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    The Other Blu-ray Review

    Blu-ray Fox Twilight Time

    Oct 07 2013 01:12 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
    Actor-turned-author Tom Tryon lends a strong hand (both producing and script writing) in bringing his best seller The Other to the screen in Robert Mulligan’s masterful 1972 exercise in psychological horror. Like Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, another utterly faithful film version of a best selling novel, the shocks are momentarily visceral, but the atmosphere of evil all around the central characters is what keeps tension fraught to a fever pitch as the viewer is offered droplets of information at regular intervals until the truth is utterly and inevitably revealed.

    Title Info:

    • Studio: Fox
    • Distributed By: Twilight Time
    • Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono)
    • Subtitles: English SDH
    • Rating: PG
    • Run Time: 1 Hr. 40 Min.
    • Package Includes: Blu-ray
    • Case Type: keep case
    • Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
    • Region: All
    • Release Date: 10/08/2013
    • MSRP: $29.95

    The Production Rating: 4/5

    Identical twins Niles (Chris Udvarnoky) and Holland (Martin Udvarnoky) Perry are having a rambunctious summer of 1935. Their older sister is expecting a baby which has all of the family excited, and their mother (Diana Muldaur) is starting to come out of a deep depression she had suffered some months earlier. Niles and Holland are like opposite sides of a coin: Niles is the thoughtful, deeply emotional twin while Holland is the mischievous, surly one. When a series of lethal and near-lethal accidents begin happening in this rural neighborhood, there is a great uproar in the family, especially since grandmother Ada (Uta Hagen) feels she can get to the root of the truth by first forcing Niles to participate in a trance-based empathy game and then once she gets the answers she needs, forbidding him to engage in the game any longer.

    While the story’s central twist is a good one, it’s more successfully carried out in the Tom Tryon book where certain visual clues can be more successfully camouflaged than they can in the realistic world of the movies. As he did in To Kill a Mockingbird, director Robert Mulligan focuses more strongly on individuals and lets the story unfold rather matter-of-factly. And the director is so smart to show us images without putting a blaring spotlight on them which will have great significance much later in the film (the carnival sequence is one of those scenes that has a much bigger payoff later than at the time of first viewing, and we watch Niles participate in “The Game” in purely visual terms in an exhilarating sequence with a frightening conclusion.) The shock moments are certainly chilling without being gore-infused monstrosities, but the psychological implications of what has gone on before the big reveal (about two-thirds of the way through the film) carry even greater effect in the film’s last third even though the action slows down considerably. The final images have a chill all their own which will bring to a cinemagoer’s mind not only Rosemary’s Baby from a few years past but also The Omen which will be coming in a couple of years.

    Chris Udvarnoky who has the larger role of Niles is creepily effective even if he occasionally swallows his dialogue in whispers or muted emotional outbursts. Brother Martin Udvarnoky playing twin Holland has very believable rapport with his real-life brother, and their scenes together are sometimes quite disturbing. Uta Hagen with a thick Russian accent and a lot of expressive warmth has a field day with Grandma Ada. Diana Muldaur well captures the brittle emotional state of Alexandra and later most effectively conveys her muted condition. Victor French beautifully plays a handyman whose son (Clarence Crow) is murdered during the killing spree, and Portia Nelson likewise gets nicely inside her stern neighbor character Mrs. Rowe who also comes to an untimely end.

    Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA

    The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is faithfully realized in the 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Color is wonderfully conveyed in consistently rendered hues that are most appealing and somewhat suggestive of an earlier era, the skin tones always completely believable. Sharpness is usually excellent though there are a couple of softer than expected shots with contrast that’s occasionally a trifle light. Black levels are usually quite good though not always plumbing the depths of inkiness. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.

    Audio Rating: 4/5

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 sound mix reproduces the cinema experience of the era with a very effective mono track. Dialogue has been nicely recorded and isn’t compromised by the mixing with sound effects or Jerry Goldsmith’s edgy score. There are no age-related artifacts like hiss or crackle to intrude on the suspenseful viewing experience the film offers.

    Special Features: 2.5/5

    Isolated Score Track: the Jerry Goldsmith score is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo reproduction.

    Theatrical Trailer (3:10, SD)

    Six-Page Booklet: contains a superb collection of color stills, poster art on the back cover, and film historian’s Julie Kirgo’s astute analysis of the movie.

    Overall Rating: 4/5

    The Other was one of the last of its breed: a horror film that eschewed stomach-churning blood and guts for more internalized, chill-inducing effects (The Exorcist would be unveiled the following year). There are only 3,000 copies of this Blu-ray available. Those interested should go to www.screenarchives.com to see if there are any still available. Information about the movie can also be found via Facebook at www.facebook.com/twilighttimemovies.

    Reviewed by: Matt Hough
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    10 Comments

    One of my favorite films of the 1970s, and one of my favorite Jerry Goldsmith scores. I have a recollection that this score was one of three up for consideration as a replacement nominee when Rota's "The Godfather" was disqualified for the 1972 Academy Award.  Another Fox score, John Addison's "Sleuth", took the 5th slot for score.  I don't recall the third score considered, but believe it was a Jerry Fielding score.

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    Charles Smith
    Oct 07 2013 03:33 PM

    This is such great news.  I've seen The Other exactly twice -- when it opened in 1972, and on TV (TCM?) just a year or two ago.  The first time, I have to admit I thought it was okay but was ultimately unexcited by it.  My fault, not the film's.  I wasn't ready for it.  Decades later, it just made total sense and I was delighted to have captured it on DVD-R!  Well, now I can give that away and dig into this the evening it arrives.  Can't wait.  Thanks, Matt, and thank you once again, Twilight Time!

      • Virgoan likes this

    Robert Mulligan won the Best Director award at Sitges, but during the 1972 awards season The Other was bafflingly ignored overall. If nothing else, I expected it to lock-up Oscar nominations for Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, and Score, but it missed the cut on all counts. On balance, 1972 was an unusually crowded year for quality filmmaking, specifically stateside. 

     

    Actually, I saw The Other 3 times theatrically, which was very unusual for me, even pre-video. There was just something mesmerizing about Mulligan's beautifully shot yet ominous frames...his simultaneously nostalgic yet sombre mood...and the chilling yet sweetly tragic feelings he managed to evoke, sometimes within the same scene. The Other was one of the most compelling 'pushme-pullyou' cinematic dream states I've ever given over to...and I think I love it precisely because of Mulligan's stubborn refusal to rely on the usual genre tropes...creating both a celebration and apotheosis of what a horror/mystery/thriller can be.

     

    I haven't seen this gem since '72, so I'm eagerly anticipating TT's Blu-ray edition. It will be interesting to see what a little mileage on the old life odometer will do for an oddity like this...

      • Jon Hertzberg, Virgoan and BPullen like this
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    haineshisway
    Oct 08 2013 03:31 PM

    Can you please tell me times so I can see these softer than expected shots and the shots with light contrast because I honestly haven't seen them and I'm curious as to where they are so I can view them and offer an opinion - because, for me, this is a five-star perfect transfer in every way.  I can only tell you it didn't look this good in theaters.

    Sorry, Bruce. When I note something awry even a little bit, I put a mark on my note sheet, but I don't note the times or places. I had three small marks when I finished the film. I hope you understand I am extremely busy at this time of year (three TV box sets at the moment) and simply cannot go back into the movie to offer proof to you of what I saw on my set-up.

     

    But really, the difference in my mind between a 4.5 (which in my grading system is an A) and a 5 (an A+) isn't worth haggling about.

     

    And you're right. It looked washed out, almost dim when I saw it at the movies all those years ago. This is a massive improvement.

      • BPullen likes this
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    haineshisway
    Oct 08 2013 08:14 PM

    I'm just always curious about this stuff - for example, there's one shot of the boy towards the end of the film - he's in close-up and at some point he moves slightly back and goes out of focus slightly - that happens when focus is critical and the actor moves - they don't catch it until dailies and its usually too late by then.  The most famous example of it is The Manchurian Candidate, where in Sinatra's wonderful one-take monologue, he moved slightly to the rear and the entire shot is out of focus slightly.  They reshot it but the performance wasn't as good, so the original out of focus take is in the transfer.  If it's that sort of thing, it's not the transfer it's the way it is on film.  That was really the only instance of that I saw, other than the occasional softness inherent in the opticals, including one multi-pass optical that has four dissolves in it.

     

    Love the film and was so pleased with the way it looks.

      • BPullen likes this
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    Radioman970
    Oct 10 2013 02:20 AM

    awesome.. well, it would be more awesome if it was on amazon and a little cheaper.  

     

    It is a very good film.  I don't remember seeing it, but it takes me back since it's like a particularly strange episode of The Waltons or something. 

    Very much enjoyed it last night.   The sound on the isolated soundtrack was especially compelling and crisp/bright.  Am hopeful some label issues the "complete" soundtrack some day.

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    Felix Martinez
    Oct 13 2013 03:38 PM

    I love this film, and I'm very pleased with the TT Blu-ray. So glad to have this in HD; it looks wonderful.

     

    I find this to be a particularly disturbing, haunting, and tragic film.  I envy those who are watching it for the first time.

     

    Found a vintage one sheet on Ebay and got it framed, just in time for the Blu-ay viewing this weekend.

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    Ronald Epstein
    Oct 23 2013 09:16 AM

    Just finished watching this film.

     

    Had never heard of it before this Twilight Time release.

     

    Really liked this film and the way it keeps the mystery hidden, revealing its

    secrets in bits and pieces so that the viewer doesn't know the complete 

    truth until the film nears its climax.

     

    Creepy?  You bet!  As mentioned, it has that feel of both "Rosemary's

    Baby" and "The Omen."  

     

    The transfer looks great as Matt has pointed out in his review.  I always 

    amazed time and time again by how well some of these 70s films look on

    Blu-ray. 

     

    Was kind of cool to see that Uta Hagen was cast in the film.  A highly respected

    actress, she was a guest at a film study class at my local college in the early 1980s.  

    Also, a very young John Ritter in one of his earliest acting roles.

     

    Really happy that I put faith in this title.  It was really cool to get a little creeped

    out by this little gem of a film I had previously never heard of.  

      • Radioman970 likes this