Twilight Time Blu-ray: Shadows and Fog (1991)

Shadows and Fog (1991)

Company: Twilight Time

Starring: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Kathy Bates, Lily Tomlin, John Malkovich, John Cusack, Jodie Foster, Madonna

My Review and Thoughts:

Film: 4/5

Twilight Time has released many Woody Allen films on Special Edition 3,000 Unit Blu-ray’s. Which you can read my reviews for them here: A Midsummer Nights Sex Comedy / Love and Death / The Purple Rose of Cairo . Woody Allen needs no introduction to the cinema world. His vast career of films as both writer, director, actor and so on, have been hits, misses, but always unique and interesting. This is the first time that I have seen Shadows and Fog. An interesting trip in to a Black and White film that only Woody Allen could create and express. It’s a weird comedy that has truly a dynamic set of actors and actresses. Just to see who is in this film should lead one to seek it out and view. The phenomenal Kathy Bates. The one and only John Malkovich. The extraordinary Jodi Foster. The amazing Mia Farrow and Lily Tomlin among others. A flawless cast of actors and actresses that makes one want to see it for just that reality.

Now the movie itself is a homage to masterpiece film directors F.W. Murmau, G.W. Pabst and the visual master Fritz Lang. The way the film portrays itself, you can see that stamp of visual expressionist film making, that German directors in this style made famous. These three master film directors need no introduction to film lovers, and film historians. Their mastery expertise expressed dynamic pieces of cinema that has lingered, and been followed by countless lovers of film. From 1922’s Nosferatu, 1929’s Pandora’s Box, 1929’s Diary of a Lost Girl, 1927’s Metropolis, 1931’s M, and so many others. Woody Allen paid respect to these pioneers of film with Shadows and Fog.

The plot is, your main character Kleinman, played by Woody Allen. He is aroused from sleeping by a vigilante mob. Now this mob is looking for a killer. A killer who kills by strangulation. The mob, ask for Kleinman’s help. So begins an odd array of situations. Irmy played by Farrow, sees her boyfriend, and future husband Paul (Malkovich) having sex with Marie (Madonna). Irmy is so upset, she runs away, and joins a house of prostitution. Jack a new character is introduced (Cusack) at the whorehouse, and wants to have sex with Irmy, and is willing to pay 700 dollars to do so. Meanwhile Kleinman meets up with a doctor who shortly after becomes the victim of the killer. Enter other odd, weird and comical realties, and the plot is all over the place in Woody Allen style of film making. It’s a twisty plot, adding character, after character, played by amazing actors and actresses. The movie is hard to explain unless you have seen it. It clearly is an odd duck of a film.

Also I have to mention the wonderful, late, great Donald Pleasence also acts in this film. Pleasence was a star of pure character development throughout his vast career. Made most famous by his Dr. Loomis character in the horror franchise Halloween. Pleasence was so much more than that. He was a gifted soul that had a mastery of perfection in acting and it was wonderful to see him in this.

I think looking at Allen’s many films, this one has to be one of the oddest films, with a different style then he has ever done. It’s a plot that does twists, and spirals in so many directions, with so many characters, and with so many different understandings, and ideas on its conclusion. I think the best applaud, and accolades, has to go to that mentality. In honesty, this is a one of a kind film that only someone like Woody Allen could create. I think the best way to conclude the understanding, and final verdict of the film is to say, some will like and some will not. I for one thought it was very different from anything of Woody's styles. Like Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo, Shadows and Fog takes a step into a direction and conclusion, that ultimately expresses great film making even with its odd creation.

This is a wonderful Blu-ray, I think Twilight Time did another fantastic job in picking a unique film. A film forgotten about but thankfully now has a beautiful new outlet worthy to praise and own.

Audio/Video: 5/5

Never seeing this, I have nothing to compare it to, but this is a flawless example of imagery in the black and white scale. The shadows and darkness are rich with a dynamic expressionist reality made all the more vibrant in darkened tones, and crystal clear High Definition. A flawless undertaking by Twilight Time.
The audio is equally impressive. I thought the sound and video stood out and was truly something to praise.
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA

Extras: 1/5

Sadly Slim Pickens on this product but even with that said you do get the very important Isolated Score Track. The music used for the soundtrack is from one of the greatest Composers in all of music history. The one and only Kurt Weill. His music is still used today on soundtracks even after his death some 50 years ago. He died way too soon at the age 50 in 1950. He left a world of music clarity that lingers on the mind of any music lover. First claim to fame in the music soundtrack department was for the masterpiece, 1931’s The 3 Penny Opera. It’s really hard to express his brilliance. All one has to do is listen to his music and understand the mastery, and importance of this man. As I have stated his music is used in Hollywood even to this day on feature films and TV. Hearing his music in Shadows and Fog is like seeing into the heart of music itself. He was and is, one of the greatest musicians to ever live.

Original Theatrical Trailer


I also have to give a quick mention to the amazing cinematography by Carlo Di Palma. Di Palma was an expertise at the craft of the lens, and the beauty of capturing amazing moments. He worked alongside Allen on many features including, Hannah and Her Sisters, Don’t Drink the Water, Everyone Says I love You, Radio Days, September, Alice, Mighty Aphrodite, Deconstructing Harry, Husbands and Wives, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Bullets Over Broadway. He had an eye for film and Shadows and Fog shows that. He worked on one of my favorite films of all time, 1966’s Blow-Up. Great seeing his visual, visionary mastery in Shadows and Fog.

Twilight Time has another winner in the Audio and Video department. A solid transfer. Solid product. Another high class 3,000 Unit Special Edition that is worthy own. Twilight Time never fails me in the quality of product they put out. Each month another dynamic blu-ray for the cinema lover. Twilight Time shines yet again.


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