This is a decent DVD treatment of a five-star movie, though one little known beyond a small cult audience. Strange Illusion is a very odd and elusive film by director Edgar G. Ulmer. Made at the Poverty Row company Producers Releasing Corporation in 1945, it was one of the finest films in both the director's considerable output and the studio's history, and it was a staple of local television for decades (this reviewer first saw it in the early '60s, in place of a rained out New York Yankees game). Yet it apparently was never registered for copyright and has vanished from authorized distribution to television. It was originally announced for release on laserdisc by the Roan Group four years ago but never showed up, then suddenly appeared in stores without any fanfare on DVD from Roan in the early spring of 2001. The DVD was worth waiting for in most respects. Roan claims to have used a nitrate 35 mm source for its disc (though one Ulmer expert claims to have access to a better facility on which to have based a disc), and it looks good much of the time, at least during the first hour. There is some slight softness to the image, and there are times when the limitations of the resolution of the print that was used come through -- the image gets slightly jittery and some digital artifacts seem to intrude. The sound also has its limits. Rough in the opening credits, especially when Leo Erdody's orchestration reaches its crescendo, harps joining strings and brass, it settles down well enough until the first hour is over, and then the volume seems to drop somewhat, requiring an adjustment upward. On the other hand, the night shots reveal more than enough detail to make them watchable, and the fact is that almost any movie from PRC -- forget about one of the best they ever produced -- showing up in decent quality is a notable achievement. It's good enough to make watching this beautiful, haunting, exciting, and very troubling psychological chiller/murder mystery a delight for both first-time viewers and those just discovering the movie. Although one may wish to take issue with some aspects of the notes -- Ulmer may well have shot Detour (running 63 minutes) at PRC in under a week, but it seems highly unlikely that Strange Illusion, with its 87-minute running time (and none of it taken up with stock- or second-unit footage of any length) could have been done in six days (two weeks maybe) -- the packaging is otherwise well put together, if a little skimpy. The chaptering is adequate, though one wishes there were an insert listing the chapter breakdown, and the disc offers a brief biographical sketch of Ulmer. The menu pops up automatically on start-up, and it is very easy to use.