Experiment In Terror (1962/Sony/Columbia/Twilight Time Limited Edition
B Sound: B- Extras:
C+ Films: B
NOTE: This Blu-ray is limited to 3,000 copies
and is available exclusively at the Screen Archives website which can be
reached at the link at the end of this review.
the late Blake Edwards is now known for comedies, he was capable of serious
films and thrillers, among other genres.
This included thrillers and in the wake of Hitchcock’s masterpiece Psycho (1960), every studio in Hollywood and beyond
jumped on the bandwagon to capitalize on what was a tremendous
blockbuster. In the case of Columbia
Pictures, these films included Arthur Penn’s Mickey One (1963), William Castle’s ultimate Psycho take-off, the hilarious, bizarre, impressive Homicidal (1962) and Edward’s thriller Experiment In Terror (1962) which were
all shot in beautiful black and white film.
But it is Edwards’ film making it to Blu-ray now in a terrific new
limited edition from Twilight Time.
begins very quickly as a young bank teller (Lee Remick in her early glory)
comes home at night only to be grabbed and threatened by an unseen man that she
will rob the bank of a small fortune for him or she or her sister (a young
Stephanie Powers, soon of Columbia’s creepy thriller Die! Die! My Darling, reviewed elsewhere on this site) will be hurt
or killed. She is being watched and
terrorized, but a failed call to the police gets the attention of a smart
detective (Glenn Ford in one of his better performances) starts to investigate
and starts to uncover that the call was not a fraud.
there, the story develops in layers, smartly written by Gordon & Mildred
Gordon from their novel Operation Terror and Edwards is more
than up to the task of making this as suspenseful and rich as possible. The film looks and sounds great going on 51
years and in some ways, does not seem to have aged at all, remaining as
potently creepy as it ever was. With
some still-shocking moments and a supporting cast that includes Ned Glass (Charade), Clifton James (Live & Let Die), and uncredited Ray
Kellogg and the Ross Martin (the original Twilight
Zone and original Wild, Wild West),
the film achieves an intensity that makes it a sadly forgotten thriller.
been a very long time since I have seen it, but Experiment In Terror is the kind of first-class thriller Hollywood
rarely seems to be able to make anymore, the kind that launches careers and
where we get to know the characters and their world in a palpable way. As a matter of fact, I would consider it at
least a minor genre classic and the kind of film the makers could be proud of
and helped make Columbia Pictures a major studio for good. It is definitely an influential work and one
long overdue for rediscovery. Get it in
this limited run copy while you can!
1.85 X 1 black and white digital High Definition image transfer is from a solid
HD master with excellent Video Black, nice Video White and terrific Gray Scale,
showing how the monochrome stocks had become faster as the original era of Film
Noir (that concluded in 1958) gave way to a new look in thrillers. Shot by Director of Photography Phillip H. Lathrop,
he had worked with Russell Metty on Welles’ Touch Of Evil (1958, reviewed elsewhere on this site) and that
influence is strongly here, but Lathrop is more than formidable on his
own. He was DP on many of Edwards’ films
including the original Pink Panther
(1964, also reviewed on Blu-ray on this site) as well as John Boorman’s
innovative Point Blank (1967),
Sydney Pollack’s They Shoot Horses,
Don’t They? and Walter Hill’s The
This is a
solid demo-quality transfer of a black and white film the way they should look
and looks as good as any such films on Blu-ray from the period including Psycho (which had some of its frame
badly trimmed), so serious film fans will want this one just for the playback
was a theatrical monophonic release, but the sound here has been upgraded to a DTS-HD
MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix that is not bad fort the film’s age
including the great instrumental theme song and all around savvy music scoring
by Edwards’ longtime composer, the legendary, immortal Henry Mancini. He was in his early prime here having scored Touch Of Evil and later, Stanley
Donen’s Charade (1963) & Donen’s
Arabesque (1966), plus Terence
Young’s Wait Until Dark (1967) and
his work on Experiment In Terror is
as strong as any of those proving he was a master of the thriller genre. That is why it is also great the music score
is here in an isolated DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless track. Watch the film a second time with only his
music and you’ll hear and see a genius at work.
that great isolated music score, extras include a new illustrated booklet on
the film with another winning essay by Julie Kirgo, plus two Original
Theatrical Trailers and two TV Spots.
Hard to believe they are only making this one for a limited time.
above, Experiment In Terror can be
ordered while supplies last at:
- Nicholas Sheffo