Release Date(s)1977 (September 18, 2018)
Studio(s)Frank Yablans Presentations/Columbia Pictures (Twilight Time)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: B
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B
For those familiar with director Charles Jarrott, you will know what to expect from The Other Side of Midnight. Having directed several melodramas with love-based themed films in the past, including his signature film Anne of the Thousand Days, he returns to explore these themes yet again. Based upon the 1973 novel of the same name by Sidney Sheldon, the film tells the tragic story of an innocent, young French woman who attempts to locate her ex-lover, who essentially dumped her, over the course of eight years.
It all begins when the beautiful Noelle Page (Marie-France Pisier) falls in love with American pilot Larry Douglas (John Beck), who is currently stationed in France during World War II. When he receives word that to go back home to the United States, Douglas promises Page that he will come back for her. This is tragically not to be as Douglas returns home and begins a romance with another woman (Susan Surandon), whom he marries. Page, abandoned and pregnant, vows for revenge. She becomes a fashion model and an international movie star, using her sex appeal to lure the wealthiest of men, ultimately becoming the mistress of an affluent Greek tycoon (Raf Vallone). As fate would have it, a job opportunity for Douglas arises, bringing the two former lovers back together, with Page pulling the strings.
The Other Side of Midnight is another masterpiece from Charles Jarrott. It’s a powerful, moving drama, with the only downside being that it’s overly long, clocking in at 165 minutes. The characters have a strong enough presence to hold one's interest, but the mere length of the film may be daunting to some. Pisier, in her first American film, is outstanding in her role in which she deteriorates from being a sweet, naïve girl to a wealthy pretentious snob. Beck, who would later be a part of the long-running TV series Dallas, is excellent as the two-timing Douglas. The performances from the rest of the cast, which also includes Clu Gulager and Michael Lerner, are all superb as well. With an excellent musical score by Michel Legrand and beautiful cinematography by Fred J. Koenekamp, The Other Side of Midnight proves to be a wonderful picture.
Twilight Time releases The Other Side of Midnight on Blu-ray with an HD master provided to them by 20th Century Fox. It’s more than serviceable with nice color reproduction and accurate flesh tones. Image quality tends to peak during daytime scenes, but it’s not consistent as some areas appear a little soft or faded. However, there are breathtaking, panoramic views of various Paris and Greek locations on display. There are also no signs of damage leftover. Between the two available audio options, English 1.0 and 2.0 DTS-HD, the stereo track is the clear winner (which is the default option). Score, dialogue, and sound effects come through much stronger by comparison. There are also no dropouts or other detectable audio issues. Optional subtitles in English SDH are also available.
Twilight Time has also added a few extras this release, porting over a DVD audio commentary with producer Frank Yablans, director Charles Jarrott, author Sidney Sheldon, and film historian Laurent Bouzereau. There’s also an isolated score and effects track, the original theatrical trailer, a scroll-through of the current Twilight Time catalogue, and an insert booklet with 8 pages of liner notes by Julie Kirgo.
In some ways, The Other Side of Midnight is reminiscent of the classic melodramas from the Golden Age of cinema. In that sense, the film comes recommended to those who enjoy romantic drama – just be prepared for the three-hour running time before giving it a spin. Twilight Time’s Blu-ray offering is another great package and is certainly worth upgrading from the previous DVD.
– David Steigman