Release Date(s)1969 (July 31, 2018)
Studio(s)Pendulum Pictures/Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
- Film/Program Grade: C
- Video Grade: B
- Audio Grade: B
- Extras Grade: F
Films that focus on the topic of adultery have been made since the silent film era. It was a taboo subject but was considered grand entertainment, even in later pre-code films, which were made from 1929 to 1934. Sad to say, infidelity is something that many people can relate to and have had to unfortunately experience in real life. In the 1969 film Pendulum, adultery rears its disturbing head yet again, nearly leading to disaster for a well-respected member of society. It’s also a familiar yarn in other ways as well, centering on someone who is falsely accused of murder and has to go through hell to prove their innocence.
In the film, no-nonsense, tough guy and Washington D.C. police captain Frank Matthews (George Peppard) is accused of murdering both his blatantly-cheating wife Adele (Jean Seberg) and her lover Brooks Elliot (Harry Lewis). Facing arrest, Matthews attempts to fight the charges with the help of his attorney Woodrow Wilson King (Richard Kiley). Unfortunately, the effort fails, as there is more and more evidence proving that Matthews actually did it. On the verge of his arrest, he escapes two policemen who are about to bring him in and runs away to find the person that he believes actually committed the murders.
In what was director George Schaefer’s first, Pendulum is a decent film, but nothing that could be called spectacular. Dialogue-heavy with lethargic pacing, it lacks some of the much-needed action that crime films usually have. While it sustains an interest for the entire 96-minute running time, you almost wish Matthews would hurry up and catch who he’s looking for. The film is also set up to where most who are watching can figure out who the murderer is ahead of time, making it less of a mystery to the viewer than to the characters in the film. The film’s clumsy ending, including a scene where Peppard is standing still and waiting for direction while his adversary is attempting to escape, is followed by some poorly-staged fight scenes. The acting from the leads and supporting cast are credible, and the latter has a few familiar faces including Isabel Sanford (Mrs. George Jefferson herself from The Jeffersons TV series). There’s also veteran actor Charles McGraw, who often played tough guy cops and gangsters in The Killers, The Birds, The Threat, and The Narrow Margin, having a great, late career role as the deputy chief.
Pendulum is given its Blu-ray (BD-R) debut courtesy of Sony, and the image quality, while not completely breathtaking, isn’t bad at all. The color palette is vivid and everything appears rich and beautiful with a lot of great detail on both indoor and outdoor scenery. Film grain is present and the use of DNR isn’t detectable, but a few scenes appear softer than the rest. In the audio department, the English 2.0 DTS-HD track is above average with clear and precise dialogue, while the music by Walter Scharf and other sounds, such as gunshots and honking cars, are often overpowering. French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital options are also available, as are English subtitles for all three audio tracks. Unfortunately, there are no extras on this release, but worth mentioning is the fact that Sony is using pressed discs for their manufactured on-demand program, so whatever qualms there are about them using BD-R discs, they can be put to rest.
Pendulum is what I would call a run-of-the-mill film, but I’m sure there are plenty of fans who love it that would disagree with me. This Blu-ray release is certainly recommended to them, first and foremost (George Peppard completists may also wish to give the movie a spin). While not the best example of high definition video, it’s more than serviceable, and if nothing else, it wasn’t readily available before now.
- David Steigman