Ulmer's (hard to find) Daughter of Dr. Jekyll is Included.
Mike Liddell | Massachusetts | 07/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Andrew Sarris said "Anyone who loves cinema must be moved by Daughter of Dr. Jekyll" in his book The American Cinema: Directors And Directions 1929-1968. I thought this hard to find film was out of print, if you do a search on Amazon by title you will find it used from $34 - new at $110. The only way I found this set was by doing a search for director Edgar G. Ulmer, and this cover art was somewhat vague but it does in fact have the film in it's entirety, which is as good of quality if not better then the dvd for $110 (I've watched both). Bluebeard is also highly recommended. By the title I thought it was about a pirate but it's a Jack the Ripper type of tale starring John Carradine. Edgar G. Ulmer is a great director whose films have a definite style of his own from his great horror films such as the two mentioned above (Bluebeard and Daughter of Dr. Jekyll)and The Black Cat The Bela Lugosi Collection (Murders in the Rue Morgue / The Black Cat / The Raven / The Invisible Ray / Black Friday) to his classic film noir Detour. Ulmer also did an atmospheric influential Sci Fi film The Man From Planet X. Ulmer's films have a beautiful look which is no surprise as he was the set designer for Lang's Metropolis (Restored Authorized Edition) and M - 2 Disc Special Edition - Criterion Collectionand art director for such films as Murneau's Sunrise - A Song of Two Humans (Limited Edition) plus Demille's The King of Kings - Criterion Collection to name just some of his previous contributions to film before he regularly directed his own. Although the marketing for this set is poor I highly recommend it and it's a terrific value."
Hedy Lamarr's best performance. Check it out!
yaremar | Pilsen, USA | 12/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hedy Lamarr is frequently referred to as the most beautiful movie star of her era, and I'll certainly go along with that assessment. Yet she has rarely been given enough credit for her acting ability, and is usually dismissed as a limited actress. True, Hedy can't exactly be ranked alongside Bette Davis or Ida Lupino, but she still had a magnetic screen presence and could turn in a fine performance when given the opportunity. Many claim she gave one of her finest performances in THE STRANGE WOMAN (1946). I'd go so far as to say it's her all-time best.
In this melodrama set in 19th century Maine, Hedy (with an accent that hardly sounds like anyone from Maine) plays Jenny Hager, a self-aborbed young woman whose outward beauty belies a background of poverty and abuse. Jenny uses her alluring charms to attract the attention of Isaiah Poster (Gene Lockhart), an elderly merchant. After marrying Isaiah, Jenny seduces her weak-willed stepson Ephraim (Louis Hayward), which sets the stage for a tragic turn of events between father and son. Jenny later sets her sights on John Evered (George Sanders), who is engaged to one of Jenny's so-called close friends (Hillary Brooke). But even the cunning Jenny can't escape the cumulative effects of her past deeds.
While Hedy was excellent in films like H. M. PULHAM, ESQ. (1941), EXPERIMENT PERILOUS (1944), and SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949), I don't think she ever had a better showcase than THE STRANGE WOMAN. Her portrayal of Jenny Hager is more complex than a simple plot synopsis would indicate. Jenny is heartless in her manipulation of men, and ruthless in her drive to acquire wealth and prestige. And yet she can't shake the memories of her impoverished childhood; once she becomes rich, she uses her influence to help the downtrodden. Hedy often complained that the studios saddled her substandard assignments, but here she was able to exert control: she co-produced THE STRANGE WOMAN (based on a novel by Ben Ames Williams) and was responsible for hiring its director, Edgar G. Ulmer. Hedy's active participation in this production no doubt accounts for her strong, vibrant performance in the film. (Hedy wasn't always able to hide her disgust with other studio assignments; in some films, her boredom is palpable.)
THE STRANGE WOMAN is also one of the best efforts of its aforementioned director, Edgar G. Ulmer, who has attracted a cult following thanks to films like THE BLACK CAT (1934), BLUEBEARD (1944), DETOUR (1945), STRANGE ILLUSION (1945), and THE MAN FROM PLANET X (1951). THE STRANGE WOMAN touches upon several Ulmer themes: lust, greed, deception, ruthless ambition, the emptiness of material gain, and the inescapable hand of fate. THE STRANGE WOMAN would make a great double-bill with RUTHLESS (1948; currently unavailable on DVD), another top-notch Ulmer film dealing with a lead character (Zachary Scott this time) who schemes his way to the top. Ulmer also knew how to squeeze the most production value out of every dollar, and brings a far glossier look to THE STRANGE WOMAN than its moderate budget would normally allow.
THE STRANGE WOMAN features a powerhouse supporting cast that includes the always-reliable George Sanders (ALL ABOUT EVE), Louis Hayward (THE HOUSE BY THE RIVER), Gene Lockhart (who was adept at playing everything from mousy clerks to oily blackmailers), and Hillary Brooke (THE WOMAN IN GREEN, THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO SHOW). Yet, with no disrespect to these fine players, it's Hedy's show all the way.
The print quality of this Alpha Video release is very good, although there's an abrupt scene change around the 81-minute mark. This is evident in other circulating copies of the film, and I don't know if this is the result of a missing transitional fade or if some footage is missing. (Most sources list the running time as 100 minutes; this print runs 99.) Nevertheless, there's no harm done to the storyline, and it shouldn't deter anyone from purchasing a copy of this disc.
If you've never seen Hedy Lamarr, THE STRANGE WOMAN will be the perfect introduction to this lovely and underrated actress. If you've seen Hedy Lamarr and haven't been terribly impressed, THE STRANGE WOMAN will be a revelation. "
WOULD LIKE TO RECOMMEND, BUT...!!!!!
larryj1 | AZ, USA | 09/10/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I was very disappointed in what should have been a great set. Despite all the talk on this set about the Ulmer Restoration Corp. and some French restorations, there are just too many unacceptable issues. On disc 1, Strange Illusion is a French restoration. There is a long sequence where the audio is seriously out-of-sync with the picture. I don't see how it could of been restored that way, so that must be a problem with the DVD production. The overall picture quality is better on the Roan edition, but it has problems with splices and low audio. The Strange Woman looks fine, but at one point has a fade out in the middle of dialogue where it looks to have missing footage. There are also numerous audio breaks during the preacher's speech near the end. I found the commentary very informative, though. The special features on this disc are good, except the trailers are rather rough. On disc 2, the French restoration of Bluebeard is a disaster. They actually used an edited print. These French restorations are quite cheap ones. There were numerous edits during the initial puppet show. It was obviously deliberate, because every scene which shows the puppeteers working the strings was edited out. The Roan edition has the complete print and is recommended over this. After all this, Daughter of Dr. Jekyll is actually a very good print in its OAR. The special features on this disc are excellent. On disc 3, Moon Over Harlem is a fair print with a few splices. Goodbye, Mr. Germ is a good print with only one splice. Swiss Family Robinson is a very good print, but unfortunately has an All Day Ent. logo throughout, thereby ruining any viewing of it. This set is too problematic to give anymore than 2 stars.
Hedy well-showcased in period potboiler
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 01/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Following a series of badly-received films, M-G-M allowed Hedy Lamarr to set up her own production unit inside the studio where properties could be developed that suited her style and abilities. THE STRANGE WOMAN was one of the films made during this time. This sudsy period melodrama stars Lamarr as Jenny Hager, a young woman whose wanton lusts and desires end up destroying three men - and eventually herself.
In 1800s Maine, Jenny emerges from her white-trash origins to become the wife of wealthy Isaiah Poster (Gene Lockhart), though the marriage is completely devoid of love and affection from Jenny's corner. She soon turns her attentions to her stepson Ephraim (Louis Hayward) and convinces him to kill his father, so that they may be together. But once the dirty deed has been done, Jenny turns her back on Ephraim and begins to zero-in on John Evered (George Sanders), the handsome new foreman. The fact that he is engaged to her supposed best friend (Hillary Brooke) doesn't faze Jenny in the least. It seems nothing will stop ruthless Jenny in her horrifying quest for love.
Hedy Lamarr is ideally-suited in bringing to life the monstrous yet captivating Jenny Hager. The cast surrounding Lamarr is well-appointed and the production design brings the rowdy 1800-era city of Bangor to thrilling life. The print from Alpha DVD is serviceable, with good contrast and clear sound for the most part."
Hollywood moral hypocrisy made for the delectation of all th
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 04/07/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's the old story...woman with her lascivious, tempting ways turns man into a beast or a weakling, and all because of the lust she's held responsible for arousing in his...ah...heart.
"I always lose happiness...I can't seem to hold it," says Jenny Hager (Hedy Lamar), daughter of the town drunk. Jenny is poor and beautiful beyond most schoolboys' dreams. She is determined to use that beauty to marry a rich man. It's the 1840's in Bangor, Maine, and the older man she sets her sights on is the leading merchant in town. Isaiah Poster's eyes on her tell us what he wants, and one day she allows herself to be whipped by her drunken father so that she can run to Isaiah and plead protection. It's not long before she has married this middle-aged, fat tycoon, the richest man in Bangor. And before long, when she meets Ephraim Poster (Louis Hayward), Isaiah's son who is her age, you can see Jenny knows that money with youth will be more fun than money with age. Then she meets John Evered (George Sanders), who works for her husband as a woods boss, in charge of the lumbermen who log the timber old Ephraim owns. That John is engaged to her best friend doesn't stop Jenny's evaluation of things: Riches plus youth plus vigor is better than riches plus youth. As Jenny says, "Men like me...and it's men that have the money in this world!"
Well, folks, be prepared to see one man die in a river torrent, another man die at the end of a rope and a look of disgust cross a third man's face. If you think this movie has a happy ending, you haven't been reading your Bible lately. The Strange Woman is a strange hybrid of Eugene O'Neill and parts of Forever Amber. The hypocrisy that oozes like spoiled milk from this movie makes only one point: A woman who uses her sexuality and her smarts must be up to no good, even if the men in her life are drunks, boors, weaklings and prigs. She must pay the price for being hot stuff. Jenny is a complicated woman, made up of equal parts compassion, resentment, ambition and sex...and she's a woman who loves a challenge. She finds ways to help the poor. She steps forward to enlarge the church to keep the grog shops small, to pay the doctor's bills of the sick, to send teachers up to the families where the loggers work. Her crime seems to be that of having a calculating willingness to use her sexual allure to better herself and get her way. "It wasn't by knowing how to set a table that Cleopatra got along" she says at one point.
Edgar Ulmer, a B-movie director who for once in his life was given a proper budget with name actors, turns in a product which moves right along. There are some nice scenes, including a sexual setup in a lightning storm that is dramatic as all get out. Some think that the look of the movie and the inevitable retribution qualifies it as a noir. Maybe. But the movie itself is all melodrama, with an obvious script and a corny music score that undercuts whatever dramatic interest there might have once been. Hedy Lamar does an impressive job portraying Jenny. Lamar was a beautiful and smart woman, a better actress than most gave her credit for, and now, unfortunately, is remembered mainly as a Mel Brooks joke in Blazing Saddles. George Sanders doesn't bring much to the party as John Evered. He's not very believable in rough clothes as the woods boss, and later he comes off as an uncomfortable person to have as a soul mate. Louis Hayward is the real mystery. Hayward was a competent, versatile actor, believable in drama, light comedy and period adventures. He chose, or his contract chose for him, to play a weakling for whom we mainly feel pity tinged with contempt. However, he and Lamar, and Gene Lockhart as Isaiah, carry the acting load. Perhaps that's what Hayward saw in the part.
The Strange Woman, in my view, is not a movie to make fun of even if it's overwrought. The lesson lies in what Hollywood sees as proper justice for a woman who is just as willing to use and enjoy her sexuality as a man does. Well, okay, that's a little film-historian sounding. But the movie still smells of self-satisfied hypocrisy.
The movie is in the public domain so don't expect much. The version I have is a little better than just watchable."