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directed by Paul Sloane
USA 1950

 

If there's an object lesson in the gap between expectation and reality, The Sun Sets At Dawn may be it. A product of the Holiday Pictures division of Eagle-Lion Films (which is sort of like saying Starvation Alley off Poverty Row), and the work of a director, Paul Sloane, whose career began in the First World War and who hadn't worked for 11 years (and who had one more – Japanese – movie left in him), it doesn't inspire much confidence. But it has an imaginative narrative structure and a mood and, so much as its pitiful resources would allow, even something of a look.

Patrick Waltz (here billed as Philip Shawn) is a young man awaiting execution on death row. Though of course he protests his innocence, there's not much news there. But it so happens that he'll be the first consumer of the anonymous state's newly-installed electric chair (replacing the old-fashioned, and possibly more humane, garrotte). This shift of lethal mediums has the warden and the executioner and the staff all a-twitter, leaving them little time or empathy for the human side of the story – which also involves the condemned man's girlfriend (Sally Parr), who has been brought to the prison but whom he refuses to see.

[...]

Basically, The Sun Sets At Dawn remains little more than another death-row beat-the-clock thriller. The plot, which accommodates more than a twist or two in a 71-minute running time, is admittedly contrived, but Sloane has the decency (and wit) to justify his every contrivance. And even if its turnings leave you unimpressed, you'll have to admit that the movie's dialogue-free opening, at night at Pops' Place, is as bleak and transfixing as just about anything in the noir cycle (shoestring-budget division). The Sun Sets At Dawn proves itself a keeper, and a fitting memorial to the unsung Sloane.

Excerpt of review on IMDb from Bill MacVicar located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: 1 November 1950 (USA)

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DVD Review: Alpha - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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Distribution

Alpha

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:11:51
Video

1.28:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.40 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 Dolby Digital 2.0 (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Alpha

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.28:1

Edition Details:
• Alpha Video DVD Catalogue
• 'Terror in the Pharaoh's Tomb' Trailer (1:28)

DVD Release Date: January 26th, 2010
Keep Case

Chapters 7

 

Comments

The back cover displays that this print was taken from "Samuel M Sherman Archives", but it is clearly 16mm, third generation, unrestored material that went through interlaced transfer. The print has a lot of damage and scratches, but at least it's watchable and we can see what is going on on the screen (Alpha has done worse - see HERE). The title sequence and end credits have an Alpha Video watermark (see title capture), but thankfully it is not present during the film itself.

The audio fares better than video, but it is what can be expected transferred from 16mm print. The rare film was distributed by Eagle Lion, so who knows who owns the rights to it and if 35mm prints still exist. There is also a DVD-R available at Amazon from Sinister Cinema (HERE), but we didn't have access to it to compare at this moment.

  - Gregory Meshman

 



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Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 
Extensive damage in this sequence

 


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CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Alpha

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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