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(aka "Storm Center" )


directed by Stuart Heisler
USA 1951


Somewhere during preproduction the top dogs at Warner Bros. lost their nerve, and Storm Warning’s script was declawed and defanged. Even its bark is oddly meek. The studio congratulated itself in its advertising for making a film “as startling as the screen has dared to be,” but for a purported exposť of the Ku Klux Klan the film is as hard-hitting as 40 lashes with a wet noodle. To “take on” the Klan and then omit any mention of its racism or religious bigotry—presenting instead cracker Fascists as garden-variety goons keeping their town clean of “Northern” influence—smacks of cowardice. Especially compared to another film made across town at virtually the same time, Fox’s No Way Out (1950), an unflinching take on racism that reaches far beyond the Mason-Dixon Line.

Not to suggest that Storm Warning is bad. The script may be spineless, but overall it is brilliantly made and utterly engrossing; it may be Stuart Heisler’s best work as a director. He and director of photography Carl Guthrie transform a rural Southern town (actually Corona, California) into a pestilent noir nightscape. Think Road House, only peopled with ignorant, armed peckerwoods. The visual punch is so strong that over the years Storm Warning has nudged its way onto numerous lists of vintage film noir.

Excerpt of review from Eddie Muller (Film Noir of the Week) located HERE


Theatrical Release: 17 January 1951 (Miami Beach, Florida)

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (part of Ronald Reagan: The Signature Col) - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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Warner Home Video

Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC

Runtime 1:33:18

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.96 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 Dolby Digital 1.0 (English)
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer (2:31)

DVD Release Date: August 15, 2006
Keep Case

Chapters 24





Storm Warning is a solid thriller with some noir elements that stars Ginger Rogers, Ronald Reagan, Doris Day and Steve Cochran about Ku Klux Klan murder and its cover-up in a small town. On DVD, the film was released as part of Ronald Reagan: The Signature Collection and is not available separately through many retailers. Fortunately, for those interested in just this title without 4 others, kind people at Amazon marketplace sell it on DVD separately from the boxed set. The disc features a fine transfer - there is some damage and a lot of grain, but overall the image quality is good enough to appreciate the shadow-drenched cinematography of Carl Guthrie.

The mono sound is decent and optional English, Spanish and French subtitles are provided. Other titles in Ronald Reagan Collection have some nice extra features including shorts and a commentary, but a single extra for this film is a sensationalistic trailer. See an excellent article by Eddie Muller linked above that discusses the film and if it's truly a film noir.

  - Gregory Meshman


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:


Warner Home Video

Region 1,4 - NTSC



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