directed by Rouben Mamoulian
USA 1939

 

If Clifford Odets' play seems impossibly shopworn today - boy from poverty row is tempted to abandon Art and his violin for the quick but brutalising rewards of the boxing-ring - at least this adaptation prunes away the worst, pseudo-poetical excesses of the original dialogue. Gone, too, is the character of the labour organiser, mouthpiece for Odets' flabby plea that the hero's choice is a matter for concern in terms of the on-going struggle between Capital and Labour. What's left is melodrama, with the dilemma couched largely in moral and personal terms, and it stands up pretty well under Mamoulian's stylish direction, with its chiaroscuro lighting effects, savage final fight (shot with subjective camera), and gallery of excellent performances. Holden (in his film debut) is good in the title role; but the real treats are Menjou's mournfully cynical fight manager, Stanwyck's melting moll, and Calleia's wonderfully serio-comic, trigger-itchy gangster.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

William Holden in his first starring role as a ghetto boy who turns in his violin for a pair of boxing gloves. Columbia was attacked for softening Clifford Odets's famous stage play, though at worst it's an exchange of naive Broadway cynicism for naive Hollywood optimism--a fair trade, I'd say. The film is actually one of Rouben Mamoulian's more restrained and responsible jobs of direction--he hasn't overloaded Odets's rhetorical flourishes with his own customary explosions of style.

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

 

Poster

Theatrical Release: September 5th, 1939

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison: 

Sony - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Universal (Stanwyck Goddess Set) - Region 2 - PAL

(Sony - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Universal (Stanwyck Goddess Set) - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

Part of the Barbara Stanwyck - Screen Goddess Boxset  which includes Double Indemnity, The Lady Eve, All I Desire, The Bitter Tea of General Yen, Golden Boy and The Miracle Woman.

Distribution

Sony

Region 1 - NTSC

Universal (Stanwyck Goddess boxset)

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:39:09 1:35:09 (4% PAL speedup)

Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.10 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.78 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 :

 Sony

Bitrate:

Universal (from the Stanwyck Goddess set)

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.33:

Edition Details:
• Cartoon - The Kangaroo Kid

• Pleased to Mitt You (comedy short)

• Screen Snapshot

• Ford Television Theatre: Sudden Silence

• Previews

• Theatrical Trailer (1:41 / 4:3)

DVD Release Date: November 13th, 2007
Keep case

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: Universal UK
 

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• none

shares the set with Double Indemnity, The Lady Eve, All I Desire, The Bitter Tea of General Yen, and The Miracle Woman.
 

DVD Release Date: October 17th, 2005
Keep Case inside cardboard box

Chapters 14

 

 

Comments:

On the heels of Warner's Barbara Stanwyck Signature Collection this little gem was residing in Sony's (ex. Columbia) camp. Perfect timing for an NTSC release.

Although Sony's effort is technically dual-layered - the film definitely is only single-layered... as is the Universal PAL edition. In actuality, the UK release utilizes more space when you take into consideration the extensive supplements available on the Sony. I initially leaned towards the frugal PAL edition in terms of image. It has far superior contrast as the Sony looks a shade sepia. The Universal also includes more information in the frame (marginal). Unfortunately, the PAL edition has some falsely acquired brightness and shows more artifacts. Both are fairly clean but different speckles here and there are visible in each. Both are progressively transferred. In the end this is not an easy choice in regards to the image - both having some prominent minuses but this is one title you probably won't see hit high-definition in your (my) lifetime. Both have optional English subtitles but they are flawed in the Universal residing on a black label background (see sample below). The Sony are awful bright yellow. 

Another big difference are in the supplements - where the Universal (shared in a collection with Double Indemnity, The Lady Eve, All I Desire, The Bitter Tea of General Yen and The Miracle Woman. ) offers nothing - the Sony is stacked. It offers a cartoon - The Kangaroo Kid, a three-stooge-esq comedy short called Pleased to Mitt You (with Shemp!). There is also something called a 'Screen Snapshot' featurette with some footage of stars of the era at leisure including Stanwyck trying her hand at golf (just love this gal). Then we have a 1956 TV episode of Ford Television Theatre: Sudden Silence with Jeff Morrow and Barbara Stanwyck - kinda cool addition! Finally some previews and the original theatrical trailer. Way to go Sony!

I LOVE my UK Stanwyck Goddess collection but it is pricey. I also really like this film a lot... and the Sony supplements. The final choice is yours but don't pass up William Holden's debut!

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus

(Sony - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Universal (Stanwyck Goddess Set) - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 


Screen Captures

 

(Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal (Stanwyck Goddess Set) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)
Subtitle Sample: Not exact frame

 

 

 


 

(Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal (Stanwyck Goddess Set) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal (Stanwyck Goddess Set) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal (Stanwyck Goddess Set) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal (Stanwyck Goddess Set) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 

(Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal (Stanwyck Goddess Set) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Sony - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal (Stanwyck Goddess Set) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

 

 

DVD Box Cover

Part of the Barbara Stanwyck - Screen Goddess Boxset  which includes Double Indemnity, The Lady Eve, All I Desire, The Bitter Tea of General Yen, Golden Boy and The Miracle Woman.

Distribution

Sony

Region 1 - NTSC

Universal (Stanwyck Goddess boxset)

Region 2 - PAL


 



 

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