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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by George King
UK 1939

 

Murder, disguise, lurking figures, secret chambers and mad scientists are brought to cinematic life in this British chiller that boasts the maniacal talents of legendary actor Tod Slaughter (Crimes at the Dark House). The Face at the Window is a tale of Paris in 1880, under the curse of “Le Loup” (“The Wolf”), a creeping murderer that allows its victims a glimpse of its deranged, drooling face, just before plunging a dagger into their backs. Caught in the center of this intrigue are two lovers, Lucien and Cecile, who are not only threatened by The Wolf, but by the lecherous Chevalier Lucio del Gardo (Slaughter), who plans to ensnare the beautiful Cecile. Thanks to Slaughter’s eerie presence, startling makeup and wonderful direction by George King (The Frightened Lady), The Face at the Window is a rare example of the British horror film of the 1930s, more traditional in form than its American counterpart, but no less effective in unnerving its audience. “You find yourself immediately—from the ingenious titling on—in the grip of the fine firm traditional dialogue, the magnificent casting, sets and camerawork which plank you surely back into that vague Victorian period, when anything might happen.”

***

In 1880, the criminal called The Face is responsible for a murderous rampage in France. When the Brisson Bank is robbed in Paris and the employee Michelle is murdered, the wealthy Chevalier Lucio del Gardo is the only chance to save the bank. Chavalier proposes to the owner M. de Brisson to deposit a large amount of gold, but in return he would like to marry his daughter Cecile. However, Cecile is in love with the efficient clerk Lucien Cortier that belongs to the lower classes and refuses the engagement. In order to get rid off the rival, Chavalier uses evidences to incriminate Lucien, manipulating the incompetent Parisian chief of police.

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 1939

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:04:52.388        
Video

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,727,592,018 bytes

Feature: 20,370,001,920 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

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)
Commentary:

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

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,727,592,018 bytes

Feature: 20,370,001,920 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian/Author Brett Wood
• Image Gallery
• Trailers


Blu-ray Release Date:
October 6th, 2020
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (September 2020): Kino have transferred George King's The Face at the Window to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "Brand New 4K Master", and it looks very good - you wouldn't know that it is over 80 years old! Aside from a few, mostly light, vertical scratches, the 1080P image has impressive contrast, depth and pleasing detail. It has a max'ed out bitrate and despite a, very, few weaknesses that surface the HD presentation is wonderful.  

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (16-bit) in the original English language. The film's audio is at the mercy of the 1939 production capabilities but is mostly clear with audible dialogue and a dramatic score by Jack Beaver (Sabotage, The 39 Steps), carrying some intensity and drama. Kino offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Kino Blu-ray offers a new commentary written by Jean-Claude Michel. As his spoken English is not ideal, it is read by Brett Wood (author of Forbidden Fruit: The Golden Age of the Exploitation Film). So, he is actually reading the commentary by Jean-Claude Michel (author of the French book The Return of Bela Lugosi: The Final Curtain.) Beginning in 1973 Jean-Claude Michel wrote some articles on Tod Slaughter in various professional magazines, in French, English, and German. He was also a foreign correspondent for Famous Monsters, from 1962, and co-created "L'Ecran Fantastique", a French magazine still published in 2020. The Brett Wood-read commentary centers around Tod Slaughter, his famous role of Sweeney Todd, and he plays an audio excerpt of an interview (by Tom Weaver from 2002) with Producer Richard Gordon (Island of Terror) where he mentions Slaughter. The commentary discusses the many versions of The Face at the Window, Slaughter's wife Jenny Lynn, his resurgence in the public eye and much more. It's excellent. There is also an image gallery and trailers.

The Face at the Window is typical for its time filled with melodrama but also keen mystery elements. It's a crime-thriller not so much a horror. Tod Slaughter is a dastardly and entertaining villain. It's definitely of its era - and we love that. The Kino Blu-ray not only looks great with the 4K-restoration, but has the educational commentary by Brett Wood. You could look at The Face at the Window and see plenty of dated conventions but I found them highly appealing. To each his own. 

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 


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

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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