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Release Date: March 3rd, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1952

Carrie (1952) - Imprint Films Limited Edition

Overview -

No, it's not that Carrie. Twenty-odd years before Stephen King and Brian De Palma shanghaied the title, director William Wyler's adaptation of the classic Theodore Dreiser novel Sister Carrie created quite a stir...and remains a devastating portrait of obsessive love, ruination, and despair. Imprint's limited edition Blu-ray isn't a huge step up from the 2004 DVD, but the enhanced clarity and lossless audio, as well as a couple of new, stellar supplements, make this release worth an upgrade for fans and a purchase for those unfamiliar with this underappreciated Wyler gem. Recommended.


Carrie is the story of a woman whose dreams of adventure in the big city are squashed after discovering a bleak life of grueling and poorly-paid factory work. That is, until a traveling salesman named Drouet steps into her life and changes her outlook. Breaking all the rules of morality at the time, Carrie moves in with him and at first she’s content, but when Drouet introduces her to the wealthy and married Hurstwood, who manages a restaurant, Carrie instantly sizes up the difference between the two men and discovers she’s falling for him.

William Wyler’s classic adaptation of Theodore Dreiser’s “Sister Carrie” was nominated for two Oscars.

Full unedited version of the film featuring the previously removed “flophouse” scene which was omitted for the original release in the US theatres.

Starring Laurence Olivier, Jennifer Jones, Miriam Hopkins, and Eddie Albert.

Worldwide first on Blu-ray!

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • NEW Audio commentarywith professor and film scholar Jason Ney
  • Trailer
  • LPCM 2.0 audio
  • Aspect ratio 1.33:1
  • English subtitles
  • Limited Edition slipcase on the first 1500 copies with unique artwork


Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Limited Edition slipcase on the first 1500 copies with unique artwork
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/AVC MPEG-4
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
LPCM 2.0 audio
English subtitles
Special Features:
Theatrical Trailer
Release Date:
March 3rd, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


No one needs to tell you Laurence Olivier was one of the finest actors of the 20th century; his work speaks for itself. That he preferred the sanctuary of the stage to the silver screen's hurly-burly is also common knowledge, yet despite his indifference to cinema, Olivier gave several of his best performances before the camera, which embraced his matinee idol looks and allowed the public a close-up view of his genius. The brooding Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, the haunted Max de Winter in Rebecca, the tortured Hamlet, and the diabolical Richard III are but a few of his memorable film portraits.

Another is George Hurstwood in William Wyler's Carrie. And what you probably don't know is that many critics cite Olivier's brutally realistic, heartbreaking portrayal of a man driven to ruin by an obsessive love as the actor's most dimensional and fascinating screen creation. Though Sir Larry won an Oscar for Hamlet, he was never more down-to-earth or nakedly emotional than in this riveting adaptation of Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser's acclaimed naturalistic novel. Olivier's transformation from a well-to-do manager of a ritzy, turn-of-the-century Chicago restaurant to a skid row bum panhandling on the streets of New York is nothing short of breathtaking.

This Carrie bears no resemblance to Stephen King’s identically named study of a telekinetic teen, although the title character's power over Hurstwood is so intense it might seem as if she's mentally manipulating him. As the film begins, young Carrie Meeber (Jennifer Jones) leaves her poor Missouri family to seek her fortune (and hopefully a husband) in Chicago. On the train, she meets city slicker Charlie Druet (Eddie Albert), whose shameless flirting betrays a desire to exploit her provincial innocence. Carrie doesn't initially submit to his advances, but after she's fired from her job at a shoe stitching factory, she turns to him for counsel and he craftily seduces her.

Dreiser writes in his novel, "When a girl leaves home at eighteen, she does one of two things. Either she falls into saving hands and becomes better, or she rapidly assumes the cosmopolitan standard of virtue and becomes worse." Carrie chooses the latter and allows Charlie to keep her in comfort, all while still craving the respectability their illicit relationship lacks. She turns to Hurstwood, a friend of Charlie's, hoping he'll give her the security and untarnished love to which she believes she's entitled. He’s more than happy to oblige (he’s bewitched the moment he lays eyes on her), yet fails to divulge critical personal details - namely that he's married (with practically grown children) to a grasping shrew (Miriam Hopkins) who refuses to divorce him. Over time, Carrie's intoxicating spell clouds his judgment, and in a desperate attempt to break free from his wife and experience the ecstasy of long-elusive love, Hurstwood turns to thievery, taking $10,000 from his restaurant and fleeing with an oblivious Carrie to New York. The couple enjoys a few weeks of happiness before the authorities show up and instigate Hurstwood's dizzying downward spiral.

Dreiser is particularly adept at depicting the great divide between American social classes and the pitfalls and dangers the poor face as they struggle to elevate themselves and gain admittance to the club. He explores the same themes in An American Tragedy (brilliantly filmed by George Stevens as A Place in the Sun), but Carrie examines them with more subtlety and less judgment. Society is what it is, Dreiser seems to say, and Carrie merely tries to navigate its treacherous waters as best she can. She may not behave in an utterly upstanding manner (although she’s a far more sympathetic character in the film than in the novel), but she's generally well-intentioned and takes responsibility for her choices. Hurstwood does the same, but lacks one key element - the resilience of youth.

The downbeat nature of Carrie translated into disappointing box office returns, but seven decades later the film retains its power and emotion. Wyler wisely refrains from any noticeable technique that would compete with the story and performances, but his self-assured hand and keen eye lend Carrie a fluidity that keeps viewers engrossed. The period trimmings are well rendered (the film received Oscar nominations for art direction and costume design) and, as usual, Wyler draws marvelous work from his actors.

Pauline Kael once wrote that Wyler taught Olivier the finer points of screen acting during Wuthering Heights, but it wasn't until Carrie that the actor demonstrated how much he had learned. His performance dominates, but Jones holds her own, contributing a beautifully shaded portrayal that gains steam as the film progresses. As in Since You Went Away and Portrait of Jennie, Jones gracefully evolves from a naïve girl to a mature woman, yet here adds an effective dash of world-weary hardness to the mix. Albert is also especially good in his first dramatic part as the slick, opportunistic Charlie, and Hopkins (a Wyler favorite) shines as Hurstwood's icy wife.

Like the 2004 DVD, this Blu-ray edition of Carrie contains a deleted scene (edited back into the print) of a deteriorating Hurstwood in a homeless shelter (or "flophouse"). The title card on the DVD that noted the cut was "due to the political state of affairs in our nation during this era" has been removed, allowing the sequence, which enhances Carrie’s impact and offers Olivier another dazzling moment, to assume its rightful place in the movie without any vague explanation. 

Obsession is a well-worn theme in Hollywood, but Carrie examines its destructive nature, as well as the cruelty of society, with candor and style. Olivier, Jones, and Wyler do justice to Dreiser's novel and make this forgotten gem well worth rediscovering.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Carrie arrives on Blu-ray packaged in a standard clear case inside a glossy slipcase. Video codec is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and audio is LPCM 2.0 mono. Once the disc is inserted into the player, the static menu with music immediately pops up; no previews or promos precede it.

Video Review


We’ve waited a long time for Carrie to make its Blu-ray debut, but this high-def presentation from Paramount looks eerily like a DVD upconvert. Though enhanced clarity and contrast produce a more vibrant picture, the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer exhibits many of the same deficiencies that plagued the DVD. Natural grain preserves the feel of film, but while some scenes flaunt exceptional sharpness and plenty of fine detail, others look faded and soft. The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer features rich blacks and nicely varied grays, but whites tend to bloom. Good shadow delineation perks up nocturnal scenes and the close-ups of Jones and Olivier are striking, but print damage is evident throughout. Plenty of speckles, a few errant threads, and some especially annoying white and dark vertical lines down the center of the screen crop up during key moments.

Though this transfer is decent enough, Carrie deserves a complete remastering and restoration. Hopefully, one day we'll get both.

Audio Review


The LPCM 2.0 mono track supplies clear, well-modulated sound. A wide dynamic scale handles all the sweeping highs and weighty lows of David Raksin's romantic music score without a hint of distortion and excellent fidelity and tonal depth help it fill the room with ease. Sonic accents like the clackety-clack train noise, humming of the shoe-stitching machines, pop of a champagne cork, horse hooves on pavement, and a ticking clock are distinct, and all the dialogue is easy to comprehend. Though pops and crackles are absent, some surface noise is noticeable during a few quiet scenes, just as it was on the lossy DVD track. Carrie features some strong audio moments and this track handles them well.

Special Features


Imprint includes a couple of fine extras to round out the disc.

  • Audio Commentary - Professor and film scholar Jason A. Ney supplies a fantastic commentary that charts the arduous journey of Carrie from page to screen. In addition to providing background information on Dreiser and the writing of Sister Carrie, which was called immoral during its day, Ney chronicles the film's troubled production, cites differences between the novel and screenplay, examines a host of censorship issues, and outlines previous failed attempts to film Dreiser's controversial novel. Ney also discusses Dreiser's love-hate relationship with Hollywood, casting choices, and tensions during shooting, delineates the drastic changes made to Carrie's character to make her more appealing to female audiences, looks at how the naturalism that pervades Dreiser's novel proved prickly during the McCarthy era, and quotes from contemporary reviews. Delivered in an affable, accessible manner, this is an essential commentary for fans of Dreiser, Wyler, Olivier, literature, and classic film.

  • "Neil Sinyard on Carrie" (HD, 30 minutes) - The noted British film scholar calls Carrie "one of the finest films of one of the greatest of all Hollywood directors," and in this extensive interview he analyzes the novel and Wyler's treatment of it. Sinyard talks about the challenges Wyler faced when he chose to mount Carrie, Wyler's penchant for dozens of takes, and the relationship between Wyler and Olivier. He calls Olivier's performance "the greatest piece of screen acting he ever did," surmises why Wyler decided to replace Ruth Warrick with Miriam Hopkins, and discusses the adaptation by Ruth and Augustus Goetz. Silent clips from Carrie illustrate many of Sinyard's cogent remarks.

  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2 minutes) - Imprint includes a title card stating the "theatrical trailer is being included for archival interest. There are sound imperfections inherent in the only available source material." While I applaud Imprint for the disclosure, the sound issues are minimal and don't disrupt the flow of the preview, which hypes Carrie as "powerful" and "daringly frank."

Final Thoughts

Although largely ignored at the time of its release, Carrie holds up well and remains an involving and emotionally affecting drama. Laurence Olivier and Jennifer Jones embody Theodore Dreiser's classic characters, and their sensitivity and passion add considerable luster to this heartbreaking romance. It's too bad Imprint's beautifully packaged Blu-ray doesn't feature remastered video and audio transfers, but the enhanced clarity of the HD picture, lossless sound, and the addition of a couple of great extras make this release worthy of a purchase, especially for fans of Olivier, Jones, and Wyler. Recommended.