Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 18th, 2015
BluRay released: March 31st, 2015
Approximate running time: 80 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Olive Films
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: There are three siblings, Harry the brother, he works as a garment factory and his two sisters, Lettie and Hester. And since their parents passed away Harry has been taking care of his two siblings, Lettie who is constantly plagued by health issues and the widow Hester who spends her time criticizing others. The one day their lives are turned upside when Harry announces that he has fallen in love with a woman named Deborah. Unfortunately all goods things eventually come to an end and Lettie’s constant meddling in their relationship proves to be the breaking point for Deborah. Then a few more months go by and Harry realizes what Lettie has done. From there he decides to put an end to her meddling once and for all by poisoning her tea.
The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry was directed by Robert Siodmak who’s most notable films as a director include, Phantom Lady, The Suspect, The Spiral Staircase, The Killers (1946) and The Dark Mirror. The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry was originally conceived as a stage play written by Thomas Jab and adapted for the silver screen by Keith Winter (The Red Shoes) and Stephen Longstreet (The Jolson Story).
If ever there was a film that had an ending that lived up to the ‘twist ending’ moniker, then that film without a doubt would be, The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry. Reportedly due to censorship issues there were five endings shoot for this film. Also though this film’s starts out as a melodrama that appears to be steering itself towards a full blown love story. At first I was beginning to doubt that this film was a Film noir like Siodmak’s The Killers or The Dark Mirror. Then there is a sinister turn that takes form for this film’s final act and it is here that the film finally takes on the Film noir aesthetic.
From a production stand point the film’s narrative is tightly constructed and pacing is never an issues as things move along briskly. Also the film’s visuals are rock solid, especially once the film takes on a more forbidding tone for its final act. And perhaps this film most surprising asset is just how effortless it moves from one genre to the next.
Performance wise the entire cast are all great in their respective roles with this film’s standout performance coming from Geraldine Fitzgerald (Wuthering Heights, Dark Victory) in the role of Lettie. She gives a pitch perfect presentation of a hypochondriac and when the tables turn on her for the final act she continues to effortlessly hit her marks as an actress. Another performance of note is George Sanders (All About Eve, Psychomania) in the role of Harry. He gives a convincing performance that does a great job showcasing his range as an actor.
The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. This release has been flagged for progressive playback and the film is presented in its intended 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The source used for this transfer exhibits print debris that varies in degree throughout and thankfully it is never intrusive. Black levels look very good, details generally look crisp and there are no issues with compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono English. Outside of some mild issues with background noise, things sound good considering the limitations of this film mono source. Dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
This release comes with no extra content.
Overall considering the age of this film and that there was no restoration work done for this release, the end result looks and sounds pretty darn good.
Note: Olive Films are also releasing this film on DVD.