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Three Wicked Melodramas from Gainsborough Pictures
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 3 Discs
FEATURES
  • Includes the films: The Man in Grey, Madonna of the Seven Moons, and The Wicked Lady

Three Wicked Melodramas from Gainsborough Pictures


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Leslie Arliss, Arthur Crabtree
2012 | 330 Minutes | Licensor: ITV Global Entertainment

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $44.95 | Series: Eclipse from the Criterion Collection | Edition: #36
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: October 9, 2012
Review Date: November 3, 2012

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SYNOPSIS

During the 1940s, realism reigned in British cinema-but not at Gainsborough Pictures. The studio, which had been around since the '20s, found new success with a series of pleasurably preposterous costume melodramas. Audiences ate up these overheated films, which featured a stable of charismatic stars, including James Mason, Margaret Lockwood, Stewart Granger, and Phyllis Calvert. Though its films were immensely profitable in wartime and immediately after, Gainsborough did not outlive the decade. This set brings together a trio of Gainsborough's most popular films-florid, visceral tales of secret identities, multiple personalities, and romantic betrayals.

Discuss the film and DVD here   


PICTURE

Three Wicked Melodramas from Gainsborough Pictures is the 36th set in Criterionís Eclipse line, presenting three films from the British studio: The Man in Grey, Madonna of the Seven Moons, and The Wicked Lady. Each film is presented in its original aspect ratio of about 1.33:1 on individual dual-layer DVDs. None of the transfers have been window boxed.

As is fairly typical (at least lately) restoration work is minimal, if itís been done at all. All three films present heavy damage including (but not limited to) scratches, blotches, stains, burns, mold, tram lines, frame jumps, and pulsating. The Man in Grey may present the most damage, with pulsating and flickering getting especially heavy for a bit around 38-minutes in, and scratches and marks are always present throughout the rest of the film. It doesnít completely mar the image but I canít think of a moment where there was nothing present. The other films at least have moments where damage isnít as impeding or noticeable but you never get a chance to forget itís there.

But the transfers themselves are all quite sharp, so digital artifacts thankfully donít further harm the image. When allowed the image is sharp with a stunning amount of detail, save for The Wicked Lady, which has a softer look than the other films. Contrast looks decent if more on the lighter gray side. And though some compression noise is present in places the transfers are otherwise stable and for DVD they look surprisingly clean.

The materials havenít received much in the way of restoration by the looks of it but thankfully Criterionís transfers deliver them as best they can and they still manage to come off rather filmic in the end.

6/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

Screen Capture
The Man in Grey

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The Man in Grey

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The Man in Grey

Screen Capture
The Man in Grey

Screen Capture
The Man in Grey

Screen Capture
Madonna of the Seven Moons

Screen Capture
Madonna of the Seven Moons

Screen Capture
Madonna of the Seven Moons

Screen Capture
Madonna of the Seven Moons

Screen Capture
Madonna of the Seven Moons

Screen Capture
The Wicked Lady

Screen Capture
The Wicked Lady

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The Wicked Lady

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The Wicked Lady

Screen Capture
The Wicked Lady

AUDIO

All three films present Dolby Digital 1.0 mono tracks and all three films are about the same: they are are hollow, lack any depth, and present a noticeable hiss along with a few audio drops in places. Yet having said that the dialogue is easy to hear, if flat itself. Obviously a product of their age but it still doesnít sound like any restoration work has gone into them.

5/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Again we get nothing in the way of supplements except for some liner notes by Michael Koresky, which go over the films and Gainsborough Studios.

1/10

CLOSING

Disappointingly all three films show their age in their audio and video presentations, but Criterion at least didnít slack on the digital transfers themselves, which hold up surprisingly well and even look good upscaled.




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