Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 25th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: UK, 1948
Director: Lance Comfort
Writer: Max Catto
Cast: Siobhan McKenna, Anne Crawford, Maxwell Reed, George Thorpe, Barry Morse, Liam Redmond, Cyril Smith, Honor Blackman
DVD released: September 29th, 2009
Approximate running time: 88 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Redemption Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: A young Irish woman named Emmie is branded by the women of her village as a temptress and she is forced to relocate. The priest she had been working for as a maid finds her work as a maid in England. At first Emily desperately tries to fit in at her new home. Then one day her undeniable hold that she has over men starts to reemerges. Faced once again with the problems she had tried to escape. Emily is forced once and for all to face her demons head on.
Isolation, prejudice and temptation are three themes that are prevalent throughout Daughter of Darkness. The film quickly establishes Emmie’s status as an outsider who is loathed by all the women in her life, while she is adored by the majority of men who she encounters. Even when she is given a second chance to start anew, the problems which had previously plagued her reemerge once again lending credence to the backlash she had previously received from the women from the village she had been forced to leave. Many of her problems stem from the fact that she is an orphan who has spent her life feeling unwanted. When the priest who she has been working for and who has been taking care of her. Turns his back on her after pressure from his congregations. This further magnifies her need to be loved. She puts forward her best effort to fit in and when her life starts to fall into familiar trappings. She finally gives in to her darker desires. Leading too her escalation towards violence as the film progresses.
Without a doubt this film greatest asset is Siobhan McKenna’s performance in the role of Emmie. She gives a remarkable performance that does a good job balancing Emmie’s naivety with her more deceptive attributes. A scene where one of the men who works at the farm in England where she has recently started working at stands out as one of the film’s most telling moments in the film. She acts shy when first approached by the man in barn. Then as the scene progresses she turns on her charms as a temptress. Performance wise none of the other cast members stand out and are adequate at best. Two other cast members of note include Honor Blackman (The Avengers. Goldfinger), in one of her first roles and David Greene who would later on in his career would make the shift towards directing films like H.P. Lovecraft inspired horror film The Shuttered Room. Visually the film is just as much a Gothic nightmare, as it is a film noir with it’s exemplary use of shadow and light.
Redemption Films presents Daughter of Darkness in its original 1.33:1 (full frame) aspect ratio. This transfer has not been flagged for progressive playback. Black levels fare well and details look generally crisp throughout. There is some noticeable, yet mild print damage; the image at times looks to soft and overly bright. Despite these shortcomings the transfer looks pretty good considering the obscurity of this film. The DVD box art list the films running time as 91 minutes and this DVD clocks in at just under, 88 minutes. Judging by the differences in the time length, this release appears to be a PAL to NTSC conversion.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. There is a mild background hum that is present though out the film. Outside of this audio imperfection the rest of the mix is more than satisfactory.
Extras for this release includes a stills gallery that has music from the film playing in the background and a featurette titled “Kiss of Death: Femme Fatale on Film” (16 minutes 40 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), which is a one on one conversation with Dr. Patricia MacCormack. This is an insightful piece that does a superb job analyzing Femme Fatale’s in film noir. Also included with this release are trailers for Prey, Nature Morte, Saint Francis, Fascination and Killer’s Moon. Overall Daughter of Darkness gets a well rounded DVD release from Redemption Films.