Monday, 8 August 2016

The Sender

After attempting to take his own life a young troubled man winds up incarcerated in a mental institution under the care of an inquisitive psychiatrist.  Trying to help, she is traumatised once she finds that his subconscious chaos is projected on to others in times of stress, causing vivid, undesirable hallucinations in those around him.

Exhibiting shades of Patrick, The Sender (1982) is not exactly directed in an urgent fashion, plodding along without eliciting too much excitement along the way.  Having said that, I did experience one or two moments of unease, plus there is a standout sequence where mayhem explodes during quite a perturbing attempt to 'cure' the young man of his problems.  The female lead, Kathryn Harrold as Gail Farmer is also extremely appealing, combining a subtle, striking beauty with intellect and maternal instinct.
Olive Films, who have released this on Blu-ray in the US, are both greatly appreciated (for the fact that they put catalogue films out on Blu that many other companies wouldn't be bothered with) and in equal measures frustrating (because those films often come without any bells).  The film is presented 1.78:1 and has all the markings of an old transfer - looks reasonably good in many broad daylight sequences, often a bit drab during darker moments.  Overall it's okay, the benefits of a complete overhaul probably not on the horizon.  The sound exhibited a lot of hiss and weakness that I'd associate with an inadequate source.  I suspect the whole thing is taken from an aged 35mm print, and scanned some time ago, although please correct me if you know otherwise.  Still, it's a little better to view this movie here on Blu than either the old DVD that Legend Films put out in 2008, or the concurrent DVD that Olive themselves have released.  On the extras side there is nothing (aside from menu and chapter selection) - it's like going back to the VHS days!  If you're picking up the film for the first time you may as well go with the Blu, however, if you already have the Legend DVD then Olive have not done a huge amount to persuade you to upgrade.

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