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The Bad Seed [Blu-ray]
(Mervyn LeRoy, 1956)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Warner Bros. Pictures
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 17,718,059,435 bytes
Feature Size: 16,753,047,552 bytes
Video Bitrate: 14.96 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: October 11th, 2011
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1034 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1034 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
English (SDH), French, Spanish, none
• Commentary by Patty McCormack and Charles Busch
•Enfant Terrible: A Conversation With Patty McCormack (15:10 - 480i)
Description: A single mother discovers that within her seemingly angelic daughter beats the heart of a cold-blooded serial murderer. One woman must make a terrible decision about the daughter she loves and desperately wants to protect in this classic thriller.
Can evil be inherited? That's the question posed by Maxwell Anderson in his stage play The Bad Seed. This 1956 film... adaptation stars many actors from the Broadway version, including Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones and Eileen Heckart. Young McCormack plays Rhoda, a too-good-to-be-true grade schooler who occasionally exhibits a vicious streak whenever things don't turn out her way. During a picnic, one of Rhoda's schoolmates is drowned; the victim is a boy who'd won a penmanship medal that Rhoda had coveted. Nancy Kelly, the girl's mother, slowly comes to the horrible conclusion that Rhoda was responsible for the boy's death--a suspicion fueled by the discovery that Kelly, who was adopted as an infant, is the daughter of a convicted murderess. Meanwhile, a moronic handyman (Henry Jones) accidentally tumbles to Rhoda's secret, whereupon he is accidentally burned to death. Realizing that Rhoda must be stopped before she can kill again, and reasoning that the authorities would never believe the truth, Kelly tries to put the girl to sleep permanently with barbituates, then shoots herself. The play's ironic ending--the mother dies, while the unsuspected Rhoda lives on--is sacrificed for a divine retribution finale in the film, with Rhoda being punished by a convenient bolt of lightning. This alteration is acceptable, but director Mervin LeRoy further gilds the lily with an asinine closing-credits sequence wherein Nancy Kelly throws Patty McCormack over her knee and administers a spanking! The 1985 TV movie remake of The Bad Seed retains the play's original ending, but all in all is not half as entertaining as the 1956 version (its hokey denouement notwithstanding). McCormack later starred in Max Allan Collins' unofficial 1995 sequel Mommy.
~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide.
Every mother believes her child is an angel, no matter how badly behaved
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Bad Seed has received a modest transfer to Blu-ray from Warner. This is only single-layered and contrast remain SD muddy with detail infrequently reaching the heights we have previously seen from the format. Surprisingly there is a bit of depth. Warner have transferred The Bad Seed to 1.78:1. The print is fairly clean but I wouldn't say the visuals ever truly impress but in the positive - do remain consistent. This Blu-ray gave me an adequate, if unremarkable, presentation. But, any inferiority that I noticed in the image quality didn't deter my viewing of the film.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Warner have stayed authentic with a DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel mono track at 1034 kbps. There is no hiss or distortion. Although lossless there is not much to extol but we feel confident that it is a true representation of the original. Composer Alex North provides a good original score that is exported well by the lossless track although there is no real depth to speak of. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Supplements include an informal commentary by Patty McCormack and Charles Busch - as heard on the 2004 DVD - as is the 15-minute piece Enfant Terrible: A Conversation With Patty McCormack in 480i as the attractive, classy lady frankly discusses her career and memories of The Bad Seed.
October 4th, 2011
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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