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The Red House [Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack]

4.1 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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(Apr 24, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Lovers of Film Noir have long treasured this eerie gem, produced during what has come to be regarded as Hollywood s classic noir period (early-1940s to late-1950s). It is now available for the first time in stunning high-definition Blu-Ray. Edward G. Robinson plays an aging farmer with a dark secret he s trying to keep hidden. He and his sister Ellen (Judith Anderson) have raised Meg (Allene Roberts) since she was a little girl, after her parents mysteriously disappeared. But now Meg is coming of age, and bringing a male friend from high school around to help with chores on the farm. The teens are warned against wandering into the nearby woods, where terrifying screams have been heard in the night emanating from an abandoned red house. But curiosity threatens to get the better of them. Director Delmer Daves enjoyed a successful, 35-year career in Hollywood as a producer, director and writer (he adapted this particular story from a novel first serialized in The Saturday Evening Post in 1945). Better-known for tough westerns and war movies (including 3:10 To Yuma, Broken Arrow and Destination Tokyo), this film was an interesting diversion for him. But credit is also due to cinematographer Bert Glannon, a veteran of numerous noir/crime titles (not to mention work with such acclaimed directors as John Ford and Cecil B DeMille), who was responsible for executing the sort of unexpected camera angles and shadowy lighting that would become the signature of a good Film Noir. Meanwhile, viewers will also want to watch for a young Julie London, appearing in one of her earliest film roles.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Lon Mccallister, Edward G. Robinson
  • Directors: Delmer Daves
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: HD Cinema Classics
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2012
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006OT0ST4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,021 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I first saw this film on the late show back in the 50's when I was a mere child. It scared the pants off me then, and pretty much does the same now. This is what I call staying power. Too bad more people aren't aware of this film. The sad thing about the presentation of this film (I have both the VHS & DVD) is that the sound recording needs definite restorative work. This would really be disturbing if the film itself wasn't so compelling. The production values as well as the production team are all A-List, from the fine direction of Delmer Daves to the outstanding mood-setting score of Miklos Rosza to the casting of pro stars like Edward G. Robinson & Judith Anderson sharing the screen with teen magazine heart-throbs Rory Calhoun and Julie London. Lon McCallister is fine in what is really the lead role, and a very fine performance by young Allene Roberts (whatever happened to her!). The DVD is pretty much of the bargain-bin variety, though there are a couple of little extras on it...most notably explaining that Robinson's career came to a standstill after this film because of the Hollywood blacklist. The suspense factor is among the highest I can recall (EVER!); the script is literate and clever; characters are well-defined; and the creepy mood is consistant. See this film and tell all your friends; you will NOT be disappointed.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The Blu-Ray is the edition to snag for this fine psychological thriller. There are so many poor public-domain transfers of The Red House out there that it is a relief to finally see the film in a decent presentation. The downside to this purchase is the commentary by William Hare. He may be a fine author (he is listed as having written several film books), but this is undoubtedly the worst film commentary I've ever heard. Hare's commentary is "scene-specific," but he merely restates what is happening on the screen. When I choose to listen to a commentary, I expect to learn something beyond what I've already observed, not to be provided a verbal summary of what is happening on the screen. I found the commentary insulting to the viewer's intelligence and suspect that Mr. Hare simply "didn't do his homework." This is a real shame because there's a lot of meat in this film to dig into. The Miklos Rozsa score alone is a marvel, to say nothing of Edward G's outstanding performance. A real missed opportunity in the commentary department, but certainly worth the purchase for the much-improved image.
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Format: VHS Tape
An underrated psychological mood piece directed with great skill by Delmer Daves, it is best watched in the dark with no interruptions so that its full power can be realised. I did not go down in the woods for quite a while after watching this film and gained an added appreciation for the work of Edward G. Robinson and that great actor Judith Anderson (see also Hitchcock's REBECCA). From one of the greatest periods of Hollywood movie making.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Many of the reviews I read about this April, 2012 Blu-Ray/DVD combo release were positive regarding the restoration; however, at least one review was negative.
I've been an Amazon purchaser for 10+ years and have bought every DVD of this movie hoping to get a decent copy. Until now, my best copy was from Critic's Choice - their DVD copy is far from perfect. Since I have yet to purchase a Blu-Ray player, I've only experienced the DVD disk from this set. I'm amazed at how clear the film is from start to finish - this is the video set to own! The only negatives are that the sound, although improved, could be a tad cleaner (perhaps I need a better sound system) and there are slightly faded right and left boarders of some of the frames that were shot in darkness (night scenes): to me these are minor issues. I now can relax and enjoy this movie as I've always wanted to. I sincerely appreciate HD Cinema Classics and those who restored this film for their wonderful work.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I delayed ordering this movie for a year because of all the comments about the bad soundtrack. Don't let those concerns deprive you of seeing this classic. I can't speak for the VHS versions, but the sound on the DVD version was not nearly as bad as I was led to expect. Hi-fi it is definitely not. Yes, it's extremely tinny-sounding -- at times sounding like an old 78 rpm disc. And briefly, once or twice, there was rattle like a bad speaker cone at a drive-in theater. The tinniness was very noticeable for the first five minutes. But after that, you quickly adjust to it and soon forget about the sound quality. What had frightened me away from buying it was not the tinniness but rather the fear that the sound would be mushy or fuzzy -- something you'd never adjust to. But there was none of that. The sound was crisp enough that I was able to follow every word of dialog with no trouble at all. Yes, a fully restored sound track would make it even better. But until then, relax and enjoy!
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
If you're wondering if this new edition of THE RED HOUSE is worth buying as an upgrade to previously released DVD's, the answer is definitely YES. Up to now, this excellent little film was only available on discs featuring worn-out public domain prints that were barely watchable. The picture and sound have been cleaned up quite nicely for this Blu-ray/DVD combo edition, and while the restoration may not be up to the level of a major studio, the new release is significantly better than the plethora of scratched-up, low-budget versions that have been circulating in recent years. This print even includes the original United Artists opening, which had been clipped off on some of the previous presentations.
As for the film itself, THE RED HOUSE may not be one of the all-time great mystery movies, but the story really holds your attention and it's got a marvelously eerie atmosphere, thanks to acclaimed writer and director Delmer Daves (A SUMMER PLACE, SPENCER'S MOUNTAIN). Add to that a cast that includes the legendary Edward G Robinson and sweet-faced Allene Roberts (how can you not fall in love with her?), and you've got a real winner.
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