BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

War-Gods of the Deep (1965) - Blu-ray Review

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  • Film Details

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War Gods of the Deep - Blu-ray Review

 

3 beersWhen it comes to an American International Pictures film such as this one, there’s a lot one must forgive in light of James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff’s serious commitment to independently produced features with high production values. It is possible, throughout the entirety of War-Gods of the Deep, to be bored with the story and yet enthralled with the sets and background details. Nothing much really happens that isn’t foreseen and yet – with this being the first post-Roger Corman AIP film and director Jacques Tourneur’s final film – it cannot be ignored. {googleAds}

Loosely based off of a little-known Edgar Allan Poe poem called “City in the Sea”, War-Gods of the Deep stars Vincent Price as The Captain, a madman who rules his fellow smugglers and neighboring mermen creatures in an underwater city. The city’s time is running out as a nearby volcano is set to explode if sacrifices aren’t made (or so the 100-year legend goes). Yes, Price carries the picture and, yes, he is also quite good, adding layers of meaning to his lines in the face of some civilly uncivil do-gooders – Ben Harris (Tab Hunter) and Harold Tuffnell-Jones (David Tomlinson) and his chicken – who accidently discover the city after Jill Tregillis (a voluptuous Susan Hart) is abducted by The Captain’s gillmen.

Tourneur, who is force to be reckoned with when it comes to his B-movie legacy, is handicapped by a silly script stretched to its breaking point with the inclusion of Tomlinson and his chicken. Things get ridiculous in a charming sort of way as both he and the chicken share head space in an oversized diving helmet. Scenes as whacky as that are, thankfully, in short supply but they do disappoint if anyone started here with Tourner’s filmography. To do so would be a mistake as Tourneur’s Night of the Demon, Cat People, and I Walked with a Zombie are so much stronger than this.

War Gods of the Deep - Blu-ray Review

What we do have with War-Gods of the Deep is an attempt to cash in on the AIP Poe craze, the fantasy craze, and Vincent Price. I’d say it is successful in at least two of those ambitions as the Poe poem is recited in the beginning and ending only and we can’t know what he’d think about the finished product – although it does have a man driven crazy by the loss of his wife, something Poe held onto throughout much of his writing. I dare say that he would be damned impressed with the set design, though. Much of the film is in an underwater cave and that cave – full of huge statues, gorgeous artwork, and primal edges – is gloriously detailed.

In the end, War-Gods of the Deep is not the classic piece of fantasy/horror that the one and only Price/Tourneur team-up should have been but it’s also not as bad as has been previously reported; it just – like a fish flung out of its home – flops around and gasps a bit before passing away.

War-Gods of the Deep is now available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

War Gods of the Deep - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
84 mins
Director
: Jacques Tourneur
Writer:
Charles Bennett, Louis M. Heyward
Cast:
Vincent Price, Tab Hunter, David Tomlinson
Genre
: Sci-Fi | Fantasy
Tagline:
They dared the most fantastic journey that has ever challenged imagination!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Atlantis? Perhaps; a name is as good as another."
Distributor:
American International Pictures (AIP)
Official Site: http://www.mgm.com/
Release Date:
May 26, 1965
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 11, 2015
Synopsis: In 1903,in Cornwall,a group of locals discover an underwater city, dating back to 1803, that hides a society of smugglers and aquatic creatures.

War Gods of the Deep - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

War-Gods of the Deep a.k.a City in the Sea

Available on Blu-ray - August 11, 2014
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Kino Lorber Studio Classics presents War-Gods of the Deep with a striking 1080p transfer for its debut on blu-ray. There are some scratches in the print used but the production values really are true marvels. Colors are well-saturated and resist bowing to the ravages of time. The makeup and special effects remain strong and the shadows run as deep as the ocean dwellings. Black levels are strong and the contrast is high. The release is offered in a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

There is a theatrical trailer and a new interview with Tab Hunter who talks about working with Price and his own antics while filming the movie.

  • Tab Hunter Interview (10 min)

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