Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 28th, 2018
Theatrical Release Date: UK / USA, 1972
Director: Robert Altman
Writers: Robert Altman, Susannah York
Cast: Susannah York, Rene Auberjonois, Marcel Bozzuffi, Hugh Millais, Cathryn Harrison, John Morley, Barbara Baxley
BluRay Release Date: March 19th, 2018 (UK), March 20th, 2018 (USA)
Approximate running time: 101 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 15 (UK), R (USA)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Academy USA
Region Encoding: Region A,B
Retail Price: $39.95 (USA) / £14.99 (UK)
Images was directed by Robert Altman whose other notable films include MASH, The Long Goodbye, Nashville and 3 Women. The screenplay for Images was co-written by Robert Altman and Susannah York (Tom Jones). Key collaborators on Images include, cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (The Deer Hunter, Blow Out), editor Graeme Clifford (Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth) and composer John Williams (Jaws, Star Wars).
For many fans of Robert Altman, Images is part of trilogy of films. With the other two films that make up this trilogy being, That Cold Day in the Park and 3 Women.
Content wise, though Images fits nicely within the psychological thriller genre. There are many flourishes throughout this film, that firmly fit within the horror genre. Reportedly, Images was inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s Persona. Another film that Images bears a strong resemblance to is Roman Polanski’s Repulsion.
Images opening credits immediately establishes the tone of the film. And nowhere is more evident, then how the film mixes John William’s score, with Japanese percussionist Stomu Yamashta’s avant-garde soundscapes.
Without a doubt, this film’s greatest asset is Susannah York in the role of this film’s protagonist Cathryn. And she delivers a pitch perfect performance that perfect captures her characters state of mind. Not to be overlooked are the performances from the rest of the cast, who are very good in their respective roles.
From a production standpoint, there is not an area where this film does not achieve its goal and then some. With its atmospheric visuals perfectly, juxtaposition with this film’s score / sound design. Standout moments include, a scene where woman calls Cathryn to inform her about an alleged affair that her husband is having and the scene where Cathryn is visited by an apparition of a former lover. And the film’s finale, provides a very satisfying coda to the events that have just unfolded.
Images comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release was sourced from a brand-new 4K restoration from the original negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels look strong throughout, details look crisp, grain remain intact and there are no issues with compression. This is a solid transfer that is a marked improvement, when compared to this film’s previous home video releases.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds, clean, clear, balanced and robust, when it needs too.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (3 minutes 13 seconds), an appreciation by author Stephen Thrower (32 minutes 26 seconds), an interview with actress Cathryn Harrison (6 minutes 4 seconds), an interview with screenwriter / director Robert Altman titled Imagining Images (24 minutes 31 seconds), scene select audio commentary with Robert Altman (35 minutes 52 seconds) and an audio commentary with Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger.
Topics discussed in the extra with Stephen Thrower include, the origins of Images, Robert Altman, his directorial influences, Hemdale Pictures, how the film played at the 1972 Cannes film festival, critical reaction to the film, background information about the score and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the interview with Cathryn Harrison include, Images and how she got cast, on set memories and Robert Altman.
Topics discussed in the extras with Robert Altman include, the real life event that inspired him to make Images, the cast production related topics, his creative process and cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond / the visuals. The extra titled Imagining Images also features comments from Vilmos Zsigmond, who discusses the visuals.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, how Images compares to other Robert Altman films, the cast, Robert Altman, production related topics and their thoughts about the film.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a thirty two page booklet with cast & crew information, an essay titled Images written by Carmen Gray, an interview with Robert Altman titled Altman on Altman conducted by David Thompson and information about the restoration / transfer.
Overall Images gets an excellent release from Arrow Academy, highly recommended.