Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on February 28th, 2006
Valentina Cortesa plays a survivor of the Belsen concentration camp. She has lost everything in the war. Her best friend in the camp is a woman whose infant child is being looked after in the USA, and when this woman dies shortly before liberation, Cortesa decides to adopt her identity, since no one alive would remember what she looks like. Once in the States, she meets and falls in love with Richard Basehart, the guardian of her “son.” Moving into their home in San Francisco, she sense host…lity on the part of the nanny (Fay Baker). She soon begins to fear for her life, and grows terrified of her husband.
This woman-in-jeopardy thriller owes a considerable debt to Hitchcock’s Suspicion, right down to the highlighted glass of something sinister to drink at bedtime. But Robert Wise’s film stands quite nicely on its own two feet. The plot takes some interesting turns (initially, one isn’t entirely sure if Cortesa is our protagonist or antagonist, given that she is perpetrating a fraud), and Basehart is decidedly sinister.
The soundtrack, as is the case with the other films of this series, comes in both original mono and 2.0 remix options. The stereo score sounds okay, though its age (1951) is quite apparent. There is some minor hiss, and the volume is a bit low, and, as ever, the dialogue wraps around to emerge from all speakers. These are all flaws, but they are not severe examples of their kind, and ultimately don’t impair viewing enjoyment significantly.
There is some extremely minor speckling on display, but otherwise the print is in close to mint shape. The black-and-white tones are excellent, with fine shadings, blacks and contrasts. The image is sharp, and while the grain is present, it isn’t too bad. There is also a small bit of edge enhancement visible. So, while it doesn’t quiet have the look of a major restoration, it is still a pretty handsome transfer.
Noir historian Eddie Muller turns in yet another first-rate commentary. He is a lively, informative speaker, and this is another case of the film-course-in-a-box syndrome, and that is a happy syndrome indeed. Along with the theatrical trailer (and ads for other films in the series), there are quite a number of still galleries: posters, production stills, unit photography and special shoot. The menu’s main screen is scored.
Suspenseful, gripping stuff. Another example of just how good thrillers from this era were.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Still Galleries
- Theatrical Trailer