directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
USA 1946

Based upon the bestselling novel “Dragonwyck” by Anya Seton, this is Joseph L. Mankiewicz’ directorial debut.

It tells the story of the naïve farm girl Miranda (Gene Tierney). When she gets an invitation from a distant cousin, Nicholas Van Ryn (Vincent Price), to stay at his mansion. After much persuasion, she talks her father into letting her leave and thus she leaves her very religious family to live a life with the terribly rich and elegant.

But life at Dragonwyck is not quiet what she expected. Van Ryn is cold and tyrannical, and both his wife and daughters starve for affection. When his wife dies, he asks for the hand of Miranda, but she declines and returns home. However Van Ryn is set to marry Miranda, and after a few months he pays the family a visit and asks for her hand once more.

Returning to Dragonwyck, his kindness towards her soon turns into cold. Not only does their newborn son die, but a new law also allows the tenants to buy their land, which leaves Van Ryn without income. Soon Miranda falls ill, and her doctor suspects her of being poisoned, the same way Van Ryn poisoned his former wife. When Van Ryn is confronted, he reveals himself as mad and is shot. The doctor accompanies Miranda to her home.

Originally to be directed by Ernest Lubitsch, he fell ill and Mankiewicz, who wrote the adaptation, was offered the directors chair. From a production point of view, a very safe first film. The book was a bestseller and the chemistry between Gene Tierney and Vincent Price had already been proven solid twice before in “Laura” by Otto Preminger in 1944 and in “Leave her to Heaven” by John Stahl in 1945, for which Tierney got an Oscar nomination.

It is not really a Mankiewicz, or for that matter a Lubitsch, type of film, being a somewhat ordinary gothic romantic drama, but Mankiewicz takes full advantage of his leading actors, even though one can argue, that Tierney perhaps is miscast, even though she plays her naivety brilliantly. On the other hand, Price is superb as the mad Dutch aristocrat, who hates his wife for not giving him a son, and blames Miranda for the death of his newborn son.

The result is a haunting classic gothic tale and a must-see for all lovers of Tierney, Price and Mankiewicz. Highly recommended.

 

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 10, 1946

Reviews     DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison: 

20th Century Fox (Horror Classics Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Optimum - Region 2 - PAL vs. Carlotta Films - Region 2 - PAL*

*This DVD is only available in the Mankiewicz Boxset which also includes A Letter to Three Wives (compared HERE) and 5 Fingers.

Big thanks to Vincent L. and  Henrik Sylow for captures!

1) Fox (Horror Classics Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Carlotta Films - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

 

 

 

 

*This DVD is only available in the Mankiewicz Boxset which also includes A Letter to Three Wives (compared HERE) and 5 Fingers.

Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL

Carlotta Films
Region 2 PAL
Runtime 1:42:44 1:39:00 (4% PAL speedup) 1:38:33 (4% PAL speedup)
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.2 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.40 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.0 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate : Fox

Bitrate : Optimum

Bitrate - Carlotta Films

Audio English (original mono) - DUB: Spanish mono 2.0 Dolby Digital English 2.0 Dolby Digital English
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None none French, none
Features

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33 

Edition Details:

Chandu the Magician (1932) - single layered
Commentary by Author Gregory William Mank
Masters of Magic: The World of Chandu featurette (15:17)
Restoration Comparison

Dr. Renault's Secret (1942)
- single layered

• Featurette: Horror's Missing Link: Rediscovering Dr. Renault's Secret (15:51)
Restoration Comparison
Trailer
Stills Gallery

Dragonwyck (1946)
- dual layered

Commentary by Author Steve Haberman and Filmmaker Constantine Nasr
A House of Secrets: Exploring Dragonwyck featurette (16:12)
“Dragonwyck” Radio Show Performed by Vincent Price and Gene Tierney – October 7, 1946
Isolated Score Track
Restoration Comparison
Trailer
Still Galleries


DVD Release Date: September 9th, 2008

3 slim Keep Cases inside a cardboard box
Chapters: 24

Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• none

DVD Release Date: April 4, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Carlotta Films

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:

Interview of Pascal Mérigeau (12:03 / French)
Interview of J. P. Berthomé (12:30 / French)
Audio commentary on selected scenes by J. P. Berthomé (10:25 / French)
Gene Tierney (8:10 / French)
Part 1 of an Interview with J. L. Mankiewicz (51:41 / English with removable French subtitles)


DVD Release Date: November 17th, 2004
Keep Case

Chapters 12

 

Comments ADDITION: Fox Horror Classics Vol. 2 - August 08' - Short story is that the Fox dual-layered NTSC issue is marginally sharper with better black levels. Effectively it blows away the other releases in supplements with the commentary, featurette etc. and the price is ridiculously low considering you get three films with solid extras (2 with commentary). It also has subtitles. We've reviewed the entire boxset HERE and we strongly recommend it!

Gary W. Tooze

***

 

ADDITION: Carlotta Films - PAL - Dec 05' - Image quality appears equal. Although the majority of the Carlotta extras are in French (including the commentary), the 51 minute Mankiewicz interview is in English with optional French subs. It seems like a decent boxset for the three Mankiewicz titles, but for frugality - the Optimum is the way to go fore this film.

****

The image lacks sharpness in details, especially in long shots, there are occasional edge enhancements and colour banding, but overall a decent image, especially considering this to be a DVD-5 release. Blacks are solid and the darker the scenes, the better the image.

Sound is 2.0 Dolby Digital and is clear without any noise.

As a discount release from Optimum, it lacks any extras and subtitles. But considering how rare this film is, it is a most welcomed release.

 - Henrik Sylow

 


DVD Menus - Fox edition


(Optimum - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Carlotta Films - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)
 

 

 

 


Subtitle Sample (only Fox has English)
 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Fox (Horror Classics Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Carlotta Films - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


1) Fox (Horror Classics Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Carlotta Films - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


1) Fox (Horror Classics Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Carlotta Films - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 


1) Fox (Horror Classics Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Carlotta Films - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 


1) Fox (Horror Classics Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Carlotta Films - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 

 


 

1) Fox (Horror Classics Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Optimum - Region 2 - PAL MIDDLE

3) Carlotta Films - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Fox - slightly

Sound:

Fox for optional Spanish DUB

Extras: Fox
Menu: -

 

DVD Box Cover

 

 

 

 

*This DVD is only available in the Mankiewicz Boxset which also includes A Letter to Three Wives (compared HERE) and 5 Fingers.

Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL

Carlotta Films
Region 2 PAL




 

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