Blu-ray Review: PRETTY POISON

PRETTY POISON is the feature-film debut of Noel Black, from a story by Lorenzo Semple Jr. The film stars Anthony Perkins, Tuesday Weld, Beverly Garland, John Randolph, Dick O’Neill, and Clarice Blackburn. The score is by Johnny Mandel.

The beginning of this 1968 comic thriller shows Dennis Pitt (Anthony Perkins) being released from what appears to be prison or maybe it’s an insane asylum. Dennis got in trouble years earlier for being a juvenile arsonist and now years later he appears to be a reformed man and has outgrown his mischievous and destructive ways. Dennis also suffers from having a big imagination and this is a major part of his problem. His doctor/parole officer Morton Azenauer (John Randolph) warns him to lay off of his paranoid stories and delusions that seem to get the young man in lots of trouble. One thing is for sure and that is that Dennis is a dreamer. He gets out and wants to settle down and live a normal life but it doesn’t take long for his paranoia to set in when he sees something that he doesn’t like at his new job.

Dennis ends up meeting Sue Ann Stepanek (Tuesday Weld), a beautiful high school drum majorette and he sells himself to her as a CIA agent, of all things. Dennis has now come up with a plan to put a stop to what he doesn’t like going on at his job and he enlists the help of his pretty new friend. These two really hit it off! He tells her what his plans are and the crazier part of this is the fact that she believes him and wants to be a part of it. Or at least he thinks she does. Dennis is just playing the part of a character and pretending to be something he’s not but Sue Ann is the real deal – she’s freaking crazy and extremely dangerous. Of course, things backfire and nothing goes quite as Dennis had planned. This is also where Sue Ann reveals that she may just be crazier and much more sinister than Dennis is. Once this is revealed, it’s a little too late for Dennis who has not only fallen for Sue Ann, but he’s willing to take the wrap for the terrible things that she has done. Ah, the things we do for love, right?

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see up top and the back includes movie details, an image, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some alternate artwork. The Blu-ray disc also features artwork that matches the front cover. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about Pretty Poison by Julie Kirgo and some original artwork on the 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.

Bottom line is, Pretty Poison is one of those cult classics that I’ve heard so much about over the years but never had the opportunity to watch it, until now. The fact that this was the feature film debut of Noel Black is an impressive one because he really captured some crazy magic here with these two interesting characters. The movie is a psycho-thriller that plays like a dark comedy at times. It’s all character driven with the spotlight on Anthony Perkins who had already been typecast by this point in his early career because of that famous character he played in Psycho. One thing about it, he played crazy really good. Then there’s the beautiful Tuesday Weld who proved that she could deliver a crazy character that would make good ole Norman Bates proud, or maybe even blush. By the way, what’s up with that tongue of hers? No complaints, just curious. All in all, I really had a blast watching this fantastic movie for the first time and it’s definitely one that I’ll revisit from time to time. This Blu-ray is now available and has a limited edition of 3,000 units and is definitely worth adding to your Twlight Time collection.

Distributor: Twilight Time

Run Time: 89 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1) Color / Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: This Blu-ray release includes Twilight Time’s trademark isolated score track, two different audio commentaries, a deleted scene script and the original trailer.

  • Isolated Music & Effects Track
  • Audio Commentary with Executive Producer Lawrence Turman, and Film Historians Lem Dobbs and Nick Redman
  • Audio Commentary with Director Noel Black and Film Historian Robert Fischer
  • Deleted Scene Script and Commentary (03:12)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (02:57)


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