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Horror > New Releases > DVD

Horror MAN IN THE ATTIC—Anamorphic Widescreen Edition

(1953) Jack Palance, Constance Smith, Byron Palmer, Frances Bavier, Rhys Williams.  The setting is London in the late 1880s.  The monstrous killer, Jack the Ripper, is on the prowl, killing women left and right.  Palance is the mysterious stranger who rents the gloomy attic room of a Victorian house run by Frances (Aunt Bee) Bavier.  He needs the reclusivity of the room for his "experiments."  Every time there is a new Ripper killing, Bavier begins to suspect more and more that her new lodger is actually Jack the Ripper himself.  Things become even more complicated with the arrival of her niece (the beautiful Constance Smith) who Palance is strongly attracted to.  Is he really the mad killer?  This film is very similar to an earlier Ripper opus, The Lodger (1944) with Laird Cregar.  But in our estimation, Palance surpasses Cregar's earlier interpretation of the Ripper character.  In fact, Palance—with his natural creepiness of voice, his threatening facial structure, his soul-piecing eyes, and his overall sinister countenance—is really one of those "should-have-been-a-horror-star-but-never-was" types that can only leave one pondering about how great he might have been had he been teamed up with the likes of Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, or even and aging Boris Karloff.  To his credit, Palance probably gave what is arguably the best cinematic portrayal of the Jekyll/Hyde character in Dan Curtis's classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1968).  He also gave a fine (and somewhat sympathetic) interpretation of the blood-sucking count in Dracula (1974) for the same Dan Curtis production unit.  So Man in the Attic is definitely worth checking out, if anything just to see Palance at the top of his game.  On a technical side note, although the American 1.85 widescreen format had been in use for many months in Hollywood when this film was made (very late 1953) the filmmakers decided to opt for the European 1.66 widescreen standard.  We present The Man in the Attic in its original 1.66 widescreen format for the first time on DVD.  From 35mm.

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