Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Image Entertainment presents
The Dain Curse (1978)

Ham: I'm a detective, remember?
Gabrielle: Well, you're not a very good one. If you were, you could tell me why everybody close to me and near me, everyone that has anything to do with me, dies."

- James Coburn, Nancy Addison

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: July 08, 2005

Stars: James Coburn, Hector Elizondo, Jason Miller, Jean Simmons, Nancy Addison
Other Stars: Paul Stewart, Beatrice Straight, Ellis Rabb, Brent Spiner, Paul Harding, Martin Cassidy, Beeson Carroll
Director: E.W. Swackhamer

Manufacturer: Deluxe
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence, drug abuse, thematic material)
Run Time: 04h:52m:06s
Release Date: May 10, 2005
UPC: 014381269727
Genre: mystery

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Dashiell Hammett helped bring about the genre of hard-boiled detective fiction with his stories of the Continental Op, a private detective whose experiences were based on Hammett's own at the Pinkerton agency. The Op figured in Hammett's first two novels, the second of which is the basis for this exceptionally-faithful miniseries adaptation.

In 1928 San Francisco, detective Hamilton Nash (James Coburn) is asked to look into a burglary of some unset diamonds from the Leggett family, and quickly solves that mystery. But deeper and more sinister mysteries beckon, all of them swirling around young Gabrielle Leggett (Nancy Addison), who believes herself to bear the Dain Curse, a corruption of the blood that results in everyone around her meeting a violent death. There seems to be something to the Curse, with over half a dozen dead bodies turning up in rapid succession. With the help of writer Owen Fitzstephan (Jason Miller), Nash tries to unravel the sordid tale of murder, religious flummery, drug addiction, jealousy, adultery, kidnapping, and visions of God.

As literary adaptations go, this miniseries does a fine job of sticking to the convoluted source material, picking up even small incidents wholesale. Other than giving the nameless Op a name (appropriately resembling the author's), there's very little added here that doesn't appear in the original. Hammett's dialogue only makes an occasional appearance, but when it does it's to good effect. The structure loosely follows that of the novel, with the three episodes roughly parallel to the three parts of the book. The first two are compelling and rocket forward pleasantly, with plenty of mayhem and weirdness to hold viewer interest. The third episode sags somewhat, devoting far too much time to Nash's attempts to cure Gabrielle of morphine addiction and not enough to explicating exactly how and why all the murders were committed; swapping ten minutes between these two matters would have gone a long way towards making this a recommended viewing experience. There's also a greater implication of a romantic interest between Nash and Gabrielle, which feels more than a little uncomfortable considering Coburn is old enough to be 20-year-old Gabrielle's grandfather.

That's not to say the program is bad. It does have the merit of being perfectly cast: although the gaunt Coburn is not quite Hammett's "middle-aged fat man," his rough-hewn persona (and resemblance to Hammett himself) make an indelible impression and fits the hard-boiled material to a T. Addison is exceptionally striking as the drug-addled, guilt-ridden and semi-autistic Gabrielle. Jean Simmons makes a memorable Ice Queen as the high priestess of the Temple of the Holy Grail, and Jason Miller (The Exorcist) has fun with the flamboyant Fitzstephan. Martin Cassidy is appropriately earnest and inept as Gabrielle's fiancé. Hammett's disdain for law enforcement carries through here, with Hector Elizondo and Beeson Carroll as police who are more interested in getting their names in the papers and settling personal scores than in actually solving crimes. Star Trek: The Next Generation's Brent Spiner has a small but vital role as one of the key cogs in the plot.

Although made for television, the miniseries has exceptional, filmlike production values, dripping with period costumes and settings. Charles Gross' score helps with the period feel, most prominently using a meandering clarinet to emphasize the Jazz Age feeling of the story and affirming the sense of being slightly at sea. The result works pretty well, though the finale seems a bit rushed and unsatisfying. This is the uncut version of the entire miniseries, and not the edited-down one previously available on video.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The miniseries is presented in its original full-frame video. There are a handful of instances of frame damage, but on the whole it looks quite good for a nearly 30-year-old television program. There's some grain that occasionally looks sparkly, but the color is subdued and naturalistic. Black levels are slightly plugged up, but detail and texture on the whole are attractive.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 mono sounds reasonably good. There's very mild hiss at reference levels, but it's not noticeable at more typical listening levels. The music is a shade tinny, but considering the subject matter and the period, that's not entirely inappropriate and may well be intentional.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 36 cues and remote access
2 TV Spots/Teasers
Packaging: Gladiator style 2-pack
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The sole extras are the "next episode" tags for the second and third episodes. Disc 1, containing the first two episodes, does include a "Play All" button for those who prefer the uninterrupted experience to the extent possible.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

James Coburn brings the Continental Op to life in this faithful rendition of the novel; the transfer is quite acceptable for its age but there is little for extra materials.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store