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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Night Tide [Blu-ray]


(Curtis Harrington, 1961)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: American International Pictures (AIP)

Video: Kino Lorber



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

Runtime: 1:25:48.351

Disc Size: 37,478,854,234 bytes

Feature Size: 25,176,669,888 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.81 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 15th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit






• Commentary from Director Curtis Harrington and Actor Dennis Hopper
Extended 2-part interview with Director Curtis Harrington by David Del Valle (25:37 + 21:16)
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:17)





Description: On leave in a shore side town, Johnny (Dennis Hopper) becomes interested in a young dark haired woman. They meet and he learns that she plays a mermaid in the local carnival. After strange occurrences, Johnny begins to believe that she may actually be a real mermaid that habitually kills during the cycle of the full moon. Restored and remastered in high definition from the George Eastman House.



The Film:

Writer/director Curtis Harrington does an admirable job working around the severe budget limitations of the 1963 psychological chiller Night Tide. Sailor Johnny (Dennis Hopper) falls in love with carnival-girl Mora (Linda Lawson), despite warnings that Mora is a "jinx" who has brought about the deaths of two previous suitors. Mora performs a mermaid act at the carnival, but to her it's no act: she believes herself the descendant of an underwater race that must kill by the light of the full moon to survive. One evening, Mora tries to kill Johnny, prompting his quick exit. He returns some time later to discover, all too late, that the film's real villain is the jealous carney owner (Gavin Muir.)

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

The title comes from Poe, the highly discernible influences come from Sternberg and Kenneth Anger (with both of whom Harrington had previously crossed paths) and the budget unfortunately came from Roger Corman's pennypinching Filmgroup company. Hopper is a sailor drifting around a misty seafront funfair. He meets and falls for a girl who believes she's one of the Sea People, awaiting the call of the night tide to rejoin her own, and meanwhile deadly to those who love her. All this entails much slow and dreamy wandering about, punctuated by a couple of dream sequences, in the most startling of which the Sea Lady metamorphoses into an octopus while Dennis is making love to her. It's quite sympathetic in its dogged artiness, though a misleading prelude to Harrington's subsequent unremarkable career.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

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

Much to the delight of 'clandestine horror' film fans, Curtis Harrington's Night Tide has made it to Blu-ray from Kino's 'Classic' label.  The image has inconsistencies that we can put down to its budgetary limitations and source (albeit restored). This is dual-layered with a very high bitrate and I expect this is as good as the film has ever looked on digital. There is some tightness and depth - and it may lean to being crushed but not enough to complain. This is from a 2007 restoration and has a few speckles and light, surface scratches. Overall, it improves as the film runs along and the 1080P ends up providing a pleasing presentation. This Blu-ray does a reasonable job and provides a decent HD viewing - often looking impressive.

















Audio :

Predictably the audio has issues related to the original production and budget limitations. Audio It is transferred via a linear PCM, in 2.0 channel mono, at 1536 kbps. It most likely does the best with what is available and can sound tinny and echo'ey at times (especially the background Fair noises) but this adds to the nostalgia more than disrupts the flow. Like the video, this is probably as good as it will get. There are no demonstrative effects and depth, via the lossless, remains unremarkable. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

Included is a commentary from director Curtis Harrington and star Dennis Hopper. Both are deceased and this discussion took place a few years hence. It's quite light - lots of reminiscences and a few laughs. Also added as a supplement is an extended 2-part interview with Harrington by David Del Valle from his Sinister Image series. It runs shy of 50-minutes and is more fruitful discussion expanding upon techniques, themes, budget etc. Lastly is an original theatrical trailer for Night Tide and two other Kino Blu-ray films.



I was fully aware of Harrington's rep but had not seen Night Tide before - probably his most notable film. I liked it quite a lot - reminding me of limited-production 'Boardwalk-fair' related features like Little Fugitive with horror aura akin to Carnival of Souls while not definitively separating itself from, the obvious, comparisons to 'transformation-love' features like Tourneur's Cat People. Aside from niggling issues the Kino Blu-ray is very competent and we're not likely to get better for this lesser-seen gem from Harrington. Absolutely, we recommend!

Gary Tooze

October 29th, 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
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Gary W. Tooze






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