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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Lost Moment [Blu-ray]

 

(Martin Gabel, 1947)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Walter Wanger Productions

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:29:00.335

Disc Size: 19,474,176,867 bytes

Feature Size: 19,289,247,744 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.65 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 8th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 835 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 835 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The Lost Moment is a 1947 thriller in the tradition of Rebecca and the only film directed by actor Martin Gabel. Robert Cummings (Sleep, My Love) stars as Lewis Venable, an energetic American publisher in search of the lost love letters of an early 19th century poet. Under a false name, Lewis rents a room in a mansion from Juliana Borderau (Agnes Moorehead, TV’s Bewitched), a former lover of the dead writer. Overseeing the eerie mansion is Juliana’s near-psychotic niece, Tina (Susan Hayward, Where Love Has Gone), who mistrusts the publisher from the very onset. It soon becomes clear to Lewis that the mansion harbors horrible secrets, however, he intends to collect the lost letters at any cost. Art director Alexander Golitzen (Touch of Evil) and set decorators Russell A. Gausman (Shadow of a Doubt) and Ken Swartz (The Affair of Susan) make great use of the haunting Venetian mansion. The incredible makeup used to make Agnes Moorehead appear 105-years-old created quite a stir in 1947, as it became the subject of many magazine articles. The Lost Moment was shot in glorious black-and-white by Hal Mohr (The Wild One) from an adapted screenplay by Leonardo Bercovici (Portrait of Jennie, The Bishop’s Wife), and based on the Henry James’ best-selling novel “The Aspern Papers.”

 

 

The Film:

It is said that Henry James' The Aspern Papers were inspired by the romance between Lord Byron and his mistress Claire Claremont, who in her dotage jealously guarded the poems written by Byron in her honor. In the film version of James' novel, The Lost Moment, the Clairemont character, renamed Juliana, is a blind, 105-year-old recluse, played with an abundance of age makeup by Agnes Moorehead (whose amazing cosmetic makeover was the subject of several magazine articles back in 1947). The plot of the film concentrates on the efforts by a publisher named Lewis (Robert Cummings) to obtain the "lost" poems written by a legendary literary figure to the centenarian Juliana. The old lady is fiercely protected by her near-psychotic niece Tina (Susan Hayward), who nonetheless agrees to help Lewis get his hands on the precious documents. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the Venetian mansion where Juliana resides harbors a horrible secret, one that bodes ill for the troubled Tina and everyone with whom she comes in contact. Watching in bewildered silence is Father Rinaldo (Eduardo Cianelli), the film's "voice of conscience". Together with The Heiress, The Lost Moment is one of the few successful attempts to transfer the elusive prose of Henry James to the screen.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

A remarkably effective adaptation of Henry James' The Aspern Papers, closer to the shivery ambience of The Innocents than to the oh-so-discreet charm of Daisy Miller or The Europeans. An opportunist publisher (Cummings) lodges incognito in the Venetian house of a long-dead poet's lover, hoping to find the literary treasure trove of letters hidden there, and gradually comes under the spells of the past incarnate - the 105-year-old former loved one (Moorehead) and her schizophrenic niece (Hayward). The ghostly web of shifting identities and sexual tensions is superbly spun, making one regret that Martin Gabel subsequently confined himself to an acting career.

Excerpt from Timeout located HERE

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

The Lost Moment has a typical Olive Film's Blu-ray transfer - single-layered and bare-bones. For the most part it looks acceptable with reasonable contrast, but there are sequences where the source is compromised (see sample at bottom). So, I don't know that dual-layering would benefit the visuals extensively - fortunately, these anomalies are rare - they come in the form of haziness and a very flat, thick appearance that just doesn't match the rest of the presentation. There are also some scratches (another example at the bottom) - enough in certain scenes that we are bothering to mention them. Frankly though, I found this another non-event in being able to see the film in 1080P. This value outweighs the imperfections. The Blu-ray video frequently shows pleasing detail, depth, texture and no noise.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weak sections sample

 

 

Scratches

 

 

Audio :

Olive use a DTS-HD Master mono track at 835 kbps. The score by Daniele Amfitheatrof (The Desperate Hours, Human Desire, Letter From An Unknown Woman) sounds tight, flat and exports minor depth. Moments are surprisingly crisp at times and some effect sounds are hauntingly effective.  There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with almost all of their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Lost Moment is magnificent - horror, romance, gothic, psychological thriller - all wrapped up together. Despite the Olive Blu-ray video inconsistencies - I think the strength of the film and it's lack of alternate digital medium makes this a must-own. I was thankful to actually see The Lost Moment in 1080P and it is definitely a film worthy of multiple revisitation. Wow.

Gary Tooze

June 25th, 2014

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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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