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6 Degrees Entertainment

Dark Shadows and Beyond: The Jonathan Frid Story
(Jonathan Frid, et al / Blu-ray / NR / 2021 / MPI Home Video)

Overview: Dark Shadows and Beyond: The Jonathan Frid Story reveals the real man beneath the vampire’s cloak, exploring Frid’s personal and professional struggles, artistic triumphs and rise to fame.

Among the family, friends and co-workers who offer fresh insights are actresses Marion Ross (Arsenic & Old Lace) and Christina Pickles (Seizure), American Shakespeare Festival associate Anthony Zerbe and Dark Shadows colleagues David Selby, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker, Nancy Barrett, Marie Wallace and James Storm.

The documentary also includes rare performance footage and previously unseen interviews and archival materials from Frid’s private collection.

Blu-ray Verdict: In general, I have found that documentaries about those that cannot defend themselves any longer tend to lean toward the more salacious.

You know the kind of stuff: scandalous affairs, tumultuous set and family life, personal and professional tragedies, addiction problems and so on, but here in Dark Shadows and Beyond: The Jonathan Frid Story there is barely any of that (which instantly impressed me).

Nope, what we get here instead is a thoroughly detailed look at a man who loved acting more than anything – a trait that helped him be popular not only with audiences, but apparently everyone he ever met!

As we learn, Jonathan Frid (December 2nd, 1924 – April 14th, 2012) was a Canadian actor, widely known for his role as vampire Barnabas Collins on this wondrous, and much beloved gothic television soap opera Dark Shadows.

Along the way here in this new, and very well handled documentary, we learn that Frid began performing readings at Dark Shadows fan conventions in the 1980s and while developing ideas for his one-man shows.

Indeed, he succeeded Abe Vigoda, also a Dark Shadows alumnus, as Jonathan Brewster in the 1986–87 Broadway revival of Arsenic and Old Lace.

In 1994, he retired and returned to Canada, but he continued to perform one-man shows for charities in both Canada and the United States.

In 2000, he starred in the play Mass Appeal which enjoyed a successful, limited run in Hamilton and at the Stirling Festival Theatre in Stirling, Ontario.

Frid attended Dark Shadows conventions in New York in August 2007, Burbank, California, in July 2008, and Elizabeth, New Jersey, in August 2009 and in 2010, he returned to the role of Barnabas for the first time in 39 years in a Dark Shadows audio drama, The Night Whispers.

Along with former Dark Shadows castmates Lara Parker, David Selby and Kathryn Leigh Scott, he spent three days at Pinewood Studios in June 2011 filming a cameo appearance as a guest in the happening scene for the 2012 Tim Burton Dark Shadows film, which became his final film appearance.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand, and all the people interviewed here have nothing but goodness to say about the man himself. Combining a rather find wide range of Frid’s friends, family, acquaintances and other Dark shadows co-stars and crew, everyone lovingly extolls their flattering assessments of the actor who died in 2012.

Classically trained, and having appeared on the side of Katharine Hepburn in Shakespeare plays and having also received acting tips from his idol Laurence Olivier whilst working in England, Jonathan Frid may not have achieved great success until later in life, but here in Dark Shadows and Beyond: The Jonathan Frid Story he is never forgotten. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Dark Shadows PBS Special/Jonathan Frid Interview​
Jonathan Frid Reads The Legend of Sleepy Hollow​
A Dark Shadows Letter From Jonathan​
Jonathan Frid Dark Shadows Promo
​ Jonathan Frid Photo Gallery​
Dark Shadows Scenes: The Best of Barnabas