Terror by Night (1946) (Force Video)

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Released 16-Feb-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Mystery None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1946
Running Time 59:28
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Roy William Neill

Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Basil Rathbone
Nigel Bruce
Alan Mowbray
Dennis Hoey
Mary Forbes
Renee Godfrey
Frederick Worlock
Gerald Hamer
Janet Murdoch
Leyland Hodgson
Billy Bevan
Geoffrey Steele
Boyd Davis
Case ?
RPI ? Music Ralph Freed
Richard Hageman
Leigh Harline

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The 13th Sherlock Holmes film starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce was also the second last. This is not surprising when you see the film, made on the usual ultra-low budget, as it is not as entertaining as its predecessors. This episode sees Holmes and Watson engaged by Lady Carstairs and her son Roland to help prevent the theft of the fabulous diamond the Star of Rhodesia on board the express to Scotland. On board are assorted types, like Inspector Lestrade, Watson's friend and old school chum Duncan-Bleek (Alan Mowbray), a young woman ferrying her dead mother's body (Renee Godfrey), a professor who studies mathematics (Frederick Worlock), and the ticket collector (Billy Bevan). When the diamond is stolen en route and Roland dies mysteriously, Holmes suspects foul play and the involvement of Colonel Moran, evil henchman of Moriarty.

    While made on a shoestring, director Roy William Neill still manages a few atmospheric touches and some suspense. But the script is underdeveloped and the running time seems longer than just under an hour. The acting varies from very good, especially Mowbray, to abysmal. Renee Godfrey has an appalling English accent and her acting range involves an enigmatic smile, and nothing else. The aptly-named Skelton Knaggs also makes a brief appearance. Recommended for fans of the series only.

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Transfer Quality


    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, close to the original 1.37:1.

    The video quality is quite poor. The transfer is not sharp. The original material being in the public domain, it has been duplicated many times, and this transfer looks like it is from a print several generations from the master. The image is quite blurry, though I did find it watchable.

    The transfer is a little dark and lacking in detail, particularly in the heavy shadows that are used to make the sets look authentic, or at least to cover up the cheapness of them.

    There is some low level noise which makes a lot of the black areas of the image have a sort of white sheen to them. At 6:06, the image breaks up and part of the previous shot is superimposed over the current shot - obviously a problem in the digital mastering. The original print material was in average condition, with a plethora of artefacts in the form of dirt, specks, scratches and splice marks, and every ten minutes there are two or three large reel change markings.

    The film is presented on a single layered disc with no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The sole audio track is Dolby Digital 1.0.

    Dialogue is audible, but to hear it clearly you need to turn the volume up, which just goes to highlight the high level of hiss on the soundtrack. A pretty disappointing audio transfer.

    The music score is compiled from Universal's library of music, and is reasonably effective if lacking in the polish that a specially composed score would have.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    No extras are provided.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film has been restored by UCLA, and the restored version has been released by MPI in Region 1 both as part of a four disc set called The Sherlock Holmes Collection Volume Three and separately. Reviews indicate that the image quality is far superior to any previous release, and this would be the edition of choice. Note that there are three volumes containing all of the Universal Holmes films, and in each set one of the films carries an audio commentary (but not this one).

    There are other releases of this film in Region 1, but the one above is clearly head, shoulders and torso above the rest.


    A pretty poor entry in this series, you would be better advised to get the Region 1 disc if you want to own this on DVD.

    The video quality is very poor.

    The audio quality is poor

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Friday, June 18, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596 for surround channels; Yamaha AX-590 as power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Richter Harlequin; Rear: Pioneer S-R9; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Another piece of crap from Force -
Umbrella collection is better -
Loss of copyright - Brent R (bio-zet is especially formulated for front loading machines)