drama DVD and movie reviews and previews from curledupdvd.com - curled up with a good dvd
drama DVD reviews and previews from curledupdvd.com - curled up with a good dvd
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Freaks - drama DVD review
Freaks Unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars
Actors: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates, Henry Victor
Director: Tod Browning   Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD release: 10 Aug. 2004   Runtime: 62 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Subtitled, NTSC
DVD features: Subtitles (English, Spanish, French), Audio tracks (English, Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Commentary by author David J. Skal, making-of documentary, special prologue added for reissue, 3 alternate endings

Based on the story "Spurs" written by Clarence Aaron "Tod" Robbins and directed by Todd Browning, Freaks is one of the classic horror movies from the 1930s. Ostensibly a love story, Freaks pushes the boundary of the genre.

Hans (Harry Earles) is a carnival midget, but his short stature doesn't crush his desire for the beautiful trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova). Hans absolutely adores Cleopatra, though his fiancÚ, Frieda (Daisy Earles), warns him that Cleopatra only wants him for money. Meanwhile, Cleopatra is having an affair with Hercules (Henry Victor). During a visit with Cleopatra, Frieda lets it be known that Hans is getting a big inheritance. This leads Cleopatra to conspire with Hercules; she plans to marry Hans for his fortune. But in the end, the freaks band together to save Hans from the sinister Cleopatra.

This isn't a real horror film, as in wanting to scare or cause fake booing; it's more of a drama than horror. The story truly is an allegory: beauty is more than skin deep. The dark mood doesn't come into play until the end, when the freaks go to protect Hans as the carnival is on the move through a dense forest during a torrential downpour. Rain always delivers that kind of mood on film. The editing leaves much to be desired, but it is a film from the '30s. That staged feel of the scenes can be attributed to the era and to the acting level of the well-cast freaks (truly for exploitation).

The DVD comes with three alternate endings, a restored prologue, a special making-of documentary, and can be subtitled in French and Spanish. Overall, Freaks deserves to be in any film fanatic's library.
reviewed by Bobby Blades
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