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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Robert Siodmak
USA 1946

 

Impressively unusual thriller with typically simplistic Freudian elements as psychiatrist Ayres is called in by the police to help investigate a murder committed by one of two identical twins...but which one? Intriguing cat-and-mouse games and perverse power struggles as both he and we try to fathom which of the sisters is the warped psycho, with de Havilland (in the dual role) and Siodmak managing admirably to counteract the contrived plot. What really makes it work, though, is Siodmak's firm grasp of mood and suspense; the opening scene, in which the camera prowls a darkened room until it finds a corpse, sets the tone perfectly for the sense of uncertainty and chaos that follows.

Excerpt of review from TimeOut London located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 13th, 1946 (USA)

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Comparison: 

Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL vs. Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Arrow Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray

1) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray SECOND
3) Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD
4) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT
 
Box Cover

 

 

   

  

 

 

Distribution

Koch Media

Region 2 - PAL

Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Koch Media
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:21:39 (4% PAL speedup) 1:25:38.133 1:25:15.568 1:25:12.315
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 9.27 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 14,140,380,787 bytes

Feature: 14,098,225,152 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 20.00 Mbps

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,021,380,503 bytes

Feature: 22,491,660,288 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,941,341,250 bytes

Feature: 26,086,214,400 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.86 Mbps

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

Bitrate

Bitrate: Olive Blu-ray

Bitrate: Koch Blu-ray

Bitrate: Arrow Blu-ray

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English), DUB: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (German) DTS-HD Master Audio English 823 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 823 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1562 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1562 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

DUB:

DTS-HD Master Audio German 1566 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1566 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Subtitles None None English, None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Koch Media

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Photo Gallery

• liner notes (German) and photos

DVD Release Date: December 4th, 2009
Digi-book Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 14,140,380,787 bytes

Feature: 14,098,225,152 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 20.00 Mbps

Edition Details:

• none

Blu-ray Release Date: September 4th, 2012
Standard Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 8

Release Information:
Studio: Koch Media

 

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,021,380,503 bytes

Feature: 22,491,660,288 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps


Edition Details:

• Gallery
 

Digibook Blu-ray case

Blu-ray Release Date: May 2nd, 2014

Chapters: 16

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.427:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,941,341,250 bytes

Feature: 26,086,214,400 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.86 Mbps

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Adrian Martin
Noah Isenberg Reflections of The Dark Mirror, the author and scholar provides a detailed analysis of the film (34:04)
The Dark Mirror radio play (29:58)
Trailer for The Killers (1:45)
Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow for all films
Hardback book featuring new writing on all the films by noir experts and critics including Michael Brooke, Andrew Spicer, David Cairns and Tony Rayns and more [Limited Edition Exclusive]

DVDs of all 4 films!

Blu-ray Release Date: November 20th, 2017
Custom Blu-ray Box
Chapters: 12

 

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Arrow Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - November 17': Arrow's Four Film Noir Classics Limited Edition has The Dark Mirror, Secret Beyond the Door..., Force of Evil, and The Big Combo. They are not sold separately by Arrow at present and are only available in this boxset. There are other Blu-ray releases, like the Olive Film and Koch editions here, that we will compare to, with all transfers.

Limited Edition set of only 2000 copies!

Whewww... big difference between the first two Blu-rays and the Arrow transfer. Our FB Group discussion believes that the Arrow transfer appears to look more correct and both the Olive and Koch 1080P is vertically stretched. Strangely though the Arrow is in the 1.43:1 aspect ratio. It does look better in black levels, grain texture support and is authentically darker... plus it looks very strong in-motion. Yes, both the Olive/Koch look vertically-stretched, beside the Arrow, to me (too tall/thin) but the Arrow can look a shade horizontally-stretched as well. It may be a shade of both. In all other visual attributes the max'out bitrate of the Arrow is superior - without question. If I have some time I will compare more captures.

Arrow is better in the audio - Arrow's 24-bit linear PCM mono vs. the DTS-HD Master (16-bit) tracks on the other two Blu-rays. The presentation is supported with a score by, Noir-mood master, the great Dimitri Tiomkin (Angel Face, Strangers on a  Train, The Men, Dial M For Murder, The Thing From Another World etc. etc.) and Frank Skinner (Magnificent Obsession, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, All That Heaven Allows, and The Naked City) and it sounds flawless with consistency and some atmospheric depth to heighten drama via the uncompressed. Arrow also add optional English (SDH) subtitles (see sample below) on their Region FREE Blu-ray disc.

Arrow add a new commentary by Adrian Martin. It's at his usual excellent-level addressing some of the Freudian and personality themes broached in the film. Noah Isenberg, the author and scholar, provides a detailed analysis of the film for 34-minutes entitled Reflections of The Dark Mirror. Included is a 1/2 hour The Dark Mirror radio play, a trailer for The Killers and the package offers reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow for all films and a hardback book featuring new writing on all the films by noir experts and critics including Michael Brooke, Andrew Spicer, David Cairns and Tony Rayns and others.

One of my favorite Noirs... and we will continue to investigate the rest of the Arrow set!

***

ADDITION: Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray May 16': Koch packaged three notable Noirs - "Ministry of Fear", "The Big Clock" and "The Dark Mirror" in one Film Noir Classics Blu-ray boxset. I'd hoped they would be individually released, but it's been 2 years so it seems less likely. I've already reviewed The Big Clock - which is a decent release. These are single-layered transfers with supportive bitrates - unlike the recent The Glass Key from Koch - which is stellar with a max'ed out bitrate. This is a shade more robust and marginally tighter than the bare-bones Olive Blu-ray from 2012. It has a higher bitrate and looks solid in-motion. I've always loved this Noir.

The audio is lossless - again more technically robust than the Olive Blu-ray, and adds to mystery, There is a lossless German DUB (also DTS-HD Master) and subtitle option for English. The Blu-ray disc is region 'B'-locked.

The only extra for this disc (of the 3 disc set) is a 'gallery'.

The Dark Mirror is memorable (dual roles of Olivia de Havilland) and a Film Noir that you can really sink your teeth into with such a cool premise. I think this is a fabulous inclusion in this German Blu-ray package and it truns out to be the best presentation for this essential dark cinema gem presently available. Great work Koch!

***

ADDITION: Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - August 12': The Koch was a great DVD but the new Olive Blu-ray eclipsed it quite handily - despite being single-layered with a modest bitrate. It shows more information on all 4 sides, and contrast tightens the detail - it looks decent. The usual story - it is marginally brighter with a hint of grain. The audio is lossless mono - consistent and clear - no subtitles and no extras.

The bonus for many will be having it in theatrical running time with no PAL speedup. Super Noir atmosphere and the 1080P exports a satisfying presentation. Certainly recommended!

***

ON THE DVD: The French DVD edition HERE of The Dark Mirror has been out-of-print for a long while but I doubt it could be as perfect visually as this dual-layered, progressive and impressively clean image from Koch Media. The incredibly high bitrate supports the pristine transfer with excellent contrast and solid detail. To tack on some superlatives it may be the best looking image of a film, of this age, that I can remember in SD-DVD. I hope the screen captures bear this out because the video presentation is near flawless.

2.0 channel audio is likewise strong and consistent even via Dimitri Tiomkin's score playing over the menus! There is an optional German DUB but no subtitles.

Extras consist of the spiffy looking digi-book case with an essay(? - in German) and some and a digital photo-gallery - but even these images aren't as impressive as the video transfer. This is an easy sell for Noir fans especially those with only the lacklustre Spanish release. Why The Dark Mirror still hasn't come to region 1 is beyond me. Koch have produced one impressive DVD...

Gary W. Tooze

 


 Menus
 

1) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL LEFT
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT
 

 

 

Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Arrow Films - Region FREE- Blu-ray

 

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP
2) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 

 

1) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray SECOND
3) Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD
4) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


1) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray SECOND
3) Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD
4) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


 

1) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray SECOND
3) Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD
4) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

1) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP
2) Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
 
 
1) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP
2) Koch Media - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM
 
1) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 

1) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM


1) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP
2) Olive Film - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Cover

 

 

   

  

 

 

Distribution

Koch Media

Region 2 - PAL

Olive Films - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Koch Media
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 




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