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"Where, oh where to begin? This set is horrible, picture quality varies from bad to worse! Even the few films that are watchable have the Passport logo" Bela Lugosi Collection" in the right hand bottom corner. There are a couple of these films that look like historical pieces that you see on the history channel ....when i say bad, i mean reallllllllllly bad! Hard to believe they would even release a couple of these unwatchable gems(unwatchable because of picture quality) on dvd at all, i mean what was the point of releasing this garbage? I wish Lugosi Jr could get control of these films and do them right! For good Lugosi i recommend avoiding this and check out titles by Roan Group(they restore beautifully) or the Navarre Corporation who release Bela Lugosi Estate versions of the dvds.Taking a chance to see "if" it might be worthwhile, will only leave you with a box of coasters."
Maniac | TX USA | 09/12/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This set could be an ideal way for the uninitiated to sample the films of Lugosi and decide if they want to commit to buying more, including better copies of ones presented here. First I'll address the logo. I looked forward in dread after reading that Passport always puts logos on the screen in their releases. I expected a large brightly colored emblem, drawing my eye away from the films. In reality it's a rather small faint image that I completely forgot about after the first three movies. In fact, if I had to testify, I couldn't swear in court that it was on every single one, but it probably is. Nevertheless there's no reason for it to be there. The first two discs are horrible. Midnight girl is pretty much the same quality you see on cheap editions of any silent film. White Zombie looks just like Platinum Disc's release in their Classic Horror collection. The Death Kiss is the worst of the first disc, with dozens of frame jumps and audio skips throughout. The Mysterious Mr. Wong looks okay, but the background hiss makes much of the dialogue difficult to make out. The pair of Chandu movies are easily the worst quality on the entire set. They look and sound like warmed over crap and that's all I'm going to say about the matter. Starting off the third disc, The Dark Eyes of London looks a little better, but it sounded like the speakers on my tv were crammed with cotton. Not hiss this time, just plain muffled sound. The Devil Bat looks the best I've ever personally seen it, but I hope to find a better copy someday. The Corpse Vanishes looks wonderful except for that logo, and the sound is great too. I wouldn't expect to see a better copy anywhere. The films on the fourth disc are all passable, although Scared To Death would probably look better if you turned the color on your tv all the way down, since it's main problem is that the colors fade and shimmer, and it's kind of distracting. Ironically, the Ed Wood films are the best looking ones in this set, and they occupy the final disc. I bought this set for a price that was less than a dollar per movie. Even at that price this wasn't a bargain for me because I had already seen most of these films, and now I'll still be buying them again to get the quality that I wanted. However, for those who are curious and have seen less than half of these movies, this is a good sampler of Lugosi in a variety of roles"
The Original "Dark Eyes of London"
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 03/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After years of faded public-domain copies, we finally get a decent British print of the 1939 Bela Lugosi thriller "The Dark Eyes of London" (retitled "The Human Monster" for its 1940 American release). This video includes the uncut feature, followed by the Monogram theatrical trailer. Bela delivers one of his finest performances in this Edgar Wallace adaptation - memorably assisted by Wilfred Walter as the blind henchman. Surprisingly gruesome for Production Code standards, "The Dark Eyes of London" remains a classic Lugosi vehicle."
Alpha's "Human Monster" No Bargain
Martin G. Barron | Denver, CO United States | 06/10/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
""The Human Monster," a British horror film from 1939 starring Bela Lugosi, is a recent DVD release from Alpha Video. Its packaging is attractive, featuring artwork from the original release of the film, and its price is essentially pocket change, but sadly the positive qualities of this product stop there.While I feel inclined to commend the producers of this DVD for trying to market this Lugosi semi-classic, a sixty-plus year old film with limited sales potential, after viewing the DVD I can't help but to regret my purchase and recommend that you don't make my same mistake...even if the cost of the product is minimal.Technically speaking, even if a film is old there's still little justification for it to look bad or sound bad...and certainly not as bad as this film looks and sounds on this DVD. The images appear flat and grainy; cinematic shadows "pulse" frequently; scratches in the film abound; and one must make a conscious effort to hear the soundtrack in many parts.Perhaps Alpha Video would argue that this particular movie would never sell enough units to justify the cost of a proper restoration--though this viewpoint would be in conflict with The Roan Group's superbly restored release of "White Zombie" and any number of Universal DVD releases featuring Lugosi--but, as it is, this particular DVD release of "The Human Monster" fails to satisfy the viewer due to a gross lack of image and audio quality.The ultimate tragedy here is that, unlike some of Bela's poverty row pictures, most fans of Lugosi and this genre would agree that this is a respectable picture that offers the typecast actor a rare dramatic opportunity...and one he does well with! It's a shame that such a poor quality print of the movie is used.Poor Bela fans."
"Are her eyes dark, like ours?"
Mykal Banta | Boynton Beach, FL USA | 03/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off, I am reviewing the Roan release of this movie, which comes on a double bill with Mystery Liner. As is always the case with Roan, the digital restoration is top notch. You will not see a better release of this title, and although it is pricier than the Alpha release, it is the only version to consider. Roan is one of the few companies that give old, forgotten gems the prestige treatment they deserve.
And this film truly deserves the prestige treatment. One thing the old poverty row studios had in spades was imagination, and this title certainly proves the point. Without giving away too much, Bela Lugosi (in one of his best performances for Monogram Pictures) plays an insane con man, Dr. Orloff, running an insurance scam and using a London home for the blind as a front. In addition, he uses the lost, blind workers at this home as his unknowing henchmen. The scenes of this "home" must be seen to be believed - kind of a cross between The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and the workshop of Dr. Frankenstein. Dr. Orloff has a "hospital" at this home, complete with a huge, black electrical device with pinchers, which when placed in a blind man's ears and fired up, will render him deaf as well as blind amidst hysterical screaming (thus rendering him useless to the increasingly curious police); and a large copper tub, used for placing straight-jacketed victims into for methodical drowning. Creepiest scene: Greta Gynt is shown around the home by Dr. Orloff, and she draws a crowd of blinking, stumbling men, pausing a moment from their endless, ill-defined labor. "Are her eyes dark like ours?" asks one of them hopefully, pawing gently at the air around her face.
All very Gothic and very, very creepy. In this film, the blind are somnambulant lost souls in some terrible limbo of wet stone and shadow, always stumbling, groping with their hands outstretched; the nearby Thames is a black, bubbling sludge, thick with dead bodies(the River Styx) and Bela Lugosi, with his horrid grin and black skull cap of hair, the Devil overlord.
Great performances all around, with Hugh Williams as the elegant Det. Holt, the gorgeous Greta Gynt as the daughter of one of Orloff's victims, and Edmon Ryan as the American Cop visiting the Yard. Ryan (Lt. O'Reilly from Chicago) is particularly American, charmingly eager to beat suspects into confessions with a rubber hose, which he seems to produce from a pocket in his coat, and dismayed at the way his English counterpart doesn't simply spray led at every opportunity. In one scene, when he and Det. Holt stumble upon another drowning murder, our ugly American proclaims, "doesn't anyone get shot in this country?" Later, after taking a pot shot at a fleeing suspect, he says, "aw, I missed. But it sure was great hearing the old music box again!" You gotta love this guy.
Oh, yes. Wilfred Walter plays "Jake," Suffice to say that Walter was a Shakespearian actor from the old vic, and his portrayal of the swollen, teeth-jutting Jake is in the same class (more scary but lacking the pathos) as Karloff's much, much more famous human monster.
Great Bela - Great, moody editing and cinematography - Great digital restoration.