Feb 17, 2015

Network Brings Deadlier Than the Male to Blu-ray!!!

Are you sitting down? Are you ready for the best news ever? Because you're about to read the best news ever. Unless you don't live in Great Britain and don't have an all-region Blu-ray player, in which case it might be the most frustrating news ever. Or just a good excuse to finally buy an all-region Blu-ray player! Okay, here it is: on April 27, Network will release the 1967 Eurospy classic Deadlier Than the Male on Blu-ray! If that seems anticlimactic to you after my perhaps slightly hyperbolic build-up, then that must just mean that you've never seen Deadlier Than the Male, in which case you need this Blu-ray. And if that doesn't seem anticlimactic to you, then you already know you need this Blu-ray! As regular readers will no doubt be aware, Deadlier Than the Male (which stars Elke Sommer, Sylva Koscina and Richard Johnson) is one of my absolute favorite non-Bond spy movies. It's the best Eurospy movie, and the best James Bond knock-off ever. It's also the Sixties spy title I've most wanted to see in high definition, so I absolutely cannot wait for this release! (For more about Deadlier Than the Male, read my lavishly illustrated, gushing review here.) Network's Region B Blu-ray will be in the original widescreen aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and carry over all of the special features (most in standard def, except where noted) from their Deadlier Than the Male DVD, including the original theatrical trailer (in HD), archive interviews, archive location reports, extensive image galleries (HD), and promotional materials PDFs. Their listing does a disservice to the "archive interviews" and "archive location reports" by calling them that, because they're far cooler than you might expect from that name. These are on-set featurettes filmed during production, and they're fantastic! Retail is listed at £9.18 (a bargain!), and the disc will be available for purchase through Network's website and Amazon.co.uk.

The bad news for spy fans outside of Region B (Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the Middle-East) is that you will require an all-region Blu-ray player to play this disc. An all-region Blu-ray player is a pretty essential piece of hardware for cult movie and TV fans already (largely thanks to Network's output, like their amazing Persuaders! Blu-rays), but this is a title worth making the plunge for if you haven't already. They are no longer exorbitantly expensive like they used to be. I have an Orei player that I bought cheaply on Amazon and that I love, but it doesn't seem to be available anymore. (At least not through Amazon; you may be able to find one elsewhere.) I see Amazon currently offers a Samsung player fairly inexpensively, and I'm sure more can be found by poking around. Just make sure that any listing specifically states that it plays Blu-rays from all zones, because there are a lot of players out there that function as all-region DVD players, but only play Region (or Zone) A Blu-rays. The cheapest way to view foreign HD may be to get an external Blu-ray drive and find an easy hack to play discs on your computer. I'm sure hacks are available somewhere for standalone players, too. But seeing Elke Sommer and Sylva Koscina come out of the water in their bikinis with their spearguns in high definition will be totally worth any expense!

Now let's hope Network follows this up with a Blu-ray of the (admittedly inferior, but still worthwhile) sequel Some Girls Do, which hasn't even ever been available in its proper aspect ratio before...


Bob said...

Arghh!! Region B

Anonymous said...

Nothing to get too excited about, it's an older master, quite mediocre on at that. Not a whole lot of fine detail, just a simple blu-ray with zero remastering done to it. But it's better than the R1 DVD.

Anonymous said...

Elke Sommer and Nigel Green play basically the same characters in The Wrecking Crew.

Suzanna Leigh played an Irma Eckman-type character (that is, a sadistic femme fatale) in an otherwise forgettable spy movie, Subterfuge, starring Gene Barry, Joan Collins, and Tom Adams.

Tanner said...

Well, they played characters in roughly the same roles in THE WRECKING CREW... but hardly the same characters! Eckman is a MUCH more realized and entertaining character than Sommer's Matt Helm henchwoman (so unmemorable I can't even recall her name). And while Peterson is hardly a well-rounded character in DTM, compared to Green's hastily-sketched WRECKING CREW villain he's got the complexity of a Le Carre spy!

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy THE WRECKING CREW for what it is (which barely even qualifies as a movie!), and it's certainly nice to see Sommer and Green in those roles since they remind me of something so much better (like seeing Harold Sakata or Richard Kiel illicitly "reprising" their famous Bond parts in parodies and imitators); I just wouldn't put them in the same league!

I enjoy SUBTERFUGE more, but as a guilty pleasure among a subgenre many label a guilty pleasure already. Leigh's character is fun. I've never been able to take Barry seriously since watching the special features on Network's DVDs of THE ADVENTURER.