Cornel Wilde, a writer with a disabled younger brother, meets the gorgeous Gene Tierneyon a train, and it’s love at first sight. At least, on his side of the equation. For her, it’s moreobsession at first sight (and this because Wilde looks just like her excessively beloved — andlately departed — daddy). After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, they appear to settle down tohappily married life, but Tierney is ferociously jealous of anyone who might be taking Wilde’satten…ion away from her. She will do anything to keep Wilde to herself. Including murder.
From the moment Tierney first fixes Wilde with a long, spookily unblinking stare, you knowshe’s bad news. That she jilts fiancé Vincent Price (a cold-eyed prosecuting attorney) for Wildedoesn’t bode well for the future, either. And viewer apprehensions are consistently andentertainingly justified. Tierney is perfect and chilling as the Beautiful Woman From Hell, andthe story unfolds amid a Technicolor that’s as gorgeous and plastic and unreal as its star. DirectorJohn M. Stahl wisely holds the score back during the nastiest of the murders, showing just theright level of restraint in a story that is pretty over-the-top in and of itself.
The sound comes in the original mono and 2.0 stereo versions. The latter has, as with all theother Studio Classics, some trouble with surround dialogue, but in this case the wrong voicesemerging from the rear speakers are kept to a minimum. The music sounds fine, and the soundreproduction is as good as one could reasonably expect for 1945.
The colours are wonderfully strong and bright, but there is some unfortunate fluctuation. Theimage is sharp, and there is almost no grain, but the edges in long shots sometimes blur, withthe colours smearing together. The blacks look terrific. The print itself is in great shape, with nodamage to speak of.
Film critic Richard Schickel’s informative commentary is supplemented by the vividmemories of Darryl Hickman (who played Wilde’s brother Danny). This strong track is the onlyfeature of note. The others are minor: Movietone footage of the premiere and the Oscarpresentations, a still gallery, a restoration comparison, and the theatrical trailer (along withtrailers for a handful of other Studio Classics). The menu is basic.
Not the most generous set of extras, but the film looks very good, and it is enormouslywatchable.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Restoration Comparison
- Still Gallery
- Movietone Newsreel Footage