BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

House of 1000 Dolls (1967) - Blu-ray Review

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House of 1000 Dolls - Blu-ray Review

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2 stars

Rescued from the vaults of obscurity by Kino Lorber Studio Classics, famed B-movie producer Harry Alan Towers’ House of 1000 Dolls has reopened.  While the title sounds promising, House of 1000 Dolls, directed by Jeremy Summers, is a place you might visit but definitely somewhere you wouldn’t want to live.

This American/European co-production doesn’t really have much of consequence to say about human trafficking circa 1965 (when it was filmed) but – with a cast that includes Academy Award nominee Martha Hyer and the lovely Maria Rohm – it sure looks pretty. Unfortunately, the story about how the movie was made – involving faking out censors – is far more interesting the film itself.

Filmed in a very exquisite-looking Madrid but set inside a fictional brothel in Tangiers, the film focuses on two professional illusionists, Felix (Price) and his wife Rebecca (Hyer), who hypnotize and capture beautiful young women during their act for an international ring of white slave traders. They are then sent to the House of 1000 Dolls for their enslavement as “entertainers” for high-paying men.

When one poor slob (Sancho Gracia) recognizes his missing fiancée as one of the “dolls”, he drags his vacationing friend (George Nader) and his wife (Ann Smyrner) into a dangerous web of covert operations as they try to rescue her from this vicious gang and get to the bottom of exactly who the leader of the House of 1000 Dolls really is.

With an oddly exciting Hitchcockian climax that seems completely out of place, House of 1000 Dolls never truly comes together. It’s competent but slow and has little intrigue to actually offer. Little wonder, too, with all of the stories about Towers keeping the censors at bay with an actor dressed as Abraham Lincoln and a stage play he handed them. He’d film, using the exquisite Madrid locations, during the day and then, under the cover of night, shoot the more risqué scenes.

On numerous occasions, Price has said that he knew what was happening when he wasn’t on set but never actually saw the crew filming some of the more scandalous scenes. Doesn’t really matter. The scenes of big-breasted women being mistreated in sexy lingerie are downright tame when compared to today’s standards. The amount of downtime for Price means that he, unfortunately, isn’t the star of the picture. The real leading man is Nader, who encounters a street photographer (Herbert Faux) with knowledge of the sex ring, and must chase down the notorious "King of Hearts" that plagues these scantily-clad international beauties.

Its reputation for sleaze, one that American International Pictures never countered, is the only notable quality that sticks out. Poorly dubbed and lacking true purpose, House of 1000 Dolls is a remains only an obscure curiosity in Price’s lengthy filmography.

House of 100 Dolls - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
90 mins
Director
: Jeremy Summers, Hans Billian
Writer: Harry Alan Towers
Cast:
Vincent Price, Martha Hyer, George Nader
Genre
: Crime | Thriller
Tagline:
Here are the SHOCKING FACTS discovered within the....
Memorable Movie Quote:
Distributor:
American International Pictures (AIP)
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 8, 1967
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
July 21, 2015
Synopsis: When a vacationing couple in Tangiers run into an old friend there, they discover that he is searching for his missing girlfriend who has been kidnapped by an international gang of white slavers. Nader investigates but before he can come up with anything, his friend is murdered. Meanwhile, nightclub magician Price and his mentalist partner continue their nefarious activities--they hypnotize and kidnap young women for the white slavers, and spirit them to the "House of 1000 Dolls."

House of 1000 Dolls - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - July 21, 2015
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles
: English
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 House of 1000 Dolls with a crisp 1080p transfer. There are some scratches in the print used but the location is really striking. Colors are well-saturated and resist the ravages of time. Black levels are strong. Shadows run deep and the contrast is high. The release is offered in a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • A commentary is included featuring film historian David Del Valle and low budget filmmaker David DeCoteau. It is the most interesting part of the release as they swap tales about Price’s dissatisfaction at the time with his contract with AIP and the making of the movie.

Special Features:

Other than trailers for other AIP films being handled on blu by Kino Lorber and the strong commentary, there is nothing of interest.

 

 

 

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