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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Phantom Lady - in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Feb 25, 2019.

  1. Message #1 of 24 Feb 25, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2019
    Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I'm presuming that some may not be aware of the history behind Arrow's new Blu-ray release of Phantom Lady, courtesy of Universal.

    For those who will be picking up a copy, many will take note of certain characteristics in story, cutting, etc., which happen to take on a quite Hitchcockian aura.

    This is hot merely by happenstance.

    Joan Harrison is a name you'll find on the Hitchcock TV series. But she started as AH's secretary in 1933, working her way up to a reader, and working with screenplays.

    This information is off the too of my head, and I've not rechecked it, but I recall that Phantom Lady was a project that came out of Hitchcock's Universal work in the mid-1940s. For whatever reason, it did not end up being a Hitchcock project. But apparently Harrison was involved early on in such a way, that when she was given her producer stripes at Universal, she was able to take Phantom Lady with her, and became its associate producer.

    The project was eventually made under the hand of Robert Siodmak, (The Spiral Staircase, Criss Cross, The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry - also a Harrison project.)

    Phantom Lady is a film that is much more than the sum of its parts.

    The scan is from a lovely film element, presumably a fine grain, with a bit of wear, a sequence with some built-in light scratches, but never anything untoward.

    I've always considered it a dangling participle to the Hitchcock catalog. In a way a Hitchcock film, that wasn't.

    And again, I'm relating this information not as facts, but from my memory.

    Worth an examination.

    Highly Recommended

    Image - 4

    Audio - 5

    Pass / Fail - Pass

    Upgrade from DVD - yes

    RAH

     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yeah, Joan Harrison was never given the proper credit. Without a doubt, she should have been given more film projects. As to "Phantom Lady", I consider it one of the finest film noirs in history. The lovely Ella Raines was great in this film and she is another one that should have had a greater career. One of my favorite all-time actresses. I fell in love with her when I first saw her in "Tall in the Saddle" with the Duke when I was about 10 years old. I can't wait to finally see a good to excellent video presentations of this fine movie.
     
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  3. Message #3 of 24 Feb 25, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
    John Hermes

    John Hermes Screenwriter

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    Ditto on Ella Raines. A good actress and she had some the most beautiful eyes ever in the movies.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Yes, those green eyes. I'm guessing whether they're green or blue, but I think they're green.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Message #5 of 24 Feb 25, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
    John Hermes

    John Hermes Screenwriter

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    Yes, green. Check out one of her rare color films, Singing Guns.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I forgot all about that film and I already own the Kino BD that I bought during one of their sales. I'll check it out either later today or tomorrow.
     
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  7. Message #7 of 24 Feb 25, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
    Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

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    I'm very pleased that the presentation is so good as I intended to buy this disc as soon as I first noticed it on Amazon UK.

    I don't like the film as much as some people do because it seems to me to be a strange hybrid, two separate films stuck together. The first half is classical dark drama with an innocent man accused of a crime, unable to provide an alibi and his girl friend taking huge personal risks to search out that alibi. The second half switches mood violently to be a psychological melodrama, not unlike The Spiral Staircase, also directed by Robert Siodmak.

    This fascinating film is notable for another reason: Elisha Cook Jnr, not his usual born loser, playing a randy musician on the make for Ella Raines.
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Had an interesting evening having drinks with Mr. Cook.
     
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  9. david hare

    david hare Second Unit

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    I hope you had enough to steady your nerves! And he didn't starte to play the drums!!
     
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  10. lark144

    lark144 Supporting Actor

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    The jam session scene in PHANTOM LADY is a high point for Chiaroscuro in Hollywood films. Caravaggio's shade must have been pea-green with envy.
     
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  11. lark144

    lark144 Supporting Actor

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    Or to share an elevator with Mr. Cook, for that matter. That scene in the beginning of ROSEMARY'S BABY always creeps me out!
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Nice conversation for the first hour or so, after which I sadly, excused myself. Extraordinary character actor, who felt he should have been a star.
     
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  13. B-ROLL

    B-ROLL Cinematographer

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    AKA Samuel T. Cogley
    elishacookstartrek[1].
     
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  14. lark144

    lark144 Supporting Actor

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    Well, I think Mr. Cook is a star, of the highest magnitude.

    Not that he shouldn't have been a lead actor. It's too bad that he wasn't, for his performances have a grace that transcends physical boundaries. He must have been an extraordinary and exacting artist for those fleeting figures he played to loom so largely in the mind. As the years go by, what one remembers most of all is Mr. Cook's visage, in all of its variegated glory, and the characters he played, that are so much bigger than life, that in the memory of at least this viewer, they seem to have taken over the films he was in.
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I believe he would have been a far happier soul, had he seen it that way.
     
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  16. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Harrison isn't the only Hitchcock connection - Phantom Lady, the novel, was written by William Irish aka Cornell Woolrich - Rear Window is based on his story as are several great Alfred Hitchcock Presents shows, both in half-hour and hour-long iterations. While not nearly as good as the novel, I've always had a soft spot for the film of Phantom Lady as I'm a big fan of Mr. Siodmak.
     
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  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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  18. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Thank you for adding that! I was thinking it while viewing, and neglected to make the point.
     
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  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Woolrich was a great influence on film noir. Eddie Muller talks about him quite often on TCM's "Noir Alley".
     
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  20. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Judging from my prior viewings of "Phantom Lady", my film grade is 4.5 on a scale of 1-5. In my humble opinion just a terrific video presentation. I'm a very happy camper to own this Blu-ray release.
     
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