DVD/Blu-Ray Review: THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS

DVD/BLU-RAY REVIEW:  The Strange Love of Martha Ivers 
REVIEWED BY: CINEMA LATTE 
GRADE: 5 OUT OF 5 REELS 
RELEASE DATE: May 29, 2012 
DISC INFORMATION: 2 discs, B&W, Full Screen 
RUNNING TIME:  116 minutes 
SPECIAL FEATURES:  Audio Commentary with William Hare, Spanish Subtitles, and the Original Movie Trailer 
RATED: Not Rated, but would probably get a PG or PG-13 rating for subject matter and brief violence 
GENRE:  Film Noir / Drama 
 
STARRING:  Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott, Judith Anderson, Roman Bohnen and INTRODUCING Kirk Douglas

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, 1946, is the first role for the very young Kirk Douglas as a supporting role opposite Van Heflin and Barbara Stanwyck.  Heiress, Martha Smith is taken in under her forceful and demanding Aunt‘s wing.  Much to her distaste, her Aunt tries to plan out her life and even changes her name legally to be Martha Ivers because she had never approved of her sister‘s marriage to Martha‘s father.  Numerous failed attempts to run-away from the Ivers mansion has left Martha even more desperate to leave her Aunt’s prison.  Assisted by her tutor’s son, Walter, and her best friend, Sam, Martha attempts to run away during a harsh storm.  When tragedy strikes, Martha and Walter stand together as Sam makes a break for a circus train traveling through.  When their paths bring them back together again, the collateral damage is devastating and no one is left un-touched.

This movie is absolutely entertaining and enjoyable.  The framing and lighting of this film noir is masterful.  The cast is phenomenal even with new comers and solo jaunts in acting.  The film offers a very well done and exciting tale that twists and turns throughout the characters’ lives.

Stanwyck is wonderfully cast as the present day heiress who runs Iverstown with an iron fist through her husband Walter as the District Attorney.   Walter is played beautifully by Kirk Douglas to be helplessly in love with Martha and grateful for any attention she would throw his way.  Sam is played by Van Heflin to be a fly by the seat of your pants kind of guy, never looking for trouble or commitments, but only living life to its fullest.  

The first time I caught this movie was on TCM one weekend and half way in the middle of it.  I had longed to see it in full and had recently got a chance to see it in the Kirk Douglas Collection.  The soundtrack was messed up on one of the reels and although, disappointing, it was a great film and story.  This DVD/Blu-Ray Combo release has fixed that soundtrack issue and it was a pleasant surprise to come to that reel and see the dialogue match up with the screen FINALLY.  Bravo!

The only down side to this release is the commentary track by none other than William Hare.  You may remember my review of “The Red House” where William Hare was a highlight of the bad aspects of that DVD release.  Here he is again.  Still the most boring, non-sense, point-less, painful commentary delivery ever.  He’s still repeating the dialogue as it goes along, still narrating the action as you watch it, and brings the most irritating nonsense to any film.  I do not know why this distributing company continues to ask him to add commentary to films, but he’s two for two on being the most irritating person alive for me in this area.  It would be different if he was doing an audio book, or adding commentary for the hearing impaired, but as it is, this guy just needs to shut up.  He brings nothing to his commentary track and he is so droll that it’s just painful all the way through.

Is this movie worth picking up at the store?  Absolutely!  Is this movie a great addition to anyone’s library?  Definitely!  Should one waste their time listening to the audio commentary track from William Hare?  Good gosh, NO!  Not unless you are looking for a way to be bored right out of your skull!

Wonderful film noir, great story, and terrific cast!  I love this film!  Just, please, note that the audio commentary by William Hare can cause anxiety attacks, sudden baldness (from when you rip your hair out in large handfuls), anger towards idiots, profanity, and possibly broken TV equipment (from hurling things at the screen to make it stop!).  I’ve done my part in warning you, you are on your own now.

That’s my review and I’m sticking to it!
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