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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Nightkill [Blu-ray]


(Ted Post, 1980)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Cine Artist Film GmbH

Video: Kino Lorber



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:39:09.276

Disc Size: 19,428,269,750 bytes

Feature Size: 15,592,065,024 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.96 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 24th, 2017



Aspect ratio: 1,85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1558 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1558 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

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






• Audio commentary by Film Historians Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson
Interview with Star Jaclyn Smith (13:43)
Teaser (0:22) / 4 trailers of other films





Description: Newly Mastered in HD! A bored rich industrialist's wife plots to kill her husband and have her lover assume the dead man's identity. The marriage between wealthy and cold-hearted tycoon Wendell Atwell (Mike Connors, Where Love Has Gone) and his adulterous wife Katherine (Jaclyn Smith, Charlie's Angels) has soured and there seems to be no way out except divorce, which Wendell has refused. Katherine and her lover (James Franciscus, The Cat o Nine Tails) deviously hatch up a plot to murder her millionaire husband. She hires a world-weary private eye (Robert Mitchum, Out of the Past) to find her missing husband, but fails to inform the investigator that she knows full well the whereabouts of her husband. Difficulties arise when the investigator ends up being much better at his job than she originally expected and he may or may not have some ulterior motives of his own. Hollywood veteran Ted Post (Magnum Force, The Baby) directed this top-notch cat-and-mouse thriller filled with fear, intrigue, mystery and panic. The strong supporting cast includes Sybil Danning (Eye in the Labyrinth), Fritz Weaver (Marathon Man) and Michael Anderson Jr. (The Sons of Katie Elder).



The Film:

Adulterous lovers Kathy Atwell (Jaclyn Smith) and Steve Fuller (James Franciscus) share a steamy shower room clinch, while unbeknownst to them a tape-recorder hidden somewhere in the house eavesdrops on their every word. Kathy is unhappily married to Wendell Atwell (Mike Connors), a business tycoon in Phoenix, Arizona who seemingly can’t go five minutes without heaping abuse upon the poor woman. However, her beauty and popularity earned through charitable work with local orphans makes Kathy his prized possession, so divorce is out of the question. To Kathy’s horror, Steve poisons Wendell then convinces her to stash the body in her freezer. His plan is to pick up a briefcase with $1 million dollars in dirty money that Wendell stashed in an airport locker, whereupon he and Kathy will flee the country. The next morning Kathy awakens to discover Wendell’s body has vanished while another corpse lies in its place. Then suspicious cop Lt. Donner (Robert Mitchum) starts snooping around.

Excerpt from TheSpinningImage located HERE

Beautiful Jaclyn Smith (from TV's Charlie's Angels) heads up this moody noir-styled thriller.

Saddled with abusive husband Wendel (Connors), lovely kept wife Katherine (Smith) begins a romantic liasion with her hubby's business partner Steve (Franciscus).

After her lover murders the venomous Wendel, a frazzled Katherine comes to believe she can weather the storm and come out on top.

But soon, Steve is found dead and Wendel's body is missing!

Excerpt from The TerrorTrap 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 Nightkill looks pretty flat and often waxy in 1080P - perhaps reflecting its 80's roots. It has a lowish bitrate and has a decidedly digitized look - but this, actually, may be accurate. I don't know that dual-layering would dramatically improve the appearance. It wouldn't surprise me if it looked similar to this 35-years ago. This Blu-ray image is unremarkable but watchable in regards to the picture quality. Far from reaching the heights of the format.





















Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1558 kbps in the original English language. There are some aggressive effects in the film - and a quirky 80s score by Günther Fischer (Eolomea). The dialogue was mostly very clear - which would probably on-par with the production. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

I appreciated the audio commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson who seemed a bit pushed to find things to say about Nightkill but, as usual, they were able to reference other productions, factoids about the cast, the resurgence of Ted Post etc. High remarkable is the 14-minute interview with Jaclyn Smith who may look even better than she did in Nightkill! She discuses her career after Charlie's Angels and her previous associations with those making Nightkill. There is also a teaser for the film and four trailers of other films.



I had never seen Nightkill and it can satisfy a Neo-noir craving - especially with Mitchum's presence. It veers around trying to establish itself but it's not a bad storyline. Jaclyn Smith is solid as the damsel in distress. There are some positives and the dated feel can actually be nostalgic. The Kino Lorber
Blu-ray adds value with the commentary and I suspect many will be entertained by the film despite the weaknesses.  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 34% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

October 24th, 2017



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