Blu-ray: Voices (1973)
This was a rather strange viewing experience, as going into it I knew nothing at all about the narrative, and especially nothing about how it was shot on a mixture of video and film…of which I have to admit that whenever it went to the scenes shot on video it lost my attention somewhat, the “live television play” visuals (complete with stark lighting, echoing sound and stilted camera moves…along with camera shadows) making it look like scenes from a rejected BBC “Play For Today” rehearsal had been spliced into a feature film.
Unbelievably letting their little boy go off on a walk by the canal by himself so that they can have a quick shag while he’s gone, they suddenly realise in their post-coital sweaty haze that he hasn’t returned…though in a way it’s a good job that he didn’t come back and see his mum and dad banging away on a canal boat couch!
It was at this point that I lost any empathy for the characters and already didn’t care what happened to them, the disregard of their son’s safety leaving me with no sympathy for them at all.
However, Claire suffers a mental breakdown and Robert takes her to a large county house to try and help with her recovery. Though quite how this large, seemingly abandoned and sparsely furnished old mansion would make anyone feel good is beyond me…especially when they also slowly begin to see ghostly apparitions too.
Dialogue heavy and mostly set in just the one room, it is at least a relief that the 2 leads are great actors and can carry scenes that would otherwise have left me even more disinterested should they have been played by actors of lesser ability and screen presence.
The “shocking” end scene didn’t surprise, and as I stated at the beginning, I didn’t really care for what happened to them anyway.
Much like with my review of The Devil’s Men, this is a release where the special features outweighed the main movie as far as my enjoyment went, with Barry Forshaw and Kim Newman making it seem far more enjoyable as I watched with their commentary track on.
A world blu-ray debut makes this the definitive version to buy should you either already be a fan, or be in the mood to try something a little bit different.
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
- New restoration from a 4K scan of the original separation masters by Powerhouse Films
- Authentic presentation of this unique mixed-media production, which combines film-shot and video-captured material
- Original mono audio
- Audio commentary with writers and film experts Barry Forshaw and Kim Newman (2022)
- Wide Boys (2022, 18 mins): film historian Vic Pratt charts the ups and downs of John Daly and David Hemmings’ production company, Hemdale
- Mon Brave! (2022, 8 mins): filmmaker Peter Crane recalls his personal and professional relationship with Hemmings
- Voices from the Past (2022, 4 mins): a look at the challenges of restoring Voices
- Image gallery: promotional and publicity material
- New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet featuring a new essay by Julian Upton, archival interviews with actors Hemmings and Gayle Hunnicutt, a look at the source play, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
- World premiere on Blu-ray
- Limited edition of 2,000 copies for the UK (4,000 copies for the world)
Released 21st February 2022.
Review by Dave from a disc kindly supplied by Powerhouse Films.