Welcome to Big Screen Classics, a blog devoted to discussions and reviews of classic and not-so-classic Hollywood movies on both the big screen and your home screen. Plus a whole lot more: movie soundtracks, home theater technology, and whatever else crosses my mind. Your comments are welcomed and encouraged. Your host - Pete Apruzzese. Please note that we are not affiliated with TCM's "Big Screen Classics" movie series or the Lafayette Theatre.
March 23, 2016
Blu-ray Review: "Experiment in Terror" from Twilight Time
Distributed by Twilight Time under license from Sony Pictures
Video Resolution: 1080p high definition
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 widescreen; Film Audio: DTS-HD Master 5.1
Written by The Gordons, based on their novel "Operation Terror"
Music by Henry Mancini
Starring Lee Remick, Glenn Ford, Stefanie Powers
Review note - Very strange, I found this in my draft folder and realized I never published it so made a couple for quick revisions and here you go.
Experiment in Terror (1962) is director/producer Blake Edwards’s chilling excursion into atmospheric neo-noir, focusing on a San Francisco working girl (Lee Remick) stalked by a wheezing psychopath intent on forcing her to rob the bank where she works…or else. Fearing for the safety of her younger sister (Stefanie Powers) even more than for her own, our heroine pluckily makes secret contact with an FBI agent (Glenn Ford), hoping to foil the psycho before he can carry out his sinister threats.
About the film
Experiment in Terror is slick thriller brought to the screen with the best that Hollywood could offer. Featuring a strong and intelligent female lead, especially for its time, it has aged very well. The villain is a creepy psychopath who wouldn't be out of place in a David Lynch film (check out the Main Title sequence linked below for another Lynch reference) - and who might have inspired Dirty Harry's Scorpio Killer. I don't feel I should discuss too much more of the film's plot as it unfolds very deliberately and remains extremely suspenseful.
About the disc
Sony has provided the independent label Twilight Time with an impressive 1080p high definition transfer in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The contrast and sharpness in the HD rendering of this black & white film are exemplary. Coupled with artifact-free authoring/mastering and you get a near reference quality image - this is one of the best high definition black & white film transfers I've viewed. The film's audio track is a new DTS-HD Master 5.1 remix (all original release prints were in mono) that uses the original stereo music recordings and mono dialogue/effects tracks. The stereo separation and surround usage is minor; the music, not surprisingly, is the chief beneficiary of the remix, particularly the creepy organ chord that plays as an undercurrent for the villain. Henry Mancini's menacing score, one of his best dramatic works, sounds terrific. It would have been ideal if Twilight Time had also included the original mono track (especially in lossless format), but Sony might not have offered that to them for this disc.
Extras include an isolated music track (in DTS-HD Master 2.0 stereo) and a quartet of trailers and TV spots that, surprisingly, do not spoil the plot. Julie Kirgo supplies a thoughtful essay about the film in the eight page insert, though it does contains major spoilers so don't read before watching the film.
This disc gets my highest recommendation - it's a limited edition of 3000 copies, and as of this date, is still available at Screen Archives (link above).