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A
Haunted Sideshow
Production

©1998–2017
Dustin Putman




The Vincent Price
Collection III
  (1961-1970)

Reviewed for TheBluFile.com by Dustin Putman

The Films
    Tower of London (1962)
    3 Stars
    Cry of the Banshee (1970)
    2.5 Stars
(Release Date: February 16, 2016) – Vincent Price's film career spanned over fifty years and many genres, from drama (1940's "The House of the Seven Gables" and 1956's "The Ten Commandments) to film noir (1944's "Laura") to thriller (1945's "Leave Her to Heaven"). However, he is best known and remembered for the wide range of horror movies he made, many (but certainly not all) of them with Roger Corman and American International Pictures. Price could play the conniving villain as convincingly as he could the virtuous, sympathetic hero. He never downplayed his spooky B-movie endeavors, either, but embraced them. Simply put, his range as a performer of comedic and emotional depth knew no bounds, and his legacy will continue to endure thanks in part to the high-definition Blu-ray releases of 2013's six-picture "The Vincent Price Collection," 2014's seven-film "The Vincent Price Collection II," and now 2016's eagerly anticipated five-film "The Vincent Price Collection III."

In director Roger Corman's tastily unsettling "Tower of London," Price stars as the treacherous Richard of Gloucester, driven to murderous extremes to claim the throne after his reigning brother, King of England Edward IV (Justice Watson), passes away. Haunted by the spirits of all the innocents whose lives he has claimed, Richard slowly begins to lose grips with reality. Photographed in lush black-and-white by Arch R. Dalzell, "Tower of London" is a reverent showcase for Vincent Price's mastery of character, his Richard a memorably distinctive villain whose gangly presence, twisted spine and withered arm only add to his evil ways. Quaint by today's standards, the film nonetheless retains an eerie power.

Price portrays another spiteful figure in Gordon Hessler's brutish "Cry of the Banshee," playing 16th-century magistrate Lord Edward Whitman. As he and his sons' abuse of power leads to a wave of sexual assaults, torture and murder throughout the town, a coven of witches led by Oona (Elizabeth Bergner) put a deadly curse on Whitman and his family. Indeed, the distant cries of banshees are not all they will have to worry with once Oona has her way. "Cry of the Banshee" is a frequently vicious, if deliberately paced, thriller with a humdinger of a final scene. Keep an eye out for the animated opening credits sequence created by a then-unknown Terry Gilliam.

The four-disc Blu-ray release of "The Vincent Price Collection III" also includes "Master of the World" (1961), "Diary of a Madman" (1963) and "An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe" (1970).

Blu-ray Picture/Sound
 A-/A-

"The Vincent Price Collection III" isn't without the usual age-related spots, hairs and specks of dirt, but the 1080p transfers of these five films are nevertheless quite the lookers. Detail and clarity are unmistakably improved upon all previous home-media versions of these pictures, while colors and contrast frequently pop. "Master of the World" contains a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Stereo audio track, while all other features have fine DTS-HD Mono presentations. Considering their age, budgets and natural audio restrictions, these films wholly satisfy from an aural standpoint. Music and dialogue consistently come through clearly and with efficient aplomb.

Blu-ray Features
    MASTER OF THE WORLD
    • New High-Definition Master from the Interpositive Film Element (102 minutes, Color)
    • Stereo Soundtrack Created from the Original 4-track Mag
    • Audio Commentary with Actor David Frankham
    • Richard Matheson: Storyteller - Extended Cut (1:12:05, HD)
    • Theatrical Trailer (2:28, HD)
    • Posters, Lobby Cards and Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery (2:18, HD)
    • Photo Gallery of Images from David Frankham's Personal Collection (1:59, HD)
    TOWER OF LONDON
    • New High-Definition Master from a Fine Grain Film Print (80 minutes, B&W)
    • Interview with Director Roger Corman (7:11, HD)
    • "Producing Tower of London" Featurette - An Interview with Producer Gene Corman (14:04, HD)
    • Two episodes of Science Fiction Theatre: "One Thousand Eyes" (26:09, SD) and "Operation Flypaper" (26:05, SD)
    • Posters, Lobby Cards and Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery
    DIARY OF A MADMAN
    • New High-Definition Master from the Interpositive Film Element (96 minutes, Color)
    • Audio Commentary with Film Historian and Author Steve Haberman
    • Theatrical Trailer (3:16, HD)
    • Poster and Lobby Card Gallery (1:44, HD)
    AN EVENING OF EDGAR ALLAN POE
    • New Master Created from the Original 2" Tape Masters (53 minutes, Color)
    • Audio Commentary with Film Historian and Author Steve Haberman
    • Interview with Writer/Producer/Director Kenneth Johnson (21:26, HD)
    • Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery
    CRY OF THE BANSHEE
    • New High-Definition Master of the Director's Cut from the Interpositive (91 minutes, Color)
    • New High-Definition Master of the American International Theatrical Cut from the Only Surviving Element in MGM's Vault, a Color Reversal Intermediate (87 minutes, Color)
    • Audio Commentary by Film Historian Steve Haberman (Director's Cut)
    • "A Devilish Tale of Poe" Featurette - An Interview with Director Gordon Hessler (17:52, HD)
    • Theatrical Trailer (2:28, HD)
    • TV Spot (0:58, HD)
    • Radio Spot (0:31, HD)
    • Posters, Lobby Cards and Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery (4:09, HD)
    A 12-page leaflet with liner notes and rare photos is also included in this excellent package.
Bottom Line
In 2013, Scream Factory released "The Vincent Price Collection" to Blu-ray to much deserving acclaim. In 2014, "The Vincent Price Collection II" impressed just as much. Now, in 2016, the third and presumably final "The Vincent Price Collection III" has arrived with understandable anticipation. Celebrating the fine work of a late artist whose films within the horror genre were varied, diverse and impactful, this features-packed, beautifully-packaged four-disc collection is a glorious early-year release for high-def enthusiasts. A must-buy for collectors, and highly recommended for all.

Buy Now at Amazon

© 2016 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman

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