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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Brahm Box Set, 21 April 2013
By 
sebquest (Cumbria, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fox Horror Classics Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Laird Cregar is marvelous in 'The Lodger', which, to my mind. is for once an improvement on a Hitchcock version, not least because Hitchcock's film has a completely different premise. The commentary is a good one, containing much interesting info on the film, the actors, director etc. however the commentators' frequent querying why the inhabitants don't realize they're sitting down with a homicidal lunatic is a little trying - what they evidently don't realize is the film is set in the latter days of the 19th century and people simply hadn't seen as many films or straight-to-video movies on homicidal lunatic serial killers as today's audience!

Despite being described by a number of reviewers as the better film I think Hangover Square is very much the lesser film and too contrived a sequel to 'The Lodger', but watchable never-the-less. Includes good Laird Cregar featurette.

The little gem of this box set is 'The Undying Monster' - a classic werewolf tale, but then I'm a sucker for werewolf movies. Although from 'Werewolf of London' to 'Wolf' the premise is the same it's the style with which the tale is told that spells a good werewolf movie and 'The Undying Monster' [thank goodness the studio didn't go with 'The Hammond Mystery'] crams in all the sacred elements despite only having a touch over an hour's running time.

With three excellent films, directed with eerie elegance by John Brahm, informative commentaries & featurettes, plus the box set is nicely packaged with an additional 6-page booklet of production detail you certainly get your money's worth - if only region 2 issues were as well presented.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fox Horror Classics, 9 Feb. 2009
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This review is from: Fox Horror Classics Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Beautifully packaged in slim cases, well designed covers and interesting bonus features, including commentaries, documentaries and radio versions from the period. The films are classy productions holding the suspense and atmosphere well and what hasn't been mentioned in the product descriptions is that each of the three DVD's in the package contains a couple of photographic post cards depicting scenes from the film, in addition to a glossy pamphlet about the Fox horror classics. The Lodger (1944) and Hangover Square (1945) feature the great acting talents of Laird Cregar, while the were wolf featured Undying monster (1942) despite not a lot happening has some atmospheric well shot horror themes. Three noir classics that did not disappoint. (Keith Pickering)
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good extras, 7 July 2009
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This review is from: Fox Horror Classics Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
the movies have been well reviewed by a previous reviewer,so i will let you know about the extras."hangover square"has two commentaries,one features actress faye marlowe,both are by film historians.It also has a featurette on laird cregar(20mins),a vintage radio show,trailer and galleries."the lodger" has a commentary,making of featurette(16mins),radio show,restoration comparison,trailer and galleries."the undying monster"has a featurette, on director, of all three movies,john brahm(15mins),restoration featurette,trailer and galleries but sadly no commentary.A very tidy package indeed.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine acting by Laird Cregar in two, and creepy atmosphere in all three. Not bad., 27 Oct. 2007
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fox Horror Classics Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Hangover Square:
Can Hollywood make an engrossing movie about a murderous schizophrenic who is a big, fleshy sad sack? Director John Brahm, cinematographer Joseph LaShelle and lead actor Laird Cregar come close. The movie has a great title and such an atmospheric turn-of-the-century London look about it -- with plenty of gas lights and foggy night-time streets -- that we almost expect composer George Harvey Bone (Cregar) to walk by Sherlock Holmes as he returns dazed from another murder. The movie also benefits, if that's the word, by the story of Cregar's death. Cregar was a large man, well over 6 feet and often over 300 pounds. With Hangover Square, Cregar saw his chance to escape being cast as a character actor and turn himself into a leading man. In weeks he lost over 100 pounds with the help of amphetamines and a strict diet. Shortly after finishing Hangover Square, he was dead of a heart attack at 28.

Bone is a Victorian-era composer who is subject to blackouts. He puts his chance for serious musical acclaim at risk when he meets the dance hall singer Netta Longdon (Linda Darnell). He always was something of a weakling, but now he is becoming a sad creature manipulated by a selfish woman. When he learns Netta was simply using him, he has a seizure that leads to a spectacular Guy Fawkes bonfire which leaves Netta done to a crisp. Bone almost welcomes the insistence by Dr. Alex Middleton (George Sanders), a medical man who consults with Scotland Yard, that Bone must turn himself over to the police. But first Bone must play his finished concerto macabre, even as the flames of a burning salon engulf him.

Is this horror? No. Is it sad? Yes. But more than anything, Hangover Square is melodrama...not a bad thing when it's the end-product of the well-greased Hollywood movie-making machine which featured the efficient skills of filmdom's craftsmen. Unfortunately, the movie has no one to really care about. I found myself more upset over the fate of Netta's Siamese cat than I was over the fate of Netta. For those intrigued by Cregar, watch him as the suave devil in Heaven Can Wait (1943), the amusing Sir Francis Chesney in Charley's Aunt (1941) and the obsessed, menacing and tragic Ed Cornell in I Wake Up Screaming (1941).

The Lodger:
"When the evil is cut out of a beautiful thing, then only the beauty remains."

The quote belongs to Mr. Slade, played by Laird Cregar, who with his scalpel leaves a number of former London dance hall women dripping, beautiful and sprawled dead in the alleys of Victorian London.

This creepy Ripper story delivers the goods. There are no close-ups of gore splashing Slade's face as he slices and extracts. What The Lodger has in abundance is atmosphere...gaslights in the fog at night, glistening wet cobblestones, dark alleyways and shadowed rooftops. It benefits immensely from the sinister black-and-white cinematography of Lucien Ballard. Most of all, it has Laird Cregar as the tormented, hulking Slade. The final scenes as Slade, wounded by a shot from Detective John Warwick's revolver, running in a crouch through the back of the theater where Kitty Langley has just performed, the police after him, his desperate eyes looking for a way out, his jowls quivering in fear and madness, all lit by gaslight, is quite a moment.

Watch The Lodger, then watch Man in the Attic from 1953. It's a very close remake of the Lodger, with Jack Palance as Slade. It's instructive to see the differences between movies with the same plot where one is not quite awful and the other is an A movie.

The Undying Monster:
"'Orrible, it were!" cries a wide-eyed, dirty-nailed villager rushing into Hammond Hall. He's just come across the latest results of a mysterious monster that ferociously attacks members of the Hammond family, a line going back 500 years. We're in the tail end of the 19th century in England, and Hammond Hall is a great, stone hulk perched on the cliffs above a tumultuous sea.

When Oliver Hammond is attacked late one night on the cliffs as he tries to protect a young woman who had taken a shortcut, Scotland Yard is brought in. Robert Curtis (James Ellison), a scientifically inclined detective with a cheery air, is determined to find the truth. He has to deal with the well-meaning Oliver Hammond (John Howard), the chilly and beautiful Helga Hammond (Heather Angel), the suspiciously mysterious Dr. Jeff Colbert (Bramwell Fletcher), and the doom-speaking Walton with his hatchet-faced wife, the housekeeper.

The acting ranges from amateurish (James Ellison) to clunky (John Howard, who sports a mustache even more carefully trimmed than Gable's) to carefully hammy (Bramwell Fletcher.) The cliches are all here and presented with sincerity. The enterprise, however, looks just fine, thanks to cinematographer Lucien Ballard, and the movie moves briskly to fill its 63 minutes. Someone even decided to speed up the film to make the monster look quite snappy as he runs along a cliff carrying his latest victim. Still, the overall effect, 65 years later, is one of pleasant indulgence, especially if one has a fondness for or suffers from lycanthropy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic movies from John Brahm, put together in a superb package by Fox., 19 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Fox Horror Classics Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Excellent set by Fox Horror Classics ( longer reviews are on the movie's individual releases). Here we get THE LODGER, THE UNDYING MONSTER and HANGOVER SQUARE- all 3 movies directed by John Brahm.

The Undying Monster is very refreshing given that the movie starts off at a frentic pace, as if you are tuning into the last ten minutes of a movie. Simply put is there a werewolf by the shores of the sea, aiming to kill off one family with a chequered past? Very decent horror/noir, but certainly the lesser film of the 3 on offer here.

The Lodger is bang on the money. A remake and a better movie of the Alfred Hitchcock classic from 1927. Laird Cregar plays a suspicious lodger- just watch the horror that he can engulf with his eyes, what an actor and taken from us way too soon at age 31. Sir Cedric Hardwicke also stars. The sets are great, and if you love gothic Whitechapel from the 1880s and the Jack the Ripper case this movie is for you. Expertly directed by Brahm.

Hangover Square is perhaps the pick from the bunch. Cregars final movie, wrapped around in melachony, violence and atmosphere, this was quite a daring film about sexual rage in the 1940s. Cregar plays a talented concerto who is being used by a woman to make songs for her, however Cregar is also an unknown killer...... Great film.

This box set is quite fantastic. The vibrant colours on the box itself which is fairly sturdy will look great on your shelf next to your DVD collection. The movies come in 3 separate slim line cases, but they have the original artwork on them. Inside each case is housed 2 quality postcards with images from each movie, a very nice touch! You also get a small booklet on the movies themselves packed with quotes and trivia. To top this all each movie has stacks of extras, film commentary, making ofs, even horror legend Vincent Price's original radio plays based on the movies. It's a classic find, and well done to Fox for putting this collection together and doing it the right way.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A trio of delights., 2 Jun. 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fox Horror Classics Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
The Undying Monster

Many superstitions are based on fact.

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

John Brahm's film is an adaptation of the novel written by Jessie Douglas Kerruish. Following the success for Universal with The Wolf Man a year earlier, 20th Century Fox clearly saw an opportunity to cash in on the renewed interest in Lycanthropic creatures. Brahm's film deals with one such legendary creature that is said to terrorise members of the cursed Hammond family. Roping in master photographer Lucien Ballard, Brahm sets the film up with the creepy ancestral home atop of a cliff, the sea on one side, the foggy moor on the other. Then with minimal budget and a cast of largely minor players-and a short 23 day production schedule, Brahm crafted a tight, eerie mystery that deserves far better appraisal than it's currently getting.

Atmosphere is of paramount importance when making a Gothic type picture, The Undying Monster has it by the bucket load. Aided by Ballard's adroit skills, Brahm excellently uses shadows and light to garner unease, be it the interiors that are gorgeously designed, or the foggy exteriors perhaps hiding dark secrets, atmosphere is high quality here. The film has been chided in certain quarters for either being too talky, or for daring to be jovial at times. Yes these charges are fair if one is expecting an outright horror film and not the creepy mystery that it actually is. This is no boo jump bonanza, the creature is purposely kept from us so as to keep us, and the characters wondering when, or if, it will show up. Thus the conversations become crucial and of high interest. Something that hasn't helped the film either is its title, why they didn't go with the first muted {and English title} name, "The Hammond Mystery" is probably due to the afore mentioned attempt to cash in on The Wolf Man. As you can see, one screams out that the film is about a monster who can't be killed, the other sounds like it's an Agatha Christie who done it?. You understand their reasonings, it's just very misleading and hasn't helped the films reputation to flow.

It's a cracking mystery film that has horror elements involved in its plot. More like The Hound Of The Baskervilles than The Wolf Man, it none the less is 63 minutes of 1940s Gothic joy. 8/10

The Lodger

Your beauty is exquisite.

Victorian London, Whitechapple, and some maniac is slaughtering women with stage backgrounds. Could it be, that the mysterious Mr. Slade who has rented the upstairs rooms from Mrs Burton, is the man known as Jack the Ripper? This part of London is cloaked in fog, the cobbled streets damp and bearing witness to unspeakable crimes, the gas lights dimly flicker as the British Bobby searches in vain for Bloody Jack.

The scene is set for what is to me the finest adaptation to deal with the notorious murderer, Jack the Ripper. A remake of the Alfred Hitchcock silent from 1927, this adaptation of the Marie Belloc Lowndes novel not only looks great (Lucien Ballard's photography creating fluid eeriness and film noir fatalism) but also chills the blood without ever actually spilling any. It's a testament to John Brahm's direction that the film constantly feels like a coiled spring waiting to explode, a spring that is realised in the form of Laird Cregar's incredibly unnerving portrayal of Mr Slade.

Laird Cregar, as evidenced here, was a fine actor in the making. Sadly troubled by his weight and yearning to become a true matinée idol, he crashed dieted to such a degree his poor 28 year old heart couldn't cope with the shock. After just 16 films, of which this was his second to last, the movie world was robbed of a truly fine performer, a sad story in a long line of sad incidents that taint the Hollywood story.

George Sanders and Merle Oberon (as police inspector and Slade's infatuation respectively) engage in a less than fully realised romantic strand, and Cedric Hardwicke dominates all the scenes that don't feature the might of Cregar, but really it's the big man's show all the way. Creepily enhanced by Hugo Friedhofer's score, The Lodger is a lesson in how to utilise technical atmospherics.

The moody atmosphere here hangs heavy and the sense of doom is palpable in the extreme, it comes as something of a relief when the ending finally comes, as it's time to reflect and exhale a sigh of relief. Deviating from the novel, something which has over the years annoyed purists, The Lodger shows its hand very much from the off, but it in no way hurts the picture, if anything the exasperation at the supporting characters induces dry humour. The kind that comes in the form of nervous giggles out there in the dark, but rest assured, this is no comedy, it's a creepy classic from a wonderful era of film making. 9/10

Hangover Square

Passion and obsession are deadly partners.

This is the story of George Harvey Bone who resided at number 12, Hangover Square. London S.W. in the early part of the Twentieth Century. The British Catalogue Of Music lists him as a Distinguished Gentleman........

1944 saw producer Robert Bassler, writer Barré Lyndon, director John Brahm and leading actors George Sanders and Laird Cregar, make the terrific and atmospheric The Lodger. Here just one year later all parties are back for this loose adaptation of Patrick Hamilton's novel of the same name. Hamilton was the guy who gave the world Angel Street {Gaslight} and Rope's End {in film form it became Hitchcock's experimental Rope}. Much like The Lodger, Hangover Square is a thriller set in a foggy dimly lit London. With Cregar {Bone} again playing a shady and tormented character befuddled by his own mental state.

This was to be Cregar's last film before he died as a result of a heart attack, believed to have been brought about by his crash dieting and stomach reducing surgery. Cregar would not live to see Hangover Square released, and most upsetting is that he would not see the critical acclaim that his chilling and touching performance garnered. Watching both The Lodger and Hangover Square in sequence, one can see the vast difference in stature of the actor. With both films showcasing what a talent Cregar was, with that, both films are equally a fitting tribute and also a sad eulogy.

In the mix on photography duties comes Joseph LaShelle {Laura}, who may not be in the class of The Lodger's Lucien Ballard {who also helped out on Laura apparently}, but LaShelle's London is equally atmospheric and integral to the skin itching story. With the film based around a tortured composer it was a masterstroke getting Bernard Herrmann to score the picture. Creating the "Hangover Square Concerto" in just six weeks, Herrmann's music is suitably dark and makes for an impacting alliance with LaShelle's edgy London backdrop. John Brahm's direction is smooth and contains camera work of the highest order, especially as he and LaShelle had their work cut out with an excellent climatic indoor fire sequence {the biggest ever filmed at the time}. Linda Darnell {what a pair of legs}, George Sanders, Glenn Langan and Faye Marlowe all contribute to what is a top notch production.

Hangover Square, a captivating tale about passion, obsession, insanity and murder. 8/10
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4.0 out of 5 stars Three classics from a 'forgotten' star, 30 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Fox Horror Classics Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Laird Cregar was a big Hollywood star in every sense and this package offers two of his finest performances in The Lodger and Hangover Square. The former is a remake of Hitchcock's silent classic starring Ivor Novello; the latter is Cregar's last role. Aged only 31 he died as a result of the drastic measures he resorted to to lose weight for the film - over 100 lbs in a few weeks! A great collection and worth every penny.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Again with this one it wouldn't play on my Blue ..., 8 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Fox Horror Classics Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Again with this one it wouldn't play on my Blue ray player where others I have bought did beware .I got around this by playing on my PC.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reeeeeeeal chiller of a flick, 27 Nov. 2009
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This review is from: Fox Horror Classics Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
This is without doubt an outstanding film. The direction is excellent, the storyline just brilliant and the supporting cast adds the icing in the cake. It is without doubt a CLASSIC chiller of its time and in my oppinion is up there with some if the old silver screen greats. The bonfire scene chilled me to the bone. Go buy this trio of Fox Horror Classics which includes the Lodge...yet again and excellent film you will NOT be dissappointed. We lost a great actor in the very untimely death of Laird Cregar who was partnered with George Sanders in both these films, who too provides convincing performances.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FOX HORROR CLASSICS, 13 Jan. 2010
By 
D. C. Liburd - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fox Horror Classics Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
EXCELLENT MOVIES!!! LAIRD CREGAR'S EXTREMELY GOOD AND EXUDES SUBTLE MENACE!!! HE REMINDS ME OF JAMES DEAN IN THE WAY HE DIED VERY VERY YOUNG JUST AS HIS (DEANS) CAREER WAS TAKING OFF!!! LAIRD CREGAR WAS ONLY 31 WHEN HE DIED OF A HEART ATTACK AND THEREFORE WHAT WE SEE IS ALL THE MORE SPECIAL AS HE OBVIOUSLY HAD A LOT TO OFFER POTENTIALLY!!!! GREAT MOVIES VERY MUCH WORTH SEEING!!!!
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