directed by Jean Negulesco
USA 1948

 

“This slam-bang melodrama of troubled love, murder and unique revenge in a sleazy nightclub” (Cue) is a noir classic filled with “suspense” (Los Angeles Times), “dramatic punch” (Motion Picture Herald) and a “macabre demonstration of a wildly jealous man who is bent on ruining two lives” (The Hollywood Reporter).

Jefty Robbins (Richard Widmark) owns a road house near the Canadian Border which is managed by his playboy buddy Pete Morgan (Cornel Wilde) and cashier Susie Smith (Celeste Holm). After a trip to Chicago, Jefty brings back Lily Stevens (Ida Lupino), a chanteuse with whom he is obviously smitten. At first Pete is loathe to hire another one of Jefty’s girls but Lily proves her talent is worth the paycheck. When Jefty goes on a hunting trip with some pals and prepares to ask Lily to marry him, Pete and Lily share some intimate time together and realize they are in love. The news sends Jefty into a psychopathic tailspin. He devises a plan to frame Pete and manically begins a game of endless torture and brutality, making “the lovers suffer and suffer – until their cup of bitterness runs over” (Daily News)!

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 22nd, 1948

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

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Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:35:06 
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.87 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 mono)
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by film noir historians Kim Morgan and Eddie Muller

• Featurette: Killer Instincts: Richard Widmark and Ida Lupino at 20th Century Fox (19:13)
• Interactive pressbook
• Stills galleries
• Fox Noir advert

DVD Release Date: September 2nd, 2008
Keep Case
Chapters: 20

 

Comments:

Not quite up to the image quality standard of the older Noir Moontide but this transfer still looks respectable although contrast is a shade dampened (whites) - a tinge sepia at times. I again expect some sort of restoration (probably digital) but the image can show softness with consistent noise that appears, a bit, as grain. The dual-layered, progressive transfer is an acceptable one from Fox, even with the marginally lower bitrate, but perhaps a notch beneath the high standard previously offered from Fox in the same series.  


 

Like Moontide - it's a Fox Film Noir (as stated on the case) - yet I see no spine number - so perhaps Fox have abandoned that categorization labeling.

Supplements include a commentary with some enjoyable laughter from Kim Morgan and Eddie Muller. Their absolute love shows as, at times, they are both totally enamored with the performances (Lupino). She's covered in great length by the commentarists and they share a lot of valuable information. Eddie may be my favorite Noir commentator and he again does a professional job with Kim Morgan giving nice balance to the discussion. 

There is also a 19-minute featurette - Killer Instincts: Richard Widmark and Ida Lupino at 20th Century Fox. It has clips and input from Eddie Muller, Robert Osborne and Rudy Behlmer among others. This is really good with plenty on Widmark and his solid reputation (avoiding the Hollywood lifestyle and being friendly to everyone etc.) often juxtaposing his unbalanced onscreen characterizations. It wraps up with a Still gallery, Interactive Pressbook and a Fox Film Noir advert There are no liner notes.

These releases are surely a dream come true for Noir fans offered at such a reasonable price considering all we are getting in this package. Just a wonderful Film noir - Lupino and Widmark are mesmerizing at times - and we strongly recommend!

Gary W. Tooze

 


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




 

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