Reign Of Terror

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Reign of Terror


English   Country: USA   Year: 1949

Reign of Terror

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Anthony Mann


Robert Cummings; Richard Basehart




The French Revolution done as a film-noir. Black & White.

Based on original story. Contains original music by Sol Kaplan (d. 1990).


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User Reviews


(Average=1.75 out of 5; Total Number=4)

A Very Cheap Rip-Off (rating=1)

Although this is a truly great classic film-noir period piece with some fine acting and suspensful script, the quality of the DVD (I would hate to see the copy in VHS) is almost too painful to watch. The backgrounds are all too dark to recognize, any details of footage is lost in the poor transfer quality, it's an all-around a terrible disappointment. I would recommend not purchasing any DVDs from this company despite the very inexpensive price. If you want to throw your money away, donate it to some worthwhile organization----do not buy this DVD!

One Of Mann's Best Films: One Of The Very Worst DVDs Ever (rating=1)

Reign of Terror, or The Black Book, is one of the great Anthony Mann's very best pictures - a nightmarish tale of the French Revolution shot in the style of a film noir expressionistic nightmare with superlative production design from William Cameron Menzies. But I'm loathe to say any more that might encourage you to buy this disc simply because this is without doubt the very worst DVD I have ever seen - the poor contrast and appalling definition ruining John Alton's brilliant cinematography, while the variable transfer speed makes slurs of many of the witticisms. This is a neglected masterpiece crying out for the kind of tresatment that MPI have given the Sherlock Holmes films, but whatever you do, don't make the mistake of thinking this terrible transfer from Alpha/Gotham is worth the low price - it isn't, and that's a real crime against cinema.

Sympathy For John Alton (rating=3)

The plot is fairly interesting. The acting is quite good. It informs you, albeit scantily, of a time in French History that, at least I, had not much knowledge of.

This is a true "B" film and yet, as has been proven time-and-again by Anthony Mann (T-Men, Raw Deal, He Walked By Night, Winchester '73 etc.), he manages to put his stamp on a film and raise it beyond what most directors could.

I feel sorry for, what must be, John Alton's (cinematographer extraordinaire - Painting With Light) deft-touch in lighting. However, you would never be able to tell by this poor, poor quality transfer of both the visual and audio.

Personally, I do not find the film worthy of repeated viewing even IF it was of pristine quality regardless of what Mann&Alton bring to it.

I don't expect the greatest from Alpha-Video ( because they transfer whatever they can get their hands on, as is, from Public Domain.
Sometimes, as with "The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers", you get an "A" film with fairly good visual and sound quality overall, and sometimes you get barely acceptable.

If you want to see prime Mann&Alton, I would suggest: T-Men, Raw Deal, He Walked By Night. One of the best Alton photographed films out there is: The Big Combo (directed by Joseph H. Lewis).

Quality of DVD: *1/2 /**** Sound: *1/2 /**** Plot: **/**** Acting: ***/**** Cinematography: ***/**** Direction: ***/****