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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Phil Karlson
USA 1952

This package includes a Blu-Ray and DVD of an absolute gem from film noir s golden era - Kansas City Confidential. Joe Rolfe (John Payne) is an ex-con on the road to rehabilitation when he s framed for a million dollar robbery staged by Tim Foster (Preston S. Foster), a vengeful former cop. By the time he s finally released for lack of evidence, it s already too late his face has been plastered on the front page of the newspaper, he s been fired from his job, and he s still healing his wounds from the beating he took down at the police station. Embittered and determined, he sets out to find the real criminals to render justice himself. A trail of clues leads him south to Mexico, and straight into the path of an inconvenient beauty (Coleen Gray) with ties to the ringleader, and some of ugliest bad guys you d never want to meet (Lee Van Cleef, Neville Brand, Jack Elam).

***

An action-packed film noir directed by Phil Karlson with a flare for showing off how violent it can be, but it's hardly a credible story. It's filmed in a semi-documentary style, as it opens when three masked men successfully rob a Kansas City bank of over a million dollars. They use a florist' van to make their escape, where they meet the fourth member of the gang in another vehicle--the Mr. Big who set up the heist. He gives the three spending money and half of the king card to identify themselves when they will meet a month later to split up the loot. The only one who knows all their identities is Mr. Big, therefore no one can squeal. Mr. Big sends each of the three to a foreign country to await a wire which will inform them where to meet for the split.

Excerpt from Dennis Schwartz' review at Ozu's World located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 28 November 1952, USA

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Comparison:

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Sony/BMG - Region 0 - PAL vs. Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Alpha, Gotham Distribution - Region 0 - NTSC vs. TreeLine Films - Region 0 - NTSC vs. HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gary Tooze and Ole Kofoed and Gregory Meshman for the Screen Caps!

(MGM - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Sony/BMG - Region 0 - PAL MIDDLE vs. Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

Sony / BMG - Region 0 - PAL

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

 

(Alpha, Gotham Distribution - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. TreeLine Films - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs.  HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

 

 

 

 

 

Alpha, Gotham Distribution
Region 0 - NTSC
TreeLine Films
Region 0 - NTSC
HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Distribution

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

Sony / BMG - Region 0 - PAL

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Alpha, Gotham Distribution
Region 0 - NTSC
TreeLine Films
Region 0 - NTSC
HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:39:21 1:39:15 1:39:06 1:38:51 1:39:00 1:39:16.116
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.83 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s
1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.74 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.57 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.54 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 3.12 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 23,223,544,901 bytes

Feature Size: 22,679,894,016 bytes

Average Bitrate: 28.37 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

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

Bitrate:

MGM

 

Bitrate:

Sony / BMG

 

Bitrate:

Image Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

 

Alpha, Gotham Distribution

 

Bitrate:

 

TreeLine Films

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital mono), DUBs: French and Spanish English (Dolby Digital 2.0) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English, Spanish, None French, None None None None Spanish, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
none

DVD Release Date: Jul
y 20th, 2007
Keep case

Chapters 32

Release Information:
Studio: Sony / BMG

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Catalogues of films
• Biographies
• Quiz

DVD Release Date: March 12th, 2002

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

 

Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Still & Lobby Card Gallery
• Exclusive Interview with star Coleen Gray

• One pge Liner Notes by Eddie Muller
• Rare Trailer to director Phil Karlson's "5 Against the House"

DVD Release Date: June 4, 2002
Keep case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Alpha, Gotham Distribution

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
None

 

DVD Release Date: August 27, 2002
Keepcase

Chapters 5

Release Information:
Studio: TreeLine Films

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
None

 

DVD Release Date: June 1, 2004
Hard-Sleeve

Chapters 4

Release Information:
Studio:
HD Cinema Classics
 

Disc Size: 23,223,544,901 bytes

Feature Size: 22,679,894,016 bytes

Average Bitrate: 28.37 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• 
Restoration Demonstration (split screen - 1:06 in 1080P)
• Trailer (:22 in 1080P)
• Postcard with the poster
• DVD of the film included

Blu-ray Release Date: February 15th, 2011
Standard
Blu-ray Case
12 Chapters

 

Comments:
NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray February 2011: This has similar issues to HD Cinema Classics Blu-ray of Orson Welles The Stranger. It is over-digitized and has lost much of the film's grain structure. It is unnaturally waxy and soft - I think I prefer the MGM DVD appearance. Like The Stranger  the audio is not lossless and the extras are a restoration demo that shows very little, a DVD of the film and a short teaser trailer. This is single-layered with a decent bitrate and the film seems to improve as it rolls along. Contrast may be better than a few of the DVDs but there is still brightness boosting and worse than the MGM DVD which is currently only $3.98 and that is what we recommend! 

***

ADDITION - MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - July 07': I'll get right to the point - FINALLY! The MGM is the definitive for image and it has optional subtitles.  No extras but for this Noir gem we are ecstatic it is finally available in a watch-able form. NO CONTEST - the screen caps tell the story! It is the only progressive transfer and it looks like night and day next to the others 'Public Domain' scoundrel versions. GREAT NOIR!

***

ADDITION - Sony/BMG - Region 0 - PAL - October 06': This is from the Nuits américaines series - Vol.4 - and shares the package with The Great Flamarion. These are great DVDs released by Sony/BMG in France. Vol 1 (HERE) contains Suddenly (1954)and D.O.A. (1950) Vol 2 (HERE) contains Vengeance Valley (1951) and Salome (1953). Vol. 3 (HERE) contains Sturges' The Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1947) as well as My Favorite Brunette (1947). There are many more - but many seem to be out-of-print - but still available from individual sellers at Amazon.

Unfortunately the noted running time of the film and the associated artifacts show this Sony DVD to be from an unconverted NTSC source - it looks to have better contrast than the Image but the combing removes it from consideration. For tube viewing though it is as good as the rest, but you also get The Great Flamarion, which is a decent enough progressive transfer to make it worthwhile.

****

Looks like both the Alpha and the Treeline have had a lot of contrast boosting as well as being cropped slightly (left edge). The Image DVD is quite dark, but sharper. Both Alpha and Treeline have poor transfers from weak tape source and exhibit ghosting and other artefact problems. The Image has some Extras. Obviously we suggest the Image Entertainment DVD although they are all quite poor having the film lapse into Public Domain.

 - Gary Tooze


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

 


DVD Menus


(MGM - Region 1- NTSC LEFT vs. Sony/BMG - Region 0 -PAL RIGHT)

 

 

 


 (Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Alpha, Gotham Distribution - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLEd vs. TreeLine Films - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

   

 

HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) MGM - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Sony/BMG - Region 0 - PAL 2nd

3)  Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC 3rd

4) Alpha, Gotham Distribution - Region 0 - NTSC 4th

5)  TreeLine Films - Region 0 - NTSC - 5th

6) HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

(MGM - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs.  2nd vs. - 3rd vs.  - 4th vs. - BOTTOM)

 


1) MGM - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Sony/BMG - Region 0 - PAL 2nd

3)  Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC 3rd

4) Alpha, Gotham Distribution - Region 0 - NTSC 4th

5)  TreeLine Films - Region 0 - NTSC - 5th

6) HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Sony/BMG - Region 0 - PAL 2nd

3)  Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC 3rd

4) Alpha, Gotham Distribution - Region 0 - NTSC 4th

5)  TreeLine Films - Region 0 - NTSC - 5th

6) HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) MGM - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Sony/BMG - Region 0 - PAL 2nd

3)  Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC 3rd

4) Alpha, Gotham Distribution - Region 0 - NTSC 4th

5)  TreeLine Films - Region 0 - NTSC - 5th

6) HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) MGM - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Sony/BMG - Region 0 - PAL 2nd

3)  Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC 3rd

4) Alpha, Gotham Distribution - Region 0 - NTSC 4th

5)  TreeLine Films - Region 0 - NTSC - 5th

6) HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 


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Report Card:

 

Image:

MGM

Sound:

MGM

Extras: Image Entertainment
Menu:
DVD Box Covers

 

 

Distribution

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

Sony / BMG - Region 0 - PAL

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 

 

 

 

Alpha, Gotham Distribution
Region 0 - NTSC
TreeLine Films
Region 0 - NTSC
HD Cinema Classics - Region FREE - Blu-ray




 

 

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