BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Val Lewton Double Feature - The Ghost Ship/Bedlam: The Warner Archive Collection (1943, 1946)

Val Lewton Double Feature - The Ghost Ship/Bedlam: The Warner Archive Collection

It’s time once again to hop in the WAY BACK MACHINE and go . . . way back to another age of Hollywood HIGHS and HORROR!  

Pre-Code Hollywood fascinates me.  There are a lot of grand and wonderful films reflecting the true culture of the time period from 1930 – 1934.  Man, it must have been a wild time. These films, featuring strong sexual innuendos, different races mingling together, strong female characters, lots of skin, malicious murders, and horrors upon horrors of grisly situations still resonate.  

"While not classic horror titles, you can definitely get your Val Lewton groove on with this HD upgrade from Warner Archive!"


But SOMETHING AWESOME happened in the years that followed the Pre-Code era when it came to horror movies, Universal Horror in the 1940s and the 1950s had their franchises, of course, but the feeling that these were classic films had faded, for the most part.  The Gothic influences were gone; however, the influence of Val Lewton and the work he did for RKO made pulp horror very, very American and very, very popular and, attracted to the sensationalism of higher body counts and the appeal of putting these demented tales in cities, proved impossible to resist.  

Lewton continued to experiment with horror themes, film noir elements, and dabbled, as seen in this collection, in some bizarre science fiction elements, seeing just how far the audience would let them go when it comes to breaking laws and bending science fact to bring about some very weird thrillers, as highlighted by the double feature presented here by The Warner Archive Collection.

With Isle of the Dead making its blu-ray debut this year, it is only fitting that the Warner Archive Collection also release a Val Lewton Double Feature which includes 1943’s The Ghost Ship, starring Russell Wade, and 1946’s Bedlam, starring Boris Karloff.  Both films are directed by Mark Robson, a Canadian-born film director, producer, and editor who is best remembered for Valley of the Dolls and his work with Lewton.Val Lewton Double Feature - The Ghost Ship/Bedlam: The Warner Archive Collection

The Ghost Ship, starring Richard Dix, Edith Barrett, Ben Bard, Edmund Glover, the aforementioned Wade, and Skelton Knaggs, is a psychological thriller that deals with an unbalanced captain at sea who might just be risking the lives of everyone on board the Altair for the sheer thrill of it all.  While the crew is fiercely loyal to Captain Stone, murders keep happening and one young merchant marine can’t help but be eyeing the crazed captain as the one responsible for the death!

In Bedlam, Lewton produces his final horror film, and gives audiences yet another stylish horror film in which St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum - known as "Bedlam”, an asylum for the mentally ill - takes center stage.  Or is it the practices of Boris Karloff as the director which take center stage?  He’s doing some unthinkable things to his “guests” in the asylum and it is going to be up to Nell Bowen (Anna Lee) to put an end to those practices.  But how can she do it from the inside?  Because that’s exactly where Master George Sims puts her! 

While not classic horror titles, you can definitely get your Val Lewton groove on with this HD upgrade from Warner Archive!

4/5 beers

Val Lewton Double Feature - The Ghost Ship/Bedlam: The Warner Archive Collection

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Warner Bros.
Available on Blu-ray
- October 12, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

A Val Lewton Double Feature?  This is a no-brainer to own.  With Isle of the Dead making its blu-ray debut this year, it is only fitting that the Warner Archive Collection also release a Val Lewton Double Feature which includes 1943’s The Ghost Ship, starring Russell Wade, and 1946’s Bedlam, starring Boris Karloff.  Both films are directed by Mark Robson, a Canadian-born film director, producer, and editor who is best remembered for Valley of the Dolls and his work with Lewton.

Video:

With new 2K scans, these films – all in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio - have been preserved as best as possible. The black-and-white photography is ripe with details and depth, highlighting the scope of the productions. There are lots of sumptuous looks at cityscapes, houses, laboratories, and swamps, too.  Interiors are solid, too, with lots of strong details. The cast and their faces are perfectly captured by the black and white photography; lines and imperfections add great character to the individual stories, too.

Audio:

Both titles come with strong English 1.0 DTS-HD MA tracks to help create the spooky moods needed for a total enjoyment of these flicks.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is an audio commentary with Tom Weaver for Bedlam that has been ported over from the original DVD release.

Special Features:

Nothing new has been added to this release.

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3.5/5 stars

 

Art

Val Lewton Double Feature - The Ghost Ship/Bedlam: The Warner Archive Collection

 

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