|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
Directed by Russell Rouse
First time on Video or DVD! The kill-or-be-killed world of organized crime is the focus of this hard-hitting expose from the Oscar-nominated writing team of Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene. Broderick Crawford is the NYC mob boss dealing out death as the answer to every crisis--from a minor member of his own syndicate, to a Washington lobbyist, to his own hired killers! "Considerable brutality as well as sex... One's attention [is] held tight from start to finish" (Harrison's Reports)....
Crawford and Conte do fine work in this seedy noir (which later inspired a TV series) about a crime lord who promotes one of his finest employees to the top of the syndicate, only for the move to backfire when the latter is called to rub out his boss. One of those movies that feels unashamedly grimy and boasts no redeeming characters, it's enjoyably nasty fun, though it's impossible to feel for anyone.
Theatrical Release: February 19th, 1955
DVD Review: VCI Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL
|DVD Box Cover
CLICK to order from:
Region 0 - PAL
Aspect Ratio (transferred at 1.78)
Average Bitrate: 5.63 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.
|English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
commentary by film historian & author Alan K. Rode and film writer, Kim
for the film (2:42)
I read somewhere that this was praised by the New York City Anti-Crime Committee for its realism. It is solid Noir through and through - a prime later example of the dark cinema style. Some may recall that director Russell Rouse was co-writer of the iconic D.O.A.. Crawford shows some impressive range and Conte is Conte (read 'excellent'). I'd have loved to see more of Bancroft as I felt about Nightfall - recently reviewed in the Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics Volume 2 DVD package. New York Confidential is brooding cinema and carries an edge of docu-drama intent. This is a New York story...
The VCI DVD is advertised as "Digitally Remastered & Restored from the original negative" but the transfer is still lackluster - single-layered and interlaced. Not being too negative it looks okay - very clean but is consistently blotchy with noise - it kinda resembles thick grain so I won't get on my high horse. Detail and contrast are both modest but, in my final estimation, this is extremely watchable and we are appreciative that it has finally reached digital for home viewing despite the obvious weaknesses. Keep your expectations for the visual at a low level and you'll be fine.
Predictably, no subtitles - and, unremarkable but reasonable 2.0 channel sound. Extras consist of a very good commentary for noir devotees by film historian & author Alan K. Rode and film writer, Kim Morgan. It's a nice pairing with production layers uncovered and those keen on the style will love the discussions. After that is mostly filler with less than a minute on a split-screen restoration demo, some poster cards and a beat-up, muddy, trailer.
VCI appear to have let an opportunity slip by in not supplying a proper transfer - however, the commentary is a fabulous offering and the price is sure right. We must recommend on the strength of the film and that this is the only game in town. VCI seem to be improving with baby steps - let's get some classic noir on Blu-ray guys! This is a 'golden' dark film... make sure this finds a place in your library.