Omen

Omen

4.8 8
Director: Richard Donner

Cast: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner

     
 

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Fox's impressive DVD of The Omen is guaranteed to please this horror classic's legion of fans. The anamorphically enhanced widescreen transfer of the film benefits from a nice remastering job that effectively re-creates the film's glossy look while also adding a new level of color and detail that was missing in previous video editions. The audio is also quiteSee more details below

Overview

Fox's impressive DVD of The Omen is guaranteed to please this horror classic's legion of fans. The anamorphically enhanced widescreen transfer of the film benefits from a nice remastering job that effectively re-creates the film's glossy look while also adding a new level of color and detail that was missing in previous video editions. The audio is also quite good, utilizing a new stereo remix that makes excellent use of Jerry Goldsmith's thunderous score and adds a new level of punch to the film's many shocks. In terms of extras, fans will find themselves treated to a variety of informative documentaries: "The Omen Revealed" is a 46-minute program that chronicles the film's origins with a series of interviews with the filmmakers; a second segment offers composer Jerry Goldsmith's analysis of four themes he created for it; and "Curse or Coincidence?" is a six-minute short that speculates about the occult nature of a bizarre series of incidents that plagued the film's production. There is also a commentary track featuring director Richard Donner and editor Stuart Baird; it accidentally recycles some of the material revealed in the documentaries, but Baird and Donner have an appealing sense of camaraderie and the track offers enough insight into the production (especially the realization of the film's classic shock scenes) to make it worthwhile. An original theatrical trailer for The Omen rounds the extras out nicely. All in all, Fox's DVD of The Omen delivers the film in high style and also functions as a fairly definitive chronicle of its history.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jason Bergenfeld
Longtime television director Richard Donner made a significant leap into feature-film direction in 1976 with The Omen, a harrowing chiller that ranks with the other occult masterpieces of the day: William Friedkin's The Exorcist (1973) and Rosemary's Baby (1968) from Roman Polanski. On the sixth hour of the sixth day of the sixth month, American diplomat Robert Thorne (strong-jawed Gregory Peck) adopts a newborn baby in place of the stillborn child delivered by his wife, Kathy (Lee Remick). The baby's name: Damien. All is well with the Thorne clan until at Damien's fifth birthday party, when his nanny commits suicide in a gruesome fashion in front of the guests. Inexplicable deaths follow, accompanied by a strange new nanny (Billie Whitelaw). With the help of a curious photographer (David Warner), Thorne then traverses two continents hoping to disprove the biblical revelations that point toward his precious bundle of joy being the Antichrist. With gothic religious undertones, The Omen delivers the scares in full, from subtle creeps to over-the-top shocks, and sets up two inadvertent sequels documenting Damien's devilish life -- Damien: Omen II and The Omen: The Final Conflict. A misguided fourth installment, Omen IV: The Awakening, followed on TV, but the original trilogy remains sharp. The DVD's superior sound does justice to Jerry Goldsmith's Oscar-winning score -- which also included the Oscar winner for Best Song, "Ave Satini."
Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
A well-turned-out remake of the 1976 chiller directed by Richard Donner, this Omen could not hope to match the original's freshness and edge-of-the-seat intensity. Even so, this version avoids feeling like a cynical retread of classic material, thanks mainly to the accomplished performances of its principal players, every one of whom appears here at the top of his or her game. The story revolves around American diplomat Robert Thorn (Liev Schreiber) and his wife, Katherine (Julia Stiles), who adopt a baby under strange circumstances and are pursued relentlessly by the crazed Father Brennan (Pete Postlethwaite), a Roman Catholic priest convinced that their child is the Antichrist. Years later, when the young Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) acquires a full-time nanny named Mrs. Baylock (Mia Farrow), sinister and tragic things begin happening at a feverish pace, and Robert begins to think that perhaps Father Brennan's ravings had a nugget of truth to them. Together with journalist Keith Jennings (David Thewlis), he attempts to ferret out the truth about Damien's lineage. Director John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines) re-creates the original Omen's most memorable scenes with commendable fidelity, and viewers who haven't seen the earlier film will find this one perfectly acceptable as something calculated to raise the hackles. Schreiber, a fine actor, brings the requisite credibility and gravitas to his role -- which was played in the 1976 version by Gregory Peck -- and the youthful-looking Stiles is surprisingly effective in a mature characterization designed for someone at least a half-dozen years older. Farrow invests the nanny with a surfeit of sinister charm and Postlethwaite does right by the passionate prelate whose grisly demise is one of the movie's highlights (as it was in Donner's original). It's no classic, but this Omen deserves a close look and may well offer rewards for those who give it a second or third look as well.
All Movie Guide
Fueled by advances in special effects, the birth of the midnight movie, and a cultural fascination with mysticism, the horror genre achieved a status in the 1970s not seen since its glory days of the 1930s. Of all the occult horror films that surfaced in the wake of 1968's Rosemary's Baby, Richard Donner's phenomenally successful The Omen (1976) was the slickest and least subversive. Derivative but effective, the film was Gregory Peck's box-office comeback, and it offered a convincing turn from Lee Remick as well. The Omen never achieved the cult status of other specimens of the genre, but it paved the way for such 1980s big-budget mystical horror films as The Howling (1981) and Poltergeist (1982). The film's success also ensured more big-screen projects for Donner, including the Lethal Weapon series.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/05/2000
UPC:
0024543027157
Original Release:
1976
Rating:
R
Source:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:51:00
Sales rank:
23,929

Special Features

46-minute documentary: "666: The Omen revealed"; Commentary by Richard Donner and Stuart Baird; Jerry Goldsmith on four of his favorite themes; Six-minute short: "Curse or Coincidence"; Anamorphic widescreen [aspect ratio 2.35:1]; Original theatrical trailer; Interactive menus; Scene selection; Audio: Newly mixed English stereo, original English mono, French mono; Subtitles: English, Spanish

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gregory Peck Robert
Lee Remick Katherine Thorn
David Warner Jennings
Billie Whitelaw Mrs. Baylock
Leo McKern Bugenhagen
Harvey Stephens Damien
Patrick Troughton Father Brennan
Martin Benson Father Spiletto
Anthony Nicholls Dr. Becker
Holly Palance Young Nanny
John Stride Psychiatrist
Robert MacLeod Mr. Horton
Richard Donner Actor
Ronald Leigh-Hunt Gentleman
Nancy Manningham Nurse
Robert Rietty Monk
Freda Dowie Nun
Sheila Raynor Mrs. Horton
Bruce Boa Thorn's Aide
Don Fellows Thorn's Second Aide
Patrick McAlinney Photographer
Miki Iveria First Nun
Betty McDowall Secretary
Nicholas Campbell Marine
Burnell Tucker Secret Service Man
Yacov Banai Arab
Tommy Duggan Priest
Roy Boyd Reporter

Technical Credits
Richard Donner Director
Stuart Baird Editor
Harvey Bernhard Producer
Tessa Davies Set Decoration/Design
Carmen Dillon Art Director
Gordon Everett Sound/Sound Designer
Stuart Freeborn Makeup
George Gibbs Special Effects
Jerry Goldsmith Score Composer
Claude Hudson Production Manager
Mace Neufeld Executive Producer
Charles Orme Associate Producer
John Richardson Special Effects
George Richardson Art Director
David Seltzer Screenwriter
Maude Spector Casting
Gilbert Taylor Cinematographer
David Tomblin Asst. Director

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Selection
1. Main Titles [1:22]
2. The Child Is Dead [3:37]
3. Our Son [2:00]
4. Great Britain [3:46]
5. Happy Birthday [4:53]
6. Father Brennan [4:32]
7. Mrs. Baylock [10:49]
8. The Safari Park [:24]
9. A Priest'S Confession [4:48]
10. A Talk With The Doctor [8:27]
11. The Photographer [3:13]
12. Looking For Information [3:51]
13. An Old Graveyard [3:01]
14. Kathy [1:42]
15. Bugenhagen [:32]
16. An Accident [:02]
17. Looking For Signs [:08]
18. To Church [6:31]
19. Their Final Rest [7:19]
20. End Titles [2:51]

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