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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Haunting -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I saw Robert Wise's The Haunting in 1963, as a teen, and it's always stuck with me. Especially at night, in dark places, strange to me.

    Sixteen years later, during a chat with Mr. Wise at the Telluride Film Festival (he was completing Star Trek at that time, and that's what everyone wanted to talk about) I asked him about one of the effects that caught my imagination.

    About three-quarters the way through the film, Julie Harris and Claire Bloom are caught in a frightening situation, with the door to their bedroom, being pushed in -- not just being pushed, mind you, but literally taking on another shape as something huge and ungodly on the other side was about to have its way with them.

    His answer.

    Teamsters.

    Huh?

    Apparently, the door was specially layered, and pliable. And as we heard the sounds of hell coming from the other side, a couple of studio teamsters were pushing against supports.

    Not even digital.

    Big question, is the Blu-ray any good? What does it look like?

    In a word...

    Brilliant!

    Gorgeous black & white imagery, some almost with the aura of charcoal. Dupes, which are cut in, are what they are, with a slight drop in quality. But overall, the Blu-ray of The Haunting is a magnificent experience, that has every bit of the look and texture one would have seen in a cinema...

    if they were viewing a print from the OCN in fall of 1963. As I recall, I saw this at the Riviera in Coral Gables, and walked back to campus. In the dark.

    And darkness, and strange homes, were never looked upon quite the same.

    Image - 5

    Audio - 5 (DTS-HD MA 1.0)

    A brilliant film created from the great novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, by a director who was one of our finest editors, before he turned to directing. And it shows.

    In every shot.

    Take the opening paragraph, and set the stage:

    "No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”

    Buy it, enjoy, and be prepared.

    Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. bgart13

    bgart13 Well-Known Member

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    Robert, thanks for this. Now it's become a must-buy.Also, do you know anything about the claims of there being an alternate version released in the UK?
     
  3. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Definitely on my list for the November B&N sale!
     
  4. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    It is amazing when scary turns out to be low-tech.
     
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  5. davidHartzog

    davidHartzog Premium
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    Brilliant film I first saw at the theatre and it still scares the hell.out of me. Its all there, superb acting, particularly by Julie Harris, loads of atmosphere, convincing scenario. The BD is excellent.
     
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  6. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Opening night, Florida Theatre, Fort Lauderdale.

    I'd read the novel, albeit abridged in my mother's Readers Digest Condensed, loved it and the spooking that kept me awake nights, so I was highly anticipating this one. Bought the attached at a drugstore the following morning.

    Genius all the way, including the decision to present the closing narration, echoing the opening one, in Eleanor's voice. (Hey, you could have thought of that, too, Shirley Jackson...)
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I have the BD, but I'm waiting on The Uninvited before watching it as I'm doing a double feature that night with all the lights off except the light from my display screen.
     
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  8. ahollis

    ahollis Well-Known Member

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    Exactly the same with me. Got the shipping notice for THE UNINVITED today so I assume it will be Monday night
     
  9. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    My mistake, I thought this was Criterion. I was confusing it with The Uninvited.
     
  10. JohnMor

    JohnMor Premium
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    Dear God, man, keep your haunted house movies straight! ;)
     
  11. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Well-Known Member

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    I was fortunate enough to meet Claire Bloom last week at a book launch (she graciously wrote the foreword to my friend's book on Vivien Leigh). She couldn't have been more kind or lovely, and looks fabulous. I've never seen The Haunting, only the remake, so I look forward to picking up the Blu-ray.
     
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  12. bigshot

    bigshot Well-Known Member

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    Now we've got the two greatest ghost movies ever on blu-ray... The Haunting and The Innocents would make a great double feature, but I don't think my heart could stand it!
     
  13. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    The audio has certainly improved. Bright and punchy. The old DVD had a muffled audio.

    I'm so pleased Warner Brothers finally upgraded The Haunting and released it on blu-ray, but I wish they had included a slip-cover, inserted a booklet with an essay written by someone who knows what's what, added more supplements such as the alternative British edit of the theatrical release, and mentioned that they are releasing this on the film's 50th anniversary (it was released 18 September, 1963). Do something special and appropriate to commemorate the occasion of releasing this important film on blu-ray.

    But I'm content with the transfer.

    The script by Nelson Gidding is a masterpiece of construction and subtext. The directing, composition, editing and lighting are all perfect. I love this film.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Quality commentary trackRAH
     
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  15. ahollis

    ahollis Well-Known Member

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    I had the pleasure is working with Russ Tamblyn back in the middle 70's when he did a college performance of DAMES AT SEA. He was a complete gentleman and was always eager to talk of his MGM days and of course UA's WEST SIDE STORY. His thoughts on THE HAUNTING were very compemtary even though he said he did not want to do the picture at first. He said after a couple of days he was happy to be in it and that working with again Robert Wise was a distinct plus.
     
  16. Dick

    Dick Well-Known Member

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    Another reason to pick up an all-region player - THE INNOCENTS from BFI in the U.K. looks stunning, and is loaded with extras.
     
  17. JoHud

    JoHud Well-Known Member

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    This is one of the few horror-themed movies that doesn't waste its supernatural mystique. Definitely a great film and an excellent display of economically skilled filmmaking. I agree with RAH on the transfer and audio simply superb.

    I have not watched The Innocents blu-ray despite owning it. Looks like that I'll be double featuring that one with The Uninvited this week.
     
  18. Stefan Andersson

    Stefan Andersson Well-Known Member

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    Re: alternate cut of The Haunting --

    Quoted from the ImdB Alternate versions page:

    "Original cut of movie (shown 24/9/03 at Filmhouse, Edinburgh) has several differences from the general release print - •Alternate opening with voice-over by the Mrs Sannerson character in place of the Markway monologue.The titles prior to this scene are slightly different. The 'History of Hill house' scene continues into the meeting with Mrs Sannerson and Markway but in this version, it is Sannerson who is doing most of talking.•The following scene from the general release print of Markway listing his subjects on a blackboard is missing. In it's place is a scene where Theo throws her lover out her appartment and, next to a photo of her lover, writes "I Hate You!" on a mirror in lipstick, looks at her reflection and mutters "I hate you too...". She then receives her invitation from Markway. This is delivered to her by her landlady how requires the excess postage to be paid. Theo already knows this is to be paid and there is humourous exchange concerning her ESP or her 'gift'.•There are several extened scenes involving Eleanor's 'inner thoughts' - most of which tie into her thoughts on her possible relationship with Markway. The scene showing her travelling to Hill house is extended with more 'inner monlogue' material including a couple of shots of her turning onto 'route 238' and commenting on "Journey's end in lovers meeting...".•The Morning/Harp scene runs longer and contains more dialogue from both Eleanor and Markway. This print had a title card prior to the MGM logo - "This print is on loan from the National Film and Television Archive"


    From the film´s Wikipedia page:
    "Originally, Gidding's script had contained a scene early in the film in which Theodora is shown in her apartment in the city. It is clear from the context that she has just broken off with her female lover: "I hate you" is written on the mirror in lipstick. Theodora is yelling curses at her out the window, and more. However, Wise decided to cut the scene, believing it to be too explicit for a film which worked hard to make things implicit.[25][31] According to Julie Harris, film censors demanded that Theo never be shown to touch Eleanor, in order to keep the lesbianism less obvious.[8]"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Haunting_(1963_film)


    Lots of interesting reading about statues, mirrors and much more: http://www.the-haunting.com/haunting_themovie.html
     
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