View Full Version : Lugosi's "Phantom Ship"

07-04-2002, 12:18 AM
I've been waiting for this one to hit DVD for a while and now it is here! I ordered a copy of Lugosi's "Phantom Ship" from DVDEmpire. This was a 1935 Hammer Production under the title of "The Mystery Of The Mary Celeste". Here's a brief rundown:

The Mystery Of The Mary Celeste

The actual mystery of the half-brig Mary Celeste is a true and tragic tale of the sea. Under her experienced master, Benjamin Briggs, she sailed from New York with a crew of eight on November 5, 1872. A month and a day later, she was found under full sail without a person aboard. The lifeboat and some navigational instruments were gone but the provisions and all the crew's belongings were still in place. The ship's log offered no explanation. No trace of the captain and his family or the crew was ever found, nor was there evidence of piracy or foul play.

This true mystery of the sea remains unsolved, although speculation which began in 1884 when Arthur Conan Doyle (pseudonymously) published "J. Habukak Jephon's Statement" continues to this day, fueled by the salvage of the wrecked Mary Celeste in August of 2001.

Phantom Ship, the American edition of the British 1935 Hammer horror film Mystery of the Mary Celeste, offers history's most fictitious solution to this famous seafaring riddle. It's an ambitious production with footage at sea taken aboard the Mary B. Mitchell, a period sailing vessel known for heroic duty as a U-Boat-sinking decoy in World War I. To assure distribution beyond the British empire, Dracula's Bela Lugosi was cast as seaman Anton Lorenzen, a religious zealot who goes postal as a result of being shanghaied years before, and does away with the Captain and the rest of the crew as his revenge. Buried in tiny parts among a quite competent cast of British stagers portraying American seamen are Gibson Gowland, Erich von Stroheim's unforgettable McTeague; and Gunner Moir, the Empire's former heavyweight boxing champion! Writer/Director Denison Clift was an American who also wrote Cecil B. DeMillie's excellent sailing adventure film The Yankee Clipper. His ripe dialogue in Lugosi's rich accent ("You mustn't be afraid of death. When this ship sails - death sails - on her") is reward enough from this DVD!

Can't wait to see it!

07-04-2002, 01:36 AM
Well, this and Song of Freedom being made available certainly does bode well for Hammer fans. The only problem is Images pricing structure on their dvds. But hey, it's vintage Hammer! http://www.horrordvds.com/vbulletin/images/icons/icon14.gif I'll be sure to pick them up, but admittedly, I'm much more excited about Mystery of the Mary Celeste than Song of Freedom, so Song may get put on the back burner for a while... hey, I still don't have Spaceways. ;)

07-04-2002, 05:11 AM
Dude! I just noticed, Mystery is CHEAP! 14.99 retail, 13.49 at Amazon. Surely, even cheaper elsewhere... yep, this is on my extremely-soon-to-buy list. :)

07-04-2002, 05:44 AM
Hyde, I got mine at dvdempire for $11.99! :)

07-04-2002, 07:48 AM
DeepDiscountDVD (http://www.deepdiscountdvd.com) has Phantom Ship for $10.79 shipped.

07-04-2002, 08:53 AM
Originally posted by Reverenddave
DeepDiscountDVD (http://www.deepdiscountdvd.com) has Phantom Ship for $10.79 shipped.

My favorite place! :D

07-04-2002, 11:14 AM
Lugosi is brilliant in this one. I have the DVD already, I highly recommend it, it's a great looking disc of such an old film. The best looking DVDs of '30s movies I've seen though, are Warner's "Little Women" (1933) and Carlton's R2 "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1934), you would not believe your eyes if you saw them. Sharp, clean and pretty much free of all spots and speckles. Like they've been kept in a time machine, or something. "Phantom Ship" - naturally - doesn't reach those heights, but it's still the best I've ever seen it.

07-17-2002, 10:18 AM
So did you get it yet Asia?? I'm curious of the transfer quality. We need an update bud (if you got one). :)

07-17-2002, 04:23 PM
Well, I have to say that I wasn't overly impressed with this film or with the Image DVD. I liked some of the shots at sea but the acting!!! Oh man, talk about hammy! OK, i know acting in the 1930's was a lot different then acting today and in subsequent decades but there was not one performance I could really admire including that of Bela's which went from initally quiet to over the top. The dialogue was not easily understandable and the "lost" pre and post courtroom scenes probably would have added a lot more to the affair. Still, even at 62 minutes the film seemed to drag and I have to admit to being disappointed. The DVD itself has no extra's but the transfer was not too bad. It looked generally sharp but the ravages of time are apparent and there were a few rough jumps along the way. The audio was loud but not always clear and sometimes was too loud and seemed to fade or cut in and out quite a bit even to where in a couple of occasions the dialogue did not seem to fit the lip movement. Still, for $11 I guess it wasn't too bad but the film itself does not live up to it's "classic" stature IMHO. :)

07-18-2002, 06:53 AM
Dand Asia, that kinda blows. :( But, being trapped in Hammer Junkiedom, I'll get it regardless. :D Good price anyway.