Psyche 59 - Psyche 59(Blu Ray) [Powerhouse Films - 2019]Psyche 59 is a subtly sexual charged melodrama & decidedly low-key mystery from the mid-1960s. It’s a largely effective if at times slow British film- that features moody-to-slightly arty cinematography,with a well balanced small cast. Here from Powerhouse is the first time Blu Ray issue of the film- featuring a newly remastered print, and a few extras.
Appearing in 1964 Psyche 59 was the second film directed by New Yorker Alexander Singer- who is more known for his work as a TV director working on series such as The Fugitive, Mission Impossible, Star Trek New Generation. Oddly considering his TV background, Psyche 59 takes it time to tell its story- with the film near one hour fifty-minute mark. And while at points you feel some sort of editing may have been helpful- the story/ mystery does keep you held.
The film's plot is centred in Alison Crawford (Patricia Neal)- the blind wife of moustached & sleazy older industrialist Eric Crawford (Curd Jürgens). She lost her sight when falling down the stairs some years early, and the film's mystery revolves about what happened. Stepping into the story we have Alison younger sister Robin(Samantha Eggar), who has comes to stay with the pair & their two children, as well as Paul- Eric Crawford's work college. The film cleverly revolves around subdued tension & often awkward English politeness- with Alison blindness used to great effect in scenes where she’s interacting with more than one person. It would rather ruin the film's impact if I go too further into detailing the plot- as really the mystery & its twists will keep you hooked into the film considered unfold.
Seemingly the film was rather controversial for its time- as it subtle brushes & suggests taboo subjects such as child abuse, rape, nymphomania & control. It never becomes too daring or shocking, but throughout there’s a feeling of simmering sleaze & uneasy present- and this is certainly one of the most effective elements of the film. I think if you’re willing to put the time, and are interested in taboo subjects & how they often get dealt with by the often reserved British manners- you’ll find Psyche 59 worthy of your time.
Moving onto discussing this new edition- and first, off we have a remastered print of the film- this is good enough, with the films black & white stock look well defined & crisp. On the extras front, we get an hour & half audio-only interview with the film's director of photography Walter Lassally- this a BEHP interview from 1988- seeing him discuss his whole career. Next, we get two stand alone interviews- these each last around the ten to fifteen-minute mark- first there’s s one with actress Samantha Eggar, discussing her memories on work on the film. Next, we get one with score composer Kenneth V Jones- talking about his score for Psyche 59. Lastly, we have an eleven-minute interview with critic & broadcast Richard Combs- he analyses/ talks about director Alexander Singer career in general, and of course Psyche 59.
Psyche 59 is decidedly understated mystery & melodrama, with slight arty touches- it certainly not a film for everyone. But if you enjoy more wordy cinema, that’s built around subtly & nuanced acting I feel you’ll find what we have here rewarding enough.