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HTF REVIEW: "To The Devil...A Daughter" (Hammer Collection) (with screenshots)


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#1 of 17 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 23 2002 - 10:39 AM

Posted Image

To The Devil...A Daughter






Studio: Anchor Bay
Year: 1976
Rated: R
Film Length: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.66:1)
Subtitles: None



Long known to fans the world over as "The Studio
That Dripped Blood," the House of Hammer produced
a distinguished collection of horror and science
fiction films that helped define an era and made
international stars of actors Christopher Lee and
Peter Cushing.

With the early 70s successes of films like THE
EXORCIST
and ROSEMARY'S BABY, the British
based Hammer Films was beginning to take a
backseat in the horror genre. Trying to ride the
coattails of these huge releases, the company
released it's last theatrical horror feature, TO
THE DEVIL...A DAUGHTER
. Unfortunately, the
film was not a success.

To The Devil...A Daughter arrives on DVD
as part of Anchor Bay's The Hammer Collection.
For the first time, the film is presented completely
uncut and uncensored, including restoration of
the film's violence and Natassja Kinski's controversial
full-frontal nudity.

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As the film opens we learn that Father Michael
Rayner (Christopher Lee) is being excommunicated.
So what does he do? He starts his own church and
has one of its members sign over his daughter's
soul so that she can become the devil's daughter -
and this his representative on earth - upon her
eighteenth birthday.

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The daughter, Katherine (Natassja Kinski) is now
nearing her eighteenth birthday. Her father has
second thoughts about this devilish pact, and
enlists the aid of an occult novelist, John
Verney (Richard Widmark) to stop the black magic.

I have to be honest -- I never watched a Hammer
Film in my entire life, but since Anchor Bay sent
me a screener, I figured what the heck. You know
what? This film wasn't too bad. There are great
performances all around as well as enough flesh and
blood to satisfy any horror fan. Though the film
may be a bit pale in comparison to Rosemary's
Baby
, it still holds its own as a well done
occult thriller.


How is the transfer?


The transfer looks decent, but is a bit uneven.
The biggest problem is that the film looks dated,
having that familiar 70s look to it. Knowing the
era from which this film is from and the fact that
it was a low-budget picture, you can appreciate just
how good this looks on DVD. There are problems with
noticeable amounts of film grain appearing and
then disappearing throughout, and whites sort of
look dirty here, but the film manages to remain
very clear with minimal amount of blemishes.

Posted ImagePosted Image

The mono soundtrack is clean and distinct, though
audio is a little on the high end resulting in a
little bit of shrillness. There were a few seconds
here and there where the audio suddenly became
muffled, but for the most part, this film sounded
decent.


Special Features

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Anchor Bay has released this DVD with an included
poster card in the insert of the case as well as
a few added supplementals. Let's look at them...

Posted Image

To The Devil...The Death of Hammer is
a 24-minute documentary that begins with Christopher
Lee talking about approaching Michael Carreras
to do a film based on Dennis Wheatley's
book. Wheatley was an absolute authority on the
subject of Black Magic, and Lee was interested in
doing a sort of propaganda film. With such big
American releases as Rosemary's Baby and
The Exorcist, combined with the fact that
British audiences were deserting them, Hammer Films
was looking for a hit. It's interesting to note
that 50% of the financing for the film came after
Nat Cohen (the head of EMI) saw The Exorcist.
After going through a list of high-profile directors,
Peter Skyes was selected, even though he thought
the film was, well...unfilmable. It was Skye who
brought aboard Nastassja Kinski, whom he felt was
a remarkable young talent. It also sounds like
nobody has a very high opinion of actor Richard
Widmark who was extremely difficult through the
entire filming.

A poster and still gallery holds about
65 production stills, poster art and even past
video release covers.

Talent bio gives us some thorough background
on actors Richard Widmark and Christopher Lee.

The film's original theatrical trailer is
also included.

I also need to note that Anchor Bay still continues
to ignore the hearing impaired community for not
providing subtitles in their features. Shame!


Final Thoughts

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If you are looking for a decent horror/occult film,
you can't go wrong with To The Devil...A daughter.
It certainly has some of that uninhibited shock
value (and nudity) that was so prevalent in the 70s.

Worth a look!

Release Date: Now

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 17 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted October 23 2002 - 11:12 AM

Thanks for the review (and the screenshots) Ron.
To the Devil... isn't as good as Hammer's The Devil Rides Out, another Dennis Wheatley adaptation, but still worth having in any serious horror collection.
Some effective scenes, Christopher Lee is great as always, plus you get Natassia Kinski full frontal nudity (again?), I think she was only 16 years old in this.Posted Image

I'll be interested in picking this up and seeing the restored bits, I didn't know it had been cut until I read your review Ron, interesting...

I've read all of Wheatley's satanic novels and IMO this was not one of the best,
The Devil Rides Out,The Satanist and Strange Conflict are my favorites of his work.

Dave hören... auf, wille stoppen sie Dave... stoppen sie Dave... Mein gehirn geht... Ich bin gefühl es... Ich bin gefühl es... Ich bin ängstlich Dave... Guter Nachmittag. Ich bin ein HAL 9000 computer. Ich wurde funktionsfähig am HAL-Betrieb in Urbana, Illinois auf January 12 1992.


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#3 of 17 OFFLINE   Mike Heenan

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Posted October 23 2002 - 11:52 AM

Natajassa Kinski's full frontal nudity was on the video version, so is there more of this restored?

#4 of 17 OFFLINE   Peter Apruzzese

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Posted October 23 2002 - 11:58 AM

Thanks for the review, Ron. While this isn't top-drawer hammer, it's nice to see AB has treated it well.

This is your first Hammer film? It's not very representative of what the studio was capable of in their heyday. You should check out Horror of Dracula, Curse of Frankenstein, Revenge of Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Devil Rides Out, and Quatermass II if you ever get a chance. If you can, come up to Jersey City this Saturday night for a big screen presentation - the first in over 30 years - of Horror of Dracula in 35mm IB Technicolor! Info available here: www.loewsjersey.org

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#5 of 17 OFFLINE   Jeff_HR

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Posted October 23 2002 - 12:27 PM

I've already got it on pre-order at DVD Empire. Thanks for the review.
Cogito, Ergo Sum
My DVD Library / The BLOOD is the Life!
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#6 of 17 OFFLINE   michael deakin

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Posted October 23 2002 - 03:47 PM

Hi Ron.
Thanks again for the review. I recommend that you try "Quatermass and the Pit" also released by anchor bay. This is one of hammer's best.

MikePosted Image

#7 of 17 OFFLINE   Randy Korstick

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Posted October 24 2002 - 03:05 AM

Thanks for the review Ron. Good to see Hammer get a review here. Hammer made so many films that you may find that you have seen some and just didn't realize that they were Hammer films. I also recommend you take a look at: Horror of Dracula Dracula, Prince of Darkness Curse of Frankenstein Frankenstein Created Woman The Devil Rides Out The Mummy These are all available on DVD and much more representative of Hammer at its best.
...When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth

#8 of 17 OFFLINE   Zen Butler

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Posted October 24 2002 - 05:01 AM

I saw this at Randy's house on an awful VHS. The colors looks great compared to the washed-out tape that we watched. Nice to see a Hammer review, I actually thought Denholm Elliot's performance a highlight.

bladerunner-thumb-510x227-39115_zpse210a


#9 of 17 OFFLINE   Rob Gardiner

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Posted October 24 2002 - 05:23 AM

Thanks for another great review, Ron. After seeing WICKER MAN, FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, and ATTACK OF THE CLONES all within one year, I have become CRAZED for Mr. Christopher Lee. I've been picking up some of the Hammer DVDs, Horror of Dracula, Curse of Frankenstein, Hound of the Baskervilles, plus one of the Dracula sequels that came with a bonus Chris Lee disc, and I plan on getting this title. What other films of his can you folks recommend?

#10 of 17 OFFLINE   Peter Apruzzese

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Posted October 24 2002 - 05:34 AM

Rob: For Christopher Lee films, I'd pick up Horror of Dracula, Hound of the Baskervilles, City of the Dead, Scars of Dracula (not a good movie, but the bonus disc is worth its weight in gold), Horror Express, Rasputin the Mad Monk and, when they get remastered, The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers. Be warned, Lee made a *lot* of movies, well into the hundreds.

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#11 of 17 OFFLINE   Randy Korstick

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Posted October 24 2002 - 05:34 AM

Rob For Hammer movies with Christopher Lee that are available on DVD and that you didn't already mention I recommend: The Devil Rides Out The Mummy Dracula, Prince of Darkness Rasputin-The Mad Monk Satanic Rites of Dracula (a so-so Hammer film but good for Chris Lee)
...When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth

#12 of 17 OFFLINE   Steve Phillips

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Posted October 24 2002 - 06:26 AM

I love SCARS OF DRACULA. I know it isn't the best, but it has always been my sentimental favorite. I think it is because I caught an uncut TV showing back in the late 70s as a kid and never forgot it. It is lots of fun, and the DVD is fantastic.

#13 of 17 OFFLINE   michael deakin

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Posted October 24 2002 - 06:29 AM

Hi guys. I agree with "Peter". The bonus disc That comes with "Scars of Dracula" is a must have. Also the running commentary with the film is one of the best. Im holding out from buying "Horror of Dracula", Until someone releases it the way it deserves ie special edition. mike.

#14 of 17 OFFLINE   Brandon Gantt

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Posted October 24 2002 - 07:35 AM

I never thought I'd see the day when a HAMMER film was reviewed at the HTF!

#15 of 17 OFFLINE   Rob Gardiner

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Posted October 27 2002 - 10:10 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions!

#16 of 17 OFFLINE   Jeff_A

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Posted October 27 2002 - 11:50 AM

[quote] I never thought I'd see the day when a HAMMER film was reviewed at the HTF! [quote]
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#17 of 17 OFFLINE   SteveGon

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Posted October 27 2002 - 01:27 PM

Ron, thanks for the review. I'll probably pick this up if I can find it cheap enough.

[quote] I recommend that you try "Quatermass and the Pit" also released by anchor bay. This is one of hammer's best. [quote]
I'll second that recommendation! Posted Image




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