Twilight Time is a relatively new company that has been releasing blu-ray versions of rare and never-before-released films. Some highlights have been releases of movies like Fright Night (1985 version) and Christine which received an admirable treatment. A label for film auteurs, Twilight Time releases 3000 copies of their films and stops production which has made some of their releases very valuable. One of their most recent releases was a blu-ray release of The Other.
The best description that I can use for the 1972 film The Other would be slow burn. It is not a horror film in the tradition sense nor is it really a psychological thriller; it might be considered a little of both. The central theme of the film is honestly pretty complex but director Robert Mulligan (To Kill a Mockingbird) deals with it giftedly.
The basic story of The Other is ostensibly about two twins, Niles and Holland Perry, who are played by actual twins yet never appear on screen together which creates feels like they had one actor play both parts but with amazing range (this ultimately pays off for the film). The two live on their family farm in Connecticut in the mid-1930s. Their other is a hermit who has suffered a mental breakdown and locks herself in her upstairs bedroom. The boys’ grandmother is a European immigrant who has taught the boys the “great game” where they are able to look into the minds of other people and animals. They get into monkey business like any other kids but as the summer goes on the things they do lead to more serious “accidents”.
The film brings into the somewhat obvious trope of the good twin and the evil twin but does so in a very gradual pace. The first real “accident” happened a good 20-30 minutes into the film and the slow burn builds up intensity. About an hour into the movie a huge revelation takes us by surprise but does nothing to stop the slow burn. You can sense it still going on and leading to something; which it does. The ultimate result of this tension reaches an apex in the last 10 minutes when a grotesque incident happens and then we see literally see the result of the burn. Much of the tension of the film comes from the contrast between the horrible things that occur and the idyllic scenery and innocent portrayal of both twins (neither of them seem like they couldn’t hurt a fly). The movie actually plays out as if you were watching an after school special. The scenery is beautiful, the music is generally pleasant and even when the tone turns dark it never gets too dark. It makes some of the things happening that much more dreadful.
The Other is presented in an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1 with a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono mix which seems to recreate the original experience of this film. Rather than a remastering or upgrade this blu-ray aims to bring the film back to its pristine condition just as it might have appeared in theaters in 1972. This was achieved very well and serves the film to the fullest. The quiet mood of the film’s score and dialog work perfectly. It’s cleaned up without being overbearing.
Overall, The Other works very well as a psychological drama with an ultimately satisfying ending. However, this film is not for everybody. As I have said, it is a slow burn and requires a large amount of patience and attention. Many small things that happen have a huge payoff later in the film and are easy to miss (I for example, twice left the room for about a minute and each time missed something huge and had to go back to catch up). It doesn’t offer gore, violence, nudity, or scare-you moments but if you are willing to stick with it the payoff at the end will startle you beyond belief.
The Other was released on October 8th and is currently available from Twilight Time on their website.
Fun Tidbit: The brother-in-law to the twin boys, Rider, is played by John Ritter in one of his earliest film roles. Just 4 years later he would go on to star in Three’s Company.