This film is another example of why perspicacious cinema-goers have always needed to be very wary when major studios decide to remake a well known classic. Perhaps IMDb should create a list of such remakes and give viewers the chance to vote on them as better or worse than the original, possibly adding comments when appropriate. Hopefully these comments might make the studios concerned much more wary about following this rather dubious practice. This 1983 film is a remake in colour of the classic black and white film of the same name starring Margaret Lockwood, which was released in 1945, and it can still be readily found on videotape. Unfortunately the original 1945 film is not and is becoming very hard to find outside the U.K. where Margaret Lockwood's name still commands enormous respect in the entertainment world.
Although this remake was able to obtain an R rating in the U.S.A. (by report only with considerable difficulty) it is in my opinion straight pornography- not because it realistically portrays the cruelty and violence of an eighteenth century execution at Tyburn, shows two women fighting with horsewhips, and includes a little more nudity than was generally regarded as acceptable at the time of its release, but because all these scenes were only peripherally necessary to the story line and were clearly only featured and prolonged in the way that they were for the purpose of audience titillation. If you want to be titillated in this way then by all means watch this remake which will probably provide exactly what you expect; but if you want to view a work of art which is in fact infinitely more sexy than this remake, join the demand for a DVD of the 1945 film (which is already available in PAL format for the European market) to be released for the North American market as well. This 1945 film has never been released in its original form in the U.S.A. because the meticulously recreated seventeenth century costumes were too low cut to be acceptable to the American censors of the period, so the original version had to be re-filmed before it could find its way into North American cinemas. A North American DVD of this original release would therefore be a fitting tribute to a great work in this its diamond anniversary year.
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