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.
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...
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.