DW comes to blu ray

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ericmocata
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Post by ericmocata » Thu 22 Nov, 2012 06:19:22

I wonder if this will get released in the U.S. Since I do have the original version on DVD, I think I will be okay with having a different version as well, especially for those documentaries you mentioned, Steve. They sound pretty fascinating. Besides, even though Christopher Lee spoke a good bit some years ago about possibly remaking the movie, with Lee himself playing the Duc again, I think he is probably a wee bit old now to remake it and improve the special effects and all that, unfortunately. However, if he did make that now, I would still shell out the money for it, as the man is still a cinematic god.

This has nothing to do with the rest of this post, but I was reading some of the previous posts on this thread and it just reminded me of how British slang is way more fun than American slang. I don't know why, although it may be because it isn't commonplace for me (even though I have been exposed to a lot of it in movies, TV shows, interviews and such with British bands, etc.) since I live in the U.S. Just an observation.

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Post by Garry Holmes » Fri 23 Nov, 2012 19:31:45

ericmocata wrote:
This has nothing to do with the rest of this post, but I was reading some of the previous posts on this thread and it just reminded me of how British slang is way more fun than American slang. I don't know why, although it may be because it isn't commonplace for me (even though I have been exposed to a lot of it in movies, TV shows, interviews and such with British bands, etc.) since I live in the U.S. Just an observation.
Which bits of slang are you talking about? Since I'm from England I don't notice them. There is a Chinese lady who works at the same firm as me, and it's fascinating when I have to explain some figure of speech that is patently obvious to me but is totally alien to her (equally, she explains puns in the Chinese language which don't mean anything in English). I suspect English television viewers know more American slang than the American viewer know British slang for the simple reason that American programmes are shown on the mainstream British channels. I understand that Brit shows are shown on BBC America or PBS stations rather than the big channels. Is that true?

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Post by ericmocata » Sat 24 Nov, 2012 08:41:59

To give a couple of examples, there's how you say something is the "dog's bollocks" or how you "take the piss" out of something. Then there's the bugger this and sod that, willy, wanker, calling somebody a posh tosser, etc. Sometimes, it is just the phrasing of sentences, more than any actual slang. I suppose part of the appeal is that there is a sense of it being exotic to me, since Americans don't say that kind of stuff generally, unless they're like me and inadvertently work it into their vocabularies due to their fondness for that kind of speech.

As for the TV thing, you're pretty much right that most British shows in the U.S. are on BBC America or maybe PBS. Although I did watch shows like The Young Ones and Monty Python's Flying Circus on other channels, but both of those shows are just classic comedic brilliance. Then there's Fawlty Towers, but I don't remember which channel I watched that on. I just remember laughing my ass off. I think older Doctor Who stuff shows on channels like Syfy, though I think all the newer episodes are only on BBC America.

And please excuse any typing errors in this post, as I was out tonight with a friend and, as you Brits would say, had a few pints.

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Post by Garry Holmes » Sat 24 Nov, 2012 19:29:00

Euphemisms can be absolutely beautiful. Two Austalian descriptions of vomiting have been taken up over here and I love them. The first is 'to Chunder' the second is 'to do the Technicolour yawn'. Words for the lavatory seem to expand exponentially, with stuff like Khazi, Loo, Netty, Jerry, Dunny and Bog being but a few. My favourite description of urination is 'Pointing Percy at the porcelain' which has a certain poetry about it. Mind you, there are risks involved in using foreign expressions. Apparently Stephanie Beacham was spending a few weeks back in England, and when she and her children returned to America, their neighbours had put up a sign saying WELCOME BACK YOU WANKERS! She had to explain to her neighbours that it didn't, perhaps, mean quite what they thought it did!

I was wondering about DOCTOR WHO. I'm a fan, but someone that I knew from the USA told me that for a long time being a fan of it in the States was like being a member of a secret society. You dropped words like Tardis and Dalek into conversation to see if you got any response from the other person. I've seen some episodes of BIG BANG THEORY where the series is referenced in a number of jokes, which makes me wonder if it's arrived. Glad you love PYTHON, I first saw it as a child when the Beeb first showed them back in the 70s, and the fact that they can still make me laugh says a lot.

Thinking of classic comedy has helped me drag back this thread to Wheatley. I've probably mentioned this elsewhere, but there is a sketch in the 80s show NOT THE NINE O'CLOCK NEWS where Wheatley is mentioned. It is a fake documentary where the Church of England is considering allowing Satanists into the church...

SATANIST: You see, your modern day diabolist isn't your mumbo-jumbo, Dennis Wheatley type. No, we're all about Bring and Buy Sales...Coffee mornings.
INTERVIEWER: Bring and Buy Sales?
SATANIST: Well, obviously there's a CERTAIN element of human sacrifice involved...

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Post by ericmocata » Mon 26 Nov, 2012 06:06:13

There you go, bringing up Mr. Wheatley again. What is this, a Dennis Wheatley message board? Oh wait, never mind.

Enough silliness on my part. You'd never see a reference to Wheatley in an American program. Even though he's out-of-style in England, I imagine people there still know who he was. Here, people would just say, "Who?"

Another way to see British programming in the U.S. is on Netflix. There is a good bit of it on there. I found quite an enjoyable show called Black Books on there, for instance.

I did quite enjoy those euphemisms for puking that you shared, Garry, especially the "Technicolor yawn". Do kids these days know what Technicolor is? Some English slang has caught on a bit over here, such as shagging, which I think is completely due to the Austin Powers movies.

But here is something that has always bugged me, and maybe it's just a weird Dennis Wheatley thing, but I have been wondering if in England the term "tummy" is commonplace. Wheatley used it all the time and it just seems such a childish term for a grown man to use.

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Post by Garry Holmes » Sun 2 Dec, 2012 15:21:47

I suspect that 'tummy' is slightly more commonplace here than the USA. There's a plastic surgery procedure known here as a 'tummy tuck'. It's rather like the description 'poorly' to describe someone's medical condition--such as "Dave is currently in hospital after being shot in the tummy. His condition is described as 'poorly' " I have seen the word 'poorly' used in newspaper reports! I remember reading a Marvel comic from the early seventies where one of the characters says 'You don't mess with jokers like that--Let's shag!' I guess that it meant 'Let's go' rather than 'Let's make love' in American English at some point (or if it didn't, then it gives one a different perspective on some Marvel superheroes...) Another one of those euphemisms to be used with extreme caution, I think.

I love BLACK BOOKS. Have you ever seen FATHER TED by the same writers?

Well, it is a Dennis Wheatley board, so as long as we mention DW every now and then, I'll think that we'll be alright. The difference between here and the USA as regards DW is that if you ask someone if they have read him, they will probably say 'No' whereas in the US they will say 'Who?'

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Post by ericmocata » Tue 4 Dec, 2012 04:01:13

Nope, I have not even heard of Father Ted, but I will keep a look out for that one.

We do have the tummy tuck over here as well, but that seems to be the only time that word is used here, except with kids. As for the usage of shag meaning having different meanings, I know what you are talking about. I seem to remember seeing it used in the fashion you described, but usually as "let's shag ass", which I guess would be just a takeoff of "haul ass".

And due to the fact that next to nobody in the U.S. knows who Wheatley is, I have to track down most of his books online, which takes some of the fun out of it. I have found some in local stores, which is more satisfying, but not many. I think the last one I found was the early '80s reprint of Herewith the Clues. The solution was still sealed, which was really good. Besides, it completed my collection of the dossiers (or as we say here, "files"). Even some of the recent reprints I don't find. Take the Wordsworth Editions from a couple of years back. In some local stores, I will see numerous different Wordsworth Editions of various authors (including the Carnacki stories, Varney the Vampyre, Algernon Blackwood, etc), but do I find any of the three they did of Wheatley? No, of course not. I found that disappointing, mainly because I wanted to get another copy of Haunting of Toby Jugg, so I didn't have to keep looking at that lame cover art on my Mandarin paperback. Although I have since gotten an Arrow paperback from the '60s, so I am happy about that.

One of the biggest problems is the fact that I have to get his books in whatever order I can track them down, which means I have read most of the stuff out of order, which may not always matter much. It still does have an impact on the overall vibe of reading the books, I think. For instance, I am currently reading The Scarlet Impostor, but I have already read Black Baroness and Faked Passports, so I am used to Gregory being in love with Erika, but now they haven't met, so that does take away from the story a bit, since I know some of what will eventually happen.

At least I get to read the pages of the books themselves in order, otherwise, it would be really messed up.

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Post by Steve Whatley » Tue 4 Dec, 2012 14:50:42

Ericmocata: "At least I get to read the pages of the books themselves in order, otherwise, it would be really messed up."!!!

I have one particular biography of Laurence Olivier, in which the author - presumably in an attempt to be innovative - leaps backwards and forwards like some madman in a time machine.

I thought of having it dismembered and rebound with the chapters in chronological order.
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Post by Garry Holmes » Tue 4 Dec, 2012 22:05:47

That reminds me of the film MEMENTO, where the story is told back to front in 15 minute segments. I loved it, but it's the only film I remember where, half way through the DVD, the wife and I pressed the 'pause' button and tried to work out exactly what was going on!

Wheatley seems to be one of those authors whose work does benefit from being read in story order. He's different from a lot of thriller authors of the period, where the stories take place in a sort of timeless limbo. His characters change, their personal fortunes shifting from book to book as they get older. It does make them seem much more real.

The big US authors are all available here, but some of the middle ranking (in sales terms) can be tough to find in some cases. I read a lot of crime fiction, and with someone like Ed McBain it's pretty easy to find most of his stuff. On the other hand, one of my favourites is Bill Pronzini, and even his new books don't seem to get released over here. If someone decided to do a movie of a Wheatley in the USA, then it might change his status a little over there, but until that happens it looks like Wheatley in the US is in the same boat as Pronzini is over here (online all the way).

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Post by ericmocata » Sat 8 Dec, 2012 16:00:12

You're quite right, Garry. I think some of Wheatley's books could be read out of order, but others really are better in order. The WWII Sallust novels, for instance, I believe have more impact if read in order, since they follow the war itself and they all form one huge story, with recurring characters and evolving relationships (both good and bad). The Roger Brook novels are probably better in order as well, especially since Roger is still very young in the first one, then later gets married, then married again, has a kid, hangs out with Napoleon, gets seasick . . . .

Some stuff can work when told in a disjointed way, but it's a tricky business. Pulp Fiction I always thought worked pretty well that way.

I don't see any likelihood that anybody in the U.S. would ever make a Dennis Wheatley movie. I guess it could happen, but I am not holding my breath. Besides, if Brits can make Haunting of Toby Jugg into the Haunted Airman, just think of what Hollywood would likely do to one of Wheatley's novels. You'd have Clint Eastwood as the Duc, Lindsay Lohan as Tanith and probably Samuel L. Jackson as Mocata. But I suppose there would be a chance that it would be done the right way. It'd probably be better if done as an independent film, as long as it had a decent budget.

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Post by Garry Holmes » Sat 8 Dec, 2012 19:10:27

ericmocata wrote: You'd have Clint Eastwood as the Duc
"I know what you're thinking, Mocata....did he use six spells or only five?"

Actually, at a pinch, I'd accept him in the role. At least he has some presence. My real fear would be having someone like Adam Sandler playing Duke Richloo in a wacky comedy version of TDRO, with Jim Carrey as off-the-wall satanist Mike Catta.


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Post by ericmocata » Thu 13 Dec, 2012 04:25:41

You know, Garry, you may be on to something there. . . .The Devil Goes Ape, where Mocata hypnotizes people when he talks with his butt (that's American-speak for bum). Okay, seriously, that would be a terrible movie, but I wouldn't be all that surprised if that did happen. Thankfully, I think Wheatley's way too obscure here to get that kind of treatment.

Clint Eastwood is cool for the most part (I do dig the old westerns he did with Sergio Leone a lot). However, a grumpy, gravel-voiced Duc would seem weird to me. Honestly, I would have a lot of trouble picturing anybody other than Christopher Lee himself in the role.

I have no idea of who would actually be a good candidate these days to play the Duc.

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Post by ericmocata » Wed 25 Sep, 2013 07:27:57

I actually recently got the Blu-ray/DVD set of the new version of The Devil Rides Out. I am able to watch the DVD on my computer, but unfortunately, I don't have a way to play import Blu-ray discs yet. I am glad that many companies do these combo packages, especially with some of these recent Hammer releases since they didn't come out here in the U.S. However, I think that it is changing as Hammer just got some distribution deal with Millennium and released a Blu-ray edition of Dracula- Prince of Darkness (which I am very happy to have since my old DVD got damaged somehow).

I still want to import the Dracula Blu-ray/DVD combo, since it has the extended footage and, with Warner Bros. owning the movie here, I doubt there will be a U.S. release of it.

As for The Devil Rides Out, I thought the changes to the effects were fine. For the most part, they just retouched them. I know some people online went crazy and cancelled their orders they had placed for the set. I guess they though somebody have gotten all George Lucas on it. I think many of the changes are subtle enough to where you wouldn't really notice unless you compared side-by-side or had just seen the movie a billion times. I also enjoyed the featurettes a good deal. Although, I recommend watching the new version of the film before the featurette about restoring the movie, so that it doesn't spoil the surprise of the changes.

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Post by Garry Holmes » Wed 13 Nov, 2013 21:44:07

Well, we recently went the Blu-ray route and can you guess what my wonderful wife got me for a present? TDRO looks wonderful in the new format. It seems that they went back to the original negative, with the result that the picture absolutely glows. They haven't removed the film grain, so the slightly waxy look that has apparently plagued some Hammer blu rays is not a problem here. The amount of detail in the picture reveals details that were simply never visible in the previous prints. A lot of complaints about the improving of the special effects. but a very nice piece of unobtrusive improvement is the shot of the observatory on Simon's mansion. It was always rather wobbly in previous prints, but here it has been well and truly sorted out. It's difficult for a purist like myself to admit, but the improved special effects do rather work.

Excellent documentaries. The 'making of' is very nice, with some amusing stories from Patrick Mower, and some intereting comments from a rather unwell looking Richard Matheson (who died recently). Listening to Mark Gatiss and Jonathan Rigby waxing lyrical about how wonderful the movie is actually rather enjoyable in itself. The restoration feature is quite informative, and does put the 'improvement' controversy into some sort of perspective. The final doc is the study of DW at Hammer, which contains the rather damning statement that 'Wheatley is one of the great bad writers, along with Edgar Wallace and Agatha Christie (!?)' from Phil Baker. Too big an argument to be dealt with here, but it does seem rather a strange thing to put in something which is supposed to be celebrating him. All in all, this is an excellent presentation.

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Post by ericmocata » Fri 15 Nov, 2013 03:36:01

Maybe one of these days, I will be able to actually watch the Blu-ray, but in the meantime, the DVD is excellent and I believe includes everything that is on the Blu-ray. Did you notice anything on the Blu-ray that isn't on the DVD, Garry?

I agree that the effects enhancements were done in good taste and were generally not intrusive. Though, I think they should have done something to fix that stupid running style Rex has. It looks like something I'd expect to see John Cleese doing on Monty Python.

As for Phil Baker's comment, I get what he is saying, at least I think I do. Wheatley himself said that his writing skill wasn't all that great, that he couldn't tell an adverb from an adjective. However, he was a good storyteller and I think that is what matters. It's the same with music. It doesn't matter if you're the most technical player in the world or if your music is really hard to play. It really only matters if that music connects with the listener. But to be honest, I don't think Wheatley's writing is quite as bad as some would make it out to be.

However, there are writers whose skills are so poor that they do interfere with the story, which I don't think Wheatley ever did. I can think of writers who have done that and I view that as a major problem.

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