The Woman Eater

Overview

Charles Sanders' The Womaneater (1957) comes to DVD courtesy of Image Entertainment and Gordon Films, mastered from a print from Columbia Pictures' archives. The merits (or lack therein) of the movie aside, the disc's image recalls television showings from the mid-1960's, with perhaps somewhat greater sharpness -- the latter attribute works in the shots that have the detail and clarity to back it up; but in other shots, the increased clarity only highlights the flaws (including scratches, uneven light levels ...
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Overview

Charles Sanders' The Womaneater (1957) comes to DVD courtesy of Image Entertainment and Gordon Films, mastered from a print from Columbia Pictures' archives. The merits (or lack therein) of the movie aside, the disc's image recalls television showings from the mid-1960's, with perhaps somewhat greater sharpness -- the latter attribute works in the shots that have the detail and clarity to back it up; but in other shots, the increased clarity only highlights the flaws (including scratches, uneven light levels etc.) in the film materials -- whoever the telecine operator was for the film to video transfer, they appear to have tried a one-light transfer, which means there are glaring discrepancies from shot-to-shot within the same scene; those errors are doubly astounding, considering that the disc's producers also went to the trouble of masking this image to the valid theatrical aspect ratio of 1.66-to-1, and programmed a generous 16 chapters for a 71 minute feature. Then again, that fits with the bizarre inconsistencies of the movie itself. The plot is almost -- but not quite -- incoherent, and the action and story arc are so haphazardly assembled as to require a character to utter a line of explanation (to no one in particular on screen) every few minutes. But the producers also thought to engage George Coulouris, a distinguished British actor, as the lead. And the nearly inccomrehensible plot elements surrounds genuinely grisly scenes in which Coulouris's scientist is seen nurturing the pulsating "heart" of the title creature, a rather large plant. What's more, somewhere in the middle of this mess, which Coulouris does his best to make more within his scenes, is Marpessa Dawn, the enchanting actress who was later at the center of Marcel Camus's Black Orpheus. The disc does as much as it can with the variable elements at hand, and the makers can be forgiven for some weaknesses, except for the extremely low volume, which required this reviewer to double his normal setting just to get a decent level on playback, an even more astounding requirement given that Edwin Astley's music score blasts its horns and brass at every even slightly suspenseful on-screen event. The movie starts up automatically with the disc, and a simple four-panel menu, rather cleverly designed and offering access to each chapter, can be called up manually.
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Special Features

[None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
One can only ponder with trepidation the thoughts that went through George Coulouris's mind as he pondered the script of The Woman Eater. Did he think, "From Citizen Kane to this!"? Or was it just another acting job, and a starring role at that, with decent money for about a week's work? Probably the latter, as he was getting a decent amount of work in major movies, and at the time The Woman Eater didn't seem so bad -- horror movies had a level of respectability in England that they lacked in America, and there was plenty of acting to do in the film -- or, at least, a chance to ham it up. In many ways, Coulouris paved the way for serious performers like Michael Gough to achieve stardom in various UK horror productions. And as a movie, The Woman Eater at least had a fairly novel concept -- it was a year in front of the somewhat similiarly plotted (but horrendously executed) Leech Woman from Universal, and it did offer some interesting performers in a plot that was to become much too familiar in the years to follow (most recently emulated in an installment of the series The Lost World).
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/9/2000
  • UPC: 014381817225
  • Original Release: 1957
  • Rating:

  • Source: Image Entertainment
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Vistavision (1.66:1)
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:11:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
George Coulouris Dr. James Moran
Vera Day Sally
Robert MacKenzie Lewis Carling
Norman Claridge Dr. Patterson
Marpessa Dawn Native Girl
Jimmy Vaughan Tanga
Harry Ross Bristow
Peter Wayn Jack Venner
Alexander Field Rifle Range Attendant
Joy Webster Judy Ryan
John A. Tinn The Lascar
Roger Avon Constable
Johnny Grant Rescue Party Leader
Maxwell Foster Detective Inspector Brownlow
Technical Credits
Charles Saunders Director
Edwin T. Astley Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Guido Coen Producer
Brandon Fleming Screenwriter
Herbert Smith Art Director
Ernest Palmer Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Side #1
0. Chapter Index
1. Main Title; The Explorer's Club [2:55]
2. Human Sacrifice [4:43]
3. England: Five Years Later [6:42]
4. A Missing Girl [3:24]
5. The Fun Fair [3:40]
6. Looking for Work [7:09]
7. The Investigation [5:54]
8. Something Wicked [8:03]
9. Turning Death into Life [2:03]
10. A Reasonable Offer [4:57]
11. A Woman Scorned [4:35]
12. "Come and Get It" [3:51]
13. Some Interesting News [2:01]
14. Searching for Sally [4:02]
15. Dead Alive [5:54]
16. End Credits [:34]
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Menu

Side #1
   Feature Start
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