Blu-ray Review: DRAGONWYCK

DRAGONWYCK was written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and stars Gene Tierney, Walter Huston, Vincent Price, Glenn Langan, Anne Revere, Spring Byington and Jessica Tandy. The score is by Alfred Newman.

Based on Anya Seton’s gothic-historical bestseller, Dragonwyck (1946) was the first film in the storied directorial career of Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve); it tells the spooky tale of an innocent country girl, Miranda (Gene Tierney), summoned to work as a governess at the magnificent estate – the eponymous Dragonwyck – of a distant cousin, the imperious Nicholas Van Ryn (Vincent Price). Despite the luxury of the surroundings and the romantic attentions of Nicholas, things soon begin to take a more sinister turn for our heroine.

This 1946 romantic thriller follows Miranda, a simple country girl who dreams of living a posh lifestyle and when she’s given the opportunity to go and live with her distant cousin Nicholas Van Ryn, she wastes no time in doing so. Of course, she has to persuade her overly protective father into letting her go and he reluctantly gives in and sets her free. Once she arrives at Dragonwyck she immediately realizes that she doesn’t really fit in with the high society locals but Nicholas grows fond of her and the two form a close relationship but all good things must end and Miranda goes back home. What happens is, Nicholas’ wife grows ill and dies a mysterious death so he ends up courting Miranda to become his new bride where she accepts and moves back to Dragonwyck with him.

Once Miranda settles in at her new home, it doesn’t take long for Nicholas to become distant and it changes the whole mood inside their gothic castle. Miranda also ends up pregnant and has a baby boy that sadly is born sick and dies just after she gives birth. Needless to say, Nicholas doesn’t handle disappoint well. This is where he becomes extremely cold towards Miranda who ends up discovering how her husband’s ex-wife died and she realizes that she’s going to be next. Miranda ends up getting some much needed outside help from a few allies and exposes Nicholas for the cold-hearted monster that he really is. In the end, Nicholas finally gets the karma that he so deserves and Miranda moves back to her family home where she belongs.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about Dragonwyck by Julie Kirgo and more original artwork on the front and back. You can see the front cover of the booklet down below. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio. Twilight Time has given this 72 year old movie a pristine home video release.

Bottom line is, Dragonwyck is movie that I’ve heard about for years and now I’ve finally gotten the opportunity to witness it and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story about these two distant cousins who form this forbin romance that transforms into a dark nightmare was really intriguing. There were some great performances in the movie with the two standouts being Gene Tierney as the beautiful female lead and Vincent Price who portrayed a much different kind of character than what I’m used to seeing him play in all those monster movies. His character starts out as a dashing charmer but as the movie plays out he slowly transforms into a cold-hearted tyrant. Joseph L. Mankiewicz did a great job telling the story and bringing it to life on screen. His impressive directing debut is complimented nicely by this talented cast as well as some impressive cinematography that definitely helps set off the moodiness and atmospheric tone at times. Dragonwyck is now available on Blu-ray and has a limited edition run of just 3,000 units.

Distributor: Twilight Time

Run Time: 103 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Full Frame (1.33:1) / B&W / Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (2.0 on some players)

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include Twilight Time’s trademark isolated music track, some audio commentary, three featurettes, two vintage radio shows and the original theatrical trailer.

  • Isolated Music Track
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian Steve Haberman and Documentary Filmmaker Constantine Nasr
  • A House of Secrets: Exploring Dragonwyck (16:13)
  • Gene Tierney: A Shattered Portrait (44:23)
  • Vincent Price: The Versatile Villain (44:16)
  • Two Dragonwyck Vintage Radio Shows (59:46) (29:50)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (02:16)

 

 

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