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Format: DVD|Change
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on 8 October 2015
very good service and product
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on 2 March 2011
Buyer beware. Although this ad states the film is in english (and has english subtitles) the version they are sending out is entirely spanish.
11 Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
While Julien Duvivier's Hollywood career during his wartime exile never reached the heights of his French classics, his time in America did result in one visual treat in the now sadly rarely revived Flesh and Fantasy, one of the earliest and easily one of the best supernatural anthology films. Dealing with dreams, premonitions and destiny (the latter somewhat ironic considering the unexpected fate of part of the film), the three tales by Ellis St. Joseph, Oscar Wilde and Laszlo Vadnay were originally intended to segue into each other (the last two still do). Sadly the original opening story, featuring Alan Curtis as an escaped killer and Gloria Jean as his prey, so impressed preview audiences that Universal removed it entirely and expanded it into the 1944 feature Destiny, and never restored it to its original version even though it's clear just whose body is being recovered at the beginning of what is now the first story. Instead the studio opted to link the three remaining stories with Robert Benchley's comic neurotic in his gentleman's club sharing his worries over a conflicting dream and fortune teller's prediction with David Hoffman. It's an inoffensively lightweight linking device and one that set the tone for most horror anthologies that followed, but it's the weakest part of the film by far.

The opening fantasy set during Mardi Gras where a mask helps Betty Field's ugly and embittered woman find her inner beauty and the love of her life has a real dreamlike romanticism than spans the gothic - it begins with a striking shot of devils and demons retrieving a body from a shrouded river - to the intoxicating, the execution surpassing the obviousness of the morality play. But it's with the second story, based on Wilde's Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, that Duvivier really gets to unleash his bag of tricks as fortune teller Thomas Mitchell convinces an initially sceptical Edward G. Robinson that he'll commit a murder, driving him to such despair that he plans to make the prophecy come true to get some peace of mind, all along egged on by his own whispering reflection and shadow in a veritable dual performance. Then it's back to romance, more ill-fated this time, as Charles Boyer's tightrope artist finds himself losing his nerve after dreaming of literally falling for his dream woman Barbara Stanwyck only to meet her for real and become infatuated with her...

There are no great surprises in any of the stories, but they're all beautifully staged and well cast, with Robert Cummings, Dame May Witty, C. Aubrey Smith and Charles Winniger among the supporting players. It would be nice if some day the original version of the opening story could be seen as it was intended as well, but with a proper restoration is extremely unlikely, as it stands the film is still a splendid entertainment. Universal have released a manufactured on demand NTSC DVD-R but the French DVD (available under the French title Obsessions) is the one to go for. While it has no extras - it would have been nice to have included the very brief Destiny as well - it offers an excellent transfer with English soundtrack and removable French subtitles that's far superior to the Spanish DVD release.
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on 8 October 2015
Item arrived before due date & as described
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