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DVD Review: SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)



Studio: Timeless Media Group
Year: 1976
Cast: Lee Marvin, Roger Moore, Ian Holm, Barbara Perkins, Rene Kolldehoff
Director: Peter Hunt
Release Date: October 08, 2013
Rating: Not Rated for (violence)
Run Time: 02h:29m:23s
Genre(s): action, adventure

"Basi my boy, we're going to teach that kraut a lesson!" - Flynn (Lee Marvin)

SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)

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A big colorful mid-1970s on-location African adventure epic with a couple of charismatic leads, this one unfortunately suffers under the weight of its own bloated runtime.

Movie Grade: C+

DVD Grade: A-

There's a lot going on in the based-on-a-true-story Shout At The Devil, and to say that director Peter Hunt (On Her Majesty's Secret Service) skimped on the storytelling would be an ugly lie. In fact this one existed in a few different slightly shorter cuts over the years, though it is thankfully (for completists and Hunt's sake) presented here in its complete-though-just-shy of original 1976 150-minute runtime. That is certainly a lot of movie to contend with, and the problem is that even with star power leads like Lee Marvin and Roger Moore and beautiful on-location shooting this sprawling African adventure set just before World War I feels like an alt-version of The Neverending Story. It goes on and on and on, meandering its way to what is ultimately a satisfying final act that could have and should have come much sooner.

Set in rugged 1913 Zanzibar it's all about Flynn O'Flynn (Lee Marvin), a gin-swilling American poacher who - through some shifty shenanigans thanks to his mute sidekick Mohammed (Ian Holm) - forms a love/hate alliance with Sebastian Oldsmith (Roger Moore), a crack shot British aristocrat, to move a big load of ivory upriver through German-held territory. That brings them under the vengeful scrutiny of German Commissioner Fleischer (Reinhard Kolldehoff), and to sum up the remainder of this overlong adventure the vengeance game takes a flip when a highly coveted German battleship becomes the target of destruction. Along the way there is romance for Sebastian with Flynn's daughter Rosa (Barbara Perkins), malaria, boat chases, death and destruction, hungry crocodiles, poached elephants, divebombing biplanes and one of the longest fistfights I have ever seen (no still no match for the one in They Live).

It all sounds promising - and the scenery is appropriately lush, wet or dusty (depending on the scene) - and as much as Hunt tries to harken back to something like The African Queen that same magic never really gels in Shout At The Devil. Taken in bite-size morsels it is certainly watchable fun - especially with the grizzled swagger of Lee Marvin and the comedic relief of Ian Holm - but the dreadfully overlong experience takes too many sideroads, stalling the inevitable confrontation for far too long in a film that shifts tone rapidly back-and-forth. It almost seems as if this were two or three ideas patched together into one, and though it is based on true events I will never put it past a screenwriters to embellish things somewhat for entertainment purposes.

On the plus side kudos to Timeless for releasing the complete 150-minute version, as I am certain that fact - as well as the beautiful new 1080p transfer - will please fans of the extremely long wannabe epic-ness of Shout At The Devil.

IMAGE/AUDIO
The new AVC-encoded 2.35:1 transfer is the high point of this release, a vivid 1080p offering that aside from some modest specking is just about perfect. This is kind of transfer where the cloudless African skies are brilliantly blue and skintones (while perhaps a bit warm at times) look natural. Image clarity is well above bar, with facial closeups revealing exceptional level of detail throughout. The anamorphic SD transfer is no slouch, but this 1080p disc is a winner.

The Blu-Ray disc features a DTS-HD Master 2.0 mono track and the SD carries one in Dolby Digital Mono. Both provide clear voice quality, but there's something lacking in the bottom end, with gunshots and explosions lacking the necessary oomph to match the big adventure story visuals.

EXTRAS
Not much to get excited about supplemental-wise, as this two-disc set features one Blu-Ray and one standard DVD disc, each carrying the film and a brief photo gallery.

Posted by: Rich Rosell - December 30, 2013, 8:18 am - DVD Review
Keywords: lee marvin, roger moore, action, adventure, the african queen




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