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Hangover Square Blu-ray Review

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“Hangover Square” is a generally involving genre hybrid.

Set in the Hangover Square area of London in the early 20th century, the 1945 film “Hangover Square” revolves around a talented composer (George Harvey Bone) who is a psychological mess to say the least. Not only does he get overly stressed and have fits of anger, but he blacks out and doesn’t remember what happens in those time periods. During these time periods, bad things begin to happen around town which may or may not be related to George.

“Hangover Square” (which is based on a novel) is somewhat of a curiosity in that it’s hard to define from a genre perspective. Is it a film noir? Is it a psychological thriller? Is it a crime drama? Is it a murder mystery? Really, it is all of these things in one which is what undoubtedly pique many viewers interest.

Running at a fast paced 77 minutes, the film immediately puts the viewer in a dark and dangerous world from the get go thanks to a fully committed performance by Laird Cregar as the mentally damaged artist George and the cinematography by Joseph LaShelle who brilliantly establishes a sense of place and mood. From there on out, the film offers up even more admirable aspects including an eerie score by the legendary Bernard Herrmann and a strong performance by Linda Darnell (as the duplicitous singer Netta) and the great character actor George Sanders (as the Doctor).

“Hangover Square” isn’t without its flaws however. Given how many horrifying events have taken place in such a small strange, the populace and authorities don’t seem overly concerned about the death and violence. One would think there would be some sort of immediacy in trying to find the culprit but it happens almost casually. I’m also rather puzzled as to why the opening murder was never explored more. Was it the first murder committed by the person who did it? What set him off? We don’t know and, if it was the catalyst for everything to come, it seems like a major plot point that needed to be addressed.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p. How does it look? An impressive 4K restoration of this B&W film.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A crisp audio track that especially comes alive whenever music is playing.

Extras: Trailers for “The Lodger,” “The Undying Monster,” “I Wake Up Screaming,” a “Hangover Square” radio drama with Vincent Price, a 20 minute featurette about actor Laird Cregar titled “The Tragic Mask: The Laird Cregar Story,” and 2 commentary tracks (a rather dull solo one by Richard Schickel and a much more informative one with Steve Haberman and Faye Marlowe who actually starred in the film as Barbara).

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November 2, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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