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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars De Palma's classic comes to UK Blu Ray, 23 April 2014
This review is from: Sisters [Dual Format DVD & Blu-ray] (DVD)
Sisters (1973) – Arrow’s UK Blu Ray Reviewed by Darren Allison
"The Next Alfred Hitchcock" was how director Brian De Palma was being celebrated by some back in 1973. It was largely in praise of his latest film, the thriller ‘Sisters’. There is little doubt that Sisters is not only homage to Hitchcock’s Psycho, but also a huge nod towards Hitchcock’s entire body of work. As the saying goes - ‘You only borrow from the best’ and of course, it was no secret that De Palma was a huge admirer of Hitchcock’s work.
‘Sisters’ was inspired by a Life Magazine article read by De Palma, about the Russian Siamese twins Masha and Dasha. The film begins with a model named Danielle (played by Margot Kidder), who appears on the local TV game show, Peeping Toms (the film’s first example of its voyeuristic theme). Danielle goes out to dinner with the winning contestant, Phillip Wood. Her strange ex-husband Emile (De Palma regular William Finley) follows Danielle to the restaurant and finally creates a scene. Phillip takes Danielle back to her home in Staten Island. Emile keeps watch outside their apartment, as Danielle and Phillip spend the night together.
The next morning, Phillip is brutally killed (with a large Psycho style knife and in graphic detail) after overhearing Danielle speak to her sister, Dominique. The murder is seen by reporter Grace Collier (Jennifer Salt), from her own apartment (not unlike Hitchcock’s Rear Window). The police are not entirely enamelled with Grace or her homicide story, perhaps because she had recently wrote a damming story on the Police Force. In true Hitchcock style, Grace takes it upon herself to investigate and is drawn into a bizarre story of Siamese siblings, a mysterious mental institute, and identifying the truth behind Dominique and Danielle. It is established that Danielle never recovered from the death of her twin Dominique. Furthermore, Dominique remains alive in the mind of Danielle – a form of guilt lodged deep within her soul - and the result of having been the twin to survive a surgical separation. Danielle’s sexual experience with men (such as Philip or Emile) becomes the catalyst that awakens Dominique and the murderous side of Danielle's damaged mind.
De Palma’s film is a fascinating watch, the observations alluding to Hitchcock’s body of work almost border on blatant, but it is spirited, and because of that, we simply suck it in and revel in it - rather than being repelled by it. Even the ‘Janet Leigh’ element – (the killing off of a likeable lead character so early in the film), is carried out in Sisters smoothly and capably. De Palma’s own trademark feature – the use of the split screen process is also deployed well. In particular, the murder of Phillip as witnessed by Grace uses the process to super effect. Whilst one half of the screen illustrates Phillip’s perspective looking from the apartment window across to Grace, the other half focuses on Grace’s window and her POV, looking to Phillip’s window and his eventual demise – all of which is excellent stuff. Fans of Hitchcock may also like to know composer Bernard Herrmann provides one of his truly great 70s scores for Sisters – and cements the homage to perfection.
Arrow has produced a delicious looking (1080p) High Definition digital master with fine detail and just the right amount of grain. De Palma chose to shoot on 35mm opposed to 16mm, regardless of budget restraints, which proved to be the right choice as the difference clearly shows. De Palma was aware that blowing up a 16mm print to 35mm would have made a noticeable difference, instead he used 16mm in emphasise certain scenes, and he chose wisely. Viewing Arrow’s Blu-Ray allows us to view the film cleanly whilst never letting us forget we are watching a 70s movie, and as a result – a perfect balance is achieved. Adding to the overall retro experience, the original Mono audio is also retained, leaving no room for unnecessary tinkering and tweaking and removing us from the familiar comfort ‘zone’.
Arrow has also provided a nice collection of Extras which include an excellent documentary What the Devil Hath Joined Together: Brian De Palma’s Sisters – A visual essay by author Justin Humphreys. There is also a generous collection of all new interviews with co-writer Louisa Rose, actress Jennifer Salt, editor Paul Hirsch and unit manager Jeffrey Hayes. The De Palma Digest – A film-by-film guide to the director’s career by critic Mike Sutton is a very nice 30 minute retrospective guide to De Palma’s work, and proved somewhat insightful – especially on his later films which to some degree had slipped under the radar… There is also an archival audio interview with De Palma friend and Sisters co-star William Finley (Emile). The original theatrical trailer and Gallery of Sisters promotional material from around the world, round off the disc very nicely in deed. Whilst a check disc was provided for the purpose of this review, Arrow’s retail version contains a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys and a Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Kier-La Janisse (House of Psychotic Women) as well as Brian De Palma’s original 1973 Village Voice essay on working with composer Bernard Herrmann and a contemporary interview with De Palma on making Sisters, and the 1966 Life magazine article that inspired the film.
‘Sisters’ (released on April 28th 2014) is a super addition to the Arrow catalogue and a wonderful opportunity to enjoy De Palma’s first real taste of mainstream cinema in the finest possible quality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW, 18 Jun 2014
Johnny Waco "urban guerilla" (Hollywood, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sisters [Dual Format DVD & Blu-ray] (DVD)
Finally in blu ray -- something the Americans won't bother with doing.

Great clear imagery and detail you would expect from blu ray, even the noticeable grain. Sound was vivid. The only flaw would be the framing of the image. Lower half of the bottom lettering in some title credits is missing; this is a problem for sticklers since the fonts are small. However, the blu ray imagery makes up for this tiny flaw. I do not regret this purchase.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly identical to the US DVD from Criterion, 9 July 2014
Jobla (Bellevue, WA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sisters [Dual Format DVD & Blu-ray] (DVD)
This is identical to the US Criterion DVD, since Criterion themselves supplied the film materials. The color is slightly better on the Arrow Films release, which is probably due to the difference between DVD and Blu-ray.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillian early De Palma, 21 April 2014
This review is from: Sisters (Amazon Instant Video)
A brilliant early outing from Movie Brat legend Brian De Palma.

The film can be seen as a mash-up of various Hitchcock films, yet is unmistakably De Palma with fluid camera movements, quick cutting, split screen and suspense. The result is a terrifying and gripping, well made film by a soon-to-be master director who went on to make classics such as Blow Out (1981), Scarface (1983) and Carlito's Way (1993).
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They were joined at birth by the devil and the evil never left them!, 19 Jun 2012
This review is from: Sisters [DVD] (DVD)
.A scary and stylish accolade to female destructiveness, De Palma's first foray into horror voyeurism is a stunning amalgam of split screen effects, bloody birthday cakes, and a chilling score by frequent Hitchcock collaborator, Bernard Hermann. Margot Kidder stars as Danielle, a beautiful model separated from her Siamese twin, Dominique. When a hotshot reporter (Jennifer Salt) suspects Dominique of a brutal murder, she becomes dangerously ensnared in the sisters' insidious sibling bond...
"Sisters" is more in the vein of psychological horror that DePalma seems to excel. Upon it's original release, everyone was bashing him for being such a rip-off of the works of Hitchcock. True it wasn't an original idea to introduce a main character and then kill them off thirty minutes into the film, but this shouldn't be such a crime. To his credit, DePalma never made a cameo appearance in any of his films!
So, now that I agree that DePalma never ripped off Hitchcock Besides even if he did, one only has to watch the Van Sant remake of "Psycho" and all is forgiven!
We can go back and look at the film for the work of subtle horror that it is.
Sisters benefits from a terrific set-up,
a well delivered first hour,
a marvelous Bernard Herrmann score, and De Palma's able use of a split screen.
Margot Kidder gives a wonderful performance in the dual role of Danielle and Dominique
"Sisters" is a genuinely terrifying and unbearably suspenseful experience.
it is also
very sophisticated,
very intellectually challenging,
very stylish and most important of all it is
very unpredictable.
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Sisters [Dual Format DVD & Blu-ray]
Sisters [Dual Format DVD & Blu-ray] by Brian De Palma (DVD - 2014)
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