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Violent Midnight [DVD] [1963]

This well-crafted "adults only" thriller (which in 1963 meant it included a few brief nude scenes and suggestions of sex between some characters) gets a stronger than expected presentation in this DVD release from Dark Sky Films. Violent Midnight (aka Psychomania and Black Autumn) has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the image quality is outstanding. The source materials are pristine, and the transfer is pin-sharp and shows a wide range of gray tones. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital 2.0, preserving the original monophonic mix, and the sound is crisp and well-detailed. The dialogue is in English, and no multiple language options are included, though the disc does include English subtitles for the hearing-impaired. As a bonus, this edition also includes a commentary track from producer Del Tenney, who claims to have also made uncredited contributions to the screenplay and handled some of the direction; unfortunately, Tenney's comments are not as interesting as one might hope, but he still offers some useful background on the cast and working with the always fascinating Sylvia Miles. Low-budget films from the 1960s rarely look this good on DVD, and Dark Sky have really gone the extra mile to give a relatively little-known film a top-shelf release on disc; genre fans will be well-pleased.

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    Special Features

    • Commentary with Del Tenney
    • Photo gallery
    • Theatrical trailers


    Violent Midnight
    This stark but interesting low-budget thriller stars Lee Philips as Elliot Freeman, a veteran of the Korean War who has returned home to New England and is following his muse as an artist. Freeman inherited a fortune from his wealthy father and is earning an impressive reputation for his paintings, but he remains a tense and moody individual. Freeman had a brief fling with one of his nude models, Dolores (Kaye Elhardt), but she's also been dating Charlie Perone (James Farentino), a beefy truck driver described as "the Stanley Kowalski of the laundry set." When Dolores is stabbed to death, both Freeman and Perone are suspects, and while brassy bar girl Silvia (Sylvia Miles) is willing to provide an alibi for Charlie, Elliot isn't so lucky, and things get even more complicated when a handful of students from a nearby women's college his sister attends turn up dead under the same circumstances as Dolores. Along with early screen appearances from Sylvia Miles, James Farentino, and Dick Van Patten (yep, the Eight Is Enough guy), Violent Midnight also features some fleeting nudity that probably kept it out of a few drive-ins in 1963 but insured big crowds for those that did screen it. Violent Midnight was also screened under the titles Black Autumn and Psychomania (not to be confused with Don Sharp's amazing 1972 film Psychomania, about a gang of undead bikers). ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Image coming soon
      Lee Philips - Elliot Freeman
    • Shepperd Strudwick
      Shepperd Strudwick - Adrian Benedict
    • James Farentino
      James Farentino - Charlie Perone
    • Jean Hale
      Jean Hale - Carol Bishop
    • Image coming soon
      Lorraine Rogers - Alice St. Clair

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