Shadows, Lies, and Private Eyes - The Film Noir Collection, Vol. 1

directed by John Huston, Joseph H. Lewis, Edward Dmytryk, Jacques Tourneur and Robert Wise
USA 1944 - 1950

The Asphalt Jungle        Gun Crazy      Murder My Sweet    Out of the Past      The Set-Up

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video Boxset -  Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Warner -  Region 1 - NTSC
Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Black & White, Box set
• 5 classic film noirs all with commentary:
The Asphalt Jungle
Gun Crazy
Murder My Sweet
Out of the Past
The Set-Up
See individual DVDs for more details
• Number of discs: 5

DVD Release Date: July 6, 2004

Cardboard Box with 5 Keep Cases

Comments:

Each individual release here is strong with good transfers, original mono audio and all have commentaries. The jewel in the crown might be considered to be The Asphalt Jungle, both in terms of film and image quality which runs only a small notch behind a Criterion release (ex. "The Killers"). Although all films in the boxset have something worthy to offer. Super contrast, sharp, tight and solid black levels. Next for quality, I would say Out of the Past is another strong example of a well-done transfer, particularly the shadow detail. Gun Crazy (another excellent film) and The Set-up are a less sharp, but quite acceptable. They can tend to look inferior by direct comparison. Murder My Sweet is another fine transfer with film grain showing through and solid contrast. The menus are all wonderful, capturing the graphic portrayal of many of the film posters of the era. The menus are unanimated if that is of importance to you. Audio is original and I heard no crackles or fluctuations. It seemed quite consistent and clear. I listened only briefly to some of the commentaries but intend on immersing myself contently in the near future. Being picky, I suppose we could have requested further extras although lets remember that often being labeled as "B" pictures (not all) the appeal is extremely genre-specific (atmosphere) and hence there is often nothing more available from that period. The Huston introduction ( for The Asphalt Jungle ) is an exception proving the rule.  Warner has come through very well here and as this is Volume 1, we are left with baited breath for Volume 2 etc. I expect they will keep the same standard. Great job Warner ! out of  

Gary W. Tooze

 

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

 

 


directed by John Huston

USA 1950

Theatrical Release:  May 23rd, 1950 - USA

'Doc' Riedenschneider (Sam Jaffe) is a legendary crime 'mastermind'. He has just been released from prison. He has a new scheme for a million-dollar burglary. He enlists safecracker Louis (Anthony Caruso), reinforcer Dix Handley (Sterling Hayden), experienced driver Gus (recognize James Whitmore) and financial backing by Emmerich (Louis Calhern). Staffing is a problem for legitimate business as well as the nefarious types and a smooth heist becomes fraught with an accumulation of errors that spiral out of control. What the viewer sees is a masterpiece of the "noir" genre with subtle reference to a disaffected urban underground community. out of       

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Runtime 1:52:04
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.91 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Chapters : 32

Bitrate:

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.



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directed by Joseph H. Lewis

USA 1949

(aka "Deadly is the Female")

Theatrical Release:  December 1st, 1949 - USA

Even as a child, Bart Tare (John Dall) always loved firearms. After a brief stint in the military, his friends take him to a carnival, where he spies his perfect girl, Annie (Peggy Cummins). She is a sharp-shooter (of course) who similarly loves guns. It seems a coupling made in heaven until Annie becomes disenchanted with the lack of money. Like Bonnie and Clyde they begin traveling across the country supporting themselves with armed robberies. Annie shows her true colors and Bart is trapped; divided by his love and his morals. Often described as "Lovers-on-the-lam story formulated into a poetic American tragedy". This is a another prime example of classic 'noir' and has themes running much deeper than most in the genre. Some might recognize Russ Tamblyn (West Side Story) as the young Bart. out of    

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Runtime 1:27:00
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.73 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Chapters : 25

Bitrate:

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.



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directed by Edward Dmytryk

USA 1944

(aka "Farewell My Lovely" )

Theatrical Release:  18 December 1944 (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Adapted from the Raymond Chandler novel 'Farewell, My Lovely', was renamed for the American market (assuming filmgoers might mistake it for the musical also starring singer Dick Powell). Private eye Philip Marlowe (Powell) is hired by Moose Malloy (Mike Mizurki). Moose has just been 'up the river' and is now seeking his former girlfriend, Velma, who has not been seen since his 7 year stint in prison. What Marlowe finds is that each lead he follows up confuses the case further and lies compound lies with an eventual discovery of larcenous activity including bribery, perjury and theft. Director Dymtryk with a low budget did a remarkable job in transferring the book to the screen. Powell would seem an odd-ball choice but it all seems to work in the end. out of     

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Runtime 1:35:18
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.29 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Chapters : 25

Bitrate:

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.



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http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/Tourneur.htm

USA 1947

Theatrical Release:  November 13th, 1947

Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum), seems to be an average non-consequential, small-town type with a Joe-job, but his mysterious past is soon revealed prior to a meeting with nefarious gambler Whit Sterling (young Kirk Douglas). En route he details to his girlfriend the story, seen to us as an intriguing flashback. In a previous existence, Jeff was a private detective hired by Sterling to find his mistress Kathie (Jane Greer). She had shot Whit stealing his $40,000 in the process. He traced her to Acapulco and falls for her big-time. Whit's rendezvous is an obvious trap. Mitchum is subtle and touching as lover ala tough guy. Director Tourneur is the master of turning something from nothing. Pure 'noir' at its best. out of

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Runtime 1:36:36
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.50 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Chapters : 27

Bitrate:

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.



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directed by Robert Wise

USA 1949

Theatrical Release:  29 March 1949 (New York City, New York)

Past-his-prime boxer, Bill 'Stoker' Thompson (Robert Ryan), is sure he can still win, although his beautiful wife Julie (Audrey Totter - hubba hubba) begs with him to hang up the gloves. His pragmatic manager Tiny (George Tobias) is sure he will lose his last match so he takes money for a "dive" from a tough gambler, Little Boy (Alan Baxter), but doesn't feel its necessary to tell Stoker. Suspense builds when Stoker is coming on in the fight hoping to beat Tiger Nelson (Hal Baylor). But what will happen to him and Tiny should he win? Director Robert Wise shows himself as one of Hollywood's most versatile and talented directors (West Side Story to Star Trek). Much comes alive with this film including the delusion of youthful dreams which can shatter in an instant.out of

 

 

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Runtime 1:12:24
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.72 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Chapters : 20

Bitrate:

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.



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Distribution Warner -  Region 1 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

Many Thanks...