(aka 'Christ in Concrete')

directed by Edward Dmytryk
UK 19
49

 

In 1939, novelist Pietro di Donato wrote an incendiary novel called Christ in Concrete, a bestseller and Book of the Month selection about Italian-American immigrants working the construction trade in New York at the onset of the Great Depression. This work of hard-edged social criticism, filled with closely observed naturalist detail and gifted poetry, was turned into an extraordinary motion picture in 1949 by blacklisted filmmaker Edward Dmytryk. Part neorealist, part melodrama, part film noir, and it won top awards at festivals across Europe but was all but banned in the United States. Also known as “Give Us This Day” and “Salt To the Devil,” Christ in Concrete was suppressed, lost, and almost forgotten, but it remained Dmytryk’s personal favourite and became a holy grail to dedicated film fans.

 

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  For the oft-heavy-handed Edward Dmytryk this must be considered his greatest film. It is the closest representation of Italian neo-realism that I can think outside of that country's cinema. It is also perfect Film Noir.

 

This is the story of a simple yet hard-working bricklayer (played memorably by Sam Wanamaker) who wants only the best for his new family. He is enticed into a managerial position, essentially for the money, but has to accept unsafe working conditions for the men under him. Unable to emotionally bear the responsibility when one of his 'former' friends is injured, he drifts further into a self-imposed exile and succumbs to the charms of an old girlfriend. The naturalistic performances heighten the empathetic impact of the all the characters especially the leading role. Truly a classic of Film Noir, caught up for years in the political purgatory of cinema copyright. Folks this film is a bona-fide masterpiece.out of

Gary W. Tooze

Book Cover

Theatrical Release: December 20th, 1949

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DVD Review: Image Entertainment / AllDay Ent. - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

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Distribution Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:54:44 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.0 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Richard di Donato (son of the author), Norma Barzman (wife of screenwriter Ben Barzman and author of The Red and the Blacklist), film scholar Fred Gardaphe, and DVD producer David Kalat
• Archive of rare stills and artwork
• Video interview with Peter di Donato and film scholar Bill Wasserzieher
• Home movies of author Pietro di Donato
• 1965 recording of Harold Seletsky's experiment musical monodrama Christ in Concrete, featuring Eli Wallach

DVD Release Date:
June 17th, 2003
Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

 

Comments:

I give you fair warning that this is a perfect example of a DVD that will drift Out-of-Print and fetch ridiculous prices on EBay. I wouldn't wait.

This is a dual sided DVD with the extras (aside from the commentary) on Side B. The Box brags  a new digital transfer from original 35mm nitrate elements and an Isolated music score. The image is stronger than most Image Entertainment offerings - sharper than most- with a bit of haziness. I also LOVE the cover. The audio is quite good, but all aside the film is the drawing card. I wouldn't delay in picking this one up. out of       

Gary W. Tooze


 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC

 

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

 

 





 

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Gary Tooze

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