Beware ... Bad Manners
J. Michael Click | Fort Worth, Texas United States | 01/09/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I ordered this movie because I'm a dedicated fan of actor David Manners. Instead of receiving the Gotham Distribution version pictured here, I received the Alpha Video DVD release of "The Moonstone". This version of the film is *not* worth adding to your collection, at least as presented on this DVD. The original running time of "The Moonstone" was 62 minutes; here it runs only 47 minutes, meaning that one-fourth of the movie is missing! And the footage that remains is scratchy and jumpy, with grade Z contrast ... not even remotely worth watching for a glimpse of cult actor Manners.The Alpha Video DVD does contain a second feature, a creaky 1931 mystery named "Murder at Midnight". Unfortunately, it also is a bottom-of-the-barrel transfer of a film that wasn't any too interesting to begin with. Best to avoid this selection until a better, more complete version makes it to DVD."
I LIKE IT A LITTLE BETTER....
Tim Janson | Michigan | 01/10/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Than the other reviewer. First I will concure that the version that Amazon shows on their site is NOT the version that you will receive if you order it. The version you get is the Alpha Video version with completely different box art. Also as noted, this version is trimmed down to a mere 47 minutes versus the original runtime of 62 minutes so 25% of the movie IS missing. To compensate, the Alpha version somes with a second feature "Murder at Midnight"
The Moonstone is an early Poverty Row thriller from Monogram and based on a story by Wilkie Collins. David Manners plays Franklyn Blake who is returning from India with the rare gem called the Moonstone which is the inheritance of his Fiancee Anne VErinder (Phyllis Barry). Blake arrives at the Verinder mansion with a house full of guests including Godfrey, Anne's cousin, Von Lucker, a man who Anne's father owes 5,000 pounds, various servants, and Yandoo, a Hindu accompanying Blake. Anne goes to sleep and in the morning finds the moonstone has been stolen from under her pillow. Inspector Cuff from Scotland Yard is called in to solve the crime.
Because of the short runtime the movie is badly chopped up and switchs harshly from scene to scene. The quality of the print is very rough with poor contrast and quite grainy. Still it's an effective little who-done-it with solid performances. Manners is decent and I realy liked Gustav von Seyffertitz as Von Lucker.
Murder at Midnight is another poverty row picture from the little known Amity Studio. A large group of guests are gathered at the Kennedy estate for a party. During a game of charades a man is shot and killed by a gun that was supposed to have blanks in it. Now, everyone in attendance is a suspect as Inspector Taylor begins interviewing the guests to solve the case. But then the body count starts to go up as Maid, Butler, and others are killed off in rapid fire order.
The performances are ok. Pretty stereotypical of these types of movies with smug socialites, tough guy cop, creepy butler, shyster lawyer, etc. Nothing special. Look for Vernon Dent in a bit role as the peanut-eating cop. Dent of course would go onto greater fame playing in dozens of three stooges shorts in the 1930's and 40's.
As with Moonstone it's a bad print with terrible contrast and very grainy. Still, the fact is that why would you restore two movies like these that are basically forgotten films? What's really the market for them? Rather than slam Alpha for not restoring them, I will praise them for putting them out in the first place. I doubt they were ever released on VHS so if not for Alpha these littke-known films would have remained basically lost and never seen the light of day. Despite their quality they are still watchable
CAVEAT EMPTOR: MUTILATED VERSION!!
R. C. Walker | Encinitas CA, United States | 07/02/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The good news here is that the sound and image restorations are very good. The bad news, it was a worthless effort. This specific DVD comes in at 47 minutes, 15 minutes short of the film's actual 62 minute run time. Avoid this turkey like a cursed jewel."