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Red House, The
Release Date(s)1947 (April 24, 2012)
Studio(s)United Artists (HD Cinema Classics)
The Red House, one of a number of 1940s films that has really only been available on lackluster public domain DVD editions, has been granted a reprieve by Film Chest, by virtue of the company's recent Blu-ray release.
The film, a 1947 United Artists release originally, and sometimes referred to as a film noir, stars Edward G. Robinson as moody farmer Pete Morgan who lives with his sister (Judith Anderson) and an adopted daughter. Adjacent to his farm is a wooded area including a mysterious red house that may be cursed and a possible source of seemingly strange noises in the night that Pete warns all away from visiting. The connection to film noir is tenuous indeed, the results being more in the area of moody melodrama and thoughtful horror. As such, the film is a very atmospheric experience and well rewards one's 100-minute investment of time. Both Robinson and Anderson deliver very fine work and the film also offers the chance to see early work by budding players of the time such as Rory Calhoun, Julie London, Allene Roberts, and Lon McCallister. The film doesn't stint in crew quality either, with the reliable Delmer Daves handling the direction and Miklos Rozsa the score. Film Chest has released a 1.37:1 Blu-ray version of The Red House, transferred from original 35mm elements. It offers a rather scrubbed look belying some apparently liberal use of DNR. Despite that, the image is quite sharp and offers acceptable contrast except for some minor blown-out whites that can diminish the film's atmospheric look on occasion. The results are far and away the best visual presentation the film has ever received for the home video market. A DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track delivers clear understandable dialogue although the overall sound seems slightly distorted. There is no hiss, but one does detect the occasional pop. Supplements include audio commentary by William Hare that doesn't go much beyond describing what you can see for yourself on the screen. There's a restoration demo and a reconstructed trailer. Recommended.