Halloween feature 50 days, 50 slays! Day 26 and 25: What we dont see THE UNINVITED and CAT PEOPLE

So with 30 days left, we reach our first of three label doubles. The first is the outstanding releases from the premier label The Criterion Collection. This sees two great slow burn scary films from the 1940s that are filled with hues and tones of all the psychological, supernatural horror films of today. Conventions are set here and done so well as to make everyone who watches it leap from their seat in cold sweat…

26 – THE UNINVITED (CRITERION COLLECTION)

WHATS IT ABOUT?

Roderick “Rick” Fitzgerald (Ray Milland) is a composer who has done very well for himself. He also has just invested in a gothic seacoast mansion that he got very cheaply. Very cheaply indeed. The problem is that he didn’t ask a simple question. Why did I get this house so cheap? As the nights draw in, The mystery of the house’s unsavoury past unfolds.

WHY SHOULD WE WATCH IT FOR HALLOWEEN?

Well its that feeling of dread that you get from the first creaking door, to the slow burn of doubt and dismay you get at the séance, which makes THE UNINVITED a masterpiece. I cant say that its not for everyone but I can say, it is up there with the best of the slow burners. Add to that the brilliant Milland, in a paired down performance. It all connects together to add a note of quite menace for the viewer.

WHAT SHOULD WE LOOK OUT FOR?

A lot of things from the film itself, can be gleaned from sitting down first and consuming the interview with director Allen. Farran Smith Nehme seems to ask questions pertinent to the audience consumption but also interesting ones that aren’t all academically dry and dull. Then you add in the real value extra, that visual essay by Michael Almereyda adds so many layers to the film by placing it within a location of genre, brand, movement and even the audience expectation. The deliver at the end of essay, perfectly brings everything together, without missing a beat. Finally, listen to the two different radio versions of the film. I prefer the later 49 version but both are great for a cold, rainy night…

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • New 2K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New visual essay by filmmaker Michael Almereyda
  • Two radio adaptations, from 1944 and 1949, both starring Ray Milland
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme and a 1997 interview with director Lewis Allen

BUY IT NOW

https://store.hmv.com/store/film-tv/blu-ray/the-uninvited-the-criterion-collection?gclid=CjwKCAjw49qKBhAoEiwAHQVTo0gF4EExcffmKR8gia2mH_nPX1MjUf_Lta2QkZaiUTQPvDWCEIxL2xoC9lgQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

25 – CAT PEOPLE (CRITERION)

WHATS IT ABOUT?

Central Park Zoo, New York City. The cry of the night in the middle of the day. Fashion illustrator Irena Dubrovna (Simone Simon) cant stop sketching a black panther. Caged in. She feels his pain. Marine engineer Oliver Reed (Kent Smith) is also walking around the cages, he sees her, he seems intrigued and starts a conversation. She is direct. Invites him to her apartment for tea, he goes and so begins a nightmare of ancient legends, metamorphosis and dreams.

WHY SHOULD WE WATCH IT FOR HALLOWEEN?

The legend is famous. Infamous. Film theory will place onus on the viewer to decipher or translate. Tell, don’t show. Keep the monster until the end if you can. Shadows and darkness are more scary than any suit. Val Lewton was a genius in terms of cinematics and abided to all of these laws of cine motion.. He understood the dynamics of that interact viewer with viewed. CAT PEOPLE is his masterpiece and you are well suggested and correctly informed to watch it.

WHAT SHOULD WE LOOK OUT FOR?

In one word, the documentary on Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows. I have always wanted to make documentaries on the great work but also analyse great art works and, well this is both. It runs for 90 minutes, details about 20 mins on CAT PEOPLE but equally, digests the full lexicon of the producer. It also details the films strengths and why Lewton did what he did, to make it so. For the cinematic minded, it is solid and for the new viewer, it is revelatory. After watching that, watch Interview with director Jacques Tourneur from 1979. He aged physically, but his mind was as sharp as a tack. He knew what he wanted from CAT PEOPLE and when pushed, delivered with an aesthetic one two.

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2005 featuring film historian Gregory Mank, with excerpts from an audio interview with actor Simone Simon
  • Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows, a 2008 feature-length documentary that explores the life and career of the legendary Hollywood producer
  • Interview with director Jacques Tourneur from 1979
  • New interview with cinematographer John Bailey about the look of the film
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien

 

BUY IT NOW

https://store.hmv.com/store/film-tv/blu-ray/cat-people-the-criterion-collection?gclid=CjwKCAjw49qKBhAoEiwAHQVTozjdtTkKti9jU1ZH3-VfwSVIOKNb900YF5rpy5XVNs5sOM9WXkQx3hoC0moQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.