Straight on Till Morning Blu-ray Review
Hammer turns Peter Pan into a psycho
Movies reviewSRP: £12.99
Hammer Studios' 1972 British film Straight On till Morning does weak slow-burning psycho-thrills.Deviating from the more conventional camp horrors that were the Studio's mainstay, director Peter Collinson, famous for The Italian Job, crafted an atypical but not particularly memorable psycho thriller that dials down both the psycho and thrill elements to the point where you wonder if the narrative would have worked better as a straightforward drama. The story follows the ostensibly pregnant Brenda, who leaves her home in Liverpool to find a man in London who she can unknowingly make the father of her child. Through happenstance, the man she gets involved with turns out to be a psycho killer who has been wooing rich older women and killing them.Straight On till Morning is rife with Peter Pan symbolism, with the killer identifying himself as Peter, living a life free of responsibilities, like a child who refuses to grow up, calling his dog Tinker and dubbing Brenda 'Wendy'. There's something more interesting beneath the surface, playing against type with its cast and characters (a supporting role goes to the gorgeous blonde Katya Wyeth, who did a number of Hammer horrors and is a more traditional vamp than Rita Tushingham) and building quite a disturbing picture of the lengths a woman would go to in order to find a father for her child, but there's too much horror for this to be memorable as a drama, and too little for it to be a memorable horror.
Picture QualityStudiocanal do a decent job bringing the pushing-50 Hammer Studios production of Straight On till Dawn to Region B-locked UK Blu-ray, cleaning it up remarkably well for such an evidently low budget piece, and delivering it with a reasonably impressive 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.66:1 widescreen.
A reasonably impressive visual presentation
The image boasts a reasonable amount of detail evident beneath a rich swathe of suitably filmic grain, bringing the London location shots to life both in terms of interiors and exteriors, with close-ups particularly good, offering fine observations on skin textures, strands of hair and background nuances. The colour scheme is faithful to the era of production, with a few stronger tones but nothing particularly vivid, and some rich enough wood hues. Black levels aren't strained too much, and remain intact for the most part. Even if a few shots are softer than you'd expect (particularly on the street), some of the London red lights bleed, and it's not exactly a demo piece but there's little in the way of striking problems to detract from your enjoyment of the film.
Sound QualityReasonably decent audio
The accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track does its best with fairly limited and aurally discursive material, promoting the dialogue clearly and coherently throughout the piece, disseminated across the frontal array with priority, ranging from the killer's disturbing whispers to the screams and shouts he can elicit. The score follows the jump-cut format of the feature, frequently jumping into jazzy interludes which make you feel like you're in a hotel lobby, and offer quite a change from the rest of the near-score-less piece. A few party scenes and song tracks also inject some life into the array, and effects are acceptable but seldom more than nominally atmospheric. It's a reasonably decent track for the film, faithful to the material but hardly standout in any respect.
ExtrasJust a quarter-hour making-of Featurette and a Trailer
Blu-ray VerdictToo much horror for this to be memorable as a drama, and too little for it to be a memorable horror
Studiocanal's Region B-locked UK Blu-ray release of Hammer Studios' Straight On till Dawn is a decent enough release for fans of the film, delivering very good video and decent enough audio, as well as a featurette to prevent this being utterly bare bones.
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