DVD Review HTF REVIEW: The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Scott Kimball, Nov 15, 2005.

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  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
    The Strange Love of Martha Ivers



    Studio: Paramount

    Year: 1946

    Rated: NR

    Length: 115 minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

    Audio: Dolby Digital English Mono

    English Subtitles; Closed Captioned

    Special Features: None

    Suggested Retail Price: $14.99 USD


    Release Date: October 25, 2005

    The Feature
    I had never seen or heard of this film before receiving the disc for review. It is nice to be pleasantly surprised by a catalog film. This is one of those times.

    The Strange Love of Martha Ivers stars Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott, and Kirk Douglas (in his feature film debut).

    Directed by Lewis Milestone, this film fits mostly in the noir category, but not quite so neatly.

    Stanwyck is perfectly cast as the title character - a tough, spoiled, rich heiress married to Walter, an alcoholic district attorney (Douglas). The two harbor a dark secret from their childhood days.

    Enter Sam (Heflin), an old childhood friend of Martha’s. When Sam begins to ask legal favors of Walter, Martha begins to suspect that Sam knows more of their secret than he is letting on. Are the legal favors Sam is asking for nothing more than blackmail? Will Sam expose the awful truth?

    Martha can’t allow that to happen - and although she harbors an old flame for Sam, she begins plotting against him in an effort to keep her secret.

    The Strange Love of Martha Ivers is an excellent noir film with gothic overtones, expertly directed by Milestone, solidly performed by the entire cast, and with a memorable score by Miklos Rosza.

    Video
    For the most part, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers presents a strong image in its full screen format. The print used is mostly free of dust, scratches and other debris. Grain is minimal. Detail is good overall. Black levels are strong and shadow detail is acceptable. There are parts of the film that exhibit noticeable density fluctuations, but most of the time it is stable. There are also a few scenes that have some white point clipping, but for most of the film, contrast is fine. This is not an exceptional transfer, by any means - but it is good for a catalog title of this period. While I haven’t seen the previous public domain release of this title on DVD, it is my understanding that this version is considerably improved.

    Audio
    The audio is presented in its original monaural form. Frequency response is pretty good, delivering solid dialog that is always clear and natural. Music is well presented. There is an audible background hiss which is at times somewhat distracting.

    Special Features
    None.

    Final Thoughts
    Overall, an adequate but imperfect transfer of an interesting noir film from Paramount’s back catalog.
     
  2. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Producer
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    Thanks Scott!

    I have the Image Ent. DVD and I will be curious to know if this is worth an upgrade.
     
  3. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    I had an older version too. But considering the under $10 price it was a no brainer to buy the Paramount version.
     
  4. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Supporting Actor

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    I've only seen this one on TCM, and was entranced. I'm awaiting my copy from DDD now.

    I put a film like this one in a sub-category I call "melodrama noir" - same as I categorize Clash by Night.

    Doug
     
  5. Will Krupp

    Will Krupp Screenwriter

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    DEFINITELY worth the upgrade!
     
  6. dave bula

    dave bula Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm actually surprised to see this release from Paramount, conisdering that this is a public domain title. I paid a buck at Shopko recently for a Kirk Douglas "double feature" disc with both Strange Love Of Martha Ivers and Big Trees, another film that I enjoy a great deal. Yes, the quality is poor, but you can't beat the price.

    The only other case I can think of where a major company put out a nice edition of a title that was already widely available in the public domain was McLintock. And that one was very nicely restored. Also Paramount. Hmmm.

    Are there any other examples of major companies "covering" public domain titles?
     
  7. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    Columbia - His Girl Friday
    MGM - He Walked By Night, Made For Each Other
     
  8. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    Some early Hitchcock films (The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes) are available in both PD and Criterion Collection versions. Quite a contrast in price and quality.

    I just got The Strange Love of Martha Ivers from DDD yesterday. Never saw it before, but the price was right and the reviews are good.
     
  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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  10. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Producer
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    Thanks fellas!

    I will be upgrading!
     

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