Freud (UK - DVD R2)
Our Marcus gets hypnotised by this movie about Freud and his early work
John Huston's 1962 movie about Sigmund Freud (Montgomery Clift)delves into Freud's early years as he first discovers the mysteries of the subconscious mind and the ways in which these problems can be cured even when the medical world around him thinks his methods are black magic.
Beginning in 1885, the movie takes us through the next five years, charting Freud's understanding of the human mind. In a time where the old fashion view of mental illness, whether claiming hysteria only exists in women or that it comes from the devil was just frustrating the young doctor and his voyage into the new methods that were being generated in certain medical circles gave Freud a wider understanding of the possibilities. Hypnosis was just beginning to be allowed in certain medical circles. Up until then it was deemed as dark magic or witch craft and here we get to see some of Freud's case studies as well as a more in depth study of a young woman and her psychological symptoms.
For a movie made in the early sixties, this is actually quite an interesting and in depth approach to what is deemed common knowledge in today's society. Theories of misdirected emotional responses, or disorders that were treatable in the mind feel well explored here even with this fifty year old movie has a few dated ideas. Montgomery Clift's performance as Freud is full of wide eyed intrigue and there's a real eeriness to the madness he's confronting in his patients. This semi biopic isn't all that original in it's approach but the subject matter and the setting is one that's fascinating really.
Fifty years is fifty years and this isn't exactly a restored classic. That said, despite the dirt and artifacts the image is pretty good.
Black levels are nice and deep and the heavy shadowing in the film works very well. Grain isn't too overbearing, or sometimes even all that noticeable but there's no escaping the age of this movie even when it looks at its best.
Well with a very small sounding track, there's no surprise at the results. There are no layers to this track at all really. Busier scenes, like at the train station when Freud leaves on his travels just sounds like a mess of sound and larger scenes are rather overbearing.
The handful of louder scenes, involving screaming or hysteria can sound incredibly shrill and the score can flutuate from being a atmospheric accompaniment to an overbearing attack but it always remains the key to selling the madness in the situations. The only really consistent element is the dialogue and while it's often muffled in scenes, the voice recordings aren't at all bad considering the age of the film.
This is a bare bones release.
The subject of Sigmund Freud's work will always be interesting and really that's the star of this film. This isn't so much about the man as it is about what he wanted to prove to the medical world and how his approach to mental illness changed the world. The disc looks about as good as expected from a little known old black and white and the same goes for the audio. Those interested in the subject matter should get a kick out of this one but there's little to pull you in otherwise.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over
Release Date: 23rd April 2012
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Aspect: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Audio: Mono 2.0 English
Easter Egg: No
Director: John Huston
Cast: Montgomery Clift, Susannah York, Larry Parks
Length: 134 minutes
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