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 Posted:   Aug 8, 2013 - 11:52 AM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

British distributors Arrow Video have officially announced and detailed their upcoming Blu-ray release of exploitation maestro Roger Corman's The Fall of the House of Usher (1960), starring Vincent Price, Mark Damon, and Myrna Fahey. The release will be available for purchase online and in shops across the United Kingdom on August 26th.

When Philip Winthrop (Mark Damon) visits his fiancée Madeleine Usher (Myrna Fahey) in her crumbling family mansion, her brother Roderick (Price) tries to talk him out of the wedding, explaining that the Usher family is cursed and that extending its bloodline will only prolong the agony. Madeleine wants to elope with Philip, but neither of them can predict what ruthless lengths Roderick will go to in order to keep them apart.

Richard Matheson's intelligent, literate script is enhanced by Floyd Crosby's stylish widescreen cinematography, but it's Vincent Price's anguished conviction in one of his signature roles that makes the film so chillingly memorable over half a century on.

Special Features:
High-definition presentation of the feature, transferred and restored using the original elements provided by MGM.
Original uncompressed 2.0 Mono PCM Audio
Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio commentary with director and producer Roger Corman
Legend to Legend: An interview with director and former Corman apprentice Joe Dante
Interview with author and Gothic horror expert Jonathan Rigby
Fragments of the House of Usher: A Specially-commissioned video essay by critic and filmmaker David Cairns examining Corman's film in relation to Poe's story
Archival interview with Vincent Price
Original Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys [Standard Release only]
Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by author and critic Tim Lucas and an extract from Vincent Price's long out of print autobiography, illustrated with original archive stills and posters
Note: In addition to the standard release, Arrow Video will also release a Limited SteelBook Edition of The Fall of the House of Usher.

 Posted:   Sep 9, 2013 - 6:39 PM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)


During the past year or so, Arrow Video has become a favourite label for British genre fans with their lovingly rendered, lavishly packaged editions of classic movies. The news that they were to release The Fall of the House of Usher was greeted with howls of delight and it’s good to report that the anticipation has been worthwhile.

The film is presented in its correct Cinemascope ratio of 2.35:1 and the transfer is utterly breathtaking. I seem to do little else but praise Arrow these days but what can I do when confronted with this kind of exceptional work. The first thing you notice is the exceptional colour reproduction, producing an image which is a treat for the eyes. Reds, oranges and blues are the particular delights but every colour is accurately represented. The level of grain is entirely appropriate throughout, although it does vary depending on the quality of the source. No trace of intrusive DNR work and although there is a small amount of damage and wearing, this shouldn’t put anyone off what is certainly the best presentation of this film I’ve ever seen. I wish that the various companies putting out Hammer movies would look at this and see what Eastman Color is supposed to look like. The soundtrack, which comes in LPCM Mono 2.0, is also excellent and a lot more powerful than you might suppose. Ambient sounds come across particularly well – creakings and breathings from the house and its environs are effective – and the dialogue is crisp and clear. Les Baxter’s score comes across nicely but is never allowed to dominate.

As usual, Arrow have made a real effort to create an extras package which really enhances the main feature. The audio commentary track by Roger Corman is the same one which appeared on the Region 1 MGM DVD – but didn’t make it over to this side of the pond – and it’s a good one. Corman has plenty to say about his way of making movies and his sense of humour keeps things light and amusing. He’s also unfailingly generous, even to people whom he has good cause to criticise. Equally gripping are two lengthy discussions on the film, one with Jonathan Rigby and the other by Joe Dante. Rigby focuses in some depth on the making of the film and its context – if you’ve read his books you’ll recognise Rigby’s characteristic mix of dry humour and impeccable scholarship – while Dante – who worked for Corman, first producing trailers and subsequently as a director - looks at the Poe cycle as a whole and the director’s method of working. Fragments of the House of Usher is a ten minute visual essay by David Cairns which has several points of interest but some may find Cairns’ voice a bit off-putting. I particularly liked his observation on how filming indoors makes the film a “stiflingly interior study of madness.” Finally we get the original trailer and a rather lovely eleven minute interview which Vincent Price gave for French television in 1986. This is presented in English with French subtitles and seems to have been intended to publicise Price’s appearance in Basil – The Great Mouse Detective.

Optional English subtitles are provided for the main feature and the disc comes with a booklet containing new writing on the film.

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