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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

Reviews                                                                         More Reviews                                                                      DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Panamint - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Panamint - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray LEFT

2) Kino - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Cover

 

  

 

    

Distribution Panamint - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:40:12.047   1:40:15.134   
Video

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

1080P / 23.976 fps

Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,484,636,955 bytes

Feature: 21,282,422,784 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.95 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Paramint Blu-ray:

Bitrate Kino Blu-ray:

Audio LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1555 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1555 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

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

Subtitles English (SDH), None English (SDH), None
Features

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

Release Information:
Studio: Kino

1080P / 23.976 fps

Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,484,636,955 bytes

Feature: 21,282,422,784 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.95 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historians Lee Gambin and Eloise Ross

Original Trailer (2:27)

Blu-ray Release Date: May 28th, 2019
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters: 8

 

 

 

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

ADDITION: Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray May 18':  Kino transfer Madame X to Region 'A' Blu-ray and it has about the same technical, single-layered, AVC 1080P transfer. The Kino is a shade darker with warmer skin tones but the image is very close to the Panamint. 

Kino use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel mono although only 16-bit. Technically the Panamint may have a minor superiority. 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, also optional subtitles offered in English (see samples below) and the Blu-ray disc is labeled as region 'A'.

Kino take the big step forward in being the better edition by including a new audio commentary by Lee Gambin and Eloise Ross giving plenty of insight and analysis into the production, cast, director, fashion, make-up, the studio system, themes etc. It will be appreciated by fans of the film and you will get used to the accents. There is also a beat-up trailer and a few trailers of other relatable films.

Well, with the commentary, the Kino Blu-ray gets the nod. I loved revisiting this film - a sneaky story initially masquerading as a romance then morphing into a hidden identity, murder and blackmail.

***

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. 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

 

Kino - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY TO SEE IN FULL RESOLUTION

 

 

1) Panamint - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Panamint - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Panamint - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


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

 

 

Box Cover

 

  

 

    

Distribution Panamint - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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