Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 3rd, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: UK, 1972
Director: Fred Burnley
Writers: Gordon Honeycombe, Rosemary Davies
Cast: Susan Hampshire, Frank Finlay, Michael Petrovitch, Michael Craze, Jack Lambert, Betty Duncan, David Garth, Anthony Booth, Marcia Fox
DVD released: July 28th, 2009
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Redemption Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Not sure if she still loves her husband, a woman goes on a vacation to clear her mind of her troubled marriage. While on vacation she meets and falls in love with a young man who works as a lighthouse keeper. They quickly forge an inseparable bound. Her new found happiness is short lived, when he suddenly dies under mysterious circumstances. Her grieving of her lost lover is short lived when his corpse shows up the next morning.
Neither the Sea Nor the Sand is one of the more unusual love story / horror hybrid that I have had the pleasure to come across. From its opening moments when the two lovers at the core of this story meet, until its haunting coda, this film firmly establishes its objectives. The phrase “Till Death Do Us Part”, from the wedding ceremony in the Book of Common Prayer would be easiest way to sum up the plot. The first half of the film is extremely pedestrian as it is sent establishing the two lovers ‘undying love’ for each other. While the second half shifts more into the macabre as the young woman tries to rationalize ways in which her lover is still alive even though his corpse is showing signs of decay.
The film’s languid pacing is without a doubt its greatest flaw, while this film’s strongest asset is its lead actress Susan Hampshire (Malpertuis), whose character Anna spends half of the film interacting with Hugh her dead lover’s reanimated corpse. On the flip side Michael Petrovitch, who is cast in the role of Hugh gives an unremarkable performance that is almost more lifeless then the corpse he is portraying.
Another area where this film surprises is its visual style which is filled with a tremendous amount of atmosphere. Neither the Sea Nor the Sand was directed by Fred Burnley, who began his career as an editor before making the shift into directing. Sadly, Neither the Sea Nor the Sand would be the only feature film directed by Fred Burnley. He passed away a few years directing this film. Outside of few memorable moments, Neither the Sea Nor the Sand is an flawed film that never fully capitalizes on its unusual premise.
Redemptions Films presents Neither the Sea Nor the Sand in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has not been flagged for progressive playback. Outside of a few minor instances of print debris this transfer looks very good, colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels fare and details generally look crisp.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio fares well as everything sounds balanced throughout, distortion and background are kept in check.
Extras for this release include an image gallery that has music from the film playing in the background. The remaining extras include trailers for Saint Francis, Prey, Fascination and Cold Eyes of Fear. All of these title’s are currently available DVD from redemption Films. It should be noted that the DVD back cover art lists this films running time at 110 minutes, even though the actual running time is 95 minutes. This is a typo as the film’s correct running time is 95 minutes. Overall Neither the Sea Nor the Sand gets a well rounded audio / video presentation from Redemption Films.