'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne'
(Udo Kier, Marina Pierro, Patrick Magee, et al / Blu ray / NR / 2015 / MVD)
Overview: It's the engagement party for brilliant young Dr Henry Jekyll (Udo Kier) and his fiancée, the beautiful Fanny Osbourne (Marina Pierro), attended by various pillars of Victorian society, including the astonishing Patrick Magee in one of his final roles. But when people are found raped and murdered outside and ultimately inside the house, it becomes clear that a madman has broken in to disrupt the festivities - but who is he?
Blu ray Verdict: In truth, and as you will yourself soon discover, 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne' is a rather different version than most adaptations of the Jekyll & Hide story. Its emphasis lies on sex, this time. Jekyll changes into a rather beastly kind of lover/murderer who seduces, haunts and kills all the people gathered in the house for a party. Although the story is well known, this change of direction makes it very interesting to watch. The photography is rather special, with light almost bursting of the screen, but you soon get used to it.
I'd like to think that this version of "Hyde" is closer to what Stevenson originally envisioned, a barbaric and small minded monster, that only cares about satisfying his base impulses, and nothing else. He can't concentrate long enough to form a plan or vendetta. He's a savage, primitive monster, through and through.
What separates this version from others is its unnecessarily over the top sexual violence, a few VERY graphic scenes, and the fact (SPOILER COMING) that his 'bride to be' joins him in his debauchery at the end, becoming a Hyde-like monster herself.
She's actually far more interesting than Hyde, because instead of acting like a basic sex fiend, she delves headfirst into nihilism, as does the film as a whole. It's fascinating to see a movie shift tones from 'shock horror' to complete anarchy. The carnage isn't as shocking as it is unexpected, and the actors really dive into it head first. Makes you wonder if it was only their 'characters' who were reveling in the destruction.
FYI: "Fanny Osbourne" was the name of Robert Louis Stevenson's real life fiancée , who was so shocked by his original draft of The Strange Case of Doctor Jeckyl and Mr Hyde that Stevenson threw the manuscript into the fire and wrote a completely different story! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
* Brand new 2K restoration, scanned from the original camera negative and supervised by cinematographer Noel Very
* High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the film, released on both formats for the first time ever
* English and French soundtracks in LPCM 1.0
* Optional English and English SDH subtitles
* Introduction by critic and long-term Borowczyk fan Michael Brooke
* Audio commentary featuring archival interviews with Walerian Borowczyk, Udo Kier, Marina Pierro and producer Robert Kuperberg, and new interviews with cinematographer Noël Véry, editor Khadicha Bariha, assistant Michael Levy and writer / director Noël
* Interview with Marina Pierro
* Himorogi (2012), a short film by Marina and Alessio Pierro, made in homage to Borowczyk
* Interview with artist and filmmaker Alessio Pierro
* Video essay by Adrian Martin and Cristina Alvarez Lopez
* Eyes That Listen, a featurette on Borowczyk's collaborations with electro-acoustic composer Bernard Parmegiani
* Returning to Melies: Borowczyk and Early Cinema, a featurette by Daniel Bird
* Reversible sleeve with artwork based on Borowczyk's own poster design
* Booklet with new writing on the film by Daniel Bird and archive materials, illustrated with rare stills
MVD Entertainment Group have announced the distribution of Arrow Video (UK) in North America with a host of cult titles receiving deluxe treatment in video, audio, supplements and artwork. The original launch titles were: 'Day of Anger,' 'Blind Woman's Curse,' and 'Mark of the Devil.'