Time Out of Mind (1947) (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: dennis seouling
  • Review date: August 08, 2022
  • Format: blu ray disc
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Time Out of Mind (1947) (Blu-ray Review)


Roberto Siodmack

release dates)

1947 (July 26, 2022)


Universal Pictures (Kino Lorber Studio Classics)

  • Movie/show rating: C
  • Video Grade: A
  • Sound grade: A-
  • Grade Extras: B.

Time out of mind (Blu-ray)

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time out of mind is a bizarre movie that starts out as a dark old house thriller, transitions into a gothic melodrama, and includes elements of film noir. With a screenplay by Abem Finkel and Arnold Phillips based on the novel by Rachel Field, the film is set in 19th century New England and is about the inhabitants of a seaside mansion.

Narrated by the housekeeper’s daughter, Kate Fernald (Phyllis Calvert), the film opens with waves crashing on rocks and slowly pans to reveal a huge house perched on a hill. Kate has grown up in the home and is treated almost like a member of the family, although she is careful to know her place.

The house is run with an iron fist by Captain Fortune (Leo G. Carroll), a cold, regimented sailor who believes in tradition. Now retired, the captain comes from a line of men who made their careers at sea and hopes his sensitive son, Christopher (Robert Hutton), will follow in his footsteps.

Christopher’s sister, Rissa (Ella Raines), protects her brother and is willing to stand up to their father on his behalf. She and Kate are devoted to Christopher and recognize how much he hates the sea and how important music is to him. When his attempts at writing serious music don’t go as planned, he takes the bottle and Kate supports him nonetheless.

time out of mind it’s a great soap opera wrapped in period melodrama and an uninspired cast doesn’t help. Aside from Leo G. Carroll as the icy patriarch, the cast members are lightweights without the charisma to elevate the story above a B programmer. Director Siodmak seems to be going through the motions and achieving none of the cinematic elegance he displayed. in the spiral staircase either the dark mirror.

In the title role, Calvert plays Kate as confident enough to act in a way that a traditional servant would not, always making sure she never oversteps her bounds. Kate’s affection for Christopher is genuine. She recognizes him as a tortured soul and gives him a compassionate and caring shoulder to lean on. Unfortunately, Calvert lacks the screen presence to match her character’s self-confidence.

As Christopher, Hutton is so rigid that he fails to elicit much sympathy, which is essential if we are to side with his character against a rigid and controlling father. His Christopher seems more whiny than confrontational, and his nervous breakdown scene just isn’t convincing despite an elaborate staging.

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Raines’s character is enigmatic. Rissa’s protectiveness of Christopher seems like too much. Apparently, she has inherited her father’s toughness from her and channels it into caring for her weaker brother. If there is another explanation for her devotion, she never makes it clear. Raines plays Rissa with a self-confidence that drives her to confront her father. As the supporting female lead, she has some good scenes, and she plays them with subliminal outrage and seething frustration as she sees her beloved brother fall to the Captain’s will.

Although the film is only 88 minutes long, it feels slow, with dialogue dominating where visuals would have improved the pace. We hear about Christopher’s accident at sea, but we never see it; the budget probably wouldn’t allow for such a scene. A final scene, in which Christopher conducts his own symphony, is played mostly in pictures, with the exception of the music, but is edited at such a slow pace that instead of building suspense, it drags.

Cinematographer Maury Gertsman shot time out of mind with spherical lenses on 35mm black-and-white film, which was photochemically finished and presented in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1. Kino Lorber Studio Classics Blu-ray offers a new 2K master, which looks beautiful. The image is rich in detail with varied textures evident throughout. Black levels are velvety and preserve detail very well. Process backgrounds, such as the ocean, are evident in some scenes. The opening matte shot of the Fortune mansion on a hill above the ocean is appropriately imposing. The film does not show any signs of age or deterioration. The photography is fairly routine, except for a couple of impressive, unbroken tracking shots: one of Kate walking from one room to the next and up the stairs, the other walking all the way around the back of a theater and up two flights of stairs. ladders. Shadows are used for dramatic effect on the walls, and the actors are attractively backlit, giving them a halo effect.

The soundtrack is in English 2.0 mono DTS-HD Master Audio. Optional English SDH subtitles included. The dialogue is clear and distinct at all times. Sound effects include waves washing on rocks, a pane of glass breaking, horse hooves and carriage wheels, and different characters playing the piano. Christopher’s symphony, which dominates the final scene, is delivered with forceful intensity, building to a crescendo as cuts build suspense with offstage action.

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Additional materials include the following:

  • Audio Commentary by Lee Gambin and Elissa Rose
  • Enter Arsene Lupine Trailer (1:43)
  • the web trailer (2:17)
  • Cobra Woman Trailer (2:08)
  • spiral staircase trailer (2:01)
  • Scream of the City Trailer (2:33)

In the audio commentary by author/film historian Lee Gambin and costume historian Elissa Rose, they discuss that time out of mind, an abridged version of the novel, is described as a gothic novel with elements of film noir, with its classic gothic imagery and opening voice-over. The ocean is important to the story, and the maid (Kate) is shown to be a good person. Her wardrobe is faithful to the time but with touches of the forties. The costume jewelry for the female leads was created by the same designer who provided “movie jewelry” for Marlene Dietrich and Vivien Leigh. The piano represents an extension of Cristóbal’s soul. The power game between classes was common in the movies of the 1940s. The father has been dehumanized by his career choice, and his wooden hand gives him a monstrous appearance. Director Siodmak creates an island world where the servants are part of the family, but from a distance. Universal was known for its horror movies, South Seas adventures, and comedies. time out of mind it was not typical of the studio’s production. Siodmak was “going for the Paramount style” in the film’s production design. The film is considered by critics to be an “underdog” in Robert Siodmak’s filmography.

time out of mind doesn’t get up very well. It was not originally a box office success and both its director Robert Siodmak and its star Phyllis Calvert disliked it. It lacks the craftsmanship of Rebeca and the greatness of wuthering heights, although it aspires to the level of those gothic classics. The film’s script is lackluster and the cast doesn’t enhance or elevate the material. Bigger actors would have drawn more attention.

-Dennis Seouling


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