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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Audio interview with director Renť Clair
  • Trailer

I Married a Witch

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By:
Starring: Fredric March, Veronica Lake
1942 | 77 Minutes | Licensor: Westchester Films

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #676
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: October 8, 2013
Review Date: October 22, 2013

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SYNOPSIS

Veronica Lake casts a seductive spell as a charmingly vengeful sorceress in this supernatural screwball classic. Many centuries after cursing the male descendants of the Salem puritan who sent her to the stake, this blonde bombshell with a broomstick finds herself drawn to one of them-a prospective governor (Fredric March) about to marry a spoiled socialite (Susan Hayward). This most delightful of the films the innovative French director Renť Clair made in Hollywood is a comic confection bursting with playful special effects and sparkling witticisms.

Forum members rate this film 7.5/10

 

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

Rene Clairís I Married a Witch makes a much needed Blu-ray debut from Criterion, presented in its original aspect of about 1.33:1 on a single-layer disc. The new high-definition transfer is presented in 1080p/24hz.

The source materials are a bit iffy, but in comparison to what has been previously available, DVDs from other countries with very subpar presentations (to my knowledge the film has never been released on DVD in North America for whatever reason) the image as a whole is certainly a revelation. Damage isnít as heavy as I was expecting there are still instances such as a heavy number of fine scratches in the frame at times, on the side of the frame, or you get flickering and the occasional frame jump, but the source stays stable typically. The print delivers a bit of a soft image, and Iím not sure if itís an artifact from how it was filmed or possibly the source materials (the master comes from a combination of the original negative and fine-grain master) but the clarity of the filmís grain structure seems to suggest itís not an issue with the transfer itself.

Otherwise the transfer is stable and free of any notable issues. There are no artifacts of note, grain is rendered nicely, contrast looks particularly strong with some deep blacks and distinct gray levels leading to excellent shadow details.

Possibly not the strongest image that Iím sure many were hoping for but compared to previous editions itís a gigantic step forward with a far cleaner print and natural looking digital presentation.

7/10

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AUDIO

Age is the primary hindrance of the lossless PCM 1.0 mono track we get. Itís very flat and lifeless, with no range or fidelity at all but at least dialogue is still audible and I didnít feel the need to turn the subtitles on. Thereís some minor noise in the background but the track is actually surprisingly clean.

5/10

SUPPLEMENTS

This is a pretty bare release, the only significant feature being an audio interview with Rene Clair from an episode of a late-fifties radio program hosted by Gideon Bachmann. Running 20-minutes the director talks about his early work and then gets into great detail about working in Hollywood. He then covers the idea of a ďmainstreamĒ film and an ďavant-gardeĒ film, which leads to an interesting conversation between the two. The disc then closes with a theatrical trailer.

So disc supplements are slim but the booklet does add a bit of value. Thereís an incredibly energetic yet surprisingly informative essay on the film by filmmaker Guy Maddin, covering aspects of Clairís career, the filmís production, and the problematic working relationship between Frederic March and Veronica Lake. Thereís also a great reprinting of a 1970ís interview with the director where he excitedly talks about his Hollywood work (I Married a Witch in particular,) his love of visual effects and more.

A lower-price release so Iím not expecting much, but at least we get some material, including a rather strong booklet.

3/10

CLOSING

Not the lavish release I would have expected, it at least comes with a couple of noteworthy items and contains a rather wonderful looking transfer despite some short comings in the source. With its lower price it comes with a high recommendation.


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