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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • New visual essay by filmmaker Michael Almereyda

The Uninvited

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Lewis Allen
Starring: Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey
1944 | 99 Minutes | Licensor: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #677
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: October 22, 2013
Review Date: October 28, 2013

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SYNOPSIS

A pair of siblings (Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey) from London purchase a surprisingly affordable, lonely cliff-top house in Cornwall, only to discover that it actually carries a ghostly price; soon they're caught up in a bizarre romantic triangle from beyond the grave. Rich in atmosphere, The Uninvited, directed by Lewis Allen, was groundbreaking for the seriousness with which it treated the haunted-house genre, and it remains an elegant and eerie experience, featuring a classic score by Victor Young. A tragic family past, a mysteriously locked room, cold chills, bumps in the night-this gothic Hollywood classic has it all.

Forum members rate this film 8/10

 

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

Lewis Allenís The Uninvited comes to Blu-ray from Criterion, just in time for Halloween, in its original aspect ratio of about 1.37:1 on this dual-layer disc. The high-definition transfer is delivered in 1080p/24hz.

There isnít much to criticize the transfer on. Not all too surprisingly the image is crisp with an exceptional amount of detail present in both close-ups and long shots alike. Film grain is rendered naturally while the transfer lacks any compression issues or other artifacts. Black levels are rich and fairly deep with excellent shadow detail, an important aspect in delivering the filmís atmosphere. The print shows some minor damage but thereís nothing too big, just a few scratches a faint tram lines.

It hasnít been released in North America since the VHS days and I have to say Iím not entirely sure why. But whatever the case may be the wait was certainly worth it: it looks rather astounding.

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

Despite its age the lossless PCM 1.0 mono presentation of the filmís soundtrack is quite effective. Dialogue sounds clear and fairly natural, the music is pleasantly clean with little distortion, even in the higher ranges, and the quieter effects, like the bumps/cries/laughs in the night, are also clear and easy to hear. Itís still generally flat in nature, but itís effective enough and easy to hear.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

For a lower tier release it actually has quite a bit on it, starting with a visual essay by filmmaker Michael Almereyda called Giving Up the Ghost. The 26-minute piece actually spends more time on the careers and lives of stars Ray Milland and Gail Russell, with very little about the film itself, other than some comments about the filmís use of ghosts, the basic story, the look and atmosphere, and the music. It does bizarrely add an interview with cultural anthropologist Erin Yerby, who talks about ghostsóer, I mean spiritsóand the early days of attempts to communicate with the dead. Otherwise the essay has more on Ministry of Fear (thanks to extensive coverage of Millandís career) than The Uninvited itself. Itís a decent enough piece, that even offers some criticisms towards the film, but it does feel unfocussed.

Two 30-minute radio adaptations also appear, the first, a 1944 one from the Screen Guild Theater presents Milland and Ruth Hussey reprising their roles, while the second from the Screen Directorís Playhouse only has Milland reprise his role. All ads are still there as well. The disc then closes with a theatrical trailer for the film.

Farren Smith Nehme provides an essay for the film in the included booklet, followed by a reprinting of an excellent interview with director Lewis Allen by Tom Weaver, done in 1997, where he talks about his career and The Uninvited.

Not a substantial amount, and it seems at least one fairly obvious feature (Allenís follow up film, The Unseen) is missing, but theyíre all worth going through, even if the visual essay does feel a little all-over-the-place.

4/10

CLOSING

With some decent supplements, a great transfer, and a lower price, Criterionís Blu-ray edition of The Uninvited comes with a high recommendation.


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