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Old 10-08-2004, 01:39 PM
 
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Default Frankenstein Created Woman




Reviewer: Styx
Review Date: August 28, 2000

Released by: Universal
Release date: July 11, 2000
MSRP $29.98
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.66:1 | 16x9:Yes



Anchor Bay Entertainment continues to release quality Hammer films on DVD and here we have one of the latest, Frankenstein Created Woman. Directed by Terrence Fisher and starring the immortal Peter Cushing, Frankenstein Created Woman breaks the boundaries of the gratuitous sequel by providing a well acted and directed film. Lets take a look.

The Story

inline Image As a child Hans Werner (Robert Morris) witnessed his father executed on the guillotine for burglary and murder. Fast forward many years later. Hans, now a young man, is in the care of Doctor Herz (Thorley Walters), who happens to be Baron Frankenstein's (Peter Cushing) laboratory assistant. It seems the Baron is up to his old tricks of unraveling the mysterious behind life and death but this time he has a fixation on the human soul. After being technically dead for an hour upon having himself frozen, Frankenstein believes he's on to something when he discovers his soul did not leave his body during that time frame. To celebrate Frankenstein's successful revival Dr. Herz suggests they have a drink. Hans is sent to buy a bottle of champagne where he takes the opportunity to visit Christina (Susan Denberg), a deformed and crippled waitress who works at her father's establishment.

inline Image Three young gentlemen - Anton (Peter Blythe), Johann (Derek Fowlds) and Karl (Barry Warren) stroll into the cafe demanding a bottle of wine. They insist Christina serve it for the sake of merely making fun of her. When Christina accidentally spills a glass of wine on Anton he gets enraged and shoves her backwards calling her "bitch". Hans demands Anton apologize to Christina and when he refuses he attacks him creating a brawl. The fight ends with the police arriving and some brash statements made by Hans that will eventually be his undoing. Anton, Johann and Karl leave the cafe but decide to return after it's closed to quench a "thirst". They are disturbed when the landlord returns, having forgotten his keys. The three try to hide and keep out of site but are discovered and are forced to kill the landlord. When the authorities discover the body of the landlord it doesn't take them long to suspect Hans and when he returns to the café in the morning he is immediately arrested.

inline Image A trial is held for Hans on charges of murder and he is convicted and sentenced to die on the guillotine, just like his father. Arriving home by carriage Christina notices the public execution and fears it is Hans. She runs to him but it is too late and he is beheaded. Running in horror Christina decides to commit suicide by throwing herself into the river. Baron Frankenstein, seeing the recent execution of Hans as a fortunate turn of events, has Dr Herz procure Hans' body from authorities. Frankenstein plans to capture and preserve his soul so he can one day live again in another body. When the drowned body of Christina is fetched from the river she is rushed to Dr. Herz's home. Baron Frankenstein decides to plant Hans' soul into Christina's body and after repairing the scar and disability Christina reawakens, this time beautiful and healthy. However, unbeknownst to Frankenstein and Dr. Herz, Christina retains Hans' memory as well as an unquenchable thirst for vengeance.

inline Image Frankenstein Created Woman is a terrific Hammer film and one of my favorite Frankenstein films. Though the Hammer Frankenstein films are loosely linked together with some obvious flaws in continuity, Frankenstein Created Woman follows the relentless Baron to a small town where his new research centers on the human soul and how to contain it. Frankenstein Created Woman is very different than most of the other Frankenstein films and upset many of the clichés one would expect to find in this type of film. For one thing the "creature" in Frankenstein Created Woman isn't much of a creature at all. Instead she is a beautiful girl played by Susan Denberg and I must admit she offers a breath of fresh air after the heavy prosthetic laden creatures of other Frankenstein films.

inline Image Peter Cushing reprises his role as Baron Frankenstein and as always delivers a magnificent performance. I'm constantly amazed at how well Cushing delivers his lines with such cool and ease. It's almost as if Cushing were born to play this role because he seems so natural and believable. Thorely Walters and Robert Morris round out the cast and do a fine job, but of course whenever Cushing is on screen he takes center stage. Frankenstein Created Woman takes some creative turns with the plot and oddly becomes a predictable slasher towards the end as Christina sets out to avenge Hans. I found this pretty strange when I first saw this film, but after building sympathy for both Christina and Hans it works rather well in a tragic sort of way. The ending is also pretty abrupt with very little closure, undoubtedly leaving many wondering what happens now? Overall as a Hammer fan I found Frankenstein Created Woman enjoyable and it's definitely worth seeing for Peter Cushing fans, but it is an excess sequel and like most it doesn't compare well with the original.

Image Quality

inline Image Anchor Bay presents Frankenstein Created Woman in a new 16x9 enhanced transfer letterboxed at 1.66:1 in its original theatrical ratio. This is a fantastic looking transfer of a film that is over 30 years old. The transfer is very clear I didn't notice any grain throughout the presentation except during the title sequence three minutes into the film. Overall the image is nice and sharp with a great sense of depth and detail; edges were smooth and clean. The print used for this transfer was in excellent shape with hardly any print damage or artifacts ever becoming noticeable. Colors looked good for the most part but seemed slightly faded and muted at times. Flesh tones generally looked well balanced but seemed a little pale at times.

Having Elite Entertainment's Laserdisc of Frankenstein Created Woman I took a look and did a side-by-side comparison to see how this transfer stacked up against previous releases. The added detail and resolution of the DVD (thanks to a great 16x9 transfer) was noticeable right from the start with much better definition and detail, especially noticeable on character's faces. Colors seemed even between the two and both versions were very clean with neither having any noticeable grain or print defects except for the instance I noted above. This is a great transfer from the folks at Anchor Bay.

Sound

Frankenstein Created Woman is presented in Dolby Digital Mono and sounds pretty good with good dynamic range. Dialogue was clear without any distortion and I didn't hear any background noise throughout the presentation. Overall this is a good presentation given the limitations of mono.

Supplemental Material

inline Image As with most of the Hammer film's Anchor Bay has released on DVD, Frankenstein Created Woman features a World of Hammer episode. This one is Curse of Frankenstein and as its name implies the episode deals with Hammer's Frankenstein films. I really like these episodes as they show some great scenes from Hammer films and this one features scenes from all the Frankenstein films with narration by Oliver Reed. The Frankenstein films featured in Curse of Frankenstein are: The Curse of Frankenstein, The Revenge of Frankenstein, The Evil of Frankenstein,Frankenstein Created Woman, Horror of Frankenstein, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell .

inline Image This is also the very same episode featured on Anchor Bay's Four Sided Triangle DVD. In addition, this DVD features Frankenstein Created Woman's theatrical trailer, which looks quite good, and is 16x9 enhanced. We also have a combo trailer and two TV spots - one for 60 seconds and the other for 20 - those are all 16x9 enhanced too; gotta love Anchor Bay!

Final Thoughts

A fantastic looking transfer for one of my favorite Hammer Frankenstein films. Hammer fans won't be disappointed with this entry into the Hammer Collection. I only hope the other Hammer Frankenstein films look this well when they make it to DVD.

Rating

Image Quality - A-
Sound - B
Supplements - B

Technical Info.
  • Running time - 1 hour 32 minutes
  • Color
  • Not Rated
  • 1 Disc
  • 22 Chapter stops
  • English Dolby Digital Mono

Supplements
  • Exclusive World of Hammer episode titled The Curse of Frankenstein
  • Theatrical trailer (2)
  • TV spots (2)

Other Pictures

 

 

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