I just watched the recently released Eureka disc of this 1972 Robert Mulligan film.
I had read the Thomas Tryon novel years ago but had always avoided the movie. Somehow I never cottoned to the idea of a horror movie directed by the man who made Summer of Ď42. Clearly a mismatch of talents, so it would seem.
Was I ever wrong. This film is an absolute corker from start to finish. Itís not a film for the blood Ďní gore crowd, mind you, resembling more the subtle psychological horrors of The Innocents and The Haunting. I wonít describe the plot, because the less you know about it as a first-time viewer the better. (But even with knowledge of the plot surprises, the rich ambiguities of the narrative ensure high rewatchability.) Iíll just say that itís a ďbad seedĒ variation involving a pair of identical twins. In most of these ďevil childĒ movies Ė such as The Bad Seed, The Good Son, or the obscure Night Hair Child Ė you canít wait for the little brat to get his/her comeuppance. But in The Other the boy retains the sympathy of the viewer even as it becomes clear how deeply disturbed he is.
Set in a pastoral New England in the 1930s that seems to belong less to the Depression era than to Norman Rockwell Americana, the film has a unique sunlit atmosphere that is complemented by a fine Jerry Goldsmith score. Mulligan gives it a measured pace, never putting a foot wrong, and his actors are perfect, especially the real-life twins who play the boys, and Uta Hagen, who plays their grandmother.
I highly recommend the disc. Itís full-frame, but as no R1 seems to be forthcoming from Fox, there likely wonít be a widescreen alternative any time soon. At any rate, I didnít see any evidence of cropping in the image. No subtitles, unfortunately.
Extras include the US trailer, a stills gallery, and a PDF containing the shooting script.