Thunder Bay (1953) was
the first Hollywood movie to focus on the subject of offshore oil drilling. This
may not sound like the most thrilling fact, but in 1953 offshore drilling was
very topical indeed, with congressional hearings and controversies surrounding
it. The movie is a brawny, testosterone-charged action flick, with James Stewart
and Dan Duryea as oil riggers convinced there is black gold at the bottom of the
Gulf of Mexico. They in turn convince Jay C. Flippen, a wealthy financier, who
funds their risky, storm-proof oil platform. The construction of the rig,
however, disrupts a local Louisiana fishing community, and tensions build to the
Theatrical Release: May 21st, 1953
DVD Review: Optimum - Region 2 - PAL
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Optimum - Region 2 - PAL|
Average Bitrate: 4.88 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
About the aspect ratio - here is a blurb from IMDb's trivia about the film: "Although filmed in the standard 1.37-1 aspect ratio, Thunder Bay was chosen by Optimum-International as its first wide screen feature, accomplishing this by cropping the top and bottom and projecting it at 1.85-1 at Loew's State Theatre in New York City, as well as other sites. Its initial presentation also marked UI's first use of directional stereophonic sound."
NOTE: Thunder Bay is also available in the incredibly reasonable James Stewart: Screen Legend Collection (which includes Shenandoah / The Glenn Miller Story / Thunder Bay / You Gotta Stay Happy / Next Time, We Love) I believe it is anamorphic 1.85:1 (Thanks Jason!)
The single-layered bare-bones Optimum DVD looks surprisingly good. Colors are especially bright reminding me of Desert Fury (although not reaching the lofty hues of that transfer). It shows some minor frailty but looked just fine on my system. Audio is unremarkable but clear and consistent enough to enjoy the film (which I, surely, did). This is region 2 PAL and the good news is that I don't see excessive manipulation and the image is quite clean.
There are no extras save a trailer. Mann-Stewart fans won't want to miss out on this beauty. It's not up to their more lauded work but definitely worth seeing. I loved it!