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Directed by David Lowell Rich
USA 19
66

 

Based on a 1909 French play by Alexandre Bisson, Madame X was first filmed in 1916, with Dorothy Donnelly in the title role. In a 1920 remake, the celebrated stage actress Pauline Frederick played her. The first talkie version, in 1929, earned an Academy Award nomination for Broadway star Ruth Chatterton. MGM remade it in 1937 with Gladys George as the doomed lady, and there was a British version in 1948. Tuesday Weld received excellent reviews in the 1981 television adaptation. Perhaps the best of the lot -- and certainly the one with the highest production values -- is the 1966 version of Madame X starring Lana Turner.

Turner plays Holly, the neglected wife of a diplomat and mother of a young son. She has an affair with a playboy, and is implicated in his death. To avoid tainting her family with scandal, Holly disappears, leaving them to believe she's dead. Over the years Holly sinks into a life of degradation, until another death leaves her on trial for murder...defended by the son who's unaware of who she is.

By the mid-1950's, Lana Turner had segued from sexpot roles into romantic melodramas such as Peyton Place (1957), which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. The real-life melodrama of her mobster lover's murder by her daughter (Cheryl Crane) not only increased Turner's notoriety, but also her popularity. She then teamed up with director Douglas Sirk and producer Ross Hunter, who specialized in lavishly-produced women's pictures, for Imitation of Life (1959), a tearjerker about a conflicted mother-daughter relationship. It was a huge hit and was quickly followed by another, equally glossy Turner and Hunter collaboration, Portrait in Black (1960).

Excerpt from Turner Classic Movies located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: February 25th, 1966

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Comparison:

Universal - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Panamint - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Panamint - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

 

   

  

 

Distribution Universal - Region 1 - NTSC Panamint - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:40:03  1:40:12.047  
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.74 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps

Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,151,033,702 bytes

Feature: 21,530,241,024 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)  LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English (CC), French, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: February 5th, 2008

Double-lock Double Holder Keep Case
Chapters: 18

Release Information:
Studio:
Panamint

1080P / 23.976 fps

Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,151,033,702 bytes

Feature: 21,530,241,024 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

Original Trailer (2:26)
Newsreel (1:22)

16-page booklet

Blu-ray Release Date: May 24th, 2016
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters: 9

 

 

 

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

ADDITION: Panamint - Region 'B' - Blu-ray May 16':  Panamint give us Madame X on Blu-ray in a respectable 1080P transfer that is superior to the 2008 SD. We can see some pleasing texture making the presentation look more film-like and colors gain some depth - mostly supporting the scheme of the DVD, only a bit tighter. It remains in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It's only single-layered but about 3X the bitrate of the SD.

Audio goes linear PCM and sounds tight and clean. Frank Skinner's dramatic score (Magnificent Obsession, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, All That Heaven Allows, and The Naked City) sounds occasionally deep with a smattering of richness. There are optional subtitles offered in English (see sample below) and the Blu-ray disc is labeled as region 'B'.

The extras consist of a trailer and newsreel and a 16-page leaflet in the package.

I loved revisiting this film - a sneaky story initially masquerading as a romance then morphing into a hidden identity, murder and blackmail. This has some Noir leanings and I'm very pleased to have it on Blu-ray. This is a keeper, IMO.

***

ON THE DVD: A strong transfer - brighter and clean - again - dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic. A notch above Portrait in Black in both film and appearance.

It also offers a clear audible track with optional English or French subtitles. No supplements save a trailer. It shares the package with the 1st disc (reviewed above). This amounts to a fabulous deal for less than $13. For those familiar with the era this is highly recommended!

Gary W. Tooze

 





Menus


Panamint - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray Menu

 


Screen Captures

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Panamint - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Panamint - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Panamint - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Panamint - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

 

Box Cover

 

   

  

 

Distribution Universal - Region 1 - NTSC Panamint - Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze

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