Beyond the five senses lies a sixth; to possess it is to see the unseen. (Jacket quote)
I wish I possessed it, then I wouldn't have had to watch this movie to write my review.
Murders, murders, murders…all involving handcuffs. A clairvoyant (the original film title) artist draws the images before the killings occur. A slimy TV news guy and a policeman fall for the attractive (naturally) artist, and are at odds throughout the entire film fighting to protect her from the killer. But surprise! Well, I won't spoil it for you.
Filmed in 1982 and directed by Armand Mastroianni The Killing Hour sports an anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer that is nothing short of glorious. Anchor Bay is doing some astounding work. I simply could not believe that this was filmed in 1982. Until I saw the detective wearing one of those knit ties that was square on the bottom. This transfer is spectacular! Great color and no noise to be seen! The 5.1 audio is really not up to snuff though and I would bet that it was a re-master from a Dolby surround mix (which is also available on the disc). This is a "director's cut" so I suppose this is how it was intended to be shown. I am not a believer in "director's cuts" so I will have to judge this based on the only version I was given to look at. I feel that a work should be left alone after it is issued. If it was good enough for the director to issue it the first time he needs to move on and create something new with his time. Just my opinion though, with my opinion and $1 you can get a Sunday paper.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Well, it's New York in the spring when a young man's fancy turns to handcuffing people to elevator roofs and sending the car to the top floor. A bloated female body surfaces in the East River and the police are baffled at what may have happened, they see so few floaters you know. A young attractive, in an '80s sort of way, woman (Elizabeth Kemp) draws some bizarre things in her art class seemingly against her own will. Her hand moves itself across the paper in a mindless way as though guided by some mysterious force, very much like a man signing divorce papers.
Soon the drawings are collected by the police and as a group, begin to make some sense. They all represent a murder that is about to take place, well, taken place by the time the police get them. A police detective that moonlights as a bad comedian, okay he doesn't moonlight as a bad comedian, he moonlights as a comedian…He is just a bad one (Norman Parker) becomes interested in the drawings as well as the girl. But not so fast there Colombo! A hunky TV reporter (Perry King) wants in on the skirt action too. He has just gotten a morning show called "Talk Back" (what an original name!) and he wants the girl to be a guest on his show to boost the ratings. He is a smooth talker and she falls for both him and the cop, just like real life in the '80s. I guess she was looking for Mr. Goodbar. She certainly had the haircut for it, I think her hair was shorter than the male leads!
Soon the police and the girl begin to piece together just how the murders are connected through some obligatory police work. You know the scene, drawings spread all over the squad room, a bunch of cops eating sandwiches from white paper wrappers and putting stickpins in the drawings to arrange them into a story board until the smart cop gets an idea and places one piece of the puzzle just so and VOILA!!! Been there, seen that.
The girl, asleep in the killers apartment, awakens to realize she is in danger and slips away from the killer using the clever "hide behind the shower curtain and open the window so he will think you went out on the ledge routine" only to run to the rooftop where everyone in New York happens to be drying their sheets on cloth lines at night. (I have to put at least one run-on sentence in every review.) Doesn't New York have dew fall at night like the rest of the world? But I will admit, it makes for some interesting creeping scenes, sheets billowing, shadows forming, sounds emanating from nowhere…and then, a cat races by! Hahaha Sorry, I couldn't resist. The director, however, did resist—there was no cat.
A rooftop fight ensues and one of the characters winds up hanging onto the other one over the edge about 15 floors up. The end was a pleasant surprise and I had to sit back and re-think all the negative things I had been storing up from before. Very nicely done, that ending!
This really wasn't that bad. I won't watch it again but it was easily worth the 97-minute running time I invested in it. I'm not sure I would recommend a purchase but a rental could be condoned.
I gave the video 100 points because it looked absolutely flawless. I would have sworn that it was filmed yesterday, not 18 years ago. Anchor Bay is putting out some great looking film transfers.
The audio was not the original mix from what I could tell and so I scored it low. To me a marginal original mix is better than a re-mixed 5.1 track from a stereo master. The sound on this disc is more than adequate, you could hear things clearly and the dialogue was quite passable. I only docked it for being "modernized." So, whip me with a noodle!
I also scored the extras highly. There are plenty of them and the inclusion of a director commentary will always get high marks from me (except Ron Howard's commentary on Apollo 13). I watch the movie for the movie…the extras are just gravy, and this disc had some good gravy.
So put on your platform shoes and your winged collar leisure suit, mix up a Singapore Sling, spray your hair (using "Just for Men" of course) and watch this flick.
I think I will give this film a sentence of no repeated viewings, with time off for good behavior. Really, it's not too bad a film. So say I!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
• Director Commentary
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