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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Tay Garnett
USA
1951

A not uninteresting attempt at a suburban film noir, with Loretta Young as a housewife whose bed-ridden ex-serviceman husband (Sullivan), consumed with totally unfounded jealousy, concocts a fiendish revenge plot. Having planted evidence indicating that she and her supposed lover were conspiring to poison him, he then proposes to shoot her, but dies of a heart attack. Although rather too fluttery for comfort, Young gives a good account of the woman's panic-stricken dilemma as, left alone with a corpse in the house and her every move adding to the web of suspicious circumstances, she desperately battles red tape to retrieve an incriminating letter posted to the DA.

***

Shot in only 14 days "Cause For Alarm" is a melodramatic B-movie made as a noir set in the suburbs of California. Producer and screenwriter, Tom Lewis, hired his then wife Loretta Young to play the lead. MGM studio director, Tay Garnett (The Postman Always Rings Twice), supposedly had the cast and camera crew well-prepared before shooting began, allowing them to finish so rapidly. I enjoyed it for the same reason I enjoy many early film noir's - it has a nice innocent quality to it done without a lot of fanfare or camera tricks or effects. I did smirk each time I saw Loretta Young thrusting out her tight-sweater'ed bosom (see captures below).

In the story, for such a loyal wife, Loretta seemed much more concerned with absolving herself from the blame of his death than missing her spouse. Still you get what you expect from these films, and they don't make any apologies. Film-noir classic fun!

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 30th, 1951 - New York City

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DVD Comparison:

Roan Group Archival Entertainment -  Region 0 - NTSC vs. Alive - Vertrieb - Region 0 - PAL

 

1) Roan- Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Alive - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

   

 

Distribution Roan Group Archival Entertainment
Region 0 - NTSC

Alive - Vertrieb

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:11:39 1:08:36 (4% PAL Speedup)
Video 1.33:1.00 Original aspect ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.51 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.11 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
Bitrate: Roan

Bitrate: Alive

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)  English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) DUB: German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) 
Subtitles None German, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Roan Archival Group

Aspect Ratio:
Standard - 1.33:1

 

Edition Details:
Two Features: THE STRANGER stars Orson Welles (also directed), Loretta Young and Edward G Robinson about a Nazi criminal hiding out in a small Connecticut town. (1946/86m/B&W) and CAUSE FOR ALARM with Loretta Young married to psychotic Barry Sullivan.(1951/73m/B&W)


DVD Release Date: Feb 4th, 2003
Keep Case
Chapters: none

Release Information:
Studio: Alive

Aspect Ratio:
Standard - 1.33:1

 

Edition Details:
None


DVD Release Date: October 18th, 2013
Keep Case
Chapters: 8

 

 

 

Comments:

ADDITION: Alive - PAL release (April 2016): I was hoping this might be uncut (see Christoph's comments below) and a serviceable release. It appears that neither are true, although I suppose it is watchable but very soft and waxy and I prefer the NTSC-timed, and OOP, Roan. I've always had a soft spot for this Noir and I'm sweet on Loretta Young. There is a German DUB and optional German subtitles and you can play the film in English without subtitles. No extras - pass unless this is your only option to see the film. 

***

NOTE: On Roan's Cause For Alarm - The real cause for alarm on the Roan DVD of CAUSE FOR ALARM! is that it is almost 2 minutes short: Chapter 3 ends with a fade-out on Loretta Young going back to the house (0:18:08); then chapter 4 starts abruptly in the middle of the next scene with a closeup of Ms. Young finishing a sentence, going "...thought has been for ourselves". The fade-out (a video fade, not a film fade) is the giveaway: Unlike this DVD, the film fades to Barry Sullivan, followed by Ms. Young entering the room and an argument ensuing. By the time she gets to say "(Every moment, every) thought has been for ourselves", 1 Minute and 59 seconds have passed which are missing on the Roan DVD. What's even more frustrating is that when the first release AED-2011 was replaced by AED-2011RM, the re-mastering affected only THE STRANGER. (Thanks Cristoph!)

"Cause For Alarm" 's Roan Group DVD has included the second The Stranger film with one of the stronger prints of Orson Welles effort. These films are in the public domain, but Roan produces the best of these prints onto DVD. This is no exception. a relatively clear and detailed black and white print with no visible digital enhancements. It has no menus screens, no chapters, no Extras and no subtitles, but with two pleasing and forgotten noir films, I say it is a very nice purchase if you can get it at a reasonable enough price - mostly because i don't see superior options at present.   

Gary W. Tooze

 


Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)


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Alive - Vertrieb DVD Menu
 


Screen Captures

 

1) Roan- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Alive - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Roan- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Alive - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Roan- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Alive - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Roan- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Alive - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Roan- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Alive - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Roan- Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Alive - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM

 

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

   

 

Distribution Roan Group Archival Entertainment
Region 0 - NTSC

Alive - Vertrieb

Region 0 - NTSC




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Gary Tooze