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Matt Hough

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Matt Hough submitted a new blog post

The Spiral Staircase (1946) Blu-ray Review
spiralstairstop.jpg


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Robert Crawford

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Matt,

Thank you for this fine review. You probably know that I love this movie and will cherish it as one of my all-time favorite thrillers. I agree with your recommendation. Film-making at its best.
 

Malcolm R

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Nice review. I've been wanting to pick this up, but there have been so many sales and specials going on with other titles I want that I just keep pushing it back. Maybe next year.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I've never seen this before but it sounds great - will have to add this to my list. Thanks Matt!
 

lark144

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Thanks for the review, Matt! This has long been one of my favorites from the forties as well. I just received this today, as I made the plunge when the price went below $21 on amazon. I've only sampled the disc thus far, but what I've seen goes way beyond my expectations. Very rich and deep blacks, with a marvelous grey scale and contrast. It's not perfectly pristine, but except for some stray tiny flecks which are hardly noticeable, the image is extremely clean and very dynamic. Those inky blacks makes one feel you could walk right into the screen. Also, because the image is so clean and the detail is fairly accurate, one is able to notice not only the large scale dynamics of Nicholas Musuraca's use of deep shadows that climb the walls and become almost characters in the film themselves due to placing the lighting on the floor, but one can also see more subtle details, for instance the varied uses of different kind of scrims over lighting sources to illuminate Dorothy McGuire's face, that are not only beautiful in themselves, but also help to reveal her emotional state by changing the kind of filters and source of illumination used as the film progresses.
 

Todd Mattraw

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I usually wait for Kino titles to drop in price, but I grabbed this last week at around $20, received it Saturday afternoon, and watched it Saturday night --- it is one of the best purchases I've made, worth every penny, a really great (and somewhat overlooked) film and it made for a wonderfully enjoyable October Saturday night. Dorothy McGuire is really marvelous.
 

Matt Hough

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Now that we have this fine looking Blu-ray with a terrific audio commentary, I'm sure I'll choose this 1940s black and white suspense movie to revisit as often as I do The Maltese Falcon, Murder My Sweet, Notorious, and Out of the Past. If I had Blu-rays of Sorry, Wrong Number, The Lady in the Lake, and a few others, life would be close to perfection.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Now that we have this fine looking Blu-ray with a terrific audio commentary, I'm sure I'll choose this 1940s black and white suspense movie to revisit as often as I do The Maltese Falcon, Murder My Sweet, Notorious, and Out of the Past. If I had Blu-rays of Sorry, Wrong Number, The Lady in the Lake, and a few others, life would be close to perfection.
I agree with you there. I've been tempted to buy Sorry, Wrong Number on iTunes, but that HD pricing hasn't reached my purchasing threshold yet. I try to watch my DVD of "The Lady in the Lake" every Christmas season. That's fight, a film noir is a Christmas time movie for me.
 

Robert Crawford

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Why don't you watch Christmas Holiday then? That very stylish film ticks both boxes.
I've heard about that film, but never seen it. It's never been released in our Region on disc. That would make quite a Christmas/Film Noir double feature.
 

Matt Hough

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There are some excerpts from Christmas Holiday on YouTube, but I think there is some kind of rights problem with the movie. I have a lot of Deanna Durbin films on tape and disc but not this one.
 

Robert Crawford

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There are some excerpts from Christmas Holiday on YouTube, but I think there is some kind of rights problem with the movie. I have a lot of Deanna Durbin films on tape and disc but not this one.
That's unfortunate as I really would like to see this film.
 

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I've heard about that film, but never seen it. It's never been released in our Region on disc. That would make quite a Christmas/Film Noir double feature.
I was very disappointed when Kino said they had asked Universal for this title and had been turned down. I think it's a marvellous film. It's based on a novel by Somerset Maugham that doesn't really work and Herman Mankiewicz's screenplay is a big improvement.

Christmas Holiday 4.jpg


Robert Siodmak directs superbly and it's easy to see why Deanna Durbin wanted to continue with roles like that and quit the business when Universal wouldn't countenance the idea. Both she and Gene Kelly do well outside their usual range.

Christmas Holiday 6.jpg
 
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Watched another fine Robert Siodmak film noir last night - the exellent 'Kiss of Death'.
Has 'The Spiral Staircase' been restored from the original negative, including the RKO trademark, which had for later re-issues been replaced by the Selznick logo?
 

Matt Hough

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Watched another fine Robert Siodmak film noir last night - the exellent 'Kiss of Death'.
Has 'The Spiral Staircase' been restored from the original negative, including the RKO trademark, which had for later re-issues been replaced by the Selznick logo?
The RKO logo is definitely there with no mention of David Selznick that I recall.
 

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