Witchfinder General Blu Ray

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Witchfinder General is one of those cult British films that, like The Wicker Man, seemed to herald a renaissance in the fortunes of the British film industry in the late 1960s and early 70s. With only his third film, director Michael Reeves displayed an assured grasp of technique and a confident ability to mix and match genres that marked him out as a homegrown wunderkind to rival the Spielbergs and Coppolas who were just graduating from film school across the Atlantic. Sadly, this promise remained unfulfilled as Reeves died suddenly, soon after completing the film,... from a lethal cocktail of prescription drugs; Witchfinder General remains his only significant work Veteran Vincent Price is wonderfully cast as the titular witchfinder, Matthew Hopkins, whose bloody and usually sexually motivated persecutions across civil war-torn East Anglia are carried out with much relish, graphic fake blood and lots of screaming. Ian Ogilvy, an old school pal of the director's, is the upright new model soldier who swears vengeance against Hopkins for the rape of his betrothed (Hilary Dwyer, who in true Hammer Horror fashion gets to take her top off and scream a lot). Lascivious depictions of burning witches and gratuitous sex aside, what draws the viewer into the film is the setting as Reeves' camera roams lovingly across the East Anglian countryside. The opening-hanging scene, for example, depends strongly on location for its effect, and Ogilvy's quest for revenge takes on a John Ford-style Western aura in the director's hands. Perhaps not quite the masterpiece some seem to think it is, Witchfinder General remains a sturdy piece of distinctively British filmmaking. On the DVD: This disc allows the viewer to select the slightly extended "Export cut" of the movie, which has a little more graphic blood than the censored UK release, although the restored sequences are of markedly inferior quality. The anamorphic picture and mono sound are decent, even if too many murky nighttime scenes and badly dubbed actors' voices betray the film's restrictively low budget. The major extra is a documentary about the life and short career of Michael Reeves, while other fill-ups include text notes from critic Kim Newman, a music video, trailer, filmographies and stills. All in all, it's a welcome restoration of a genre classic. --Mark Walker [show more]

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Released
13 June 2011
Directors
Actors
Format
Blu Ray 
Publisher
Odeon Entertainment Ltd 
Classification
Runtime
84 minutes 
Features
PAL 
Barcode
5060082516078 
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Classic British horror drama starring Vincent Price. In England during the time of Cromwell, the villainous lawyer Matthew Hopkins (Price) travels the country hunting down and torturing those he proclaims witches. Spreading violence and terror in his wake, Hopkins encounters little opposition until he persecutes the Marshall family, and young Richard Marshall (Ian Ogilvy) resolves to put an end to the witchfinder's infamy. This, the third and final film from director Michael Reeves (who died shortly after it was released), was filmed in Norfolk and Suffolk and is often considered one of the greatest British films ever made, being especially noteworthy for its use of the rural landscape.

Please note this is a region B Blu-Ray and will require a region B or region free Blu-Ray player in order to play.   England is in civil war as the Royalists battle Oliver Cromwell's Roundheads for control. This conflict distracts people from rational thought and allows unscrupulous men to gain power by exploiting village superstitions. One of these men is Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price), who tours the land offering his services as a persecutor of witches. Aided by his sadistic accomplice John Stearne (Robert Russell), he travels from town to town and wrenches confessions from "witches" in order to line his pockets.   Actors Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Nicky Henson, Robert Russell, Rupert Davies, Patrick Wymark & Hilary Dwyer Director Michael Reeves Certificate 18 years and over Year 1968 Screen Widescreen 16:9 Anamorphic Languages English Duration 1 hour and 22 minutes (approx)