In With the New: My Cousin Rachel (1952) + Admiral (2015) on Blu

February 13, 2018 | By

Once in a while it seems the HD Gods hear one’s pleas (or mine), and the reward comes in a Blu-ray edition of a film that should’ve gotten one in tandem with its DVD release. Such is the case with Admiral / Michiel de Ruyter (2015), the excellent Dutch bio-drama on the brilliant 1600s navy strategist.

Mongrel’s DVD was okay, but this epic that never got a proper theatrical in North America (and should’ve, dammit) finally made its debut on Blu in 2017, so I’ve snapped up the U.S. import and updated the original review to reflect this fine HD transfer in a bare bones MOD release.

Also updated is the 1952 version of Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel, which I really like, but still feel it falls a bit short of being fully satisfying because the melodramatic behavior of the characters almost drown the final act.

Richard Burton’s American debut is strong, and Olivia de Havilland’s return to film after a period on stage is fine, but maybe it’s a story that needs more detail. I’ll eventually catch up with the later editions – the 2017 version, and a 1983 4 episode mini-series. It seems the British networks always had a thing for du Maurier’s novels, re-filming Jamaica Inn in 1983 and 2014, Rebecca in 1997, and Frenchman’s Creek in 1998.

I would love to see Mitchell Leisen’s 1944 version of Frenchman’s Creek get a proper Blu-ray release. Joan Fontaine (Olivia’s sis), Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, and the wonderful Arturo de Cordova star in this sumptuous Technicolor production shot by George Barnes (Rebecca, Jane Eyre, The Greatest Show on Earth), and released by Paramount.

Olive? KINO? Anyone listening?



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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