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Portrait of Alison [DVD]
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A transatlantic principal cast lends classic film noir appeal to this stylish, cleverly plotted thriller adapted from a story (and earlier television serial) by Francis Durbridge one of Britain's most successful crime writers and creator of legendary sleuth Paul Temple. Jointly adapted by Ken Hughes and Oscar winner Guy Green, Portrait of Alison is presented here in a brand-new transfer from the original film elements, in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio.
Investigative journalist Lewis Forrester and his female passenger are killed when their car plunges over a cliff in Italy; Lewis leaves behind two brothers portraitist Tim, and pilot Dave. Although the case is closed, Inspector Colby of Scotland Yard does not believe Lewis's death was accidental. And as Tim is hired by the dead girl's father to paint her portrait from a photograph, a chain of mysterious events is set in motion which, for Colby, appears to confirm that Tim himself is a murderer...
 Original Theatrical Trailer (textless)
 US Titles
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 Original Press Release PDF
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The Network DVD is a decent anamorphic wide screen (1.6) transfer.
Credit to Director Guy Green for the excellent pacing of the film: there are a lot of characters and plot twists to be fitted into the running time but Green manages this without any sense of scenes being rushed or corners cut.
Having said that, an exchange between two characters towards the end of the movie is required to explain some of the developments in the plot. It took two viewings of that scene for me to understand the role of one of the lesser characters in the mystery. (Mind you, I'm not a brilliant plot unraveller: Pop Culture Woman always seems to get there a long time before me).
The cast is uniformly excellent, with Robert Beatty and Terry Moore very good in their leading roles. I also particularly liked the performances of Josephine Griffin as a chirpy model, delivered with a deft light touch and Geoffrey Keen who brings a presence and sense of authority to each of his scenes and plays some humorous moments very well.
One of the delights for me of these 1950s movies is seeing the planes, trains and cars of the time. A bare metal DC 3 on its take-off run is one such gem in Portrait of Alison.
This is fast-paced and intriguing entertainment, which I strongly recommend.
I bought this DVD on the strength of Kathy Wilson's very positive review and have to thank her again for pointing me towards an excellent production.
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