Forgotten Noir, Vol. 2

Loan Shark             Arson, Inc.

Comments:

Volume 2 of VCI's Forgotten Film Noir series includes Loan Shark and Arson, Inc. .

Short take: I think these two films are appropriate for being listed as Film Noir although Arson, Inc. is probably on the outside edge. Both support a shadowy atmosphere with crime the main plot element, and some hints of thriller-dom mood. Loan Shark seems to be highly rated, but I think I enjoyed Arson, Inc. a bit more not being a huge Raft fan. Both films share the 'under-cover' aspect by the protagonist. They both hold together adequately and its great to have them available digitally to add to the ever-growing Noir library.

From the Kit Parker Collection DVD-ophiles will not be expecting much from one of these cheapo Double Featured discs. I've made my individual assessments below.  

Gary W. Tooze

 

 

Directed by Seymour Friedman
UK 1952

 

A noir-labled thriller with George Raft about an ex-convict trying to expose a brutal loan-shark racket. Joe Gargen (Raft) is an ex-prize fighter released from prison after serving three years for dangerously beating a man in public. He goes to live with his sister Martha and husband Ed Haines. To add some spice - his fists are now legally considered as dangerous weapons. In the apartment where he is staying, the next door neighbor Ann Nelson (Dorothy Hart) is secretary at the Delta Tire Company where she uses some pull to get Joe a job. Once 'in' he's requested to help destroy a loan-sharking racket preying upon the employees of the plant.

 

Overall director Seymour Friedman's pace is uneven and the high points don't gel with the low in this, rather, unbelievable drama - Raft was certainly in better films. It has the noir atmosphere and some of the stylistic charm, but tends to fall a little short of expectations. For Noir buffs it is worth seeing though.

Gary W. Tooze

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 23rd, 1952

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DVD Review: VCI Video - Region 0 - NTSC

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The Forgotten Noir Collector's Set (Vol 1-3) contains Portland Exposť, Arson, Inc., Loan Shark, Shoot To Kill, They Were So Young and The Shadow Man. It is a substantial savings but we are unsure of the packaging.

             

Distribution VCI Video - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:19:33
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.54 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 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: VCI Video

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary
• Movie Trivia
• Photo Gallery
• George Raft (text bio)
• Seymour Friedman (text bio)
• FBI Girl (Trailer)
• Deadly Game (Trailer)

DVD Release Date: September 26th, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

 

Comments:

This film shares the dual-layered (at about 5.97 Gig) with its commentary, supplements, 'Arson Inc.' and its extras.

The transfer is interlaced but combing is not strongly prevalent. I expect some contrast boosting has gone on as well. Not a lot of damage but the negative was pretty dirty. You may notice some Chroma poping up here and there. Audio is relatively consistent and there are no optional subtitles. As it stand the price is the final word and for Noir devotees it again has reasonably value.  There is a commentary by Richard M. Roberts - very laid back, but he imparts a lot of knowledge on the bit players and some of the locales. A bit soft-spoken and full of gaps, I don't fault his attempt as I do appreciate it, but one shouldn't expect the level of commentaries by Eddie Muller or Alain Silver. Add to that VCI's usual collection of trailers and text screen bios.

NOTE: The case artwork is pretty good and we still don't have word on how the packaging of the Vol. 1-3 stacks up - hopefully much better than VCI's Hammer Noirs set. Buying in the 3-pack will save you some money.

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Directed by William A. Berke
USA 1949

 

Director William Berke is a veteran of the low-budget action cinema of the 40's (westerns, serial and occasional crime vehicles). He handles the plot in fine form - adeptly covering all areas with fine pacing imparting a dark atmosphere. Robert Lowery plays Joe Martin - a fire investigator who goes undercover to break the arson/insurance fraud ring masterminded by Fred Fender (Douglas Fowley).

 

It might have been hard for the principles to visualize that 50 years later we'd be commenting on efforts from the Lippert catalogue - so be it. This has the simplistic charm and style, with inventive camera angles, to be a worthy entry into the Noir library. Pretty good, even if not 'great', cinema - definitely worth a spin.

Gary W. Tooze

Poster

Theatrical Release: June 24th, 1949

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: VCI Video - Region 0 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

The Forgotten Noir Collector's Set (Vol 1-3) contains Portland Exposť, Arson, Inc., Loan Shark, Shoot To Kill, They Were So Young and The Shadow Man. It is a substantial savings but we are unsure of the packaging.

             

Distribution VCI Video - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:00:34 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.54 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 2.0) 
Subtitles  None
Features Release Information:
Studio: VCI Video

Aspect Ratio:
Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Inside Lippert Part 1
• Photo Gallery
• Portland Expose (trailer)
• Man From Cairo (trailer)
• Robert Lowery Bio
• Anne Gwynne Bio
• William Berke Bio

DVD Release Date: September 26th, 2006
Keep Case
Chapters: 12
 

 

 

Comments:

This film shares the dual-layered (at about 5.97 Gig) with 'Loan Shark' and its extras.

The transfer is yet another interlaced job with minor 'combing' in horizontal pans. It, surprisingly, has decent contrast and looks superior to Loan Shark, but I did notice some hesitation spots that I cannot verify if it was only my disc. Audio is a bit up-and-down and there are no optional subtitles. As it stands the price is the final word and it has reasonably value - too good for Noir fans to pass up. VCI may be giving us lack-luster transfers but it is exciting enough having these films available, with some attempted extras, at such a reasonable price. This has 'Inside Lippert' part 1 (part 2 follows as an extra on Street of Shadows on Forgotten Noir 3) which is some imparted text screen (slideshow) dialogue from Robert L. Lippert Jr. . We have a few more bios and 2 trailers.

NOTE: The case artwork is very good and we still don't have word on how the packaging of the Vol. 1-3 stacks up - hopefully much better than VCI's Hammer Noirs set. Buying in the 3-pack will save you some money.

Gary W. Tooze

 





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

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Distribution VCI Video - Region 0 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

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