All families have their problems, but the Haloran family in Ireland has some really serious issues going on. The family owns and lives in a castle, where Lady Haloran (Eithne Dunne) exists in a constant state of depression over the drowning death of her daughter Kathleen years earlier. She still has her three sons though. Well, she did, until the first scene of the film where one of them dies of a heart attack. Then there were two left, only the wife of the one that died is a bit of a gold digger, and she wasn’t happy when she found out that Lady Haloran had put it in her will that when she died, most of her money was to go to charity in Kathleen’s name. To that end, she dumped her husband’s body in the lake (he died while they were out rowing in a boat), and then faked a letter from him saying that he had to go back to New York unexpectedly on business, so she could stick around and work on trying to get Lady Haloran to change her will. Then we have the older brother who’s an artist. He works in metal, and his fiance is there as well trying to get approval from his mother, though to be honest neither seem to care whether they get it or not. Then there’s the youngest son, who was with Kathleen the day she drowned. He seems normal enough, but is he?
This film is an old classic from director Francis Ford Coppola. It’s been remastered and released in a blu-ray + DVD combo pack by Cultra. The whole thing has been remastered in high def and given a 5.1 surround audio mix. Also included in the box is an original movie art post card and for special features you get a before and after restoration demo and the film’s trailer. The disc also includes Spanish subtitles, which really annoyed me. If you’re going to add subtitles to a film, which is something every film should have in my opinion, then include English as well. There’s no reason to do just Spanish if you’re going to add them. You might as well include English and French as well since those are the three primary languages of your target audience in this region. In any case, the film itself looks great. The restoration process made it look really nice, and all in all it’s another quality release from Cultra.
As for the film itself, It almost feels like an old episode of Dark Shadows or something. It just sort of has that vibe to it. The acting was quite good, and I was really happy to see William Campbell in it as the eldest brother Richard, the artist. You may remember him from that classic episode of Star Trek where he played a spoiled rotten alien named Trelane in the episode "The Squire of Gothos" that gave Kirk and the boys such a hard time. He also played the Klingon commander Koloth in the episode "The Trouble With Tribbles".
The plot of the film actually works out quite well, except that Louise Haloran (Luana Anders), never really got to complete her plans to get the mother to change her will before she was killed, nor was it really clear what her overall plan was. Another little flub in the film is that the killer is always shown in a shadow form (until the end of the film), but at one point where he kills the poacher, you can actually make out who it is, so it kind of spoils the mystery of it. In general though, the movie is well acted, and despite some technical flubs here and there, and a budget that probably covered the cost of film and a pizza or two for the cast and crew, they managed to put together a really decent film that holds your attention and draws you into the story.
Many of our readers have probably seen this film, as it’s been released from a variety of sources in the past, but if you want a really nice copy of the film, the Cultra blu-ray + DVD combo pack is the one you’ll want to have in your collection. It’s a great release and highly recommended.
This release is available through Amazon and the other usual outlets. The film is distributed by HD Cinema Classics. You can check out their website and other releases here.