Saturday, July 10, 2021

The Screaming Woman on Blu-ray

In 1972, there was a TV movie based on Ray Bradbury's short story "The Screaming Woman". It was directed by Jack Smight, who had earlier directed another Bradbury-based film, The Illustrated Man (1969). The TV movie has been difficult to get hold of for years, although it keeps popping up on YouTube, probably illegally. But later this year, it receives an official home-media release, with a Blu-ray edition.

Bradbury's original story centres on a young girl, and when Bradbury later adapted it himself for The Ray Bradbury Theatre in the 1980s, the starring role went to a young Drew Barrymore. But the 1972 version - which Bradbury was not involved with - recasts the central role to an adult woman, with the legendary Olivia de Havilland taking that role. In fact, the TV movie sounds like something from an earlier age, since its other key cast members are Golden Age Hollywood stars Joseph Cotten and Walter Pidgeon.

It's a decent enough TV movie, and a reasonable expansion of the Bradbury story, given that it needs a lot more added plot to bring the Bradbury short up to feature length. It was shot on 35mm film, so should stand up well to a Blu-ray presentation. I have my fingers crossed that the release will be an untampered-with 4:3 scan, and not some misguided attempt to re-format it for modern 16:9 TVs.

The Blu-ray comes from Kino Lorber, who are renowned for bringing obscure classics back into the light. They promise a commentary from leading fantasy media writer Gary Gerani. It should be out in early October, so this might make a neat addition to your Bradbury Halloween screening roster...

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