Blu-ray Review: Black Widow (1987) - Twilight Time Limited Edition

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Director Bob Rafelson's Black Widow is a sturdy thriller from 1987 about a woman who preys upon rich men. She moves from victim to victim using assumed identities, first marrying then subsequently murdering each one. Theresa Russell plays the woman of many names to an icy tee. Debra Winger co-stars as a Justice Department agent Alex Barnes, the woman who detects a link between the mysterious deaths of otherwise healthy men. Specialty reissue label Twilight Time has brought Black Widow to Blu-ray as a limited edition of 3,000 copies.

At best, Black Widow plays as a poor man's Hitchcock thriller. At worst, it's overly talky and slow moving. The cat-and-mouse game between the female leads is the engine that drives the narrative. Both Russell and Winger are more than up to the challenge. The striking opening credits, powered by a dramatic Michael Small score (available on this edition as a isolated track), promise a bit more lurid suspense than director Rafelson ends up delivering. The year following Widow screenwriter Ronald Bass won the Oscar for Rain Man, but here he seems intent on telegraphing most plot points. In fact, there's no real mystery in what Russell's femme fatale is up to right from the outset. 

Black Widown BD (294x380).jpg Any fans who've waited patiently for an excellent high definition presentation can breathe a sigh of relief. Twilight Time's presentation is rock solid, with a clean transfer that doesn't appear to have been scrubbed with DNR. There's natural fine grain present throughout the image, which is suitably crisp but retains the distinctive mid-'80s look. The esteemed Conrad Hall (In Cold Blood, Cool Hand Luke, Twilight Time Blu-ray release Fat City) shot Black Widow so it's a good thing his striking cinematography is so well preserved.

Audio is pretty straightforward with a lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo mix that presents no problems. In addition to the isolated score track, there is a new audio commentary by Twilight Time in-house film historians Nick Redman and Julie Kirgo (who also wrote the new liner notes). This engaging duo has done numerous commentaries for TT titles and they deliver their customarily informative chat here.

Again, Black Widow is strictly limited to 3,000 units. Visit the Twilight Time website for ordering information while copies are still available.
Black Widown Booklet (299x380).jpg 

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is music and film. As “The Other Chad,” he has written for the online magazine Blogcritics since 2008. When he’s not writing, Chaz can be found trolling jazz clubs, attempting to find somewhere to play his sax (whether anyone wants to hear…

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