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Sisters (1973) – Review

This early horror / thriller from director Brian De-Palma gets a UK Blu ray release from Arrow.

When Danielle (Margot Kidder) meets potential boyfriend Philip (Lisle Wilson) after appearing on the TV show Peeping Toms (a nod to the Michael Powell shocker), she invites him home, only to attract the ire of her twin sister Dominique.

From across the courtyard, reporter Grace (Jennifer Salt) witnesses Philip being murdered by one of the twins – but the police find no body or any physical evidence. Naturally, Grace takes things into her own hands, and discovers more about the sisters relationship than she bargained for…

Sisters is De-Palma discovering his skills as a director, with Hitchcock touches but also fantastic use of split screen and sudden shocking violence. Margot Kidder plays the lead role of a woman who has been separated from her identical twin and is having trouble separating her life from her siblings. The film is a lot about voyeurism and in that sense has a lot in common with the Hitchcock film Rear Window.

It’s easy to see the reasons why the director was so widely touted at the time as the next Alfred Hitchcock, although that is somewhat unfair to him as he brings a lot of his own touches to the subject matter. The film does tend to run out of steam towards the end but is definitely one of his best early works.

sisters uk poster

The Blu ray released by Arrow has a good, solid 1080p transfer, grain is heavy in certain scenes but this was typical of film-stock of the period, which required less light but as a result produced more visible grain. It must have been tempting to use too much DNR to reduce it but rightly they left it as it should be with a high bit-rate. Audio is a good PCM mono, clear and clean and noticeable on the great soundtrack by Bernard Herrmann.

Extras are again plentiful from Arrow with the following:

  • What the Devil Hath Joined Together: Brian De Palma’s Sisters – A visual essay by author Justin Humphreys
  • All new interviews with co-writer Louisa Rose, actress Jennifer Salt, editor Paul Hirsch and unit manager Jeffrey Hayes
  • The De Palma Digest – a film-by-film guide to the director’s career by critic Mike Sutton
  • Archive audio interview with star William Finley (excerpt)
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Gallery of Sisters promotional material from around the world
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
  • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Kier-La Janisse (House of Psychotic Women) as well as Brian De Palma’s original 1973 Village Voice essay on working with composer Bernard Herrmann and a contemporary interview with De Palma on making Sisters, and the 1966 Life magazine article that inspired the film.

Another great release from Arrow, fans of the director should pick it up and the wealth of extras make it another fine release from the UK company.


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