Sunday, June 27, 2021



LISBON is a 1956 feature made by Republic Pictures, and filmed in Portugal. I bought the Kino DVD of it for a very low price from Edward R. Hamilton Booksellers, mainly because it stars two of my favorites, Claude Rains and Maureen O'Hara. 

An American smuggler based in Lisbon named Robert John Evans (Ray Milland) is offered $10,000 to help an elderly rich businessman named Merrill escape from communist imprisonment. The offer comes from a shady character named Mavros (Claude Rains). Evans becomes involved with Merrill's lovely wife Sylvia (Maureen O'Hara), and also with one of Mavros' "secretaries" (Yvonne Furneaux). Evans starts to realize that Merrill's life isn't as important to those who want him freed as the money the old man controls. 

I had never seen LISBON before, and from the plot descriptions and disc cover I assumed it was something along the lines of CASABLANCA or TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT. A few elements of the script does remind a movie buff of those other pictures, but LISBON isn't as exciting. It's a very talky film, with very little action. 

Ray Milland was not only the star of LISBON, he was also the producer and director. Milland makes great use of the Portuguese locations, and he has a fine eye for shot composition, but there are times when the movie (which is in widescreen and color) feels like a travelogue. There's a lighthearted air to the proceedings, with about three or four sequences of characters sitting down and having dinner. 

Milland's Evans isn't the Humphrey Bogart/John Garfield type--he's a gentleman smuggler, who won't kill or deal in narcotics. In the film Evans has a major reputation (which is why Mavros wants to hire him), but we never see him do much actual smuggling, and because of Milland's usual upper-class attitude, it's hard to believe he'd be involved in this down-and-dirty world. (Perhaps Milland might have had a stronger presence in the lead role if he wasn't busy being producer & director as well?)

Claude Rains is his typical silky-smooth self as Mavros. Mavros is a mysterious fellow who is powerful, charming, cultured, and witty--and he's also quite ruthless (in his introduction sequence he kills a bird on his windowsill with a tennis racket!). Watching Rains in LISBON made me think that he would have been a great James Bond villain. Mavros even has a Bond-like cold-blooded henchman named Serafin, played by Francis Lederer, who is very creepy here. 

It's always a treat to see Maureen O'Hara in a color film. O'Hara is as feisty as expected, and the character she plays becomes more complex as the movie goes along. Yvonne Furneaux (best known for starring in Hammer Films' 1959 THE MUMMY) actually has more to do-and show--than Maureen does (see picture below). Furneaux's character is also desired by Francis Lederer's Serafin, which gives him another reason to dislike Milland's Evans. 

Yvonne Furneaux in LISBON

LISBON isn't a bad film--visually it's quite impressive with the Trucolor photography and the Naturama widescreen process. Rains in particular is very fine in his role, and the two leading ladies are beautiful. But one feels that something stronger and more dramatic might have been made out of this story. 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

CHALLENGE THE DEVIL On Blu-ray From Severin


Perhaps the strangest entry in Severin's THE EUROCRYPT OF CHRISTOPHER LEE Blu-ray box set is CHALLENGE THE DEVIL, a 1963 Italian film so obscure that most Lee fans have never heard of it, let alone seen it. 

The movie is a bizarre concoction, with a first act that has something to do with a man getting shot, and stumbling into a church. The man tells his story to a monk who happens to be an old friend. The monk then goes off to a nightclub and tells another story--this time to a rather full-figured dancer in her dressing room. This tale (shown in flashback) takes up most of the running time. Six irresponsible people--three men (including the monk in his younger days) and three women--find themselves at an old castle after a day of joyriding. The group gets drunk and wanders about the place, where they encounter a mysterious old man (Christopher Lee). The man offers them the treasure of the castle if they can find the body of his lost love. The motley assemblage finds no treasure, only trouble. 

CHALLENGE THE DEVIL was written and directed by a man named Guiseppe Vegezzi, but the film was changed significantly by producer Ulderico Sciaretta. It was the producer who added the framing story with the monk and the nightclub, and he also cut out some of the footage involving the drunken group at the castle. One can blame Sciaretta for making a mess of the story--but Vegezzi's original tale (known as KATARSIS) was a mess already. 

The castle sequence does feature Christopher Lee in short bits throughout, but when he's not on the screen, the story drags and drags. The members of the group are not particularly memorable, or interesting; they spend most of the time gyrating about like drunken office workers at a karaoke bar. The castle interiors are photographed very well in black and white--but nothing much happens. 

For most of the very short time he is in this film, Lee is dressed like a Middle Ages aristocrat, with thick white hair and eyebrows. He effortlessly dominates, despite the fact that he's dubbed in Italian. One really wishes that Lee could be heard in English reciting his character's soliloquy about his lost love. Lee does get to show off his impressive body language, especially his hands, which are far more expressive here than any of the movie's dialogue. It would have been much better if Lee's footage had been inserted into another film altogether. 

Writer/director Vegezzi apparently wanted this film to "mean something" about life, death, and fate....but the only existential question one asks while watching it is "How long does this movie go on?" 

At least CHALLENGE THE DEVIL looks great on this Blu-ray--Severin says that the transfer was remastered from the original negative. The sound is fine as well, but the only voice track is in Italian, with English subtitles. An original trailer is included, which contains almost all of Christopher Lee's footage!

The main extra is a featurette with Italian film historian Roberto Curti, who gives massive background detail on the film and Guiseppe Vegezzi. (Most of the info in this blog post comes from Curti's talk.) Curti appears to be fond of the film, and he also delves into Vegezzi's personal problems and far-left politics. There's even some footage of an interview with Vegezzi, and after listening to the guy pontificate you can understand why he never made another film. 

The other extra is some outtakes of two different interviews with actor Giorgio Ardisson from 2009 and 2014. Ardisson, who appeared in much better Euro cult fare, has a role as one of the drunken group in CHALLENGE THE DEVIL. Ardisson doesn't talk about his movie career here, he basically ruminates about life. 

CHALLENGE THE DEVIL may not be one of the worst films of Christopher Lee's career, but it certainly is one of the weirdest. I do have to give credit to Severin for giving it a first-class home video release--who else would have?? If you are the type of person who thinks that Lee didn't have enough screen time in his Dracula films, you won't like this one, unless you get a perverse pleasure out of seeing Ed Wood-style shenanigans. 

Monday, June 21, 2021



One would think that from the title, and the disc cover (above), THE TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR. SADISM is a grisly example of torture porn or a long-lost Jess Franco movie. It's neither--it's actually a dark fairy tale, set far in the past in a European neverland. The film is part of Severin's exemplary THE EUROCRYPT OF CHRISTOPHER LEE Blu-ray box set. 

This is a 1967 German film, and its native title is DIE SCHLANGENGRUBE UND DAS PENDAL. In America it also had such titles attached to it as BLOOD DEMON and CASTLE OF THE WALKING DEAD. Whatever one chooses to call it, the film was produced and directed by veterans of the German "Krimi" genre, which Lee himself had already dabbled in. 

Sometime in what appears to be the early 19th Century, somewhere in Middle Europe, a lawyer (Lex Barker) and a beautiful young woman (Karin Dor) are invited to a mysterious castle, on the pretense of learning something about their pasts. After a harrowing journey, the two arrive at the castle to find that they have been lured there by a Count Regula (Christopher Lee), who was drawn and quartered some thirty years ago for murdering several women. The Count plots to take his revenge against them, and he also wants to use Dor's blood in order to gain full immortality. 

A few years ago, I bought a very cheap DVD of this film which used the TORTURE CHAMBER title. The picture quality was far more horrid than anything that happened in the story, it wasn't in widescreen, and it had been edited. The terrible condition that the movie was in is how most people have seen it over the years. 

The transfer of THE TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR. SADISM that Severin presents in its Christopher Lee box set is so beyond the other versions of the film available in North America that there's absolutely no comparison. This version is the original unedited German print (with German credits). According to the back of the disc cover, it was scanned from the original negative, and it is stunning, with eye-popping colors and the correct aspect ratio. 

The brilliant picture quality makes this title ripe for a total reevaluation. This Blu-ray reveals that the movie is a mad mixture of Italian Gothic, Hammer horror, and Edgar Allan Poe by Roger Corman. Director Harald Reinl pulls out all the stops, with a beginning that has a fairy tale-like village setting, a haunted forest, a creepy manservant who helps Count Regula in his nefarious schemes, and a dilapidated castle that has interiors that appear decked out for the world's greatest Halloween party. There's also torture devices, vultures, bugs, snakes, and garish color and production design. It's like a Mario Bava movie on steroids. 

Christopher Lee really doesn't have all that much to do--he appears at the start and end of the film--but his pasty-faced Count makes a vivid impression. (However you define his character, he is decidedly not playing a vampire.) It also helps that Lee dubbed his own voice on the English track. Former Tarzan Lex Barker makes a proper stalwart hero, and Karin Dor looks ravishing in period costume. Karl Lange (who has far more screen time than Lee) gets the juiciest role as Regula's right-hand man. 

Despite all the ghoulish elements, there's very little gore here. The movie is a wild ride from start to finish, and it's great fun for those who like their classic horror to be prepared extra creepy. The rather strange (for this type of story anyway) music score is by Peter Thomas. 

Severin provides a ton of extras for this title. There's a recent interview with Karin Dor (who passed away not long ago). It's a short audio talk that is presented with stills of Dor during various points of her film career. She talks about such co-stars as Nigel Green and Klaus Kinski, and she gives her impressions of working for Alfred Hitchcock on TOPAZ. Ironically the film featured on this Blu-ray is barely mentioned. 

A short feature on the village location is included, with then-and-now shots that show the place looks quite the same as it did during shooting. There's two different German Super 8 digest shorts of the movie, a poster gallery, original German trailers, and a behind-the-scenes gallery and slideshow which give a glimpse at how the film was restored. 

A new audio commentary is here as well, with Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth. It's an engaging and enthusiastic one, as the duo discuss the various versions of the movie that have cropped up on home video over the years, and how the recent restoration should enable the picture to be elevated to a fine example of Euro Gothic. They also analyze Christopher Lee's acting career during the time this movie was made. 

Out of all the material in the Severin Christopher Lee box set, this is the best-looking title by far. It's an amazing restoration that makes the film seem brand new--no matter how many times you may have seen one of the old lousy video releases of this feature, this is something totally different. The plot of THE TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR. SADISM may not make a lot of sense, but it isn't supposed to. It's pure dark Gothic fantasy, the kind that lovers of the macabre can delve into without things getting too nasty. 

*By the way...I can't stand the title that is used for this Blu-ray. It's silly, and I even feel silly writing it. It in no way fits or describes the mood of the story. But this is still a great example of fantastic cinema. 

Sunday, June 20, 2021



COMMANDOS is a 1968 Italian-German co-production dealing with a secret mission in North Africa before the Operation Torch landings in late 1942 during WWII. The movie stars Lee Van Cleef, who at this time was at the height of his popularity as a Euro movie action star, and Jack Kelly, best known for the MAVERICK TV show. 

A group of U.S. soldiers, all of Italian descent and fluent in the language, are parachuted into North Africa before Operation Torch in order to take over a supply oasis. The group is led by Lt. Valli (Jack Kelly) and Sergeant Sullivan (Lee Van Cleef). Valli has been assigned to the group at the last minute--he planned the operation, but he has no real experience in combat. Sullivan, a hard-charging, take-no-prisoners type, is resentful of Valli. The group takes over the base, and poses as Italian soldiers, but the differences between Valli and Sullivan complicate matters. A German patrol stops by, with a tank commander (Joachim Fuchsberger). The commandos temporarily fool the Germans, but things soon get out of hand, and Valli and Sullivan have to learn to fight alongside each other. 

A brief description of COMMANDOS would make one think it is no more than a Spaghetti Western set in WWII, but the movie is a decent action flick that doesn't go off the rails the way so many other Eurocult pictures do. Lee Van Cleef's strong screen presence is perfect for the role of Sgt. Sullivan, a veteran who knows what war really means. The character of Sullivan is given a bit more depth in that he suffers from PTSD due to his experiences fighting at Bataan (this is presented in the film by giallo-esque flashbacks). This gives Sullivan a legitimate reason to distrust an officer like Valli. Due to the storyline one would expect Valli to come off as an officious jerk, but Jack Kelly plays him in a realistic manner--the lieutenant has a much different mindset than Sullivan, but he's not a coward or a detriment in combat. 

Joachim Fuchsberger, the King of Krimi, has a small but pivotal role as the German tank commander. Ironically, the Germans in this film are not portrayed as goose-stepping stereotypes--Fuchsberger's character was a professor in civilian life, and he's shown to be a distinguished man. I'm sure COMMANDOS didn't have all that much of a budget, but we do get an armored attack against the oasis at the climax (of course all the vehicles used are not from the WWII-era). 

COMMANDOS was directed (and co-written) by Armando Crispino. I have actually seen another Crispino film--JOHN THE BASTARD, which was terrible. COMMANDOS isn't brilliant, but it delivers the goods--there's plenty of shoot-outs and explosions, and there's a tough leading man in Van Cleef. The Italian locations fill in well for North Africa, and there's plenty of suspense generated over the commandos posing as Italian soldiers. Among the many co-writers listed in the credits are two future famous names: Menahem Golan and Dario Argento. The music score, which at times sounds like it was written for a horror film, is by Mario Nascimbene. 

I viewed COMMANDOS on Tubi, and it was a surprisingly nice widescreen transfer. The credits were in Italian, but the film was dubbed in English (thankfully Van Cleef and Kelly's voices are used). Considering how many cult names were involved in this movie, it's surprising that there hasn't been a official Blu-ray release of this from a company by Kino. 

Certainly Lee Van Cleef fans will want to check out COMMANDOS. It's a rough, no-nonsense war movie that doesn't glorify combat, or make it seem an adventure--the climax is quite downbeat. 

Monday, June 14, 2021



Kino Lorber continues its exemplary series of home video releases of rare German films with this Blu-ray of the 1929 silent THE WOMAN ONE LONGS FOR. This movie is notable for being an example of Marlene Dietrich in a starring role before THE BLUE ANGEL. 

Many assume that Dietrich had a negligible screen career before her breakout role in THE BLUE ANGEL, but she had already appeared in a number of features. One may not be able to hear Marlene's voice in THE WOMAN ONE LONGS FOR, but her sultry, entrancing beauty is well in evidence here, along with her ability to dominate the scene without apparently doing much. THE WOMAN ONE LONGS FOR proves that Dietrich had full command of the attributes she would be legendary for before she ever met Josef von Sternberg. 

THE WOMAN ONE LONGS FOR is another of those German silent melodramas where a mysterious, alluring woman drives a man (or men) to madness and/or personal ruin. There were plenty of these stories at the time, starring such ladies as Brigitte Helm, Louise Brooks, and Lya de Putti. (The original German title of this film is DIE FRAU NACH DER MAN SICH SEHNT, and it was released in America as THE THREE LOVES.) 

The story is set in France. A young man named Henry (Uno Henning) agrees to marry the daughter of a businessman who will financially help the company his family is in control of. While boarding the train to take him and his new wife on their honeymoon, Henry sees a gorgeous woman (Marlene Dietrich) and is instantly smitten with her. The woman, named Stascha, encourages Henry's attentions and begs him to save her from her older "companion", an intense-looking fellow named Dr. Karoff (Fritz Kortner). Henry is so infatuated with Stascha, he abandons his bride, gets off the train, and follows the woman and Karoff to a swanky resort hotel. Stascha tells Karoff that Henry is her cousin, while Henry makes plans to take her away....but Stascha is more than just a damsel in distress, and Karoff won't let her go so easily. 

It's understandable if one thinks that THE WOMAN ONE LONGS FOR was made after THE BLUE ANGEL, or that it was directed by Josef von Sternberg. Marlene Dietrich gets several exquisite close-ups here, and there's even a couple shots of her legs, which were already famous in Germany. Dietrich's acting is not as stylized as it would be when she worked with von Sternberg. She's not exactly a vamp or a temptress, but she's someone who can't exactly be trusted. Director Kurt Bernhardt (who would later go to Hollywood and work under the name Curtis Bernhardt) makes full use of Dietrich's captivating beauty. 

Bernhardt also gives plenty of visual spice to what is a simple story by injecting many unusual shot compositions and making use of a constantly roving camera. Uno Henning is quite nervy as the besotted Henry, while Fritz Kortner is grandly mysterious as the chilling yet tragic Karoff. 

The disc cover for this Blu-ray states that the transfer used here is from a recent restoration. There's a few scant moments of print damage, but overall the picture quality is excellent. The intertitles are in German, but English subtitles are available. The running time here is 77 minutes--I had never seen this film before, so I can only assume it is the most complete version. This is a Region A release. 

Kino has provided a fine new score for THE WOMAN ONE LONGS FOR by Pascal Schumacher, and it can be listened to in either 5.1 surround or 2.0 stereo. There's also a brand new audio commentary by Gaylyn Studlar, who goes into various aspects of the production, and discusses the lives of members of the cast and crew. (Surprisingly, she spends more time talking about Fritz Kortner than Marlene Dietrich.) 

Kino has been releasing rare and obscure silent films on home video for years, and they've also gotten a lot of my money by doing so. What makes this release special is the chance to see Marlene Dietrich as a silent film actress. (As far as I know, none of the other silent films Dietrich appeared in have ever been released on disc--at least not in the U.S.) This Blu-ray will be a must for Dietrich fans. 

Sunday, June 13, 2021



In March I wrote a blog post on a film called KELLY THE SECOND, which was a full-length feature produced by Hal Roach. NOBODY'S BABY, a 1937 movie made after KELLY THE SECOND, was also produced by Roach and released by MGM. This one has Patsy Kelly and Lyda Roberti, who were paired up for two short subjects from the Roach studio after the death of Patsy's onscreen partner Thelma Todd. 

Roach hoped he could continue the Kelly-Roberti team in features, but NOBODY'S BABY, while amusing at times, isn't nearly as funny or entertaining as any one of the Thelma Todd-Zasu Pitts-Patsy Kelly shorts. Patsy and Lyda Roberti play two mismatched ladies who wind up living and then working together as nurses in training. The duo encounter a bit of romance with a reporter (Robert Armstrong) and a detective (Lynne Overman). They also get involved with the problems of a professional dancing couple who are secretly married. The husband (Don Alvarado) does not want the public to know about their personal situation, while the wife (Rosina Lawrence) leaves her partner before she has a chance to tell him she's pregnant. The lady winds up having her baby in secret, at the hospital where Patsy and Lyda happen to work at. The girls volunteer to take care of the baby, and of course all sorts of misunderstandings and complications ensue. 

In the two-reelers she appeared in with Thelma Todd, Patsy Kelly was usually the cause of all the comic troubles in the plot. Here she's the leader of the duo, with much of the humor (such as it is) deriving from the Polish-born Roberti's mangling and confusion of the English language. When she's not yelling at somebody, Patsy spends most of her time being exasperated over Roberti's actions--the two have an almost Moe Howard-Curly Howard relationship. Like Thelma Todd, Lyda Roberti was an attractive blonde--but here she's a very dopey one, which Thelma was decidedly not. Roberti does her best with what is a one-note role, but her character winds up being a bit annoying. 

Three writers are credited on NOBODY'S BABY, but that certainly didn't help out the gags here--there's nothing in this film that winds up being remotely memorable. The idea of having Patsy and Lyda training as nurses sounds promising, but the script doesn't take full advantage of this. There's a few songs (including one that uses the title of the film) and a sequence that shows the dance team in action, but these numbers feel like padding. The movie was directed by Roach veteran Gus Meins. 

Sadly, Lyda Roberti had something else in common with Thelma Todd--an early death. Roberti died in 1938 of a massive heart attack. Patsy Kelly and Roberti might have been able to make it as a comedy team in features if they had better material than they were given in NOBODY'S BABY. The major "what if" is what would have happened if Thelma Todd had lived, and gotten to be in full-length features with Patsy. Having Lyda Roberti be a dumb blonde was very limiting--Thelma had far more comic versatility. 

Saturday, June 12, 2021



Severin's THE EUROCRYPT OF CHRISTOPHER LEE Blu-ray box set features the first authorized home video release of the 1964 film CASTLE OF THE LIVING DEAD. The movie was filmed in Italy, but the main creative forces behind it, producer Paul Maslansky and writer/director Warren Kiefer, were Americans. 

Somewhere in Napoleonic Europe, a traveling theatrical troupe is asked to preform for a strange man named Count Drago (Christopher Lee). The troupe arrives at Drago's remote castle and finds that the Count is something of a scientist. He's perfected a way to preserve animals--and now he's attempting to do the same thing to human beings, and he's determined to have the members of the troupe "assist" in this endeavor. 

Despite its late-night spook show reputation, CASTLE OF THE LIVING DEAD has a definite art-house feel to it, mainly due to the atmospheric black & white cinematography by Aldo Tonti. There's almost no gore or sudden shocks, and the story has an almost languid pace to it. The soundtrack music by Angelo Lavagnino (which is on a CD included with the Blu-ray) adds to the eclectic mood. 

The role of Count Drago is one of the best that Christopher Lee played during what is called his mid-1960s European period. The Count is not a vampire, or a supernatural creature...he's a rather eccentric scientist who is a genial if austere host. Lee makes a major impression as Drago without going overboard. Thankfully the actor was able to dub in his own voice for this production. 

CASTLE OF THE LIVING DEAD is also notable for being the film debut of Donald Sutherland, who actually plays two roles. His main character is a gendarme who comes off like a 19th Century Barney Fife, and he's also an old witch. Even in the early part of his career Sutherland (whose own voice is used for the gendarme role) is able to always draw the viewer's attention. Euro Gothic veteran actor Luciano Pigozzi (the Italian Peter Lorre) has a small but important role. Future cult director Michael Reeves was also involved in this film as an assistant (but he didn't have as much influence on it as some film geeks think). 

The disc case for this Blu-ray states that this is the original uncut version of CASTLE OF THE LIVING DEAD, and that it has been scanned in 4K. The picture quality is excellent, as is the sound. The original soundtrack CD has excellent audio quality as well. The disc case also shows that the disc is coded A,B, and C. 

Severin has provided plenty of worthy extras for this movie. There's an interview with producer Paul Maslansky that lasts about an hour long, and covers his entire career in this film industry. It's a very rambling talk--Maslansky has plenty of intriguing stories to tell, but it takes him a while to get to the point. Another program has Italian film historian Roberto Curti discussing the life and work of Warren Kiefer. Curti dispels the various rumors that have cropped up about Keifer over the years. Kiefer did exist, he was an American, and yes, Donald Sutherland named one of his sons after him. 

There's also two new audio commentaries. Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth provide a lively discussion in which they examine the various urban legends that have sprung up about the film, and they cover numerous aspects of Christopher Lee's film career. The other commentary, which I have not listened to yet, is by Kat Ellinger. 

CASTLE OF THE LIVING DEAD is a film that has long deserved a proper official home video release. It has a far different vibe than most low-budget fantastic films made during this period, and it's a treat for Christopher Lee fans. If Severin had just released this as a standalone disc, it would be a big deal--but it's part of a set that contains several goodies relating to Christopher Lee. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021



Christopher Lee is a legend of English Gothic cinema--but he's also a legend of Euro Gothic cinema, which is made abundantly clear in this new fantastic Blu-ray set from Severin. 

THE EUROCRYPT OF CHRISTOPHER LEE COLLECTION collects five rare and somewhat obscure films that were made in continental Europe and featured Lee. The set also includes a 24-episode TV series produced in Poland called THEATER MACABRE, in which Lee did the hosting duties for each story. And...there's a 100-page booklet on Lee's European film adventures by genre expert Jonathan Rigby. 

The five films are SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE DEADLY NECKLACE, CRYPT OF THE VAMPIRE, CASTLE OF THE LIVING DEAD, CHALLENGE THE DEVIL, and THE TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR. SADISM. Each movie gets its own disc case, with special cover artwork specifically for this release. Each movie also gets plenty of extra features, ranging from new audio commentaries, trailers, featurettes, etc. CASTLE OF THE LIVING DEAD comes with a CD containing the original music soundtrack composed by Angelo F. Lavagnino. 

CHALLENGE THE DEVIL contains an extras disc called RELICS FROM THE CRYPT, which contains a number of interviews of Lee throughout his life. RELICS FROM THE CRYPT also contains a 1964 Swiss documentary short called HORROR that has jaw-dropping behind the scenes footage from THE GORGON and THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, along with interviews of Lee, Boris Karloff, and makeup man Roy Ashton. 

The 100-page booklet is NOT just a cut-down version of Jonathan Rigby's earlier volume on Lee's screen career. The booklet thoroughly examines the films Lee made in Europe, while placing them in context with the rest of the actor's work. There's also plenty of great stills here, most of which I've never seen. 

I've only had this set for a few days, so needless to say, I've barely scratched the surface of it. Eventually I will be doing blog posts on each individual film, and the extras accompanying it....but it's going to take me plenty of time to get to everything here. But I'm certainly going to have fun delving into this set. 

Any one who reads this blog knows how much of a fan I am of Christopher Lee. I ordered this set as soon as I found out about it, and I'm sure it will make my Top Five releases of 2021 list. Some may quibble with the titles included here--but for my sake that's what makes this set so enticing. These movies have basically never gotten the true high end treatment on home video, especially for the North American market. These are not a bunch of Hammer films being put out on Blu-ray for the third or fourth time--these are productions that even the most hardcore of Lee fans (such as myself) have very little experience with, if any. Home video is at its best when it showcases this type of product, and Severin has knocked it out of the park with this set.