04/24/2014  
One Direction: Reaching for the Stars Part 2 - The Next Chapter on DVD/VOD May 13Shelter Island on DVD May 13Pennsylvania Ballet at 50 on DVD May 13Flying Tigers & Home of the Brave on Blu-ray & DVD May 13Stalingrad on Two-Disc Blu-ray with 3D, DVD & Digital May 13The Dave Clark Five And Beyond: Glad All Over on DVD & Blu-ray May 13Longmire: Season 2 on DVD May 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

'The Voice' Recap: Bottom Three Plead for Viewers' Save...
Stephen Colbert visits David Letterman and new 'Late Sh...
Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o named People's most beautif...
One Direction: Reaching for the Stars Part 2 - The Next...
Shelter Island on DVD May 13...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

RR Rich Rosell

THE GIRL...
THE HORDE...
LIFE IS SWEET (BLU-RAY)...
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)...
THE BLUE ANGEL (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d'ÈtÈ)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Fox Home Entertainment presents
The Alligator People (1959)

"I'll kill you, alligator man—just like I'd kill any four-legged 'gator! You hear me? I'll kill ya!"
- Manon (Lon Chaney Jr.)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: September 07, 2004

Stars: Beverly Garland, Bruce Bennett, Lon Chaney Jr.
Other Stars: George Macready, Frieda Inescort, Richard Crane, Douglas Kennedy
Director: Roy Del Ruth

Manufacturer: Panasonic Disc Manufacturing Corp.
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, attempted rape)
Run Time: 01h:14m:17s
Release Date: September 07, 2004
UPC: 024543120544
Genre: sci-fi


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C+ C+A-B- D+

DVD Review

Fifties sci-fi usually involved alien menaces or giant monstrosities of some kind. But medical advances were also a fruitful source of paranoia in those days, as seen in this oddball combination of a Michael Crichton medical thriller and The Lady Vanishes.

Joyce Webster (Beverly Garland) has just married Paul Webster (Richard Crane) and they're taking a honeymoon train when he receives a mysterious telegram. Obviously shaken, he gets off the train at a mail stop, ostensibly to make a phone call, and disappears without a trace. Joyce, distraught about her interrupted honeymoon and vanished groom, doggedly follows every trail until she finds one leading to an old house deep in the Louisiana bayou. The owner, Mrs. Henry Hawthorne (Frieda Inescort) denies any knowledge of Paul, but mysterious experiments turning men into reptiles are being conducted by Dr. Mark Sinclair (George Macready). Lurking in the background is the drunken lout Manon (Lon Chaney Jr.), who hates alligators due to losing his hand to one. Joyce isn't one to be put off, however, and soon stumbles onto the experiments and learns the horrible truth about her husband.

Garland was the queen of the sci-fi B-movie during the 1950s, and she shows why in this outing. She makes for a wholesome heroine, but demonstrates great strength of character throughout. Having a strong female lead like this helps make this a more enjoyable picture than might have otherwise been the case. Chaney, deep into alcoholism at this point of his career, is pretty well typecast as a drunk, and his hook-hand isn't in the least convincing, but he is sufficiently brutal and animalistic to constitute a much bigger threat than the titular creatures. The rest of the cast is nondescript, though Inescort has some good moments as she keeps pouring on lies to Joyce, getting slightly flustered but trying to keep her cool.

The picture is stuck with a rather silly framing device as Joyce is put under the influence of sodium pentothal to reveal her story. While it might be a weak attempt at making the story convincing, it really feels like padding. Most of the first hour of the film is pretty engrossing otherwise, however, with an ominous feeling of dread culminating in Manon's attack on Joyce. However, the last ten minutes are thoroughly torpedoed by the most woeful rubber monster costume ever committed to film. It doesn't help that many of its scenes are under strong lighting, emphasizing its fakeness. The rubber-suited alligator man pretending to fight with an obviously stiff alligator is just the crowning silliness. This last bit reduces the picture to the level of laughability from which it can never recover, even with a somewhat poignant finale.

It's too bad that the promising beginning is thus wasted, but the film's worth watching for Garland and Chaney, in any event. Much of the dialogue and the theory behind the alligator people seems to have survived in the form of the Lizard in the Spider-Man comics. It seems clear that Stan Lee or Steve Ditko must have kept this film in mind for some years.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic Cinemascope picture looks quite nice indeed. The black-and-white photography comes through clearly and only with the slightest occasional aliasing. Some dust spots are in evidence throughout, but otherwise it looks first-rate. Even the very dark scenes have good shadow detail, providing a palpable mood while still allowing the viewer to see the action. The bit rate is quite high, consistently around 8 Mbps.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Spanishyes
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Both a stereo and 2.0 mono English track are provided, in addition to a mono Spanish track. There's very little difference between the mono and stereo tracks, frankly, other than the mono track is recorded quite a bit louder. I noticed very little in the way of directionality. Dialogue is clear enough, and hiss is at acceptable levels. The music is a little on the shrill side and lacking almost completely in deep bass.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Fly (1958), The Fly (1986), The Omen, Phantom of the Paradise
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The sole extras are an anamorphic widescreen trailer for the feature, and four other horror/sci-fi offerings from 20th Century Fox. Oddly enough, the 1986 version of The Fly is represented only by a full-frame trailer. The chaptering is thorough.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

If only a better effects team had been at work, this could have been pretty entertaining. A nice transfer, but no extras to speak of.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 





Covered California

Keywords

television, the voice, vocal competition, carson daly, twitter, usher, t.j. wilkins, shakira, tess boyer, dani moz, late show, david letterman, stephen colbert, cbs, comedy central, the colbert report, celebrity, lupita nyong'o, people mangazine, academy award, 12 years a slave, steve mcqueen, biography, documentary, box office, movies, good morning america, abc, lara spencer, josh elliot, nbc sports, george stephanopolous, robin roberts, movie, heaven is for real, connor corum, greg kinnear, thomas haden, books, gabriel garcia marquez, nobel laureate, one hundred years of solitude, war, cannes film festival, grace of monaco, nicole kidman, kristen stewart, robert pattinson, maps to the stars, julianne moore, foxcatcher, the homesman, tommy lee jones, hilary swank, mrs. doubtfire, robin williams, fox 2000, chris columbus, david berenhaum, drama, brad pitt, general stanley mcchrystal, the operators, afghanistan war film, david michod, gone girl gillian flynn, ben affleck, rosamund pike, elvis costello, she, nine inch nails, trent reznor, atticus ross, gone girl's score, ultimate warrior, james hellwig, wrestler, heart disease, world wrestling entertainment hall of fame, animation, hbo, game of thrones, jack gleeson, king joffrey baratheon, the purple wedding, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, shailene wookley, veronica roth, allegiant, divergent, insurgent, the croods, nicolas cage, joe, david gordon green, tye sheridan

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too
Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact