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Collector is very consistent throughout with great color (save a few shots) in a film originally issued in dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor that adds top the rich feel of place and the locations look great too.  This includes some demo shots for serious home theater systems and I was very pleased overall, yet the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the brand new Destination is soft, badly shot and even sloppy plus the anamorphically enhanced DVD included is the worst performer on the list easily.  A dud all the way.


The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Holmes looks as good as it is going to for its age and the fact that it is a reconstruction, but I really like the look of the film and Director of Photography J. Roy Hunt (the original versions of She (which we just covered on Blu-ray elsewhere on the site) and Mighty Joe Young) shows just how talented he really was making this look more than just a filmed version of the stage play and giving it a look that works.  Impressive, though expect micro scratches on the print which is usually the case for silent films.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Ripper is a little softer than I would have liked, but it was still more watchable and visually interesting than Destination, though I could make jokes about that.  They’re just too easy to go into.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the Destination Blu-ray should be the best sound here, but it is harsh, badly mixed and more towards the front speakers than expected, so it too disappoints and the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on its DVD version is no better than the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the Ripper DVD.  That leaves PCM 2.0 Mono on Collector (including Maurice Jarre’s score) and the Ben Model score in PCM 2.0 Stereo on Holmes as the best sonic releases here.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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