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Phantom Lady Blu-ray Review

Phantom.jpg

“Phantom Lady” is a flawed, but involving film noir.

“Phantom Lady” begins with Scott (a civil engineer) hitting up a bar after getting into a fight with his wife. While there, he meets a woman who seems upset by something. Scott was planning on taking his wife to a musical stage show and doesn’t want the tickets to go to waste so he asks the woman if she wants to go with him. She accepts, the two see the show, and they go their separate ways. Upon returning home, Scott finds that his wife has been killed and that there are cops in his apartment who believe he is responsible. Scott tries to retrace his steps and question witnesses, but they all claim that Scott was not with the key witness-the woman he went to the show with who has now apparently vanished. To make a long story short, Scott is found guilty and winds up in jail. An employee of Scott’s (Kansas) who has feelings for him takes it upon herself to discover the truth and find the mystery woman, but will she wind up in danger in the process?

Based on novel by Cornell Woolrich and written for the screen by Bernard C. Schoenfeld, “Phantom Lady” is somewhat of an unusual film noir in that it shifts narratives. At first you think this will be a story about Scott and the mystery woman, but they take a backseat plot wise as Kansas becomes the central character along with a friend of Scott’s named Jack who aids Kansas in her quest. We (the audience) are also led to believe the story would largely be a mystery given the story set-up of the murder, Scott’s innocence, and the missing woman, but again, the story takes a turn and we learn who the killer is. Personally, I think the culprit is revealed a bit too early as it does diminish the suspense and central mystery that hooked viewers to begin with. It would be one thing if there was a great deal of characterization of the killer, but it is rather minimal.

Story issues aside, director Robert Siodmak’s movie is handsomely directed. There’s a great style to his work here and there is plenty of stunning imagery on display here.

Cast wise, the movie is largely dominated by Franchot Tone, Alan Curtis and Ella Raines. Raines is the major stand-out here for me at least. She had a real range with this character and, more importantly, made Kansas a strong female character. It’s kind of baffling how Raines wasn’t a bigger star with more major credits as she definitely should have been.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? This is an extraordinary transfer. Yes, there are scratches and other defects as to be expected for a film this age, but that doesn’t detract from the clarity of the hi-def picture quality.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM. How does it sound? An impressive track with cleaned up audio.

Extras:
* A booklet containing credits, an essay by author Alan K. Rode, and photos.
* A 1944 radio drama of “Phantom Lady.”
* Image gallery of film stills and promo material
* “Dark And Deadly: 50 Years Of Film Noir”- A 52 minute documentary about film noir featuring interviews from the likes of Dennis Hopper and Robert Wise along with a wide variety of film clips.

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March 1, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , ,

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