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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by William Keighley
USA 1948


The semidocumentary crimefighting/spybusting thrillers of the late '40s are fascinating for their blend of institutionalized rectitude (the FBI is totally trustworthy and awesomely competent), authentic locations ("filmed where it happened"), and noir poetics. Once Inspector George Briggs (Lloyd Nolan repeating his House on 92nd Street role) sends agent Gene Cordell (Mark Stevens) to work undercover on Center City's skid row, the movie has settled into an evocative meditation on the underside of Middle American town life c. 1948: the never-empty arcades and diners; a seedy drifters' hotel you can almost smell; cars parked slantwise along a commercial street that retains a memory of countryside; and an upstairs gym--Stiles's place--where even in daytime a surprising number of men congregate in hopes of seeing someone take a beating. And there's one sequence of skulking in a ferry terminal, so beautifully observed by director William Keighley and ace cinematographer Joe MacDonald, you'll wish you could shake their hands. Harry Kleiner's screenplay was reworked seven years later for Samuel Fuller's House of Bamboo.

Excerpt from Richard T. Jameson's review located at HERE


Theatrical Release: July 14th, 1948

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DVD Review: 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:31:09 
Video 1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.29 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.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
Subtitles English, Spanish, None

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by film historians James Ursini and Alain Silver
• Theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: June 7th, 2005

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Chapters: 16



Certainly this film would rank as a must-own Noir DVD. The image is quite thick and saturated for the first 10 minutes or so before settling down. There are damage marks through the entire film. Luckily they come in the form of thin vertical scratches that are not overly distracting (see last capture - left figures face). Aside from that it is brilliantly sharp with excellent grey-tones. I listed to the stereo track this time and it was solid. Ursini/Silver team again do the commentary and I think this may be one of their better efforts with lots to include. Overall another winner from Fox and we can't wait for more.  out of  

Gary W. Tooze


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


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Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC



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