Blu-ray Review: The Shadow: Collector’s Edition

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” Those were the opening lines to the golden age of radio serial adventures. The supernatural detective arrived in pulp in the 1930s. His mysterious voice hit radio in 1937. After the success of Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy, The Shadow was ready to be a modern blockbuster in 1994. The producers cast the suave Alec Baldwin to revive the iconic character for a new generation. The Shadow: Collector’s Edition gives viewers a chance to relive the exciting moviegoing experience of 20 years ago.

Lamont Cranston (Baldwin) isn’t a typical superhero. He arrives on the screen as an American who has set himself up in Tibet as a drug kingpin. He’s kidnapped by a mystical man that wants to convert Cranston into a force for good. This is how he learns the mystic arts that allows him to cloud the minds of men. He returns to America to put his new skills to work against the underworld. By day, he’s a rich Playboy with no cares. But at night, he dons his disguise to attack criminal figures. He has his greatest test from another visitor from Asia. Shiwan Khan (The Last Emperor‘s John Lone) arrives in New York City in rather dramatic fashion. He’s not there to see the sights. He’s out to destroy Manhattan in a major way. Khan has created a network to accomplish his plan of hijacking the work of Dr. Reinhardt Lane (Ian McKellen). Cranston fears he’s losing his game since the socialite Margot Lane (Penelope Ann Miller) won’t respond to his clouding ways. Can he really take down Khan if he’s stymied by her?

The Shadow wasn’t a major hit when it was released. This was a shame. The movie has a great look and feel. Baldwin cut a dashing figure as he whisked around an old Manhattan. He worked out well as both Lamont and his superhero alter ego. Lone hits the right notes as the evil Khan without turning into a yellow menace cartoon character. The supporting cast was great including Jonathan Winters (Mork & Mindy), James Hong (Kung Fu Panda), Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Peter Boyle (Taxi Driver). The production design is lavish. This element really gets to shine with the 1080p transfer. The movie really captures a dashing bit of yesteryear. The Shadow deserves a chance to cloud more minds.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer really looks sharp and exposes all the talent that went onto the screen. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD MAster Audio to give the wrap around action. There is also a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio for the original mix. The movie is subtitled in English.

Looking Back at The Shadow (23:44) features all the key players discussing the film. Director Russell Mulcahy, Alec Baldwin, Penelope Ann Miller, Production Designer Joseph Nemac III, Director of Photography Stephen H. Burum and Writer David Koepp share their time on the film. Koepp had started working on the adaptation before his hot streak that included Jurassic Park.

Theatrical Trailer (1:57) is a rather crummy video transfer. At least this lets you understand how good the Blu-ray looks compared to that old VHS copy you rented from Blockbuster.

Photo Gallery includes dozens of production photos.

The Shadow: Collector’s Edition is a throwback to that special time when Alec Baldwin was a major movie star. He does an amazing job as the mystical superhero out to save Manhattan.

Shout! Factory presents The Shadow: Collector’s Edition. Directed by by: Russell Mulcahy. Written by: David Koepp. Starring: Alec Baldwin, John Lone, Tim Curry and Peter Boyle. Running Time: 107 minutes. Rating: PG-13. Released: February 25, 2014.

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