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MARTIN SCORSESE PRESENTS VAL LEWTON: THE MAN IN THE SHADOWS ($20) is a recent Turner Classic Movies documentary on one of the most influential producers of horror movies in the history of Hollywood. Between 1942 and 1946 Val Lewton produced a series of nine horror movies at RKO, which have become widely regarded classics that, to this day, still inspire other filmmakers. CAT PEOPLE, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, THE LEOPARD MAN, THE SEVENTH VICTIM, THE GHOST SHIP, THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE, THE BODY SNATCHER, ISLE OF THE DEAD and BEDLAM are all bear the fingerprints of a driven producer who turned low budget horror films into financial and creative successes.

Because of his cerebral approach, literate screenplays and the choices of what not to show on the screen, it is Lewton who is remembered as the driving force behind these films, which were previously released on DVD as THE VAL LEWTON COLLECTION. Produced and narrated by Martin Scorsese, the documentary traces Val Lewton’s personal and professional lives, but places its primary focus on the nine movies that made him a horror cinema icon. Featuring, movie clips plus new and archival interviews, VAL LEWTON: THE MAN IN THE SHADOWS paints a fascinating portrait of a movie legend whose talent was snuffed out before its time.

Warner Home Video has made MARTIN SCORSESE PRESENTS VAL LEWTON: THE MAN IN THE SHADOWS available on DVD in a transfer that frames the film in a 1.37:1 full screen aspect ratio. Like any documentary of this, the program is a mixed media affair. Vintage black & white movie clips, photographs, archival interviews and new color interviews all come from different sources and have varying appearances. Overall, the documentary has a smooth and satisfying look. Digital compression artifacts are never a concern. The Dolby Digital 2.0 channel stereo soundtrack gets the job done. Scorsese’s voice is warmly recorded and easy to understand. The interviews and the film clips sound just fine. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but English and French subtitles are provided.

The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard set up features, although no supplemental content has been provided.

MARTIN SCORSESE PRESENTS VAL LEWTON: THE MAN IN THE SHADOWS is a marvelous documentary that supplements Warner’s previously released DVD set of THE VAL LEWTON COLLECTION. If you already own the previous collection, pick up the stand-alone disc. If you do not already own THE VAL LEWTON COLLECTION (shame on you), Warner has wisely reissued the collection with the documentary included. Absolutely recommended.



Martin Scorsese Presents Val Lewton - The Man in the Shadows (2007)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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