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Night Tide Limited edition  [Blu-ray]
|1. New 4K Restoration|
|2. Original Mono Audio|
|3. Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Curtis Harrington and Actor Dennis Hopper (1998)|
|4. Audio Commentary with Writer and Film Programmer Tony Rayns (2020)|
|5. Harrington on Harrington (2018,25 Mins): Wide-Ranging Archival Interview with the Filmmaker|
|6. Sinister Image: Curtis Harrington (1987, 57 Mins): Two Episodes from David Del Valle's Series Devoted to Cult Cinematic Figures in Conversation, Featuring a Career-Spanning Interview with the Director|
|7. Original Theatrical Trailer|
|8. Image Gallery: Publicity and Promotional Material|
|9. New and Improved English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-Of-Hearing|
|10. Image Gallery: Production Photography and a Rare Selection from Harrington's Personal Collection|
|11. New and Improved English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-Of-Hearing|
|12. Limited Edition Exclusive 80-Page Book Featuring New Writing on Night Tide By Paul Duane, Curtis Harrington|
|13. Limited Edition Exclusive Set of Five Facsimile Lobby Cards|
|14. Limited Edition of 3,000 Copies|
Presented by Nicolas Winding Refn in a new 4K restoration, Curtis Harrington's acclaimed fantasy-thriller, featuring Dennis Hopper (The Last Movie) in his first starring role, is an offbeat classic of American cinema. Hopper plays a sailor on shore leave, when he meets a young woman (Linda Lawson) who may not be as she seems... Exclusive to this two-disc set is a bonus Blu-ray devoted to Harrington's short films, encompassing his seven decades as a filmmaker and featuring experimental works, documentaries, and the two adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher that bookended his career. DISC TWO: DREAM LOGIC: THE SHORT FILMS OF CURTIS HARRINGTON (LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE DISC). High Definition remasters. Original mono audio. Eight short films spanning Harrington's seven decades as a filmmaker, including experimental works, documentaries and his career-bookending Edgar Allan Poe adaptations: The Fall of the House of Usher (1942, 10 mins); Fragment of Seeking (1946, 14 mins); Picnic (1948, 23 mins); On the Edge (1949, 6 mins); The Assignation (1953, 8 mins); The Wormwood Star (1956, 10 mins); The Four Elements (1966, 13 mins); Usher (2002, 37 mins) All region code
This is an excellent release for this movie and fans of independent movies and independent science fiction/fantasy in particular will want to own this.
This is an enjoyable movie and I'm rating this a 5 star release.
BLU-RAY: This movie has a beautiful picture that is mastered in HD from 35 mm elements and was restored by the Academy Film Archive. It is shown in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The picture looks very clear. There are some imperfections like scratches and dirt but it doesn't really detract from the picture.
EXTRA'S: There are some nice extra's with this release. They are:
-Commentary track with director Curtis Harrington and Dennis Hopper - The commentary track is a good listen. The two commentators are the two key people from the movie, therefore you get all the information you can want about the making of this movie. They talk about just about everyone in the movie and every scene in this movie.
-Two-part interview with director Curtis Harrington by David Del Valle that is just under an hour long.
-Original theatrical trailer
*****SPOILERS BELOW IN SUMMARY AND COMMENTS*****
PLOT/SUMMARY:Johnny Drake (Dennis Hopper) is on shore leave in California. He meets a girl named Mora in a club who is sitting by herself. The girl is cold and distant and leaves the club after a mysterious woman shows up.Johnny decides to pursue her. She eventually gives in and agrees to a date with Johnny. She lives in an apartment above an indoor amusement area. The people in there find it strange that Johnny is there to see Mora. Mora tells Johnny that she works as a Mermaid in a side show attraction. Johnny and Mora quickly become enamored with each other. Down on the pier, Mora introduces Johnny to her boss Captain Murdock. Johnny becomes curious about the Captain. Captain Murdock is her de facto father. Mora tells Johnny that he found her as an orphan on the island of Mykonos and adopted her. Back at the carousel, the employees tell Johnny about how Mora's two previous boyfriend's mysteriously died.
One afternoon Johnny sees the strange lady and follows her. He ends up at Captain Murdock's place after the lady disappears. While at the Captain's place, he tells Johnny about Mora's past. He asks Johnny to break off his relationship with Mora and tells him that he is in danger and passes out drunk. Mora tells Johnny that the sea is calling her. She says that she is a siren and will kill during the full moon. Johnny, of course, doesn't accept this. He then goes to see psychic who does a reading with tarot cards. The psychic tells him that he is in grave danger. That evening Johnny falls asleep at Mora's apartment. He awakens from a nightmare he is having about Mora and wakes up when he dreams he is being strangled by an octopus. He sees wet footprints and follows it out to the beach and finds Mora in her nightrobe in the water underneath the pier.
The next day Mora tells Johnny she must have been sleepwalking. Earlier, while getting a massage, the Captain tells Johnny that the moon is full and the tides pull strongest during the full moon. That evening Mora invites Johnny to go scuba diving with her. While near the ocean floor, Mora cuts Johnny's line. Johnny wakes up in a boat after being rescued. Soon after Johnny sneaks into the Mermaid attraction without Captain Murdock seeing him, or so he believes. He finds Mora, looking embalmed in the Mermaid tank. The captain walks in and says to Johnny, "the murderer always returns to the scene of his crime". He shoots at Johnny and Johnny knocks the tank into the Captain and knocks him out. Two cops arrive to bring them all in for questioning. Captain Murdock admits to killing Mora's previous boyfriends, therefore he frees Johnny from being complicit in Mora's death. When questioned about the mysterious lady, the Captain says he did not hire her and does not know who she is. The police surmise that he was trying to protect her. Johnny says his goodbyes and the Military police come and pick Johnny up to return him to his ship.
-In an odd sort of way, to me, this movie gives off the same sort of vibe I got while watching 'Carnival of Souls'. It has a creepy feel to it...like you know something is wrong but you can't put your finger on it what it is. It's low budget and has that low budget feel. Of course a big difference is that you have a well known actor, Dennis Hopper, in the lead.
-Another movie or more accurately, movies, that this reminded me of were the 1940's RKO horror pictures made by Val Lewton (The Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, The Leopard Man, etc.). In these movies, it is left ambiguous as to whether the creature in the movie title was real or imagined or something else. The same applies in this movie. You are never quite sure if there really is a mermaid. Who was that strange lady? Was she hired or was she something more?
-I'm not quite sure if Mora cuts off Johnny's air to get rid of him or if she was trying to kill him. According to Harrington, Mora was in fact, not trying to kill Johnny. She believed she was saving him by forcing him to leave her. He deliberately led the viewer to believe that she tried to kill him.
-Gavin Muir who played Captain Murdock sounds just like Burgess Meredith, at least he does to my ears.
PRODUCTION: This movie had all kinds of issues before it was released. It was made in 1960 but did not get a wide general release until 1963. The movie was being foreclosed on but Roger Corman stepped in and negotiated a deal with the lender so that the movie could be released through AIP.
-The director, Curtis Harrington wrote the screenplay, his first. He based it on a short story he wrote called 'The Secrets of the Sea'.
-The stated budget for this movie was about $25000 but there was a loan due and owing of $33000 so I'm not exactly sure what that means. I think these numbers often get confused for various reasons. For example, it's stated that Roger Corman spent $12000 on his first movie, 'Monster from the Ocean Floor' but that does not include a loan Corman took out which actually brings the cost to around $29,000. Just for the record, in the director's commentary, Harrington states that it was about $50,000 total with loans.
-The movie was filmed in and around Venice, California. The pier in the movie is the Santa Monica pier. There were also some scenes shot in Malibu.
-Johnny (Dennis Hopper) is supposed to have come in to port in San Diego.
-This was the first feature length movie for director Curtis Harrington. Harrington would prove to be instrumental in saving the classic Universal horror movie, 'The Old Dark House'.
-Linda Larson, who plays Mora, didn't have a big career after this movie. She married a Producer right after making this movie.
RECOMMENDATIONS: I don't really think this a movie that is deserving of 5 stars. Even taking into account the low budget, it is an interesting movie but not a great one. That said, it is still a very good movie, especially taking into account the budget. I'd give the plot 4 stars. I am giving it 5 stars because I am adding a star for the terrific picture and extra's.
Highly recommended if you are a fan of this movie. You get the best possible picture along with commentary track and other extra's.
Recommended for all fans of low budget black and white science fiction/horror movies.
Recommended for fans of Dennis Hopper.
Recommended for fans of mermaid movies.
Thanks to Kino Lorber for producing this excellent release.
Okay: Mora dies in the end, apparently from drowning: if she REALLY was a mermaid, that wouldn't have happened: also, in the seen where she is out in the water , under the pier , panicking, she does NOT sprout a tail and save herself. The Director is plainly telling us, she is NOT a mermaid for real.
Secondly: the "love" of the elderly Captain for her is NOT just paternal: back in those days, such things as incest were taboo subjects that they had to dance around in films. He was clearly IN LOVE with her, however, I also took it that he held back his emotions in terms of never assaulting her, HOWEVER: his emotions did break out in that he murdered both of her previous lovers, out of jealousy.
Now: the Carousel's owner's daughter also very clearly was smitten with Dennis Hopper's character: she went out of her way to always talk to him, bring him endless coffee, and be very sympathetic to his concerns and doubts. To me, it was obvious that he was not going to never come back to this area, despite his appearance, and that he would be checking in on the attentions of that girl.
The fortune teller, an amazing character, knew all of the back story of what had happened to Mora's previous beaus, so, she was NOT truly clairvoyant, rather, she was a typical sham and knew how to take advantage of a situation, and she deliberately left the outcome vague because in truth, she didn't know what was going to happen either.
The only unexplainable element in the movie is the older mysterious woman, of whom nobody takes credit for, or sees other than Hopper. I believe that was simply put in there by the director to add to the creepy atmosphere, but I don't think for one second that she was a "woman of the sea" , any more than Mora was.....yet, in a movie of this nature, it is always good to leave the viewer with some doubt in his/her mind, as that adds to the mystique of the film.
Despite the low budget and B/W, that kind of old cheap filmmaking actually adds to the "look" and feel of the movie: I do not think a modern ultra clear 4K color remake would go over quite the same way.....it is a unique film with a unique look, catching a soon to be famous icon of an actor very early in his career, not unlike some of those B/W cheapies that Jack Nicholson made in the beginning of his career.
First of all, it stars a very young Dennis Hopper, but he is very subdued in his role. So while he plays the lead, it doesn't feel like a Dennis Hopper movie.
Second of all, while the premise holds much promise, the story unfolds far too slowly, only to end on a fairly bland note.
It often held the same look and eerie feel of "Carnival of Souls", but was far less intriguing, and far less haunting. In fact, I'd call it borderline boring much of the time.
Third, for the over hour's worth of build-up, the twist ending is anti-climactic and full of holes.
And for these reasons, I do not recommend this film.
I did, however, enjoy seeing Luana Anders ("Pit and the Pendulum" and "The Outer Limits"). She always had such a pleasing delicacy about her. And Linda Lawson was lovely.
The main question left completely unanswered is how the so-called mermaid died. That omission seemed unintended. They only explained how the boyfriends were killed.
The intended omission was the true role of the siren woman, but leaving that unexplained didn't add much of a chill at all. It was more just anti-climatic, as was the whole last third of the movie.