I’m continuing on with my look at the recently released classic Hammer films by Studiocanal, the Blu-ray I’m reviewing here features Christopher Lee and is based on a Dennis Wheatley novel. It’s time for my To The Devil A Daughter Blu-ray Review.
- To The Devil A Daughter (1976)
- Running Time: 93 Mins
- UK Rating 18
- Discs: 2 (Blu-ray & DVD)
- Released By Studiocanal
- Blu-ray Released: 29th January 2018
- Genre: Horror
When an American occult writer John Verney (Richard Widmark) is asked by Henry Beddows (Denholm Elliott) to collect his daughter Catherine from the airport in London he agrees. Catherine is nun and has grown up in a church called the Children of the Lord which is run by Father Michael Rayner (Christopher Lee). Rayner has been by the excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church for practising black magic. With Catherine’s 18th birthday imminent Father Michael seems to have something rather special lined up for her.
The film is directed by Peter Sykes with the cinematography handled by David Watkin. Shot on location starting in Germany then moving on to London, this is unusual for Hammer who normally rely almost entirely on sets or the grounds of their film studio to provide all the locations. The camera work is exceptionally good giving a genuinely terrifying feel.
Music / Audio Effects
The music is provided by Paul Glass and its a very dark and disturbing score perfect for a film about satanic rituals.
Acting / Characters
First off I should just say that the cast assembled for this film by Hammer is exceptional. Richard Widmark plays an American occult writer that is living in London. He is the main character that drives the film, he does this very well putting in a very powerful performance which certainly makes the film more believable.
Then there’s Denholm Elliott as Henry Beddows, he is a broken man having made a pact with someone you really should stay clear of. He really plays his part to perfection and in doing so makes the film all the more terrifying.
Nastassja Kinski as Catherine Beddows plays her role well as a young nun approaching her eighteenth birthday unaware of what awaits her.
Then there’s the films light relief with Honor Blackman as Anna Fountain and Anthony Valentine as David Kennedy. They are friends and colleagues of writer John Verney. There are some genuinely fun scenes between the two which just lifts the disquieting mood if only for a moment.
I’ve saved the real star of the film until last, I’m of course referring to the Hammer legend Christopher Lee. Quite simply I think the role of Father Michael Rayner is by far the most disconcerting and terrifying of all his Hammer roles. Lee really does make To The Devil A Daughter feel genuinely unsettling, it’s a film about black magic and satanic rituals and they don’t come much darker than this. Christopher Lee is simply sensational in the role and raises the film way above many of the others in the genre.
- Richard Widmark as John Verney
- Christopher Lee as Father Michael Rayner
- Honor Blackman as Anna Fountain
- Anthony Valentine as David Kennedy
- Denholm Elliott as Henry Beddows
- Michael Goodliffe as George De Grass
- Nastassja Kinski as Catherine Beddows
- Eva Maria Meineke as Eveline de Grass
Conclusion – To The Devil A Daughter Film Review
To The Devil A Daughter is Hammer bringing their take on horror into the modern era and it works remarkably well. Make no mistake this is one hell of a dark and disquieting film. The score is incredibly disturbing matching perfectly the on screen terror, the camera work is excellent adding to the uneasiness whilst the acting is simply superb especially by Christopher Lee.
This is Hammer’s first real take on the modern horror and it’s pretty much perfect even if it’s somewhat disquieting.
If you like my To The Devil A Daughter Blu-ray Review you may want to check out these films:
- Carnival of Souls (1962)
- Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971)
- Fear in the Night (1972)
- Never Take Sweets from a Stranger (1960)
- Night of the Living Dead (1968)
- The Full Treatment (1960)
- Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (1971)
- The Gorgon (1964)
To The Devil A Daughter Blu-ray Review
It’s yet another flawless release of a Hammer film from Studiocanal. The picture quality is simply excellent with no issues to report, the image is clean free from any annoying speckles whilst the picture is sharp and colours right.
On the extras front there is a rather nice documentary “Dark Arts: Inside To The Devil A Daughter” that contains several interesting facts and insights into the making of To The Devil A Daughter. One of those I was unaware of was that author Dennis Wheatley really disliked Hammer’s film and stopped them making any further films based upon his novels which they had intended to do.
- Dark Arts: Inside To The Devil A Daughter (19 mins)
- Original Trailer
On to my movie rating for To The Devil A Daughter (1976)
- Movie Rating: MUST SEE
- Blu-ray Picture: EXCELLENT
- Extras: EXCELLENT
To The Devil A Daughter (1976) is available now on Blu-ray.
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For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…
Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version
So that’s To The Devil A Daughter Blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film you can leave them in the comment section below:
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To The Devil A Daughter (1976) Blu-ray Review
Director(s): Peter Sykes
Actor(s): Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee, Denholm Elliott, Honor Blackman, Anthony Valentine, Nastassja Kinski
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Picture Rating
Hammer’s take on the modern horror is pretty much perfect if more than a little disquieting.