Terror by Night (1946) (Force Video)
|Year Of Production||1946|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Roy William Neill|
Beyond Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 1.0 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.37:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
No extras are provided.
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.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Yamaha RX-V596 for surround channels; Yamaha AX-590 as power amp for mains|
|Speakers||Main: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Richter Harlequin; Rear: Pioneer S-R9; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175|