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Number: TWILIGHT246-BR

Starring:  Henry Fonda, George Kennedy, Tony Curtis, Sally Kellerman, Hurd Hatfield, Mike Kellin, Murray Hamilton
Directed By:  Richard Fleischer
Composed By:  Lionel Newman

“A triumph of taste and restraint with a telling, low-key semi-documentary style. Adaptation is topnotch not only in structure but also in the incisive, spare dialog.”
– Variety

“Tony Curtis owns The Boston Strangler, stealing scene after scene from the revered Henry Fonda…The climactic scene may be the pinnacle of Curtis’s acting career.”
– J.R. Jones, The Chicago Reader

Richard Fleischer (10 Rillington Place) directs this 1968 adaptation of Gerold Frank’s book about the real-life case of The Boston Strangler, a serial killer who terrorized Boston, murdering many women, and defying the efforts of a special division headed by John S. Bottomly (Henry Fonda) to catch him. Then the police zero in on Albert DeSalvo (Tony Curtis), a “normal” family man who may be suffering from a split personality.

VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 3.0 DTS-HD MA / English 2.0 DTS-HD MA
1968 / Color

Special Features: Isolated Music & Effects Track / Audio Commentary with Film Historians David Del Valle and Steven Peros / Split-Screen Personality – William Friedkin on Richard Fleischer’s The Boston Strangler / Real Killer, Fake Nose / AMC Backstory: The Boston Strangler / Fox Movietone Newsreel / Original Theatrical Trailers

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on July 28, 2017 12:58 PM

With the invention of the 24 hour news cycle and cable news it seems like every atrocity on the face of the Earth is presented to us nonstop around the clock. When a mass shooting happens or serial killer is on the lose we hear about it constantly without relief. Growing up when there were only three major networks and people relied as much on print journalism as they did TV we never had that. When something like this occurred the story would unfold over time rather than tons of speculation and unverified tidbits coming at us fast and furious.

So it was with the case of Albert DeSalvo, aka the Boston Strangler. The story was mostly regional in the Boston area at first. Once the killing was solved the story spread out across the country. Pundits didn’t weigh in automatically about this, that or the other. The deepest look into what happened was put in books rather than a movie of the week. But a movie was made and it was a great depiction of events.

In 1962 the city of Boston is filled with fear as a series of murders of women occur. No one feels safe and no location is safe as the women were murdered in their own homes in most cases. There was no sign of forced entry and most were sexually assaulted. To say that there was intense pressure on law enforcement to catch this killer is an understatement.

The movie moves back and forth between two stories, the second developing as we get into things. On one hand we have the typical police procedural story to watch. Led by appointee John Bottomly (Henry Fonda) a task force is set up to bring together all the clues and information about the killer in the hopes of capturing him and ending his reign of terror. Things get so desperate that Bottomly allows psychic Peter Hurkos in to help the task force. But it is luck that results in the killer’s apprehension.

As this story unfolds we are also presented with that of Albert DeSalvo, the man who is indeed the Boston strangler. A middle aged married man with children, DeSalvo goes to work, comes home, watches TV and seems normal on the surface. While watching TV one day he tells his wife he has to leave for work. In reality he has another victim in mind. His attack goes off and he rapes the woman, being bitten by her as she tries to free herself. While running away he is apprehended by the police and eventually his story is revealed.

The third act here involves the interrogation of DeSalvo and how they came to find out more about the man and his mental issues. Without a confession the evidence to convict is slim. As Bottomly questions DeSalvo it at first appears he won’t succeed. Whether he can or not makes for a well thought out, stunningly portrayed performance by two great actors.

When the movie was released it received solid reviews but most critics took note that much was changed from the reality of the story. Rather than praising it for being an accurate portrayal they noted it was more in the vein of a “based on real events” type film. This didn’t hold back the public who went to see the movie and made it a success.

The movie offered actor Tony Curtis who fought for the role one of the best parts of his life. He was able to show that he wasn’t just another pretty face but a dynamite actor who had the chops to bring the character to life. At a time when many thought his career was over this revitalized it instead. Watching his performance is one of the highlights of the film.

The release by Twilight Time is every bit as good as the rest of their catalog, offering a pristine version of the movie on blu-ray. In addition to the quality image on screen extras include an isolated music & effects track, audio commentary by film historians David Del Valle and Steven Peros, “Split-screen Personality” a short with William Friedkin on the film, Real Killer Fake Nose, AMC Backstory: The Boston Strangler, Fox Movietone Newsreel and the original theatrical trailers. As is always the case with their releases this has a limited run so if you are interested make a point of picking one up before they’re gone.

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