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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Classic Movie

    I remember watching this as a kid, and it was very old then. I made a lasting impression on me. For years this was not played again on commercial TV, when I saw it was on DVD, i had to purchase it. It still has a last power to stir the emotions. It still has revelance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010


    this is an interesting film and well done, as the characters are real but misunderstood. the ending sad yet true.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010


    After scaring theater goers from their seats with his tale of the blood thirsty Count Dracula (1931) over at Universal, Tod Browning migrated to MGM for an even greater shock fest with ¿Freaks¿. Considered by many to be the most grotesque horror film ever made, ¿Freaks¿ is the story of a demented lover¿s triangle that, upon release in the U.S. was considered so disturbing, that it was banned for more than thirty years in Great Britain. In 1994 the reputation of this classic finally achieved its rightful status as a cinematic treasure with the National Film Registry. A wealthy midget, Hans (Harry Earles) is smitten with trapeze artist, Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova). Though advised against pursuing an affair by fellow midget performer, Frieda (Daisy Earles ¿ Harry¿s real life sister) who is actually in love with Hans herself, Hans bates the high wire diva. To everyone¿s surprise Cleopatra accepts her pint size lothario¿s advances and very soon the two become lovers and are married. But all is not as it seems. Cleopatra is really the secretive lover of circus strong man, Hercules (Henry Victor). The two have concocted a plot to do away with Hans and steal his money. Browning¿s direction ably fosters its morality play in the dichotomous relationship between the good willed and humane ¿freaks¿ and the treacherous and diabolical ¿normals.¿ Cleopatra slowly poisons Hans, making it appear as though he is merely suffering from some sort of malady from which he will recover. However, when two sympathetic ¿normals¿ Phroso (Wallace Ford) and Venus (Leila Hyams) discover the truth behind the sham marriage, the freaks decide to launch into their own special brand of terror. Amassing a cavalcade of real life circus performers for this film, Browning effectively alienated the top brass at MGM and its stars ¿ especially during lunch time in the commissary, where a special table partitioned from the rest played host to Radian; the living torso, Frances O¿Connor; the armless girl, Olga Roderick; the bearded lady, and other mutations of mankind. Upon its release in the U.S. audiences were literally shocked from their seats, particularly during the film¿s climactic revenge on Hercules and Cleopatra. The freaks emasculate the strong man and transform Cleopatra by amputation into a bird-like mute creature. Warner¿s DVD is very impressive. Minted from film elements which have obviously undergone some sort of restoration, the DVD exhibits a stunningly handsome gray scale with incredibly sharp images and a remarkable amount of fine detail. Though age related artifacts are riddled throughout and some softly focused scenes still exist, this is by far the most satisfying image quality for a film of this vintage. Blacks are solid and deep. Contrast levels are nicely balanced. There is an absence of digital anomalies for a nearly pristine and very smooth visual presentation that will surely not disappoint. (Aside: originally ¿Freaks was premiered with the final shot being that of Cleopatra¿s hideous transformation into the chicken woman. However, Browning originally intended there to be an epilogue in which Hans and Frieda are reunited. Since this footage was rediscovered in MGM¿s vaults it has been re-inserted into this version of the film. But these film elements are extremely poorly contrasted and softly focused, making the ending of ¿Freaks¿ the one let down of an otherwise impeccably rendered DVD.) The audio has been cleaned up and is equally impressive. Extras include a thorough and engaging audio commentary by noted author, David J. Skal, an all new almost hour long documentary (which is heavy and meandering in tracing the lineage of the real life circus performers but terribly short on documenting the production of the film itself), a prologue added to the film after its initial release and three alternate endings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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