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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

Night Tide [Blu-ray]

 

(Curtis Harrington, 1961)

 

Released in the US in February 2020:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: American International Pictures (AIP)

Video: Kino Lorber / Indicator

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:25:48.351 / 1:26:02.240

Disc Size: 37,478,854,234 bytes / 31,040,828,781 bytes

Feature Size: 25,176,669,888 bytes / 24,909,534,144 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.81 Mbps / 34.66 Mbps

Chapters: 10 / 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Custom case

Release date: October 15th, 2013 / January 27th, 2020

 

Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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

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

 

LPCM Audio English 768 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

None

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• 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)

 

DISC ONE: NIGHT TIDE
Audio commentary with writer-director Curtis Harrington and actor Dennis Hopper (1998)
Audio commentary with writer and film programmer Tony Rayns (2020)
Harrington on Harrington (2018, 24:39): wide-ranging archival interview with the filmmaker
Sinister Image: Curtis Harrington (1987, 57:17): two episodes from David Del Valle's series devoted to cult cinematic figures in conversation, featuring a career-spanning interview with the director
Original theatrical trailer (2:17)
Image gallery: publicity and promotional material

DISC TWO: DREAM LOGIC: THE SHORT FILMS OF CURTIS HARRINGTON (LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE DISC)
Eight short films spanning Harrington's seven decades as a filmmaker, including experimental works, documentaries and his career-bookending Edgar Allan Poe adaptations: The Fall of the House of Usher (1942, 9:59); Fragment of Seeking (1946, 13:41); Picnic (1948, 22:19); On the Edge (1949, 6:12); The Assignation (1953, 7:31); The Wormwood Star (1956, 10:01); The Four Elements (1966, 12:39); Usher (2002, 36:42)
Image gallery: production photography and a rare selection from Harrington's personal collection
Limited edition exclusive 80-page book featuring new writing on Night Tide by Paul Duane, Curtis Harrington on Night Tide and the short films, archival articles by Harrington on horror cinema, experimental films and the making of Picnic, an overview of critical responses, Peter Conheim on the restoration of Night Tide, and film credits
Limited edition exclusive set of five facsimile lobby cards

 

Bitrates:

 

1) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

The 2020 Indicator BD is described as "Presented by Nicolas Winding Refn in a new 4K restoration". It is on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate and advances handily beyond the 2013 Kino 2006 restoration transfer. My buddy and loyal DVDBeaver-ite, Peter Conheim put heart and soul into this restoration. It looks magnificent with fine grain, stunning contrast and frequent depth. The Indicator shows a notable amount more in the bottom ands right side of the frame and a shade less on the top. This looks gorgeous in-motion - brighter, sharper etc.. This is worthy of a double-dip solely based on the video... but there is more.

 

Peter tells us "I could add only this: the sound on this release does, indeed, derive from the same source as the previous restoration, the optical soundtrack negative. It was not particularly well printed, to begin with, but we removed a fair amount of noise, and generally reshaped and improved the track when we remastered it at Red Channels Studio.

The main difference in our new restoration is in the stability and clarity of the image. We were able to almost completely repair and correct for the extreme vinegar decomposition and warpage which had affected almost the entire picture negative, using both pre-scanning chemical treatments and contemporary digital tools.
"  (Thanks Peter!)      

 

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

 

Subtitle Sample - Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray Captures

(CLICK to ENLARGE)

 

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.

 

I'm sure Peter had some important input on the audio - like the Kino - a linear PCM (16-bit) transfer is utilized. It seems to export the original mono qualities to a higher degree - flatter, less tinny without of the echo of the Kino - and also clear audible dialogue. I found this noticeable in the, occasionally boisterous, score by David Raksin (Forever Amber,The Bad and the Beautiful, The Day After, Separate Tables, Laura, Bigger Than Life, The Big Combo) that helps propel the mystery of the film. Indicator add optional English (SDH) subtitles for both the feature and the shorts of the second Blu-ray. It is Region FREE - playable 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.

 

Indicator repeat the 1998 Harrington and Hopper commentary and 1987's hour-long Sinister Image: Curtis Harrington with two episodes from David Del Valle's series devoted to cult cinematic figures in conversation, featuring a career-spanning interview with the director. It appears to be 10-minutes longer than the one on the Kino. Indicator add the 2018-produced, 25-minute, Harrington on Harrington a wide-ranging archival interview with the filmmaker. Also included on the feature disc is a new audio commentary with writer and film programmer Tony Rayns from 2020. Tony Rayns immediately informs us that this would not be his usual commentary with analysis etc. as Night Tide is not that type of film. Regardless, he provides incredibly in-depth details, ex. that Floyd Crosby (musician David Crosby's father) shot some of the sequences (uncredited.) He talks about the genesis of the film and Harrington's career with comparisons to Kenneth Anger, Peter Lorre potentially acting in Night Tide, its thematic links to Cat People, odd jobs with Roger Corman and much more. There is also a trailer and still gallery of publicity and promotional material on the first Blu-ray.

There is a second
Blu-ray that contains eight short films spanning Harrington's seven decades as a filmmaker, including experimental works, and documentaries short films by Curtis Harrington. These include the film made when he was 14-years of age (in high school); The Fall of the House of Usher from 1942 running 10-minutes. Fragment of Seeking is 13-minutes from 1946 about a man seeking to find himself by exploring his sexuality. Picnic is from 1948 running 22-minutes portraying the idealistic dream-quest of the protagonist, from which he is finally rebuked. On the Edge runs 6-minutes from 1949. In it a woman sits knitting on the porch of her home when a man appears and takes the knitting from her. The Assignation was made a few years later. Long considered lost, it was Curtis Harrington's first color film. It was shot in Venice, Italy, and follows a masked figure through the labyrinthine canals of the city, building to a spectacular climax. The Wormwood Star is from 1956, running 10-minutes. A short film about the paintings of the actress and artist Cameron (Marjorie Cameron) who plays the 'Water Witch' in Night Tide. The Four Elements was made in1966, running over a dozen minutes. It is a poetic and avant-garde documentary made for the United States Information Agency. Usher runs 27-minutes from 2002. In it a young female writer, Truman Jones, travels to the home of old, eccentric poet Roderick Usher. She is seeking wisdom from an aging poet at his creepy mansion. This disc also has an image gallery: of production photography and a rare selection from Harrington's personal collection and the package has a limited edition exclusive 80-page book featuring new writing on Night Tide by Paul Duane, Curtis Harrington on Night Tide and the short films, archival articles by Harrington on horror cinema, experimental films and the making of Picnic, an overview of critical responses, Peter Conheim on the restoration of Night Tide, and film credits plus an exclusive set of five facsimile lobby cards. Brilliant!

 

Kino - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray One

 

Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray Two

 

BOTTOM LINE:
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.

 

Obviously, Indicator has done what they do - take a Blu-ray package to its zenith of quality and supplements. Congrats to my friend Peter for his work in this transfer - this should be one of the notable packages of the 2020 year (yes, we are looking there already!) This is a total keeper and Rayns new commentary, all the shorts plus the improved 4K-restored video transfer and audio make it a must-own, imo. Our highest recommendation!

Gary Tooze

October 29th, 2014

January 3rd, 2020

 

Released in the US in February 2020:

 

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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