The 1978 Marvel TV movie doctor strange is getting a Blu-ray release of Shout! Factory just in time for the premiere of the second Marvel Cinematic Universe movie focusing on the character, Doctor strange in the multiverse of madness.
For damn disgustingthe 1978 Blu-ray version doctor strange will have some special features, including a high-definition transfer and restore along with audio commentary from Russell Dyball, a pop culture historian, and the panel bridge host Cole Hornaday. The film stars Peter Hooten as Dr. Stephen Strange, Jessica Walter as arrested development Y Goalkeeper fame as evil sorceress Morgan le Fay and horror film figure Anne-Marie Martin (credited as Eddie Benton) as Strange’s patient Clea Lake. The tagline for the film reads, “Enter a world filled with wizards, powerful supernatural forces, and strange enchantments as famed Marvel Comics superhero Dr. Strange comes to life to battle the forces of evil.”
Originally intended as a pilot for a series that never came to be, this version of doctor strange was part of Universal Television’s slate of live action Marvel content produced in the 1970s. The most successful and best known is The incredible Hulk TV series with Lou Ferrigno in the title role, which ran for five seasons and was a real hit with a wide audience. While it lacked authenticity relative to its Marvel Comics source material, it proved that screen adaptations were viable.
This success was followed by an attempt to bring another popular character to the small screen with The amazing Spider Man. This series did not have the same warm reception as Helmet and was canceled after only 13 episodes aired sporadically between 1977 and 1979. Stan Lee, who acted as a consultant on all three projects, called to work on the Spiderman show “a total nightmare”.
Hopes were higher doctor strangewhich Lee cited as one of his best experiences working on the Universal Television projects, and one over which he had “greater control”. even star Jessica Walter, who passed away in March 2021, praised the film in a 2016 interview. “It was really done in a spectacular way,” he said of the production. “We exceeded the schedule by several days due to the effects.”
Despite attempts at a faithful adaptation of Dr. Strange, the film suffered from poor Nielsen ratings and has been poorly reviewed by modern critics. According to some reviews, the focus on taking the story seriously made it feel more like a medical procedure show for much of the runtime and Hooten failed to capture the essence of the character. Still, Dr. Strange’s exploits trying to stop Morgan le Fay from invading earth features some aging special effects and some compromised performances according to other reviewers.
Doctor Strange eventually joined the MCU, with Benedict Cumberbatch taking over the role. So far, Cumberbatch has played the character in doctor strange (2016), Thor: Ragnarök (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), avengers endgame (2019) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). The next is Doctor strange in the multiverse of madnesswhich will premiere on May 6.
The 1978 Blu-ray reissue doctor strange is currently available for book through Shout! Factory with a release date of April 26.
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