Sometimes you want a stately drama. Sometimes you want a hidden gem. Sometimes you want an award-winning film time has forgotten. And sometimes you just want a 1970s action film that starts as hard as it goes the whole way through. With the rocking Fear is the Key, Imprint has delivered just that.
It starts with a tragic incident, and the next thing we know, the man affected is robbing stores, shooting up courtrooms and initiating a fantastically filmed 15-minute car chase. That’s just the first half-hour of a film that offers a grand twist-a-thon with narrative turnabouts you never quite see coming. Best of all, it clocks in at a mean 103 minutes — a cinematic meal that’s all steak, zero fat and plenty of sizzle. The less you know going in, the better, but it’s a great time regardless. Director Michael Tuchner (in seemingly one of his only big movies) handles the action and shifting tones with aplomb, as well as an able cast anchored by Barry Newman (and featuring a young Ben Kingsley in a villainous role).
Imprint has added great extras, for the film’s worldwide Blu-ray debut, too. The best is a new audio commentary with the delightful film journalist Kim Newman and author Sean Hogan. There’s also a new set of cast and crew interviews, as well as a chat with associate producer Gavrik Losey. The 1080p presentation from a 2K scan looks great in the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio — a clean scan that nevertheless maintains that unmistakably ’70s film quality that’s so integral to the atmosphere of films like Fear is the Key. It’s an impressive package for a niche film that fans of ’70s or action films (or both) should pick up.