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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive blu ray!, 28 Aug 2013
By 
Adrian Drew (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Fall of the House of Usher SteelBook [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This beautifully designed steelbook is bound to please Corman fans everywhere and Poe enthusiasts too!
Roger Corman decision to hire Vincent Price for his American International Pictures adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's classic tales resulted in a critical and commercial success story way beyond his expectations and his first attempt in "The Fall of the House of Usher" originally entitled "House of Usher", is one of his finest films.

The story of Philip Winthrop (Mark Damon) visiting his fiancée Madeleine Usher (Myrna Fahey) in the family mansion of the title where her brother Roderick (Vincent Price in one of his finest and well thought out roles) clearly has problems of his own is quite close to the Poe original and the elaborate and ornate visual style of the film mirrors well Poe's highly wrought prose - an element well complemented by Richard Matheson's literate script and Floyd Crosby's stylish widescreen cinematography.

Arrow Video's new high quality Blu-ray retains the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 on this Region B locked dual-layer disc.

Despite a few minor print (and original production) issues the high-definition transfer ( made from a mint 35mm interpositive) is admirable with vivid colours (truly popping reds!) and excellent saturation, and black levels and extraordinary detail throughout when the original material allows such a presentation. Film grain remains intact and there is no over- sharpening or machine noise anywhere. What flaws exist (some discolouration and shifting print quality) is probably an original production issue. Don't forget the production budgets for these movies were tiny and Corman created a minor miracle in producing his stunning on screen production values.

The audio is excellent too and very robust particularly in it's handling of the much praised Baxter classic music score - a justified collector's item now on CD fetching large amounts for those rare copies still remaining.

The extras include a fascinating audio commentary from Roger Corman which contains much valuable information about virtually every aspect of the film but does have a few problems too - dead sections and the need for judicial editing - but it is still well worth accessing.

The interview with director Joe Dante is even better and for almost 30 minutes provides a wealth of unique information and considerable insight into both Corman and the production process.

Another 30 minute interview with
Jonathan Rigby, compares Corman's Poe films with Hammer's horror films although his criticisms are perhaps a little partisan.

Most fascinating extra of all is the 16 minute 1986 French television interview with Vincent Price where with characteristic humour he talks about his career.

The final "extras" are David Cairns' 10 minute "Fragments of the House of Usher" which - though flawed - is a welcome addition too - and a standard definition trailer.

The booklet accompanying the disc is another gem with an excellent essay by Tim Lucas, and an extract from "Vincent Price, His Movies, His Plays, His Life".

I cannot recommend this disc too highly and with "Uncommon Spring" a new play about Poe due to preview at The Fan Museum in Greenwich in early December it looks like interest in this extraordinary writer is on the rise one more.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu ray steel book, 24 Aug 2013
By 
JP Bradshaw "JB" (Barry, Glamorgan United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fall of the House of Usher SteelBook [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Let me start by saying the steel book is beautiful to look at utilising the original poster artwork. The picture quality of the film itself is quite nice too. Definitely looks better than the original dvd. Features are really great including director commentary from roger corman. Arrow, please release more of the corman / Poe movies on blu ray!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fall of The House of Usher [1960] [Blu-ray] [Limited Edition SteelBook] [2013], 6 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Fall of the House of Usher SteelBook [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The Fall of The House of Usher [1960] [Blu-ray] [Limited Edition SteelBook] [2013] HE BURIED HER ALIVE... TO SAVE HIS SOUL!

When exploitation maestro Roger Corman decided to raise his game by hiring Vincent Price to star in an adaptation of a classic tale by Edgar Allan Poe, he set in train a series of Poe adaptations that would redefine American horror cinema.

When Philip Winthrop [Mark Damon] visits his fiancée Madeleine Usher [Myrna Fahey] in her crumbling family mansion, her brother Roderick [Vincent Price] tries to talk him out of the wedding, explaining that the Usher family is cursed and that extending its bloodline will only prolong the agony. Madeleine wants to elope with Philip, but neither of them can predict what ruthless lengths Roderick will go to in order to keep them apart.

Richard Matheson's intelligent, literate script is enhanced by Floyd Crosby's stylish widescreen cinematography, but its Vincent Price's anguished conviction in one of his signature roles that makes the film so chillingly memorable over half a century on.

Cast: Vincent Price, Mark Damon, Myrna Fahey and Harry Ellerbe

Director: Roger Corman

Producers: Roger Corman, James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff (Executive Producer)

Screenwriter: Richard Matheson

Composer: Les Baxter

Cinematography: Floyd Crosby

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 [CinemaScope]

Audio: Original uncompressed 2.0 Mono LPCM Audio

Subtitles: English SDH

Running Time: 79 minutes

Region: Region B/2

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Arrow Video

Andrew's Blu-ray Review - Though he originally made his name directing and producing low-budget, B movie westerns, beginning with the 1955 film `Five Guns West', before moving in to the science fiction and fantasy-horror genres for which he is know most commonly associated (producing up to nine movies a year in his early years), Roger Corman's greatest or most acclaimed achievements are undoubtedly his series of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations made through American International Pictures.

Beginning in 1960, `The Fall of the House of Usher', or just `House of Usher' as it was originally titled in the USA (which was shot in fifteen days on a very limited budget of just $300,00), was to be the first of eight Corman-Poe screen adaptations and the first of Roger Corman's seven, now legendary Edgar Allan Poe collaborations with the great Vincent Price (which Vincent Price starred in all but one of the eight films: The Premature Burial [1962] which featured Ray Milland in the central role).

Adapted from Edgar Allan Poe's macabre short story of the same name (originally published in 1839 and revised the following year for his `Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque') by the American author and screenwriter Richard Matheson (perhaps best known for his 1954 sci-fi horror novel, `I Am Legend'), who would go on to collaborate with Roger Corman on a total of four adaptations in the Edgar Allan Poe series, the film does slightly lose some of the fluent, lyrical prose and expressive imagery of Poe's original work, however in its overall flourish, the dialogue proves clear and intelligent, and adequately conveys the intentions and themes of the original text.

The film's central plot is overall fairly minimalistic, with the central focus of the film being on the visual and audio elements, but although the film does at times begin to drift towards soporific territory, Roger Corman effectively manages to sustain enough atmospheric tension and suspenseful intrigue to hold the viewers' attention throughout. As is to be expected, performances are generally quite affected and slightly melodramatic, with Mark Damon and Myrna Fahey suffering most notably for this as the afflicted young lovers. Harry Ellerbe is also slightly guilty on a few occasions, however proves fairly strong as the Usher's faithful, long-serving butler, Bristol, especially when Philip Winthrop [Mark Damon] visits his fiancée Madeleine Usher [Myrna Fahey] in her crumbling family mansion, her brother Roderick Usher [Vincent Price] tries to talk him out of the wedding, explaining that the Usher family is cursed and that extending its bloodline will only prolong the agony. Madeleine wants to elope with Philip, but neither of them can predict what ruthless lengths Roderick will go to in order to keep them apart.

Vincent Price is on fine form in one of his most recognisable roles as the hypersensitive, near-Machiavellian hypochondriac, Roderick Usher, with his mellifluous, almost Shakespearean delivery perfectly conveying the foreboding, sinister tones of Poe's dark tale and adding a welcome boost of energy, class and magnetism to every scene in which he appears.

The desolate mansion that serves as the crumbling, mist-shrouded House of Usher is perfectly conceived, with the sumptuous lighting, elegant art direction, rich costume design and ornate set decoration all perfectly fusing in what proves a consuming and wholly atmospheric visual delight.

Academy Award-winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby (Best Cinematography - Tabu: A Story of the South Seas - 1931) must be commended for his superb, beautifully lit, widescreen cinematography, which is a times almost Gregg Toland like in its innovation and technique, employing framing, focus and depth of field techniques which really enhance the immersive, Gothic quality of the piece.

Blu-ray Video Quality - Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and encoded with a brilliant 1080p transfer, Roger Corman's The Fall of the House of Usher arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Arrow Video.

The film has a very solid organic look. Where light is not restricted depth is quite impressive. Clarity is also very pleasing. Colors are lush and vibrant, never appearing artificially boosted. Some stabilization adjustments have also been applied to give the film a better balanced look. There are no traces of excessive graining corrections. Problematic sharpening adjustments have not been performed either. This being said, during select frame transitions some minor sharpness and contrast fluctuations are present, but it is obvious that these fluctuations are indeed inherited. Lastly, there are no large cuts, debris, splices, stains, or warps, but there are a few very tiny flecks that pop up. All in all, considering the materials that were used to produce the high-definition transfer, the final result is indeed very pleasing. [Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a Region-Free Blu-ray Player in order to access its content).

The Fall of the House of Usher was transferred from a 35mm interpositive. The film was transferred in HD on a Spirit DataCine at Deluxe Digital Median in Sherman Oaks, California. Restoration was performed at Deluxe, removing instances of dirt, debris and scratches, using Reneat and DRS.

Blu-ray Audio Quality - There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray release: English Original uncompressed 2.0 Mono LPCM Audio. For the record, Arrow Video has provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they split the image frame and the black bar below it. The track is outstanding. Les Baxter's score atmospheric score benefits the most from the audio treatment, but the dialogue also has wonderful depth. Listening to Vincent Price's calm but spooky voice is quite a treat. Overall dynamic movement is also very good for a mono track. For the record, there are no pops, audio dropouts, or distortions to report in this review.

The audio was transferred from a 35mm mono magnetic strip. The colourist was Kevin O'Connor and the project was managed by Chris Lane of MGM.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Limited Edition SteelBook packaging

Audio Commentary with Director and Producer Roger Corman: This Roger Corman's commentary was produced by Jeffrey Schwarz for the same audio commentary that was initially included on the previous 2001 MGM Midnite Movies Region 1 DVD release of The Fall of the House of Usher. Unlike some of Roger Corman's other tracks, we can almost see him beaming with pride over this particular picture. He even shows his amusement at seeing the American-International logo preceded by a shiny new MGM logo.

Legend to Legend [27:00] An interview with Director and former Roger Corman apprentice Joe Dante. In this video interview, director Joe Dante [Matinee and Piranha] talks about the impact Roger Corman and who goes into detail with his feelings and opinions about his work had on his career as a filmmaker, and discusses the unique qualities of The Fall of the House of Usher, and Roger Corman's entire Edgar Allan Poe series. Even Dante alludes to Roger Corman's legendary cheapness: when it came time to take the fledgling director out for a session of advice, Roger Corman treated Joe... to a Coke!

Interview with author and Gothic horror expert Jonathan Rigby [33:00] Gothic horror expert Jonathan Rigby and author of English Gothic and American Gothic, who is a regular participant in the Making Of documentaries for the recent Hammer Blu-ray releases, discusses The Fall of the House of Usher and its production history and is just fascinating and very interesting to listen to in this engrossing 33 minute talk that covers everything from the history of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations on film to the production and reception of Roger Corman's first colour widescreen classic. This is a well-researched and beautifully delivered mini lecture, in a style that readers of Rigby's recent book `Studies in Terror' will be more than familiar with. [WARNING: This feature contains spoilers and it's advised to watch the feature first.]

Archival interview with Vincent Price [4:3] [12:00] This very entertaining archival video interview, where the great Vincent Price discusses his time in the "business" and the many different characters he played during the years, was originally recorded in Malibu in July 1986 and was directed by Claude Ventura. It was first broadcast on French Television on 18th November 1986. The recording was subtitled in French and the subtitles could not be removed and apologise for any distraction this may cause.

Fragments of The House of Usher [11:00] David Cairns supplies an unusual 10 minute specially-commissioned video essay on the themes of the film and the relation to Edgar Allan Poe's story, Richard Matheson's script and Vincent Price's terrific performance. This is something very different from the usual approach to such material, but works well as a complement to the other two talks on the film's background included alongside it.

Original Trailer [3:00] Original Theatrical Trailer for The Fall of the House of Usher and shown in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 [CinemaScope]

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned brilliant artwork by Graham Humphreys

Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by author and critic Tim Lucas, editor of Video Watchdog, and an extract from Vincent Price's now long out-of-print autobiography, with illustrated original archive stills and posters.

Finally, The Fall of the House of Usher is yet another very solid Blu-ray release from the folks at Arrow Video and comes highly recommended and is currently the only way to see this film on Blu-ray. Keep in mind that it is Region B/2, so you will need a Multi-region Blu-ray player to watch this film. The Blu-ray print is quite glorious. There are still little glimmers as one would expect with a film of its vintage, but that is expected issue with many a mastering. That is but a mere subliminal hint at the age of the film when one considers that this is the best the film has looked since it was released in cinemas back in 1961, maybe ever. I think that at this point it is fair to say that this year Arrow Video have been responsible for some of the most exciting releases to be produced in the United Kingdom. Well done. Buy with confidence, folks, because you will not regret it. As stated before in my previous Arrow Video reviews, that I am a massive fan of Vincent Price and he does not disappoint his brilliant performance in this film and a great honour to add this to my ever increasing Vincent Price Blu-ray Collection, as you will not be disappointed. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Andrew C. Miller - Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent release, 27 Aug 2013
This review is from: Fall of the House of Usher SteelBook [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
If you are considering buying this then chances are you've seen the film on DVD or TV many times over the years. This is the best release of Usher so far with a great restoration remastered picture and good sound. The colours are stunning with lots of detail and vibrancy. Decent extras as well and a good reproduction of original poster art on the steel box. Highly recommended. Well done Arrow.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow Arrow, 3 July 2014
This review is from: Fall of the House of Usher SteelBook [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Wow...Just wow, this has to be Arrows best reliese yet! Never before have i seen such astonishing transformation for a film ever! The quality and colour of the film is unbeatable and brilliant. Now i bought the steelbook version of this and i have no problems of it at all. The booklet, The Artwork and the everything.

Quick tip: BUY THIS FILM ON BLU RAY!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous transfer of one of the best horror films ever made, 28 Sep 2013
By 
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This review is from: Fall of the House of Usher SteelBook [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Roger Corman's first foray into the universe of Poe, HOUSE OF USHER (or THE FALL OF THE...), is an amazing little film that effortlessly captures the essence of EAP's psychological mood fests. This new Blu-ray is a state-of-the-art gem and an essential for any serious horror movie collector (although some fans may hold out for the upcoming Vincent Price Blu-ray box set, which includes USHER). Horizontal steelbox is a fun collectible.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vincent Price at his best, 4 Oct 2013
By 
S. R. Pickard (Glendora, California United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fall of the House of Usher SteelBook [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Great production values, unequaled today, make this film ageless. Roger Corman and his team at AIP do themselves proud with this beautifully made adaption of the Poe classic. Great production design by Daniel Haller, stunning photography by Floyd Crosby, wonderfully atmospheric score by Les Baxter, Richard Matheson's screenplay and the great performance of Vincent Price.
The film still retains its shock value, after fifty three years, thanks to Corman's atmospheric use of camera movement and clever editing by Anthony Carras.
MGM's transfer is outstanding, in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1,with brilliant colors and the sound is excellent, a magnetic track with no annoying processing.
I only hope the other Poe films look and sound as good as this.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome, 12 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Fall of the House of Usher SteelBook [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
What a classic, love the tin, excellent speedy service and really happy with my purchase. Any Poe fan she buy and see it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Priceless, 15 Oct 2013
By 
LeoMclaughlin (Upper Darby, PA, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fall of the House of Usher SteelBook [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The best of the Poe series, and Vincent Price at his very best. Roger Corman at the top of his carrier.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best, 28 Sep 2013
By 
W. K. Jones (Warrington, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fall of the House of Usher SteelBook [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is definately the best-looking steelbook in my collection - a thing of beauty. As is the transfer. Interesting extras, too. Can't find a single thing to criticise :(
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Fall of the House of Usher SteelBook [Blu-ray]
Fall of the House of Usher SteelBook [Blu-ray] by Roger Corman (Blu-ray - 2013)
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