Bunny Lake Is Missing US Theatrical Release: October 3, 1965 (Columbia - TriStar) US DVD Release: January 25, 2005 Running Time: 1:47:05 (12 chapter stops) Rating: None Video: 2.35:1 Anamorphic (black & white) Audio: English DD1.0 Subtitles: English, French TV-Generated Closed Captions: English Menus: Not animated. Packaging: Standard keepcase; no insert. MSRP: $19.94 THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT IT: 3.5/5 Creepy characters inhabit a creepy London in this bizarre suspense flick directed by Otto Preminger. Carol Lynley heads the cast as Ann Lake, a young American single mother who has just moved to London with her 4-year-old daughter, Bunny. Ann tends to be a bit short with people, possibly leading viewers to question her mental stability right from the start. She is, fortunately, protected by her adoring but slightly hotheaded brother Steven (Keir Dullea), a local journalist. When Ann arrives at Bunny’s school to pick her up, there is no sign of Bunny. As it is her first day, nobody really knows who she is, and no one remembers seeing her. The trail runs cold with the eccentric old Miss Ford (Martita Hunt), the former co-headmistress of the school, and the police are called in. The fuzz hit the scene in the person of Superintendent Newhouse, coldly portrayed by Laurence Olivier. Newhouse tries to be personable, but his interactions often wind up feeling stiff and awkward. He and his men initiate the police procedural portion of the program, tracing Ann’s movements over the course of the day and asking all sorts of questions. Newhouse soon realizes that the answers to his questions don’t add up. Nobody besides Ann or Steven can remember ever having seen Bunny. What’s more, the girl’s possessions, including her passport, have all disappeared from their home. There is no evidence, aside from the word of Ann and Steven, that Bunny ever really existed! There are no comfortable characters in this film. The closest is perhaps played by Noel Coward, who clearly has fun with his role as elderly pervert Horatio Wilson. His kookiness brings a touch of comic relief to the otherwise dark story. But while he’s comfortable with himself, he has the opposite effect on everyone around him. His lecherous flirting and other, more deviant hobbies make him a prime suspect in the mystery. I’d venture a guess that in 1965, Miss Ford’s strongly implied homosexuality made her a suspect as well. While Ann may appear unbalanced enough to have made Bunny up, there are so many suspicious individuals surrounding her that it’s hard to dismiss the possibility that Bunny’s bizarre disappearance is due to nefarious goings-on. The film does a nice job of leading the viewer in a number of directions at once, not tipping its hand until it’s ready. The strange nature of Bunny Lake Is Missing may not appeal to everyone, and it does have some pacing issues. There are a few sequences, especially towards the end, that drag on a bit longer than they should, but for the most part, it moves along briskly. It’s an unusual film, examining a number of characters who are all off-kilter in their own ways. Lynley’s performance as Ann is a little flat, but the rest of the cast carry the story well. Those who are in the mood for something off the beaten path, and who are not easily creeped out, should have a good time with it. THE WAY I SEE IT: 3/5 The smooth widescreen image is generally pretty good. It’s not very grainy, and compression artifacts are not noticeable. A fair amount of print damage is present, which varies throughout the film – some scenes are in better shape than others, but for the most part, it’s in OK shape. My one real quibble with the picture is that the edge enhancement sometimes stands out like a sore thumb in high-contrast parts of scenes. Some aliasing is clearly visible on edge-enhanced diagonals. THE WAY I HEAR IT: 3.5/5 The Dolby Digital mono mix is just about right. Dialogue, music and effects are all nicely balanced. There are some very jarring ADR inserts, however. They make for some abrupt mid-sentence amplitude changes that mar an otherwise fine soundtrack. THE SWAG: 0.5/5 (rating combines quality and quantity) Extra features are missing! Sorry, I had to say that. A few trailers are included. Previews: Three trailers are included. They cannot be played individually; there is only a Play Previews button on the main menu, which plays all three in order (the chapter skip button will skip to the next one). The Forgotten and The Grudge are anamorphic and have DD5.1 audio, while Bonjour Tristesse is non-anamorphic widescreen and has DD1.0 audio. When the disc is first loaded, the trailer for The Forgotten plays automatically. It may be skipped. The Forgotten (2:32) The Grudge (1:27) Bonjour Tristesse (1:36) SUMMING IT ALL UP The Way I Feel About It: 3.5/5 The Way I See It: 3/5 The Way I Hear It: 3.5/5 The Swag: 0.5/5 Some may compare Bunny Lake Is Missing to the recent thriller The Forgotten, in which another young mother discovers that all evidence of her child’s existence seems to have disappeared, but the similarities end there. Bunny Lake, while not brilliant, is clever and gradually leads the viewer through a string of clues and colorful characters, while The Forgotten plays like a chase scene through a failed X-Files script. Bunny Lake’s audio and video quality are decent but unspectacular, and there isn’t really any added value in terms of extra features. The film, while not without its flaws, is definitely worth a look for fans of the offbeat, but is perhaps a bit too not-for-everyone to garner a recommended label.