Blu-Ray Review: Nightmare Alley

There’s nothing Hollywood likes more than a good remake. Or, maybe, a reboot, reimagining or rehash. Indeed, anything that basically resembles, as much as possible, a film which was previously been successful is precisely what they know will ‘sell’. When the film in question is older and relatively unknown, there is the unintentional benefit of bringing attention to the original. With the release of Guillermo del Toro’s version hopefully a new generation will come to appreciate Nightmare Alley.

Stanton Carlisle (Tyrone Power) is a man with ambition. He might be a lowly barker in a circus but he’s determined to get ahead in the business. With this in mind, he embarks on a relationship with ‘Mademoiselle Zeena’ (Joan Blondell), a mind-reader whose partner Pete (Ian Keith) is now a washed-up alcoholic. When tragedy strikes, he steps into the fray. However, when his relationship with the young and beautifully Molly (Coleen Gray) is discovered, they’re forced into marriage. The pair run-away to the city and the ‘Great Stanton’ is born.

Nightmare Alley is a cautionary tale of the dangers of ambition and the way guilt can eat you up slowly from the inside. It’s driven by Power’s muscular central performance. Stanton is obsessed with money and fame and will do anything to get it. The vaudeville life is captured magnificently in Edmund Goulding’s white-knuckle ride. Nightmare Alley is an entertaining drama which explores the perils of flying too close to the sun.


  • High-definition transfer
  • UK Blu-ray™ premiere
  • Audio commentary with writer and anthologist Johnny Mains and film expert Michael Brooke
  • Audio commentary from 2005 featuring film historians James Ursini and Alain Silver
  • Trailer
  • Original mono audio
  • Still gallery
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature

Nightmare Alley is released on Dual Format by Signal One on 17 January.

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