27 July 2014

Blu-Ray Review - Rapture


Genre: Drama
Distributor: Eurkea
BD Release Date: 28th July 2014 (UK)
Rating: 12
Running Time: 105
Director: John Guillermin
Cast: Patricia Gozzi, Melvyn Douglas, Dean Stockwell
Buy:Rapture (Dual Format) [Blu-ray]



Rapture is directed by John Guillermin; one of those old Hollywood directors for hire who is perhaps best known for The Towering Inferno, The Blue Max and the King Kong remake with Jeff Bridges. The head of 20th Century Fox Daryl F. Zanuck wanted to produce a European art house styled film and Rapture was the outcome.

Rapture tells the story of a lonely teenage girl, Agnes (Patricia Gozzi), who is constantly told she might be sent off to the insane asylum and has an over bearing father played by Melvyn Douglas. She is stuck on a farmhouse on the island in Brittany, France and everything changes when she, along with her father, witness the getaway of a convict (Dean Stockwell). He eventually hides out in their farmhouse and Agnes becomes infatuated with him.

The film’s European feel is also down to the collaborators Guillermin assembled for the film. It was co-written by Ennio Flaino who also co-wrote most of Fellini’s greatest films such as 8 ½ and La Strada. The cinematography is by Marcel Grignon and is never boring; it has tons of fantastic shots and strange angles which is at times reminiscent of The Night of the Hunter. The use of black and white and cinemascope only heightens this likeness.

The whole film has an otherworldly quality; the setting itself is so remote it lends itself to a fantastical quality, and it shares some similarities to Ingmar Bergman’s island-set chamber dramas of that period. However, it doesn’t have the coldness associated with Bergman- instead it’s full of life and Patricia Gozzi gives a performance of a lifetime, which has echoes of the young girls in Pan’s Labyrinth and Spirit of the Beehive. She quit acting in early 20s and seemingly disappeared off the radar. Dean Stockwell and Melvyn Douglas are typically brilliant in their roles.

It’s a lost gem that will be rediscovered due to the beautiful Blu-Ray by Eureka. The only feature on the disc is a commentary by film historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redmon, but it also has a booklet with an essay, vintage stills and more.

★★★★

Ian Schultz


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