Blu-ray Review: Dominique



Most filmgoers would think Milton Subotsky was the original name of ’50s movie heartthrob. But for those in the know, Subotsky was a major producer. He had teamed up with Max J. Rosenberg to form Amicus Productions in the ’60s. While both men were Americans, they found themselves making horror films in England that rivaled Hammer’s output at the time. Casual horror fans confused their films with Hammer since they used the same actors and crew members on their productions including The House That Dripped Blood and And Now the Screaming Starts! After numerous films, the duo split up in the late ’70s. Milton stuck around England for his first post-Amicus film. Dominique is a family drama with a supernatural edge.

Dominique (Elmer Gantry & Spartacus‘ Jean Simmons) hasn’t quite recovered from a tumble she took down the stairs. She’s a bit forgetful, moody and spaced out at times in the mansion. Today we’d figure out she suffered a major concussion. But nobody cared about brainscans in 1978. She’s starting to hear piano playing at night. When she arrives in the music conservatory, there’s a skeleton hanging from the rafters wearing her jewelry. Her husband David (Spider-Man‘s Cliff Robertson) isn’t the most compassionate guy. She also doesn’t seem willing to share with her sister-in-law ( An American Werewolf in London‘s Jenny Agutter). She does talk to the new limo driver (Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed‘s Simon Ward). The weirdness is too much and Dominique takes a drastic action. As David adjusts to his new relationship status, weird things begin to happen in his life. Is he being haunted too or is this a giant set up?

Dominique has the classic elements of an Amicus film including getting a top notch cast. Oscar winner Cliff Robertson was affordable since he was getting screwed over by major Hollywood studios for exposing the crime that the head of Columbia Studios forging Cliff’s names on checks and collecting the loot. Director Michael Anderson was coming off making Logan’s Run and Orca. Longtime James Bond cinematographer Ted Moore was behind the camera after shooting Orca for Anderson. Editor Richard Best had sliced several episodes of The Avengers. Composer David Whitaker had done the soundtrack for Amicus’ Scream and Scream Again.

The movie is rather low key in its pacing. Robertson doesn’t go completely emotional overboard to sell his confusion at the true fate of his wife. There’s action and scares, but not to the level that things come off as a mess on the screen. It’s a proper English supernatural thriller with a certain restraint to the elements. This is a film you don’t want to watch if you’re tired since it’s quite calm in moments. You’ll want fine cup of tea nearby as you hit play and delve into the supernatural mystery of Dominique.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The new transfer brings out the details in the lush English mansion. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 mono. The track is smooth without any pops or clicks. The movie is subtitled.

DVD with all the features of Blu-ray at lower resolution.

Audio Interview with actor Michael Jayston (14:54) catches up with the actor in a phone interview. He speaks of his long career including his Doctor Who connection. He speaks of how Cliff was dealing with death threats in Hollywood during the filming of Dominique.

Audio Interview with Assistant Director Brian Cook (24:06) is a phone chat. Cook talks about how his father worked in the business first including David Lean films. He wanted to be like dad. He talks about meeting Stephen King while Kubrick was putting together The Shining.

Original Theatrical Trailer (3:09) gives away the fate of Dominique rather quick.

Vinegar Syndrome presents Dominique. Directed by Michael Anderson. Screenplay by: Edward Abraham & Valerie Abraham. Starring: Cliff Robertson, Jean Simmons, Jenny Agutter, Simon Ward, Ron Moody & Judy Geeson. Rated: R. Running Time: 95 minutes. Released: March 26, 2019.

Tags: , , ,