Reel Classics

Mad Love: Warner Archive Collection (1935) - Blu-ray Review

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Metallic hands and dark glasses!  There can be only one Dr. Gogol!  

Maybe it is the warning that is issued as the film begins in total blackness or maybe it is the way that Peter Lorre is lit and filmed throughout this horror film, but Mad Love absolutely works its twisted ways in a modern viewing and rivals a whole lot of newer releases when it comes to atmosphere, characterization, and the sheer ruthlessness of a mad scientist who has a wax dummy of the woman he idolizes.

"Watch the majestic Peter Lorre in his American feature-film debut! "


Just what does he do with her at night?!  The Hays Code wants to know!

Mad Love, a true horror treat of the cinema, is a certified REEL CLASSIC of horror and suspense thanks to Peter Lorre’s hallowed-eyed performance as the obsessed Dr. Gogol, whose shaved head and wide eyes strike a most haunting figure in and out of the shadows in this horror film from German-émigré filmmaker Karl Freund, who previously lensed Metropolis and Dracula and directed Universal’s The Mummy.  I’d say the mad surgeon is in capable hands, right?

Dr. Gogol, smooth-skinned and dark-eyed, is a brilliant surgeon who suffers from a particular brand of madness that has him swooning for Yvonne Orlac (Francis Drake), an actress, who has no idea that he’s been funding her production at Théâtre des Horreurs.  He’s obsessed with the type of love that drives the sane absolutely MAD and her continued refusal is the tipping point.

Every single night, for 47 evenings straight, Gogol has gawked at her from his box seat and when he works up the nerve to finally ask her out, he finds out that she is set to leave for England WITH HER HUSBAND (uh oh!), Stephen Orlac (Frankenstein's Colin Clive), a piano player, that night on a train.  But dark forces are at work twisting their fates together and an abrupt accident leaves Stephen with mangled hands that only the brilliance of Gogol can fix.mad-love-bluray

Suddenly, a plan forms within Gogol’s skull.  He uses the hands of the recently hanged murderer Rollo the Knife Thrower (Edward Brophy) for the amputation.  The highly dangerous surgery works, but Stephen can no longer play the piano the way he once could.  He can: however, throw a knife like no one else and, with his career in the dumpster and their money problems mounting, he demands to know what Dr. Gogol did to him.  

And it is all because Gogol wants Yvonne’s love for his own. She won’t leave her husband’s side, though, and his desire churns hotter and hotter until everything else just burns away - even any idea of a consequence for his actions.  He demands her attention, but she won’t budge and it is here where Lorre shines bright, taking murder into his own hands in order to secure his happiness . . . with her by his side.

Freund is best known for his work as a cinematographer on a wide variety of movies, from Metropolis to Murders in the Rue Morgue, and he brings much madness to life throughout the obsession that makes up Mad Love.  Even the final appearance of Lorre with metallic hands and dark glasses sends shivers as this operatic tale of jealousy features a crushing crescendo that few will ever forget.

Watch the majestic Peter Lorre in his American feature-film debut!  Mad Love is now on blu-ray courtesy of the Warner Archive Collection, who have minted this HD master from a 4K scan of best preservation elements!

5/5 stars

 

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Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Warner Archive Collection
Available on Blu-ray
- October 19, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
Subtitles
:
Audio: 
DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Grand Guignol theater actress Yvonne Orlac (Frances Drake) is married to concert pianist Stephen (Colin Clive) and plans to take a break from acting to tour with him. However, Dr. Gogol (Peter Lorre), her biggest fan, won’t let her go so easily. When Stephen’s hands are destroyed in an accident, Dr. Gogol’s obsession with Yvonne leads him to replace Stephen’s hands with those of a knife-wielding murderer who was sentenced to death. Soon, Stephen’s new hands develop a mind of their own.

Video:

The newly-minted 4K scan is a thing of black-and-white beauty.  Everything about this production shines in HD!  Framed in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio, the blacks and grays are handled expertly by the transfer.  The details in Lorre’s wardrobe and bright shiny head are visible, the background streets are dominant, textures in clothing, and even the shadows in the theatre are all visible with fine textures throughout. Shadows are thick and atmospheric throughout. 

Audio:

A solid DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono track provides the atmospheric screams!

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

There is but a Theatrical Trailer to round out the release.

  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 2/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars


Film Details

The Hustle (2019)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
68 mins
Director
: Karl Freund
Writer:
P.J. Wolfson and John L. Balderston
Cast:
Peter Lorre; Frances Drake; Colin Clive
Genre
: Horror | Romance
Tagline:
A new, a strange, a gifted personality comes to the screen!
Memorable Movie Quote: "I have here autographs of a hundred famous persons and not a single murderer."
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 12, 1935
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 19, 2021.
Synopsis: Grand Guignol theater actress Yvonne Orlac (Frances Drake) is married to concert pianist Stephen (Colin Clive) and plans to take a break from acting to tour with him. However, Dr. Gogol (Peter Lorre), her biggest fan, won't let her go so easily. When Stephen's hands are destroyed in an accident, Dr. Gogol's obsession with Yvonne leads him to replace Stephen's hands with those of a knife-wielding murderer who was sentenced to death. Soon, Stephen's new hands develop a mind of their own.

Art

The Hustle (2019)

 

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