Although received with critical disappointment, mainly because Siegel had forsaken his exploration of American mythology and violence for what seemed to be a rather old-fashioned British thriller, there is in fact a lot to enjoy in The Black Windmill. It's a very playful piece at the expense of the British stiff-upper lip, made with a discerning American's eye for London. The plot is a shaggy dog story (with just the right degree of nightmarishness) revolving around intelligence agent Caine's single-handed attempts to retrieve his kidnapped son. Though by no means a perfect film, it is a much more coherent work than it is given credit, held together by Siegel's exuberant eye for the incongruous.
Theatrical Release: May 17th, 1974
DVD Review: Universal (Europe) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||Universal (Europe) - Region 2,4,5 - PAL|
Average Bitrate: 7.3 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.
|Audio||English (Mono) DUBs: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian|
|Subtitles||English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Hungarian, Polish, Czech, None|
I appreciate these Universal multi-region PAL transfers as I have yet to see any manipulation in any of them. This one is fairly clean in the impressive 2.35:1 aspect ratio, progressive, dual-layered, sharp with decent colors - there is a shade of visible dirt. Again, coded to sell across the continent and in Australia (Region 4) and Russia (Region 5) with many subtitle and DUB options. This is a bare bones DVD aside from the main feature.
I saw this close to 30 years ago and it is a film that stayed with me - Caine gives a typically brilliant performance and director Siegel adds benevolent touches to an intensely structured plot. I found it very enjoyable even after all this time.