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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Richard Wilson
USA 19


During the era of Prohibition, gangsters gained enormous power by controlling the illicit drink. The most infamous was a thug from Brooklyn who murdered his way to the top and was, for a time, one of the most powerful men in the United States. In this unusually accurate biography, small-time hood Al Capone (Rod Steiger) comes to Chicago at the dawn of Prohibition to be the bodyguard of racketeer Johnny Torrio. Capone's rise in Chicago gangdom is followed through murder, extortion, and political fraud. He becomes head of Chicago's biggest "business," but moves inexorably toward his downfall and ignominious end.




Theatrical Release: March 25th, 1959

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:44:12
Video 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate:  5.5 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.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Edition Details:

• Archive Advert (:59)

• Trailer (2:28)

DVD Release Date: March 23rd, 2009

Keep Case
Chapters: 13



Firstly, a solid dramatized bio-pic with little Noir consideration. Steiger has a presence and embellishes, with his usual flair, as the 'character - centric' film runs. Al Capone has meager production values allowing Steiger to show of his talent - his Capone is a memorable one - arguably the best in the many covered roles of the gangster although, for most, De Niro takes the cake in The Untouchables.

It's a single-layered, anamorphic, DVD-R that looks very good. I can't say it is 100% progressive as it had segments near the beginning and end that showed combing - but for the majority of the film I couldn't duplicate the phenomenon. Bottom line is that it looks very clean, excellent detail and great contrast and, all things considered, it gives an impressive presentation.

As usual, no subtitles - and, unremarkable but clear 2.0 channel sound. Extras consist a 2:28 trailer and the minute-long Archive advert that starts the disc presentation.

Steiger is capable of scene-chewing but he can also act and it's the latter attribute that eclipses the former. Solid support from Balsam and Gregory - Fay Spain looks very moll-ish. The sparseness of the production gives this a very appropriate and well-meaning feel that, in the end, just 'works'. It lacks the excessive violence of a more modern take on Capone but, it's hard to deny that, this is a good film.

Gary W. Tooze


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Region 0 - NTSC

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