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a TV movie with a suggestive title… (on Blu-ray and DVD)

Artistic note: Red StarRed StarRed Stargray stargray star(3/5)


Laura Wynant comes out of a stay in a psychiatric hospital. Weakened, however, it returns to its great domain. But when she begins to hear the screams of a woman who appears to be buried alive, those close to her see the perfect opportunity to prove she’s crazy and control her money…

• Original title: The Screaming Woman
• Media tested: Blu-ray
• Genre: thriller, horror
• Year: 1972
• Director: Jack Smight
• Cast: Olivia de Havilland, Ed Nelson, Laraine Stephens, Joseph Cotten, Walter Pidgeon, Charles Knox Robinson, Alexandra Hay, Lonny Chapman
• Duration: 1 h 14 min 03
• Video format: 16:9
• Cinema format: 1.33/1
• Subtitling: French, English
• Soundtrack: DTS-HD MA 2.0 monophonic English
• Bonus: Combo with reversible cover containing the Blu-ray and the DVD of the film
• Bonus on the Blu-ray: The film by Jean-Pierre Dionnet (14 min 09) – trailer (VOST, 1 min 11) – In the same collection: 7 trailers including Buried alive (1 min 23)
• Publisher: Elephant films

Art commentary

If you have to see The Living Buried, it is above all for the presence of the very great actress Olivia de Havilland who left us recently in July 2020 at the venerable age of 104 years. Loosely adapted from a story written by Ray Bradbury for radio (broadcast November 1948 on CBS Thriller and again adapted in 1986 in the series The Ray Bradbury Theater), The Living Buried is a television film with a prestigious cast bringing together, around Olivia de Havilland (Laura Wynant), other great Hollywood actors such as Joseph Cotten (George Trescant) and Walter Pidgeon (the doctor). It aired in January 1972 on Universal Television and has the distinction of being John Williams’ ultimate musical composition for a TV movie. Its director Jack Smight is best known for his action films: 747 in peril (1974) and The Battle of Midway (1976), but his eclectic filmography remains mostly mainstream and commercial. It should also be noted that this TV movie benefits from the talents of director of photography Sam Leavitt and Edith Head for the costumes. The VF title The Living Buriedlike the title VO The Screaming Woman (The Screaming Woman), seemed to bode well for a good horror TV movie, but as the plot progresses, the thriller wins out when the plot focuses on the reactions of the character played by Olivia de Havilland. The tension of the story is less that of the fate of the buried woman than that of Laura who risks ending up in a mental asylum. The scenario has also changed the nature of Ray Bradbury’s story: in the short story published in 1951, the witness was a child, whereas in the TV movie it is a widow whose fortune is coveted and whom we want to pass for mad. The Living Buried does not play either on the quickly unveiled identity of the killer Carl Nesbitt (Ed Nelson), to whom he has been added a mistress so as to stretch the story into the duration of a feature film. If this telefilm manages to maintain the tension, very well ensured by the simplicity of the realization and the interpretation always right of Olivia de Havilland, it would undoubtedly have benefited from better managing the many talkative scenes which slow down the narration. It is therefore necessary to be patient to know if the buried will get out of it… although its destiny is only the pretext of a story based on mental health. In short, do not expect a gory film but a solid thriller highlighting a cast of characters worthy of a thriller: a fragile widow, an impressionable son, a greedy daughter-in-law and an unscrupulous assassin. Well done and well played The Living Buried, is a very entertaining thriller. Note on the Blu-ray in American version which has just been released by Kino the presence of an audio commentary by Gary Gerani which insists on the non-conformism of Olivia de Havilland and on the problem of mental health addressed in the plot. .

Blu-ray L'Entree vive

Technical Comment

Picture : HD copy, good definition and sharpness on the details, fine film texture (shooting in 35 mm, Master Format 4K 2021), excellent contrast management with a bright but detailed image in low light, sustained blacks, realistic calibration and colorimetry, tints vivid, saturated tones, clean image

His : English 2.0 monophonic mix, clear and balanced dialogues, good dynamics on the atmospheres (howls) and the music of John Williams, no distortion or saturation

Our opinion

Picture : Red StarRed StarRed StarRed Stargray star(4/5)
Sound mixing: blue Starblue Starblue Starhalf blue stargray star(3.5/5)
Bonuses: Red StarRed Stargray stargray stargray star(2/5)
Packaging: blue Starblue Starblue Stargray stargray star(3/5)

IMDb :

Blu-ray/DVD and DVD combo available on Amazon

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