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Blu-ray Review Audrey Rose Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Matt Hough

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Audrey Rose Blu-ray Review
After the astonishing blockbuster success of The Exorcist, all of the Hollywood studios (and many production companies away from Hollywood) tripped over themselves producing fright films about demonic possession, Satanism, the occult, and any number of other entries into the horror film genre. Audrey Rose was adapted from a best-selling book and placed into the hands of one of Hollywood’s most respected A-list directors Robert Wise. Though Wise had helmed a frightening and psychologically complex scare picture more than a decade before (The Haunting) and had twisted tension to the max in the deliberately paced but effective The Andromeda Strain, Audrey Rose did not find the director operating with all cylinders blazing. Though the film has some creepy moments and one or two unexpected occurrences, the end result is one of more missed opportunities than discovered ones.

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Studio: MGM

Distributed By: Twilight Time

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA

Subtitles: English SDH

Rating: PG

Run Time: 1 Hr. 53 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray

keep case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: All

Release Date: 10/14/2014

MSRP: $29.95




The Production Rating: 3/5


Eleven-year old Ivy Templeton (Susan Swift) has been troubled recently by increasingly disturbing dreams which inflict some burns on her hands and uncontrollable beating actions with her fists. Her mother Janice (Marsha Mason) and father Bill (John Beck) are beside themselves with worry and confusion until a total stranger Elliott Hoover (Anthony Hopkins) who had been following them for days shows up to explain his theory. He believes the soul of his five-year old daughter Audrey Rose who died in a fiery crash eleven years earlier entered Ivy’s body upon her birth (Audrey died two minutes before Ivy was born) and is now fighting for control of the body. Having studied reincarnation feverishly in India in the years after his family’s deaths in the crash, he is firmly convinced he’s right, and it seems only he can soothe Ivy’s seizures by calling her “Audrey Rose” and rocking her to sleep. Bill thinks the entire idea preposterous, but Janice slowly comes around to seeing the rationale behind Elliott’s theories causing a rift between her and Bill. The differences of opinion between the Templetons and Hoover eventually lead to court and a psychiatric experiment on the little girl.Though original novelist Frank De Felitta adapted his book for the screen, the screenplay doesn’t really probe deeply into the reasons why the battling Templetons can’t get on the same page about this bizarre situation. Bill’s reasoning is particularly puzzling since he firmly refuses even considering alternative theories to Ivy’s debilitating and unexplainable condition and simply demands his wishes to ignore the reincarnation theory be obeyed. Perhaps the film’s sequences with Ivy in torment would have worked better with a more accomplished young actress; Susan Swift seems rather mousy and uninteresting as the belabored girl and doesn’t have much conviction delivering lines (though the hypnotic sequence near the end is the closest she comes to doing some convincing work in the movie and well directed and performed makes a decent climax to the film). Wise does effect one other really suspenseful sequence when the possessed Ivy walks toward a bonfire at her convent school seemingly millimeters away from death, but on the other side of the coin, Wise seems helpless to pump any life at all into the courtroom sequences which bring the movie to a screeching halt.Just as Ellen Burstyn did in The Exorcist, Marsha Mason’s warm, loving, and fiercely protective mother, powerless to prevent Audrey Rose’s spiritual war with her daughter’s soul, brings gravitas and identifiable empathy to the film as she struggles with making the right decisions and following what her heart says is fitting. Anthony Hopkins has fewer opportunities to display his considerable acting gifts, but his conviction in what he’s saying seems completely genuine, and he’s altogether more reasonable in his actions than John Beck’s Bill who eventually turns out to be the villain of the film. The actor isn’t helped by the script that has him off screen for some major events, but Beck does what he can with a fairly impossible role. Norman Lloyd does standout work as the psychiatrist in the lengthy hypnosis scene while familiar faces John Hillerman and Robert Walden face off against each other as opposing counsels in court. Mary Jackson has an okay scene or two as the Mother Superior at the convent school.









Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA

The film’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 is faithfully delivered in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Sharpness is more pleasing than razor-edged (opening scenes seem a bit soft, and the continual rain glooms things up considerably, but interiors are often striking in their detail), but color is reasonably solid and flesh tones seem natural. Film grain is present throughout, and its level becomes more noticeable in low light levels. Black levels are all over the place: sometimes nice and inky and sometimes more milky in tone. There are occasional dust specks to be seen, too, though they aren’t a major problem. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.


Audio Rating: 4/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono mix is very representative of its era with dialogue clearly recorded and presented with no interference from Michael Small’s score or the sound effects that are combined into the same track. There seems to be a real lack of low end in the mix, but it’s likely simply a sign of the times. There are no age-related problems like hiss or pops to worry about.

Special Features Rating: 2.5/5

Isolated Score Track
: the Michael Small score is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo.Theatrical Trailer (1:37, HD)MGM 90th Anniversary Trailer (2:06, HD)Six-Page Booklet: enclosed in the case, it contains color stills, original poster art on the back cover, and film historian Julie Kirgo’s estimable thoughts on the movie and its director.









Overall Rating: 3/5

Audrey Rose is no The Exorcist, and it misses some of what might have made it more effective by a few poor casting choices and some tatty writing, but at its best, it serves up a fair number of disturbing images and some decent suspense. There are only 3,000 copies of this Blu-ray available. Those interested should go to www.screenarchives.com to see if product is still in stock. Information about the movie can also be found via Facebook at www.facebook.com/twilighttimemovies.

Reviewed By: Matt Hough


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Rob_Ray

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As a fan of Mr. Wise's work in this genre and others, I watched this film with avid interest. To me his only fault was not rejecting the script as written for taking an interesting premise and turning it into a cynical attempt to mine the box-office gold discovered by The Exorcist. Anyone who wants to see the film should stop reading this right now and move on, for what follows are spoilers.

Anthony Hopkins seems lost with a role that never seems credible. All of character's actions are ludicrious. Why is going out of his way to act like a stalker? Why, when he telephones for the first time, does he dramatically start the conversation with, "Where is she?" rather than something less threatening like, "Hello, my name is Ellott So-and-so.." Why? Because it's more melodramatic. But it's never credible. As are none of his actions.

The trial itself isn't justified and is patently silly. He's on trial for kidnapping a child for which he has no legal claim or custody. Whether his reincarnation story can be established as true or not is completely beside the point and has no bearing on the case, except possibly in the penalty phase after guilt is determined. Even if Ivy IS Audrey Rose reincarnated, his actions were illegal, and, once again, needlessly melodramatic.

Ivy's torments are poorly depicted. If she's been having these outbursts every year around her birthday, why isn't she being constantly monitored by a therapist? Conversely, if this birthday is the first time she's displayed these Linda Blair-like tendencies, then why isn't the mother, who by now believes in reincarnation, saying, "Though I believe what you're saying is true, I'm getting an injunction to keep you from coming within five miles of my daughter, for she was okay until you came along."

John Beck's husband is a cardboard stock character cliche of the Husband Who Will Have None of This Nonsense. Mr. Beck does as well as he can with the stereotype, but he's just there to provide melodrama.

Only Marsha Mason is given a fully developed character with emotions that ring true. She runs with the ball and scores the film's only win as the distraught mother.

And the ending, with the mother writing a letter to say, "Oh, well, she's at peace now" doesn't ring true at all. Her daughter was a seeminlgly normal, healthy girl until Anthony Hopkins came along. I would think it would take years, if not decades, of therapy before she could come to peace with what happened.

In short, I found the whole thing a silly, cynical attempt to cash in the success of The Exorcist, rather than a truly thought-provoking look at the possibility of reincarnation. A missed opportunity on Mr. Wise's part at another Haunting that could have been fixed with some additional work on the script.
 

Rob_Ray

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Oh, and I forgot the bonfire scene -- the schoolchildren are circling this massive bonfire (which would never happen) and not a single one of them notices Ivy's trance?! And where is the adult supervision? I just wasn't buying it. It was all too calculated and not credible at all.
 

Powell&Pressburger

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The movie may not be a great movie, but I enjoyed it a lot more now then I did when I last watched it over 10 yrs ago. I just see Audrey Rose as just a film that is just pure film and can't exist outside of it. I loved Marsha Mason in it and I liked the pacing of the movie and most of Michael Smalls score.

but that bonfire scene is kind of how deaf was everyone!
 

Reggie W

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Yes, watched this for the first time and I'm with Rob on it. I had never seen Audrey Rose and blind bought the blu on the strength of it being directed by Mr. Wise and thinking if Twilight Time was putting it out there must be some merit to the film...and I have to say I struck out in both cases.

This is not really a supernatural thriller but rather a cross between family melodrama and courtroom drama...and poor examples of each. So it fails as a thriller, fails as a family tragedy melodrama, fails as a courtroom drama. I really would not compare this to The Exorcist in any way other than the fact that there is a mother and daughter involved. The daughter is not possessed and does not go through what Regan goes through in The Exorcist. She has nightmares and sleepwalks...that's pretty much it. The film is not spooky or loaded with atmosphere in the way The Haunting was and pretty much plays like an after school special. First Twilight release I've picked up I'll be giving away or trading.
 

Ejanss

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Rob_Ray said:
The trial itself isn't justified and is patently silly. He's on trial for kidnapping a child for which he has no legal claim or custody. Whether his reincarnation story can be established as true or not is completely beside the point and has no bearing on the case, except possibly in the penalty phase after guilt is determined. Even if Ivy IS Audrey Rose reincarnated, his actions were illegal, and, once again, needlessly melodramatic.
Back in the 70's, even MENTIONING some occult subject like reincarnation or telekinesis was neato enough to serve for an entire film, and DeFelitta clearly wanted the entire book/movie to be an extended informercial for reincarnation theory--
But the idea of "Hopkins is justified because reincarnation is real!" is so silly, you can see it being used in a real trial, and losing (hopefully). It almost struck me as a sort of Ollie North strategy, to throw off the suspicion of personal guilt by turning the entire trial into an attention-getting public soapbox and handing out flyers.

(And yeah, Hopkins just wanted to play creepy characters back then, too. Even more so in his younger 70's days, qv. "Magic".)
 

JohnMor

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Reggie W said:
Yes, watched this for the first time and I'm with Rob on it. I had never seen Audrey Rose and blind bought the blu on the strength of it being directed by Mr. Wise and thinking if Twilight Time was putting it out there must be some merit to the film...and I have to say I struck out in both cases.

This is not really a supernatural thriller but rather a cross between family melodrama and courtroom drama...and poor examples of each. So it fails as a thriller, fails as a family tragedy melodrama, fails as a courtroom drama. I really would not compare this to The Exorcist in any way other than the fact that there is a mother and daughter involved. The daughter is not possessed and does not go through what Regan goes through in The Exorcist. She has nightmares and sleepwalks...that's pretty much it. The film is not spooky or loaded with atmosphere in the way The Haunting was and pretty much plays like an after school special. First Twilight release I've picked up I'll be giving away or trading.
Yeah, luckily for me a friend loaned me his dvd copy about a year ago. I remembered half-way liking it when I saw it as a kid, but watching the dvd I saw that it just did not hold up on any front. That saved me $30 plus shipping now, as I'm certain between my love of Robert Wise and my memories, I would have been purchasing TT's blu-ray.As far as blind buys go from TT, I've lucked out: Alamo Bay, The Other and Save Your Legs! have all been keepers.
 

Rob_Ray

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I don't regret the purchase, for I love Julie Kirgo's liner notes on any movie. And, like the guy who collects every Best Picture Oscar nominee, I have to have all of Robert Wise's films. I met him on a number of occasions and will never forget the time I was able to chat with him one-on-one for over a half-hour in a parking lot (!!) while waiting for a theatre to open up, where he was going to present West Side Story. A true gentleman. He did audio commentaries on so many of his films; I would have loved to hear his thoughts on this one.
 

Nick*Z

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I can't see how you could recommend the transfer quality as a 4 out of 5. Did you even watch the whole movie. Grain is distracting and heavy with a digitized appearance throughout most of this presentation. The grain fluctuates from dense to practically nonexistent, not just from scene to scene, but shot to shot. It's a disaster! Color fidelity is brutally bad. Flesh veers into garish pink hues. Fine detail breaks apart frequently. We have severe color fading, severe light bleeding around the edges and built-in flicker that strobes to excess.

This isn't a great movie to begin with. I would sincerely argue it isn't even a competent one! But the transfer quality - or lack thereof - confirms it as the Frisbee disc of the year! Just atrocious!

As for the film itself: Rob Ray has already covered the inadequacies in spades! Well done...much more so than the movie itself!
 

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