Midnight Lace (Blu-ray) (1960)

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Released 18-Sep-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1960
Running Time 108:01
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Miller
Studio
Distributor

Shock Entertainment
Starring Doris Day
Rex Harrison
Roddy McDowell
Herbert Marshall
Myrna Loy
John Gavin
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $19.95 Music Frank Skinner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 mono
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.93:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so Hitchcock must have felt quite flattered when this film, Midnight Lace, came out in 1961 with its blonde leading lady, use of light and shadows and mystery thriller approach. This film was directed by journeyman Hollywood director, David Miller and stars Doris Day and Rex Harrison. It was a successful film at the box office and was nominated for an Academy Award for costumes. Doris Day was also nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.

     The story involves American heiress, Kit (Doris Day), who has recently married London businessman Tony Preston (Rex Harrison) and moved to London. Heading home one night in a 'pea-souper', a voice threatens her in the fog as she crosses a park. The voice says that he knows who she is and will kill her as she sleeps. She runs home screaming and tells her supportive husband. He snaps into immediate action, getting Scotland Yard involved who find it hard to believe her. As the days pass the voice comes to her repeatedly in phone calls and other places. She begins to panic, becoming more and more hysterical. The plot introduces three 'suspects', the suave young builder working on the house next door, Brian Younger (John Gavin) who may be hiding a secret, the feckless son of the Preston's housekeeper, Malcolm Stanley (Roddy McDowell) and the possibly crooked employee of Tony's company, Charles Manning (Herbert Marshall). Also in the mix is Kit's Aunt Bea (Myrna Loy) who comes to visit. Who is setting out to scare Mrs Preston and what do they hope to gain from it? Or do they really want to kill her?

     This is an effective thriller which does a good job with its somewhat limited premise. It is certainly entertaining and quite well shot, without being up to the class of Hitchcock. As I mentioned above Day's performance at the time was award nominated, however, with the passing of the time it seems overly histrionic and melodramatic. This adds to the slightly unbelievable nature of the plot.

     Well worth a look for fans of 1960s thrillers.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The feature is presented in an approximately 1.90:1 aspect ratio which is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is 1080p HD encoded using the AVC codec. Despite this technical specification the video quality is not even up to good DVD standard. I compared the picture quality on this disc to some screenshots on DVD Beaver of the DVD version and that looks significantly better.

     The detail and clarity is very variable on this disc with lots of colour variation to add to the mix. At best the level of detail is reasonable but often there is too much grain and blotchy faces to contend with. Some scenes show a distinct lack of detail and seem darker than they should be. Shadow detail is also less than you expect on Blu-ray.

     The colour is also very variable with faces ranging (sometimes in the same scene) from red to white.

     In artefact terms, there was quite a bit of grain to be seen, sometimes quite obvious. I expect film grain on older films but there is too much here. There was also some obvious edge enhancement at times plus white spots.

     There are no subtitles available.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio quality is quite good.

     This disc contains an English soundtrack in DTS HD-MA 2.0 as the only audio option. The audio is quite good for a film of this age without hitting the heights possible for older films on the Blu-ray format.

     Dialogue is generally clear and easy to understand throughout.

     The score by Frank Skinner is nice and tense although adds to the melodrama at times.

     The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    One extra.

Menu

    The menu includes music.

Trailer (2:38)

    The trailer is 4x3 but much brighter than the film itself.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The only other edition which seems to exist of this Blu-ray currently is a German release which has little to distinguish it from this one. I cannot find a review to see if the transfer is different.

Summary

    An effective Hitchcock style thriller from 1961.

    The video quality is disappinting for Blu-ray.

    The audio quality is quite good.

    The extra is minor.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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