• Dominique (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: March 26th, 2019.
    Director: Michael Anderson
    Cast: Jean Simmons, Cliff Robertson, Jenny Agutter, Simon Ward, Ron Moody
    Year: 1978
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    Dominique – Movie Review:

    Directed by Michael Anderson, the same man who gave us Around The World In 80 Days and Logan’s Run, 1978’s Dominique introduces us to Dominique Ballard (Jean Simmons), a very well off woman who lives with her David (Cliff Robertson) in her massive home in the English countryside. We learn early on that Dominique is damaged goods and that David is no help to her. In fact, he’s slowly but surely trying to drive her insane. Why would he do this? So that when she inevitably hangs herself – which she does – he’ll stand to inherit her sizeable estate.

    As some time passes, David’s scheme starts to show some cracks, as does his mental state. It isn’t long before he’s seeing Dominique’s spectral figure walking the halls of the mansion out to ensure he pays for what he’s done. David isn’t alone in the house, however, as there’s also Ann Ballard (Jenny Agutter) hanging around, and the maid, Marjorie Craven (Judy Geeson), and the new chauffeur, Tony Calvert (Simon Ward). Is David going crazy too, or is something else going on here?

    Deliberately paced, and at times down right slow, Dominique is a reasonably engaging thriller made all the more interesting by some genuinely impressive visuals. Frequently bathed in dramatic shades of red, green and blue and calling to mind techniques employed by Argento and Bava, this is a beautiful film to look at even when long stretches of its running time are made up of footage of David wandering around the stately old home. Ted Moore’s cinematography goes a long way towards making the somewhat predictable storyline a lot more interesting than it would have been otherwise, and if nothing else, this is a very atmospheric film.

    Performances are decent enough. Judy Geeson, of 10 Rillington Place, is quite good in her role, though as she’s killed off fairly early in the movie she isn’t given as much to do. Jenny Agutter of Walkabout and An American Werewolf In London, is quite good in her supporting role and, yes, just as pretty as ever. Simon Ward plays his part well, his character is more important than you might expect as his introduction to the estate and its inhabitants seems to have a snowball effect in the film. Cliff Robertson, who played Uncle Ben in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films and who also appeared in the underrated WWII actioner The Devil’s Brigade, is solid here as well.

    If you don’t mind the slow pace and somewhat predictable narrative and are able to let yourself get lost in the admittedly excellent visuals, Dominique winds up being worth a watch, even if it isn’t quite an unsung classic of the genre.

    Dominique – Blu-ray Review:

    Dominique arrives on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and taken from a new 2k restoration of the original 35mm negative. This is a nice-looking picture. It’s naturally grainy looking in spots and if you really pay attention and look for it you might notice a few small vertical scratches here and there but otherwise the picture is clean. Color reproduction looks very good, there’s a lot of depth and detail here even in the film’s many darker interior scenes and black levels are solid. Skin tones look good too. No problems to note with any edge enhancement, compression artifacts or edge enhancement.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono track, which comes with optional English subtitles, is clean, clear and properly balanced. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion or sibilance, the score has good depth it. No issues to report, the movie sounds good here.

    Extras start off with a fifteen-minute audio interview with actor Michael Jayston conducted by Vinegar Syndrome’s Brandon Upson. In this piece, Jayston talks not just about his work on this feature but also about the time he spent in 1986 on Doctor Who, some live theater work that he’s done over the years and a few other notable film and TV appearances. Upson also interviews assistant director Brian Cook in a second twenty-four-minute audio piece that covers how the man got his start in the British film industry of the day, how some of his early jobs led to bigger things for him and his work on this film specifically.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc is a theatrical trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release, we also get a DVD version of the movie and Vinegar Syndrome packages this with some nice reversible cover artwork.

    Slip cover collectors will be interested in buying directly from Vinegar Syndrome where they can get a limited-edition slip featuring exclusive artwork from Earl Kessler Jr. that is limited to 1,500 pieces.

    Dominique – The Final Word:

    Dominique is slow but stylish. If you’re patient, it pays off rather nicely at the end but an appreciation for deliberate pacing will definitely help going in. Vinegar Syndrome’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds very good and contains a few choice extras as well.

    Click on the images below for full sized Dominique screen caps!