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Invisible Ghost [Blu-ray]
(Joseph H. Lewis, 1941)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Monogram Pictures
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 14,295,454,754 bytes
Feature Size: 13,392,193,536 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.91 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: March 21st, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbp
•Audio Commentary by Film Historians Tom Weaver, Gary Rhodes and Dr. Robert J. Kiss
• Trailers - White Zombie - 2:46, Black Sleep - 1:36, The Undying Monster - 1:05, and Donovan's Brain - 2:02
Description:Newly Mastered in HD! The great Joseph H. Lewis (Gun Crazy, My Name is Julia Ross) directed this classic Monogram horror film about a man who unknowingly carries out a series of grisly murders while under the power of his insane and domineering wife (Betty Compson, The Docks of New York). Horror legend Bela Lugosi (Dracula, Chandu the Magician) stars in this dark Jekyll & Hyde tale as a kindly doctor whose thought-to-be-dead wife hypnotizes him, turning him into an unwitting homicidal killer. This was the first and the best of nine Monogram Pictures made by producer Sam Katzman (Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, It Came from Beneath the Sea) co-starring Polly Ann Young (The Man From Utah) and Clarence Muse (The Black Stallion).
Dr. Charles Kessler (Bela Lugosi), a well-to-do physician who shares his mansion with his daughter, Virginia (Polly Ann Young), has been depressed ever since his wife (Betty Compson) left him for another man, only to later die in a car accident. That's not all Kessler has to worry about, however. Unexplained murders have begun to occur around town, eventually claiming members of his house staff. Making matters worse, the authorities suspect Kessler may somehow be involved.
Invisible Ghost is far from the best of Bela Lugosi's Monogram vehicles (if indeed there is such a thing), but with Joseph H. Lewis at the controls it is far and away the best directed. Lugosi is cast as Kessler, an otherwise normal gentleman who goes balmy whenever he thinks about his late wife (Betty Compson). It gets worse when Kessler is transformed via hypnosis into an unwitting murderer, apparently at the behest of his wife's ghost. An innocent man (John McGuire) is executed for Kessler's first murder, but the victim's twin brother (also John McGuire) teams with Kessler's daughter (Polly Ann Young) to determine the identity of the true killer. Though cheaply made, The Invisible Ghost maintains an appropriately spooky atmosphere throughout, with Lugosi delivering a full-blooded performance as a basically decent man controlled by homicidal impulses beyond his ken. Best of all is the non-stereotypical performance by african-american actor Clarence Muse as Lugosi's articulate, take-charge butler.Excerpt from B+N located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Invisible Ghost suffers from the same issues as Chamber of Horrors. The density of the print source seems to drop of fairly dramatically. In the case of Invisible Ghost it happens about 20-minutes into the film and remains for the majority of the presentation. So there is inconsistency in that some sequences are quite impressive and others muddy with inferior contrast. There is also a prevalent vertical scratch down the right edge for parts of the latter stages of the film as well as the usual speckles throughout. It's a shame but, again, we can't find flaw in the bitrate - this appears to be a weak, and possibly the best, 'source' for the film. This Blu-ray still provided me a watchable, viewing experience but those overly bothered by such imperfections should take note.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1554 kbps in the original English language (16-bit). This is likewise at the mercy of the production but I found dialogue reasonable but the film's few effects were unremarkable - even via the lossless. No credited score but there is background music - at times boisterously instilling a feeling of impending danger. There are optional English subtitles offered (see sample) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Coming to the rescue for the package is an audio commentary by film historians Tom Weaver, Gary Rhodes and Dr. Robert J. Kiss which add essential value to the Kino Lorber Blu-ray. A variety of topics are discussed beyond Bela's career, many of the other performers and links to similar films. It's educational and enjoyable to listen to people passionate and knowledgeable about a subject. There are also trailers White Zombie, Black Sleep, The Undying Monster, and Donovan's Brain.
March 15th, 2017
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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