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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Dead of Night (1945) [Blu-ray]


Alberto Cavalcanti ... (segments "Christmas Party", "The Ventriloquist's Dummy")
Charles Crichton ... (segment "
Golfing Story")
Basil Dearden ... (segment "
Hearse Driver" and the Linking Narrative)
Robert Hamer ... (segment "
The Haunted Mirror")



Review by Gary Tooze / Colin Zavitz



Theatrical: Ealing Studios

Video: Studio Canal / Kino Classics



Region: 'B' / 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:43:46.803  / 1:43:25.949

Disc Size: 43,323,028,599 bytes / 39,441,245,169 bytes 

Feature Size: 26,358,073,344 bytes / 30,060,693,504 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.98 Mbps / 34.93 Mbps 

Chapters: 12 / 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case with slipcase / Standard Case

Release date: February 24th, 2014 / July 9th, 2019


Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit


DTS-HD Master Audio English 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -31dB


Subtitles (both):

English, none



• Remembering Dead of Night Featurette (1:15:35)
Restoration Comparison (3:31)
Stills Gallery


Audio Commentary by Film Historian Tim Lucas
Remembering "Dead of Night" - Documentary (1:15:36)



1) Studio Canal - "Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


Description: A portmanteau work from four of Ealing’s best directors, Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer. Starring Mervyn Johns, Michael Redgrave and Googie Withers, Dead of Night represented a departure for Ealing from the classic comedy mode and is instead a spooky psychological thriller made up of five chilling ghost stories.



The Film:

Considered the greatest horror anthology film, the classic British chiller Dead of Night features five stories of supernatural terror from four different directors, yet it ultimately feels like a unified whole. The framing device is simple but unsettling, as a group of strangers find themselves inexplicably gathered at an isolated country estate, uncertain why they have come. The topic of conversation soon turns to the world of dreams and nightmares, and each guest shares a frightening event from his/her own past. Many of these tales have become famous, including Basil Dearden's opening vignette about a ghostly driver with "room for one more" in the back of his hearse. Equally eerie are Robert Hamer's look at a haunted antique mirror that gradually begins to possess its owner's soul, and Alberto Cavalcanti's ghost story about a mysterious young girl during a Christmas party. Legendary Ealing comedy director Charles Crichton lightens the mood with an amusing interlude about the spirit of a deceased golfer haunting his former partner, leaving viewers vulnerable to Cavalcanti's superb and much-imitated closing segment, about a ventriloquist (Michael Redgrave) slowly driven mad when his dummy appears to come to life. Deservedly acclaimed and highly influential, Dead of Night's episodic structure inspired an entire genre of lesser imitators.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Perhaps the best horror anthology film ever made, this much-praised film still holds up, but suffers from the variances of pace and mood that inevitably affect all compilation efforts. Architect Walter Craig (Mervyn Johns) is called to Pilgrim's Farm, a country house he has been hired to remodel. Approaching the austere Victorian building in his car, he finds that there is something hauntingly familiar about the house. Once inside, Craig recognizes everyone present and tells them they have all been part of a recurring nightmare he has had, whereupon the guests relate their own nightmares, one by one.

The first tale, "The Hearse Driver," is told by Grainger (Antony Baird). In it he is a racetrack driver who, while recuperating from an accident, has a vision of a hearse from the window of his hospital room. The teen-aged Sally O'Hara (Sally Ann Howes) then reports "The Christmas Story," in which she attends a holiday party and, during a game of hide-and-seek, finds a crying child in a strange room. He is not what he seems. Joan Courtland (Googie Withers), in "The Haunted Mirror," relates a chilling tale in which she is given an antique mirror by her fiance which begins to reflect a Victorian room where a killing once took place. In "The Golfing Story"--the only piece designed for comic relief--two golfers (Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne) vie for the attentions of one woman. One golfer tricks the other into suicide, only to have the deceased return and haunt him as he is about to enjoy his wedding night. The last story, an Expressionistic entry entitled "The Ventriloquist's Dummy," shows a ventriloquist (Michael Redgrave) going mad. He believes that his dummy is assuming his personality while he is becoming the manipulated prop.

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Dead of Night gets a reasonably strong transfer to Blu-ray from Studio Canal in the UK. It is dual-layered with a high bitrate for the 1 3/4 hour feature. It looks a bit dull but we should remember the film's age. Contrast has some nice layering but black levels are not deep. Even if it is occasionally flat the 1080P supports pleasing detail in the few close-ups and some minor depth in the 1.33:1 frame. There are some very light scratches hardly visible but otherwise a consistent presentation.  Overall I'd say this was superior to SD, but the video is not dramatically crisp as some might expect from the format. I appreciated the textures. This Blu-ray gave me a pleasurable video presentation, but nothing outstanding for the medium.


"Dead of Night", the great horror anthology film from 1945, gets a stunning release from Kino Lorber. This is billed as newly restored in 4K from original archival materials for the first time. The film is located on a dual-layered Blu-ray and contains a nicely maxed out bitrate. First, let's get this out of the way, there are some pretty blatant vertical scratch marks throughout the picture, and even, what appears to be, some light banding on the right side of the frame at times. I, for one, did not find the scratches to be too distracting. In my mind it only augments the texture of the presentation. Those few instances on the left edge are visible. The 4K restoration work is quite impressive when it comes to the clarity of the image, showing a consistent grain and impressive detail without undue gloss. StudioCanal's presentation had an overall duller appearance, showing a much milder contrast ratio. This new Kino, on the other hand, shows a far greater range of blacks and grays. Though some may have wished for some digital tinkering to clean-up the scratches, I for one am more than impressed by this release and am extremely pleased with the 4K-restored Kino.




1) Studio Canal - "Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Studio Canal - "Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Studio Canal - "Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Studio Canal - "Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Studio Canal - "Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Studio Canal - "Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Studio Canal - "Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Studio Canal - "Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Studio Canal - "Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM




Audio :

Studio Canal use a linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps that sounds very consistent. The infrequently used score is by Georges Auric (The Innocents, Lola Montes, Rififi, Wages of Fear) and can pack some surprising depth - almost drowning out dialogue. It significantly enhances the atmosphere, IMO. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


The 1945 film is presented in 16-bit DTS-HD Master audio. This lossless track gets the job done, though it can sound a bit tinny (not a real audiophile term, I know) and midrange with the occasional muffled dialogue. For a 2.0 mix, the score from Georges Auric sounds rather full and doesn't interfere with the dialogue. There are optional English subtitles on this Region 'A' Blu-ray from Kino.


Extras :

Aside from a 3-minute 'Restoration Comparison', and stills gallery we get the lengthy, but enjoyable, Remembering Dead of Night composite of interview soundbytes with the likes of Kim Newman, John Landis, Keith Johnston, Danny Leigh, Matthew Sweet, Jonathan Romney and Reece Shearsmith. I appreciated not only the history of Ealing and it's evolution but specifics on the production and importance and reference as the premiere portmanteau horror of it time. It is good and the time flies by.


There are 2 extensive extras found on this Kino Blu-ray. The first is an audio commentary from the always reliable Tim Lucas. Lucas dives deep into the history of the film and its production, as well as how the film was received. The other extra is the feature-length documentary "Remembering 'Dead of Night'" which features input from a handful of experts including critics/authors Kim Newman, Danny Leigh, Matthew Sweet, and Jonathan Romney, as well as senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia Keith Johnston, actor and writer Reece Shearsmith, and director John Landis. This is a brilliant documentary that rises above the typical talking-heads fare, giving the film a contextual appreciation (especially when viewed along with the exceptional commentary from Lucas). A handful of Kino trailers (for "The Spiral Staircase", "The Lodger", "The Undying Monster", "Tales of Terror" and "Twice-Told Tales") rounds out the disc.


Studio Canal - "Region 'B' - Blu-ray



Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray



Dead of Night has many intangibles - discussed in the supplement piece - that raise its value. A kind of spooky charisma. This is an excellent film - odd, both erratic and inclusive. The Christmas Story, Haunted Mirror and Ventriloquist are brilliantly buoyed by the tension in the score  - as well as the impressive performances.  With the tenuous story links, there is reason to reflect on previous segments - creating its own haunting manner. I loved it despite some disjointed pacing. But there are so many attributes here that it offers a timeless quality for revisitation. The Studio Canal Blu-ray provides only a decent a/v presentation and includes an educational supplement. Fans of the the genre and Ealing Studio efforts should certainly enjoy.


"Dead of Night" is the grandaddy of all Horror Anthology films, and it hasn't lost its effectiveness over the years. The film oozes style and creates a rather haunting mood, which is only boosted by this newly restored 4K presentation from Kino. The documentary and commentary only make this an even more valuable release. Pick this one up immediately.

Gary Tooze

March 18th, 2014

Colin Zavitz

July 9th, 2019



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 5000 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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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