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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Otto Preminger
USA 1952

This intense Freudian melodrama by Otto Preminger (1953) is one of the forgotten masterworks of film noir. Jean Simmons, beautifully blank, plays the ultimate femme fatale, a rich girl who seduces her beefcake chauffeur (Robert Mitchum) when daddy (Herbert Marshall) resists her advances. The film is a disturbingly cool, rational investigation of the terrors of sexuality, much as Preminger's later masterpiece Bunny Lake Is Missing is a detached appraisal of childhood horrors. The sets, characters, and actions are extremely stylized, yet Preminger's moving camera gives them a frightening unity and fluidity, tracing a straight, clean line to a cliff top for one of the most audacious endings in film history.

Excerpt from Dave Keher's review at the Chicago Reader located HERE

Diane (Jean Simmons) is the daughter of wealthy Charles Treymayne (Herbert Marshall). She has an angelic appearance that masks an unbridled psychotic personality who'll let nothing stand in the way of her perceived happiness. When her hated stepmother, Catherine (Barbara O'Neal), threatens to take Charles away from her, Diane attempts to kill her stepmother, making it look like a gas leak. The attempt fails. Responding to the “accident” is ambulance driver Frank Jessup (Robert Mitchum), whom Diane becomes infatuated with, is eventually hired as the family chauffeur at her request. She steals Frank away from his sweetheart Mary and forces him to become supportive, but unaware, accomplice in the wealthy stepmother's successful murder plot. When she is killed, it is unfortunately with the father in a rigged auto accident. A trial ensues with both Frank and Diane as defendants. They are eventually acquitted but Frank quickly rebukes Diane soon after and when she finally realizes that she'll never be able to keep him, she decides to punish him as she does anyone who keeps her from what she wants….

This lost Film Noir directed by Otto Preminger in 1953 marks a stunning character turn for actress Jean Simmons, who was normally cast for her innocent looks and charming nature. Here she plays a cold-blooded psychopath, nearly on par with co-star Robert Mitchum’s 'Max Cady' in Cape Fear.

Posters

 

Theatrical Release: December 11th, 1952- USA

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DVD Comparison:

Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC vs. 5-Minutes To Live - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Montparnasse Editions (France) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Kinowelt - Region 2 - PAL

 

1) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC LEFT

2) 5-Minutes To Live - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Montparnasse Editions (France) - Region 2 - PAL THIRD

4) Kinowelt (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

The Warner is also available as part of the Robert Mitchum - The Signature Collection . It includes Angel Face / Macao / The Sundowners / Home from the Hill / The Good Guys and the Bad Guys and The Yakuza.

               

Distribution

Warner

Region 1,4  - NTSC

5-Minutes to Live (Bootleg)

Region 0  - NTSC

Montparnasse Editions (France)
Region 2 - PAL
Kinowelt (Germany)
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:31:13 1:30:42 1:31:18 (4% PAL speedup) 1:31:18 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio

Average Bitrate: 5.91 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio

Average Bitrate: 4.51 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio

Average Bitrate: 5.4
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio

Average Bitrate: 7.41
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate:

Warner

 

Bitrate:

5_Minutes to Live

 

Bitrate:

Montparnasse

 

Bitrate:

Kinowelt

 

Audio

English (mono), DUB: French (mono)

English (mono)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), DUB: German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
Subtitles English and none none French and none German and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner / Turner

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Eddie Muller

DVD Release Date: January 23rd, 2007
Keep Case (in Signature Boxset - slim transparent keepcase)

Chapters 21

Release Information:
Studio: 5-Minutes to Live

Aspect Ratio:
1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 
none


DVD Release Date: unknown
Keep Case

Chapters 1

Release Information:
Studio: Montparnase Editions (France)

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Biography of Robert Mitchum (5 text screens in French)
• Mitchum Quotes (5 text screens in both French and English)
• 3 Trailers of other Montparnasse DVDs with Mitchum

DVD Release Date: March 14th, 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Kinowelt (Germany)

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect ratio 1.33:1

 

Edition Details:
• Text screen biography of Robert Mitchum (9 text screens in French)
• Tag Gallagher Visual Essay (25:54)

 Trailer

DVD Release Date: January 11th, 2005
Transparent Keep Case

Chapters 19


Comments:

ADDITION: Kinowelt - Region 2 - PAL - June 11': While having better contrast than the French edition it suffers from the same 'combing/ghosting' issue because of unconverted standards. Otherwise it is quite strong with the highest bitrate of all SD releases - however doesn't beat out the sharpness of the Warner. But it deserves mention because of the excellent 25-minute Tag Gallagher Visual Essay. It imparts some great information regarding Howard Hughes and Simmons plus much more - very much worth indulging in.

***

ADDITION: Warner - Region 1- NTSC - January 07': As we anticipated - the Warner edition is superior to the other available releases in every category. It is still single-layered and exhibits a few artefacts but it shows more detail and more of the frame than the Montparnasse (and especially the 5-Minutes To Live).

The gem I was waiting for with this was the Eddie Muller commentary... and it was no disappointment. Eddie, the best at Noir commentaries, gives us anecdotes of feuding between Mitchum and Preminger and much more! It really is chocked full of information and a favorite Noir commentary to match a favorite Noir - no, strike that - favorite film period! This is so dark and devious - contrary to most anything produced by Hollywood at this time. A truly authoritative representative of the 'black cinema'. 

***

On the French vs. the 5-Minutes-To-Love: I don't have to say too much here... do I?

The "5-Minutes to Live" looks to be bootlegged by some guy in his basement. It is horrible in every respect - a decent VHS tape would even blow it away. The Montparnasse PAL version is far superior, but not at perfection levels itself. It shows some weakness and damage now and again and I think it may be taken from a NTSC source (look at the times) so there are scenes with "ghosting". The French version is at least an honest attempt and this is a pretty 'culty" Hollywood films showing Jean Simmons as the evil girl (a deviation from other roles at the time for her). Bottom line: and don't ever buy anything from  "5-Minutes to Live"... ever.

 - Gary W. Tooze

 

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

DVD Menus

(Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC)

 



(5-Minutes to Live - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Montparnasse Editions - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 

 

Kinowelt (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL

 


 

Screen Captures

 

 

1) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC TOP

2) 5-Minutes To Live - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Montparnasse Editions (France) - Region 2 - PAL THIRD

4) Kinowelt (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 



 

1) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC TOP

2) 5-Minutes To Live - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Montparnasse Editions (France) - Region 2 - PAL THIRD

4) Kinowelt (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC TOP

2) 5-Minutes To Live - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Montparnasse Editions (France) - Region 2 - PAL THIRD

4) Kinowelt (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC TOP

2) 5-Minutes To Live - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Montparnasse Editions (France) - Region 2 - PAL THIRD

4) Kinowelt (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC TOP

2) 5-Minutes To Live - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Montparnasse Editions (France) - Region 2 - PAL THIRD

4) Kinowelt (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC TOP

2) 5-Minutes To Live - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Montparnasse Editions (France) - Region 2 - PAL THIRD

4) Kinowelt (Germany) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

Warner

Sound:

-

Extras: Warner

DVD Box Covers

 

The Warner is also available as part of the Robert Mitchum - The Signature Collection . It includes Angel Face / Macao / The Sundowners / Home from the Hill / The Good Guys and the Bad Guys and The Yakuza.

               

Distribution

Warner

Region 1,4  - NTSC

5-Minutes to Live (Bootleg)

Region 0  - NTSC

Montparnasse Editions (France)
Region 2 - PAL
Kinowelt (Germany)
Region 2 - PAL




 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...