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The Whip and The Body: Kino Classics Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]

44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Marred by controversy at the time of its release, this horror fantasy from Italy's legendary horror director Mario Bava centers on the twisted desires of a nobleman's son (Christopher Lee). Lee is ostracized by his father for his dalliances with a servant girl (who later commits suicide), but is allowed to return to the fold by his brother, whose lovely wife (Dahlia Lavi) immediately becomes the object of Lee's mad lust. Lee is later found murdered, along with several other victims from the surrounding village, leading superstitious locals to believe that Lee's evil spirit has returned to destroy them; the twist ending reveals the real evil at work. Uncut, Unrated European Version!

The hungry, haunted eyes of the voluptuous Daliah Lavi dominate Mario Bava's kinky little ghost story. Set in a cavernous castle on a lonely coast, it looks like something out of Roger Corman's Edgar Allen Poe thrillers, at least at first. Christopher Lee is the bad sheep prodigal son who returns to the family manor. A sexual sadist whose proclivities brought about the death of a young girl and sent him into exile, he immediately lures his brother's wife (Lavi) into his sadistic games upon his return. There's no shortage of suspects when he's found dead, a dagger plunged into his neck (the same one his former lover killed herself with), but when he returns as a gray-faced ghost Bava pushes the gothic conventions and repressed sexual desires into delirious territory. It's one of the most psychologically compelling scripts in Bava's filmography, wracked with mad passions and haunted with guilt, and he pushes the emotional hysteria to the limits with lush style, surreal color, and gorgeous, often perverse imagery. The film was drastically cut and renamed What! for its U.S. release. VCI's edition is not only completely uncut but mastered from a gorgeous, color drenched print, restoring Bava's rich play of crimson red and cerulean blue.

The DVD features both English and Italian language soundtracks (neither of which feature Lee's voice, though the English track better matches the images) with optional subtitles, a sharp, informative commentary track by Bava historian Tim Lucas, and two cut scenes hidden as "Easter Eggs." To access these, go to the Special Features menu, move the cursor to "Play American Titles," and push the left arrow button. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Lee
  • Directors: Mario Bava
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Blu-ray, Dubbed, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: December 17, 2013
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,912 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Daniel S. on April 13, 2001
Format: DVD
Another Mario Bava masterpiece - THE WHIP AND THE BODY - has royally entered the DVD market thanks to an admirable treatment from VCI. If you are not aware that, under the pseudonym of John M. Old, is hiding Mario Bava and that 90% of the initial credits are also english pseudonyms of well (or less -) known italian actors or technicians, you could mistake THE WHIP AND THE BODY for a Hammer production. At least during the first 10 minutes.
Then, you would have certainly recognized the maestro touch ; who else could have filmed in 1963 a sadistic Christopher - Kurt - Lee whipping the delicate Daliah - Nevenka - Lavi who asks for more after each strike. I doubt Terence Fisher would have dared to shoot such scenes. Think also of the delirious travelling of Tony Kendall whose face has a different colour each time he appears in the light of the corridor. Thank you once more VCI to let us appreciate all the subtleties of Mario Bava's work on light.
Once again, the surprisingly rational Bava leaves room for a psychologic explanation at the end of THE WHIP AND THE BODY. Until his last movie - SHOCK - , the italian director will remind us that Cinema is a tremendous liar and that reality is so simple to explain. This theme will be treated masterfully by Bavain in his last genial movie RABID DOGS.
In short, a DVD for your library.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By cookieman108 on July 12, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
While watching this `uncut' European version of La Frusta e il corpo (1963) aka The Whip and the Body (1965), I had a hard time understanding just what the heck was so controversial about it at the time of its release that it should have been hacked to pieces the way it was by various editors (I think the U.S. version end up being the most mutililated)...I guess it is just difficult for me to fathom the seemingly excessive stringent nature of film censorship in place some thirty plus years ago, when the film was originally today's standards, the `shocking' material is fairly mild...but then I find a lot of things I consider tame in the cinematic sense tend to have a stronger effect on less avid movie fans. Directed by Mario Bava (Black Sabbath, Planet of the Vampires), the film stars Christopher Lee (Circus of Fear, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave), Daliah Lavi (Lord Jim, The Silencers), and Tony Kendall (Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill). Also appearing is Gustavo De Nardo (Baron Blood), Harriet Medin (Schlock, Death Race 2000), Ida Galli (The Leopard), and Luciano Pigozzi (Yor, the Hunter from the Future)...just a note, if you've seen this film and don't recognize many of the names of the writers, crew or the supporting cast, that's because it wasn't unusual for producers to require the usage of `American' nom de plumes as it was deemed easier to schlep a film to the U.S. if it had familiar sounding names rather than `crazy' names with more vowels than consonants...and example of this is the listed director John M. Old, which is actually a pseudonym used by Mario Bava. Was this a product of American arrogance? Or a ruse used by European producers to more easily introduce their films into the lucrative American market?Read more ›
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Cloudview on January 15, 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
After watching only the first 5 or 6 minutes of the Kino Blu-ray of The Whip and the Body I was very happy to see that the colors are MUCH better (i m o) than on the previous VCI dvd release. I compared the two releases, concentrating on interior images found in the first 6 minutes, using the same player, same TV, same settings. I could not believe the difference! It's like watching a different movie because the atmosphere/mood is not the same. For example, the image at 4:38 on the Blu-ray has primarily blue hues and the women have a pinkish flesh tone. That same image on the dvd is orange and green, and the women have a yellowish flesh tone. Similar situation with the expansive interior shot at 5:22 on the Blu-ray. The Blu-ray has beautiful hues of blue, while the dvd is orange, yellow and green. I have to believe that the cool colors found on the Blu-ray are what Bava intended, not the warm colors on the dvd. Thank you Kino!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Tom on November 19, 2001
Format: DVD
There are darn few films that really scare me. In fact, I can only think of three, and all of them come from the early 60's. The Haunting (the original, not the remake), the Innocents, and, of course, Whip and the Body, the subject of this review.
These three films mix ghostly goings on with psychopathology and erotic obsession in a way that is not only dramatically valid but PLAUSABLE - hence their continued ability to unnerve and disturb, even after multiple viewings. All three films succeed in creating and, what is more difficult, sustaining a mood that is dark and eerie, a mood which lingers long after the last fade-out.
The Haunting and The Innocents are both filmed in marrow-chilling black and white, but Whip and the Body is lush and succulent as an overripe and poisonous fruit in TECHNICOLOR. Bava's films are incredibly lovely to look at, but nowhere moreso than here. For Whip and the Body,he chose a pallete of sombre hues which wouldn't be out of place in a nightmare. At the same time we are responding viscerally to the horror, we are paradoxically aware of the great beauty which underlies it and supports it. Formal beauty in a horror film is a rare commodity. One finds it in some of the Universal horror classics of the 30's, in some of Hitchcock's works, and in the films of Mario Bava.
Christopher Lee has said that this is one of his favorite films -- it's easy to see why. It contains what may be his best performance, understated and chillingly effective. He becomes a romantic, doomed figure - not unlike Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. He manages to mix menace with romance in exactly the right proportions.
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The Whip and The Body: Kino Classics Remastered Edition [Blu-ray]
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