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directed by Mervyn LeRoy
USA 1958

 

Charlotte Bronn (Jean Simmons), the wife of a college professor (Dan O'Herlihy), has been released from a State Mental Hospital only to return to the same environment that led to her breakdown. Adapted by Robert and Eileen Bassing from Eileen's novel of the same name and nominated for a Golden Globe in three categories, Mervyn LeRoy's 1958 masterpiece Home Before Dark is a devastating yet remarkably liberating exploration of a woman's struggle to achieve mental health. I first saw this film many years ago and I never forgot the towering performance of Jean Simmons or the film's shattering emotional truth -- that some people are simply incapable of showing compassion to those who are vulnerable. On a bootleg copy taped from television, I was able to revisit it again this week and it flooded my mind with memories of those days of turmoil.

The film is set in an upwardly mobile neighborhood in suburban Massachusetts. Charlotte has long suspected that her husband, Arnold Bronn, was secretly in love with her stepsister Joan Carlisle (Rhonda Fleming). But is unable to confront the fact that her husband does not love her, and slips into mental illness. After one year in treatment, she is released but goes back to face the same nagging suspicions and the same well-meaning but overbearing people including her sister Joan, stepmother Inez Winthrop (Mabel Albertson), and housekeeper Mattie (Kathryn Card). Charlotte does have some support, however, in the person of Jacob Diamond (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.), a visiting professor that is living with the family for one semester and has to confront anti-Semitic innuendoes at the college.

Excerpt of review from Howard Schumann for imdb.com located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 16 November 1958 (New York)

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 2:16:25
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.79 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: January 25th, 2011
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Chapters 34

 

Comments

Home Before Dark has been available from Warner Archive Collection on a made-on-demand disc since January 2011 and it's worth highlighting this masterpiece by Mervyn LeRoy since it's not as well-known as his other films. The film holds up well, especially for an outstanding performance by Jean Simmons. The dual-layered disc features a remastered anamorphically enhanced transfer. A review quoted from IMDb mentions that original negative has been lost, but despite some marks on the print, the transfer looks very good. The blacks are deep and contrast is well-balanced. The mono audio is excellent with no distortions and there are no extras provided. This is an excellent movie that is worth to be rediscovered, so we can only highly recommend this release.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




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