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DVD Review: THE SEX THIEF (BLU-RAY)



Studio: Kino Lorber
Year: 1974
Cast: David Warbeck, Jennifer Westbrook, Terence Edmond, Diane Keen, Harvey Hall, Linda Coombes, Gloria Maley
Director: Martin Campbell
Release Date: January 22, 2013
Rating: R for (adult themes, nudity, strong sexual content)
Run Time: 01h:33m:14s
Genre(s): drama

“Yes, of course, I’ll do anything I can to help get that beast put behind bars.” - Emily Barrow (Jennifer Westbrook)

THE SEX THIEF (BLU-RAY)

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Director Martin Campbell is best known for helming a couple of recent James Bond flicks, but this, his first feature film, is touted as being a great window into his future filmography.

Movie Grade: C

DVD Grade: C

Director Martin Campbell is, arguably, best known as the man behind the camera for the James Bond films Goldeneye and Casino Royale. He’s also made other, respectable, action-packed dramas like The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro, as well as the not-so-good Green Lantern. His first feature film, 1974’s The Sex Thief, is, at least on the surface, quite different fare from Campbell’s Hollywood blockbusters, as it more- closely resembles the type of film that you’d see on Cinemax at 2AM on any given night than an espionage thriller. However, despite the presence of numerous naked bodies, The Sex Thief is much more than just a collection of cheeky sex scenes. Kino Lorber thinks enough of The Sex Thief to release it on Blu-ray with remastered audio and video, albeit in a supplement-less package.

There are certainly elements of the Bond films in The Sex Thief, but they’re always portrayed as an homage to 007’s sexually-charged exploits rather than trying to be anything more, which is truly refreshing. The titular character, Grant Henry (David Warbeck) is a novelist by day, burglar by night. He stands apart from other burglars, however, in that he uses his good looks and sex appeal to seduce his female victims when he’s caught with their jewels in his hand. There’s actually more plot here than I expected, but, it probably isn’t at all surprising that the sex scenes are the best part of the film. What might be surprising, however, is that the sex scenes are so effective because they’re more comedic than they are erotic. Aside from the rather glaring notion that the title character doesn’t exactly mind getting caught in the act by these beautiful women, most of these sex-filled sequences feature scenes of a pair of writhing, naked bodies, interspersed with fully-clothed, non-sexual scenes, with both the “clean” and “dirty” scenes revolving around similar themes, whether its drunkenness or the sport of wrestling. From now on, when I hear the term “cheeky sex-comedy,” The Sex Thief will likely be the first film that comes to mind.

Kino’s Blu-ray disc presents the film in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio via this HD transfer that was culled from 35mm source material. However, don’t expect the kind of careful, meticulous restoration that we see on a weekly basis from The Criterion Collection. Instead, The Sex Thief certainly looks its age and budget, as we still see plenty of dirt, grain, and other print defects that are slight distractions. Image clarity is still pleasing, yet the color scheme remains rather drab and not exactly filled with bright, vivid hues. The audio is a DTS-HD Master Audio mono track that also hasn’t exactly undergone a sonic overhaul. The good news is that there really aren’t any problems with the overall clarity or fidelity, and the dialogue is always decipherable and well-integrated into the overall mix. Sadly, there isn’t a single supplemental feature on this disc.

Posted by: Chuck Aliaga - February 10, 2013, 2:11 pm - DVD Review
Keywords: sex, romp, homage




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