"Well, most people like it and I like it, and I'm working hard and trying to keep the cost down"

J. Russell Finch CEO & President
The Pacific Edible Seaweed Company
Fresno, CA.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE 1945

 

    For some strange reason MGM has allowed 1945's THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE to languish in OOP purgatory for several years now. A DVD was released back in 2005, after which it disappeared surprisingly quick and now it goes for pretty outrageous prices on the secondary markets (this is one of the last laser discs I've held onto).
   An outstanding RKO "Hitchcockian" like thriller it stars Dorothy McGuire, George Brent and Ethel Barrymore (along with a scene stealing Elsa Lanchester), an eerie theremin score by Roy Webb and direction by Robert Siodmak in full German Expressionism overdrive. McGuire plays a deaf mute domestic servant in a creepy Victorian mansion (that's almost a character unto itself) while a serial killer lurks about the vicinity killing women suffering from physical afflictions.
  A triumph of set design, mood and atmosphere, its come to be regraded as a precursor to the Italian giallo thrillers of the 1970's (Dario Argento has mentioned it as one of his influences). Hopefully MGM will get off their collective butts and remedy this situation soon. At the very least licence it someone like Criterion, who's released in the past couple of years a growing collection of classic Hollywood films such as THE UNINVITED, I MARRIED A WITCH & SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS.




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