The Rains Came appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. An erratic transfer, this one looked somewhat weak compared to other “Fox Studio Classics” releases.
Sharpness wasn’t one of the main concerns, at least. A little edge enhancement made some wide shots slightly fuzzy. However, the movie usually demonstrated good clarity and definition. I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering.
Blacks were deep and dense, but shadows displayed some concerns. More than a few shots were excessively dark, especially during the disaster sequences. Perhaps these ended up so thick because of the effects work, but the negative impression remained.
Print flaws were the biggest concern. Quite a few examples of specks and grit appeared, and I also noticed streaks and other blemishes. During a few sequences, the movie took on a warped, jittery look that proved distracting. Even given the age of Rains, the transfer seemed a little below par.
I felt the same way about the stereo soundtrack of The Rains Came. Like many of these remixes, the audio stayed essentially monaural. The elements may have broadened to the sides slightly, but I didn’t notice any discrete information. The track stayed highly focused on the center.
Audio quality was the main problem, as even for a flick of this one’s vintage, it seemed rough. Speech tended to be brittle and edgy, though the lines usually remained intelligible and acceptably defined. Music was messier. Highs were shrill, and lows were loose and boomy. Effects were a minor factor except for the flood sequence. There they sounded okay, though some distortion occurred. I noticed a little hiss along with pops and clicks. Given the movie’s age, this wasn’t a terrible mix, but it remained lackluster at best.
Heading to the DVD’s extras, the main attraction comes from an audio commentary from film historians Anthony Slide and Robert Birchard. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific chat. They cover the expected basics. They go over general biographies of many involved with the flick and also flesh out production notes such as script development, music, censorship concerns, and effects.
Slide and Birchard cover an appropriate array of subjects, but they do so without much detail. Frankly, this comes across as a fairly logy track. The men discuss the expected topics but lack much fervor and rarely give us rich examinations of the issues. The commentary drags at times, especially during the second half; lots of dead air makes things move even more slowly. You’ll learn some decent basics from this piece but probably won’t find it to be tremendously informative.
A few minor bits fill out the package. We get a bland 11-shot Still Gallery along with some trailers. In addition to the ad for Rains, we find promos for Alexander’s Ragtime Band, In Old Chicago, Inn of the Sixth Happiness and Zorba the Greek.
Maudlin and tedious, The Rains Came bores. It presents dull characters without depth engaged in predictable paths. The mid-movie disaster sequence spices things up, but it goes quickly and leaves us mired in the muck. The DVD suffers from moderately weak picture and audio, and the small set of extras doesn’t amount to much as even the commentary disappoints. I can’t recommend this bland movie and lackluster DVD.