19 Nightmare Alley

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peerpee
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19 Nightmare Alley

#1 Post by peerpee » Wed Jun 29, 2005 5:21 pm

Nightmare Alley

Image

Often described as the grimmest of all Hollywood film noirs, Nightmare Alley's reputation as a cult classic reached near-mythical status due to a decades-long dispute between the film's producer (George Jessel) and Fox, which prevented it being screened anywhere or even released on home video. With the conflict now resolved, Nightmare Alley can finally be re-discovered in this stunning new transfer as one of the most darkly sophisticated noirs of the period.

Tyrone Power, cast against type — at his own insistence — gives the performance of his lifetime as handsome scumbag / carnival barker / con-man Stanton Carlisle. He seduces fellow sideshow artiste Mademoiselle Zeena (Joan Blondell) to learn the secret of the once-lucrative mind-reading act she performed with her alcoholic husband (Ian Keith). Carlisle, a "born mentalist", secures the secret method and sets off with his new carnie wife, Molly (Coleen Grey) to milk the bigtime as a spiritualist in Chicago. As Carlisle's success grows, it's only a matter of time before his greed — and twisted involvement with femme fatale psychoanalyst Lilith Ritter (Helen Walker) — bring his world crashing down around him.

Based on William Lindsay Gresham's book of the same name, scripted by the formidable Jules Furthman (Shanghai Express, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo) and reflecting the preoccupations of its drug and alcohol-abusing, orgy-frequenting director Edmund Goulding, Nightmare Alley uncovers both the dirt and romance of carnival life, and controversially — for those in the business — the tricks and scams of conmen and hustlers. After this picaresque and cathartic film, you will never again misuse the word "geek". The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Nightmare Alley for the first time on home video in the UK.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• Newly restored high definition transfer
• Woody Haut introduces Nightmare Alley – a 10-minute video introduction to the film by celebrated noir historian and author Woody Haut
• Woody Haut on Nightmare Alley – Woody goes into more detail (25 minutes)
• Full-length audio commentary by film historians Alain Silver and James Ursini
• Original theatrical trailer
• 157-page continuity and dialogue script and the 17-page musical cue sheet (both in pdf format)
• Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• 24-page booklet with a new essay by Woody Haut, and rare production stills

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#2 Post by What A Disgrace » Wed Jun 29, 2005 5:28 pm

Specs and print the same as the R1?

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#3 Post by peerpee » Wed Jun 29, 2005 5:51 pm

Working on the specs now, so can't confirm ---- but it will include the commentary and trailer from the Fox R1 and the same source material for the transfer.

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#4 Post by peerpee » Wed Jun 29, 2005 6:42 pm

Goulding was British, btw. That's two Brits in the MoC Series already! :)

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#5 Post by ben d banana » Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:24 pm

A top notch entry nonetheless.

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#6 Post by devlinnn » Thu Jun 30, 2005 1:49 am

Very brave move Nick, especially in comparison with the R1 price. Hope all goes well with the old-fashioned British shop buyer.

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#7 Post by Sai » Thu Jun 30, 2005 9:19 am

But it will have a fat great exclusive beautiful MoC booklet, right?

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#8 Post by Gordon » Fri Jul 01, 2005 2:21 am

Edmund Goulding, a Master of Cinema? I'm not too sure about that one. Nightmare Alley is a great, grungy Noir masterpiece, however and it is great to see it finallly recieving a UK release.

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#9 Post by peerpee » Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:34 pm


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#10 Post by What A Disgrace » Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:45 pm

I'm glad I didn't get the Fox disc! This one looks like a keeper.

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#11 Post by peerpee » Fri Sep 02, 2005 7:28 am

list price now GBP£15.99

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#12 Post by What A Disgrace » Mon Sep 12, 2005 9:39 pm

Amazon.co.uk has this up for pre-order at last.

Still no Punishment Park.

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#13 Post by antnield » Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:23 am

News on the release - and screen caps - at DVD Times:

http://dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=59147

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#14 Post by Caligula » Mon Nov 07, 2005 9:02 am

So, to summarise, the following are new to this release:

1. Woody Haut introduces Nightmare Alley - a 10-minute video introduction to the film by celebrated noir historian and author Woody Haut;
2. Woody Haut on Nightmare Alley - Woody goes into more detail (25 minutes);
3. 157-page continuity and dialogue script and the 17-page musical cue sheet (both in pdf format); and
4. 32-page booklet with a new essay by Woody Haut, and rare production stills.

I can't wait.

Anonymous

#15 Post by Anonymous » Thu Nov 17, 2005 4:31 pm


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#16 Post by david hare » Sun Nov 27, 2005 7:10 pm

Gordon I think you might like to revisit Goulding's work. Nightmare Alley is probably his greatest movie but I have definitely elevated him from the old Sarris "Lightly Likeable" category.

He directed one of Garbo's better silents "Love "(Anna Karenina) and one of her worst talkies in the form of Grand Hotel - in which she is dreadful, as though she understood the bloated nature of the project and decided to ham it up accordingly. Crawford under Goulding however is revelatory - he brings out a combination of both coquette and slut where she had previously been relatively one-dimensional. Riptide and That Certain Woman are both very fine vehicles for Norma Shearer and Bette Davis respectively. Shearer in particular is a total surprise in Riptide (technically a precoder on the edge of the code.)


Dark Victory is major Davis and Goulding. The Dawn Patrol remake is not at the level of the stunning Hawks (1930) version but is completely respectable. The Great Lie Claudia and Constant Nymph are all very fine, Razor's Edge whilst an impossible project in many ways is still very moving for Cliffie's foolish old queen and particularly Anne Baxter's great great performance. And of course there's Nightmare Alley. His work shows a very high level of gold to dross.

I should add, as I must of course - Goulding was openly gay, one of several gay Hollywood directors of the 30s and 40s. While this gives him absolutely no "advantage" over anyone, he IS able to insinuate both gay charcters and nuances into several of the movies and beat the censors at their own game. Thus Cliffie of course, and certainly the highly ambivalent Helen Walker as Lilith.

One could argue that he was merely a studio system director and that the fantastic coalition of Ty Power, Furthman, Lee Garmes et al was merely fortuitous, but the project needed someone very smart at the helm to pull it off, and Goulding was the one to do it.

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#17 Post by zedz » Sun Nov 27, 2005 7:23 pm

davidhare wrote:Dark Victory is major Davis and Goulding.
I'm shamefully unfamiliar with much of Goulding's work, but Dark Victory is indeed one of Hollywood's greatest tearjerkers. Davis and her dogs at the end of the film destroy me (and I cry at movies all the time).

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#18 Post by david hare » Sun Nov 27, 2005 7:30 pm

Zedz so do I (I am uncontrollable by the end of Queen Christina! Or Balthazar!)

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#19 Post by Arn777 » Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:31 pm

A great film and overall great package (I love the booklet and rare stills), but to nitpick the Woody Haut interviews made me a little 'nauseous', not the best background and the microphone must have been too close (I kept focusing on the sound of his tongue, eek). These were shot by Mark Rance, I guess it is not the same Mark Rance as the producer of a number of Criterion LDs and early dvds and high profile Hollywood dvds (?). Apart from that great job in improving the Fox dvd.

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Re: 19 Nightmare Alley

#20 Post by cana7cl » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:25 pm

A wonderful DVD of a great film noir.

Peerpee, can you tell me the name of the font used in the subtitles? I really like it.

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Re: 19 Nightmare Alley

#21 Post by peerpee » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:34 pm

I'm afraid I'm not sure exactly, it's over 4 years ago.

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Re: 19 Nightmare Alley

#22 Post by manicsounds » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:12 am

So what exactly happened with this film that it went "unseen" for so long? Haven't listened to the commentary yet (But will do tomorrow). Places like wikipedia and imdb have nothing under trivia about it, and if it was mentioned in the booklet, I only have the Fox R1 and mine happened to not come with a booklet.

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Re: 19 Nightmare Alley

#23 Post by repeat » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:47 am

Is there any chance of a Michael-style limited reissue of this, or have the rights lapsed? Also, does anyone know if the French release (Sidonis) differs from the Fox R1 in image or sound quality? It was put out in 2010 and it says "restored image and sound" on the cover, but I wonder.

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Re: 19 Nightmare Alley

#24 Post by aewb » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:53 am

repeat wrote:Is there any chance of a Michael-style limited reissue of this, or have the rights lapsed? Also, does anyone know if the French release (Sidonis) differs from the Fox R1 in image or sound quality? It was put out in 2010 and it says "restored image and sound" on the cover, but I wonder.
Odeon Entertainment just released this in the UK.

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Re: 19 Nightmare Alley

#25 Post by repeat » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:53 am

aewb wrote:Odeon Entertainment just released this in the UK.
Complete with PAL speedup, judging by the runtime :|

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