Forrest Tucker, Peter Cushing, Maureen Connell
team search the Himalayas for the legendary Yeti.
THE REGION 0 (NTSC) ANCHOR BAY DVD
on a long-lost BBC play written by Quatermass creator Nigel Kneale, (The
Creature, in 1955), this 1957 Hammer film is unjustly neglected.
Peter Cushing gives one of his finest performances as a botanist who
strikes up an uneasy alliance with an American impresario (Tucker)
during a trip to the Himalayas. Together they search for the legendary
Yeti, but get more than they bargain for when they eventually encounter
the creatures. The film may be too sedate to fully engage a modern
audience, but there are several memorable scenes, and time spent
watching Cushing perform is never wasted.
film has played numerous times on TV. Usually broadcasts
tantalisingly begin in letterbox format, before switching to full-screen
as soon as the credits have finished. Anchor Bayís stunning widescreen
presentation, (replicating the original Cinemascope-like Regalscope
2.35:1 theatrical ratio), is a revelation, opening out Guestís
tableaux considerably. Almost every shot is improved, either by keeping
more cast members on screen at a time, or revealing the impressive scale
and detail of Bernard Robinsonís sets. The disc captures Arthur
Grantís stark black and white cinematography very nicely. Anchor
Bayís print carries the filmís original British title (it was
lengthened to The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas for the US)
and is even preceded by its original British Board of Film Censors
disc is enhanced for 16:9 presentation, and comes with a commentary
track by Nigel Kneale and Val Guest. The disc also contains an episode
of the feeble World of Hammer TV series titled Hammer Stars:
Peter Cushing. The documentary, narrated by Oliver Reed, contains
clips from several films not yet released on DVD, and this, too, is
presented pillarboxed in 16:9-enhanced format - a misguided idea which
reduces the image size simply to keep the disc anamorphic throughout.
THE REGION 2 (PAL) DD VIDEO DVD
Region 2 Abominable Snowman DVD, from DD Video, features a
similar 16:9-enhanced transfer to the Anchor Bay DVD, but offers
improved detail and better contrast.
Their disc features the commentary track (with director Val Guest and
writer Nigel Kneale) from the US Anchor Bay releases, but adds an
exclusive video interview with Guest (13m). It also comes with a
wonderful booklet, featuring stills and promotional artwork from the
film in question, and a comprehensive essay. It, too, features the
Hammer Stars: Peter Cushing segment of World of Hammer. DD
Video's presentation is in the original 4:3 format, which is a
considerable improvement over Anchor Bay's version.