And Soon the Darkness (1970)
|Year Of Production||1970|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Robert Fuest|
Universal Pictures Home Video
Hana Maria Pravda
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Jane and Cathy (Pamela Franklin and Michele Dotrice) are two English girls taking a cycling holiday in the French countryside. After an argument by a particularly deserted stretch of road, Jane storms off and leaves Cathy basking in the sun. While Jane ends up in the next town, where the café owner's only two words of English are "bad road", spooky things start to happen to Cathy. When Jane returns to the spot she left Cathy, there is no sign of her. Jane enlists the aid of motorscooter-riding and English-speaking Frenchman Paul (Sandor Elès) whom they had passed earlier in the day, and who turns out to be from the Sureté, but following some erratic behaviour Jane soon suspects that Paul is somehow involved in Cathy's disappearance. However, none of the other characters speak English, so Jane is unable to get anyone to take her plight seriously.
This is a disappointing thriller with little in the way of thrills and plenty of long boring patches. I think the basic fault lies with the script, as the acting is reasonable and the direction of Robert Fuest makes something of the available material, with a few scary moments of the brooding horror kind. The problem is that while the situation is believable and some of the usual pitfalls of this type of film are avoided, the secondary characters act inexplicably and their motivations are undeveloped. It is pretty obvious what is going to happen and I guessed the outcome long before the end, with the obvious red herrings telegraphing the final revelation. The script was written by Brian Clemens (The Avengers) and Terry Nation (Doctor Who), who have both done better work than this.
The film is being released on a single disc that also contains the complete feature The Mind Benders, which is reviewed separately.
The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, close to the original 1.85:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.
This is a sharp transfer, quite clear and detailed. Visually, it probably does not look much different than it did in the cinema, taking into account the film artefacts present. Both contrast and shadow detail are good and the lighting is natural-looking, even though almost the entire film is shot out of doors and in daylight, which can often cause problems. There were some sequences that looked just about perfect, with no visible issues whatsoever, but unfortunately this does not extend throughout the entire feature.
Colour is also fine, with natural flesh tones and some vibrant colours. Black levels are good, though there is not really much of this colour in evidence.
There are some minor cases of aliasing at times, but these are very low grade. Grain levels are reasonable, but there were a couple of times that the grain was excessive, such as at 6:29. Edge enhancement is visible at 9:06.
Film artefacts are omnipresent, with small white flecks and spots visible in nearly every shot. There are also some yellow scratches on the film at 0:25.
This is a dual-layered disc with each entire feature on its own layer, so there is no layer change during either feature. No subtitles are provided.
The sole audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, in a mixture of English and French.
The audio transfer is pretty good, with clear dialogue and no hiss or distortion. While the audio is of course not as good as one might expect of a recent film, there is nothing here to distract the viewer from the matters at hand on screen.
The music score is by Laurie Johnson, and between the opening and closing credits the score is a typical thriller effort, with the usual sinister-sounding chords indicating where the suspense should be. The music over the credits is another matter. It sounds like it should have been used for one of those groovy Swinging Sixties films, and seems completely out of place here.
|Surround Channel Use|
Apart from this being a double-feature DVD, there are no extras.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 comes from those American specialists in British horror Anchor Bay, and has a swathe of extras (though not with the complete additional feature film that comes with the Region 4). The following is included on the Region 1:
If you want the best edition of this film, the Region 1 is recommended.
A tedious and obvious thriller, with a few spooky moments.
The video quality is pretty good.
The audio quality is very good.
|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.|
|Speakers||Main: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175|