Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on February 21st, 2005
Dana Andrews is in suitably hard-boiled mode as the detective called in to investigate thedeath of beautiful society woman Laura (Gene Tierney). There are plenty of suspects, as Laurainspired passion on all sides. Accompanying Andrews on his investigation is misanthropiccolumnist Clifton Webb, whose protege Laura was. Chief suspect is fickle fiancé Vincent Price,but Andrews isn’t ruling anyone out, as his questioning leads to flashbacks that take us towardthe moment of the …urder. Andrews, meanwhile, is becoming obsessed with the dead woman,and seems to be falling in love with her painting.
And I shall say no more, as the film’s plot makes some whiplash-inducing turns. This is thekind of mystery that makes one feel as if one is discovering the genre again for the first time.Tierney, recently beautifully sociopathic in Leave Her to Heaven, here is ambiguouslyinnocent. Andrews is engagingly brusque, and Webb engages in the kind of vicious wit thatwould make George Sanders proud. Thematically rich and richly perverse, this is marvellousfrom start to finish.
The sound comes in both original mono and new stereo options. The 2.0 version doesn’thave any rear speaker presence to speak of, but neither does it have much by way of wraparoundvoices and other such problems. The sound is clean and distortion-free, though there is somestatic audible in the restored scene if you’re watching the extended version.
As with the sound, the restored scene is in noticeably worse shape than the rest of the print: itis grainier, and the black-and-white is rather washed out. The tones of the film otherwise areexcellent, and the print is generally in very fine shape, the odd bit of speckling notwithstanding.Once or twice there is a bit of flicker. Generally speaking, however, the picture is very strongand sharp.
Not one but two commentary tracks are here, one by film scholar Jeanine Basinger (intercutwith memories from composer David Raksin), and the other by Studio Classics regular RudyBehlmer. Given a choice, I’d plump for Behlmer’s track, as I find he doesn’t point out theobvious as much, but both are very informative. The deleted scene can be watched independently(with optional commentary by Behlmer), or integrated into the movie. There are two A&EBiography episodes: one for Gene Tierney, and one for Vincent Price. And there’s the theatricaltrailer. The menu is basic.
An astonishing film, and a package of extras that would make this a strong entry in theStudio Classics lines. This is a very auspicious debut of a new series.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentaries
- Extended Version
- Deleted Scene with Optional Commentary
- “Gene Tierney: A Shattered Portrait” A&E Biography
- “Vincent Price: The Versatile Villain” A&E Biography
- Theatrical Trailer