Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Beast and the Magic Sword – Mondo Macabro (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: Spain/Japan, 1983
Director: Paul Naschy
Writer: Paul Naschy
Cast: Paul Naschy, Shigeru Amachi, Beatriz Escudero, Junko Asahina, Violeta Cela, Yôko Fuji, Conrado San Martín, Gérard Tichy

Release Date: February 25th, 2020
Approximate running time: 114 Minutes 59 Seconds
Aspect Ratios: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC & 4:3 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: LPCM Mono Spanish
Subtitles: English
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95

"In this film we get for the first time an origin story of how the Daninsky curse began back in the 10th century. We then move forward to 16th century Japan where Daninsky has travelled in search of a cure to his affliction." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, “brand new 4K restoration from original negative”.

The Beast and the Magic Sword comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 42.2 GB

Feature: 18.5 GB (1.66:1 Widescreen Version), 18.5 GB (4:3 Aspect Ratio Version)

This release allows you to view the film in it’s 1.66:1 theatrical aspect ratio or in a 4:3 open matte presentation. This is another solid transfer from Mondo Macabro, colors are nicely saturated, flesh tones look correct, details look crisp and black levels look strong throughout.

Audio: 4.5/5

This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in Spanish and included with this release are removable English subtitles. Though the audio is in very good shape, there are instances of background hiss. That said, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.

Extras:

Extras for this release include a Mondo Macabro preview reel, a trailer for The Beast and the Magic Sword (2 minutes 51 seconds, Dolby Digital mono Spanish with English subtitles), an introduction to the film by Paul Naschy (13 minutes 36 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Spanish with removable English subtitles), an interview with Paul Naschy The Smile of the Wolf (46 minutes 22 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Spanish with removable English subtitles), an interview with writer/film critic Gavin Baddeley (32 minutes 12 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and an audio commentary with film historians/Naschy experts Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn.

Summary:

Though, Paul Naschy (Curse of the Devil, Werewolf Shadow) has portrayed an array of monsters inspired by Universal’s classic monsters. He’s most remembered for his wolfman character Waldemar Daninsky. And with The Beast and the Magic Sword, Paul Naschy would make his most ambitious Waldemar Daninsky film.

At just under two hours in length, The Beast and the Magic Sword is a film that some viewers might find overindulgence. The first thirty minutes of The Beast and the Magic Sword establishes and then recounts the origins of the curse. And even once, The Beast and the Magic Sword shifts it’s narrative to Japan. There are several moments that could be shortened. Most notably, padding the narrative with action set pieces. With that being said, despite these shortcomings, the result is a highly entertaining film that actually improves upon subsequent viewings.

The Beast and the Magic Sword’s main attraction is it’s leading man Paul Naschy, who also wrote the screenplay and directed the film. Throughout, The Beast and the Magic Sword Paul Naschy does what he does best, he’s always surrounded by beautiful women who can resist his charms, when he’s not kicking a lot of ass and feasting upon throats.

The performances are best described as serviceable. Other notable performances include, Shigeru Amachi (Shinsengumi Chronicles) in the role of a sorcerer named Kian and Junko Asahina (I Love It From Behind, Horny Working Girl: From 5 to 9) in the role of a sorceress named Satomi.

If you’re already a fan of Paul Naschy, then The Beast and the Magic Sword is a film that you will thoroughly enjoy. For those who have yet been initiated into the cinema of Paul Naschy, The Beast and the Magic Sword is a good starting point that gives you an overview of Paul Naschy’s cinema.

The Beast and the Magic Sword gets an excellent release from Mondo Macabro that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and a wealth of insightful extra content, highly recommended.












Written by Michael Den Boer

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