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Directed by Robert Wise
USA 1951


Oscar-nominated thriller with noirish leanings directed by the legendary Robert Wise. In the wake of WWII, a Polish survivor of a concentration camp assumes the name of her dead friend and relocates to San Francisco, only to be embroiled in greed, deceit and murder

Sandwiched between his Two Flags West and The Day The Earth Stood Still came this thriller from Robert Wise. As you might expect from the man who went on to direct West Side Story and The Sound Of Music it's a lavish affair but amid the melodrama are some subtle touches, the demands of an elaborate plot balanced by careful characterization.

Opening with grim footage of life in Belsen under the Nazis, the story follows Polish refugee Viktoria (Cortese) as she arrives in America on false papers and tracks down the family of the woman whose name she's taken. In their ramshackle San Francisco home she becomes a sort of surrogate mother to her dead friend's son. Lurking in the shadows, however, is the sinister figure of Alan Spender (Basehart), whose amorous attentions for Viktoria conceal a deadly ulterior motive.

With its sophisticated construction and eerie ambience there's much to appreciate in Wise's direction. However, it's Basehart's character that generates the tension and as Viktoria sifts through his past he's transformed from unctuous charmer to murderous monster. Not the most high profile of Wise's films but a rewarding, gothic-tinged thriller with more than a touch of Hitchcock about it.

Excerpt from Channel 4 located HERE


Theatrical Release: May 13th, 1951

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

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Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Spine #15 - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:32:54 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 9.22 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), DUB: Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0) 
Subtitles English, Spanish, None

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by film noir historian Eddie Muller
• Stills gallery
• Fox Noir Trailers: Fallen Angel, No Way Out "
• Theatrical Trailer  

DVD Release Date: March 7th, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 28



This transfer is a little dirtier than some of the other Fox-noirs but it is quite sharp with good contrast. Audio is fairly clean and with the Muller commentary it makes it another must-own for Noir fans - Fox are putting these out at an incredibly reasonable price - and as a friend reminded me today - "there ARE no bad film noirs". I'm still a bit peeved by the yellow subtitles but for the price this is well worth it! We strongly recommend!

Gary W. Tooze

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


DVD Box Cover


CLICK to order from:

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC



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