BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Hangover Square (1945) - Blu-ray Review

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Hangover Square (1945) - Blu-ray

5 beersImagine you suffered from what the main character in this black-and-white atmospheric chiller suffers from when it comes to auditory vibrations.  A series of loud sounds – whether they are the breaking of dishes on the floor or the crashing of a car out on the street – sends you into a murderous state where anything is possible.  You remember your daily motions and yet go straight into autopilot doing all sorts of horrible things that you will not remember either in the morning or upon hearing yet another loud disagreeing noise.

Welcome to Hangover Square.  For a quick 77-minutes, the striking mood created by this masterpiece is matched only by the film’s many stellar performances.  This is a nerve-racking tale of neurosis and melody as one man finds himself the target of a beautiful woman’s desire to be famous and desired.  And he’s a fool for her.  She manipulates him all the way to her own funeral pyre on Guy Fawke’s Night.  And it is glorious. 

Directed by John Brahm, Hangover Square is a classic among the gaslit Victorian-era gothic thrillers out there.  It’s moody and full of shadows and features a wonderfully fluid camera that adds a psychological slant to the intrigue.  It is also a great ensemble effort, being a career high for George Sanders, Linda Darnell, and Laird Cregar (I Wake Up Screaming), who masterfully performs Bernard Hermann’s compositions on the piano, as it builds into a potboiler of psychosis.

Composer George Harvey Bone (Cregar) has just moved into Hangover Square.  And he’s making the rounds at the nightclubs and, thanks to a nervous condition in which jarring sounds makes him blackout, Dr. Allan Middleton (Sanders) who works at Scotland Yard.  This brings him to some of the shop owners in the area, too.

Let it be known that Death follows him. 

Surely, this gentle soul – capable of some very moving compositions – is not responsible for all the death and mayhem reported in the newspaper?!  We already know that harsh noise sends him into a delusional state where he can't remember what has happened or what he does, but - when you see the depravity on screen (and in the hands of Cregar) - it is truly shocking.  Truly, the final moments in this thriller - complete with a wonderfully-performed concert by the artist - will leave you speechless. 

And the revelation of what Bone was really doing will send chills.  

This production is full of long shadows and spine-tingling moments that I’m sure had audience members on the absolute edge of their seats; it definitely extends the influence of Germanic Expressionism into film noir.  And, due to its short running time, it doesn't waste a single second in creating something passionately deranged.  Co-starring Alan Napier, Faye Marlowe and Glenn Langan, Hangover Square is a disturbing and authentic look at one man’s psychosis as the world, represented here by the ongoing use of fire and flames, closes in on him. 

<pThankfully, Kino-Lorber has released the film on blu-ray so that we can forgo any needless viewings of all the inferior versions of the fog-soaked classic and just concentrate on this one.  This might be the final film in Cregar’s all-too-brief filmography, but it is a perfect pairing with The Lodger

Search the Square!

Hangover Square (1945) - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime:
77 mins
Director
: John Brahm
Writer:
Barré Lyndon
Cast:
Laird Cregar, Linda Darnell, George Sanders
Genre
: Crime | Drama | Noir
Tagline:
THE SCREEN'S MOST Terrifying LOVE STORY! EXCITING MYSTERY AND STRANGE EMOTION!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Look! It's old Ogilby's place!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox
Official Site:
Release Date:
February 7, 1945
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 21, 2017
Synopsis: A promising classical musician finds his life poisoned by a music hall dancer -- and by the strange gaps in his memory.

Hangover Square (1945) - Blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- November 21, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:

Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region A

Kino-Lorber presents Hangover Square on 1080p with stunning 4K results.  This black-and-white horror film relies on atmosphere to carry its suspense and, as it is loaded with deep blacks and white grays, the shadows must be well defined.  Thanks to the remastering effort and an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, all shadows are leveled appropriately, making this film a great little thriller.  Details are rich and textures are thick.  The fog filled streets, busy throughout the production with ravishing details, is a viscous and vivacious entity on the screen.  Skin tones are solid and black levels – never corrupted by the image – are magnified thanks to the fine efforts from the studio in salvaging this under appreciated flick.  The audio is supplied with a DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 mix.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There are TWO commentaries.  One is NEW and is recorded by screenwriter and film historian Steve Haberman and Faye Marlowe and the other features the late film critic and historian Richard Schickel discussing the film and Cregar’s talents at length.

Special Features:

Kino continues to please genre fans with their release of Hangover Square, completing the trio of films originally released on DVD as Fox Horror Classics.  They also don’t skimp on the supplemental material and provide the movie with two fascinating commentaries.  There is also a brief look at the career of Cregar and, as Vincent Price was quite close to Cregar, a fun vintage radio show performed by him.  Overall, this blu-ray is a quality release from Kino.

  • The Tragic Mask: The Laird Cregar Story (20 min)
  • Vintage Radio Adaptation (30 min)
  • Trailer

Hangover Square (1945) - Blu-ray

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