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Directed by Vincent Sherman
USA 1943


Helen Chernen wants to get herself and her talented kid sister Katie out of their jerkwater hometown. And if that means using people and throwing them away, that's what Helen will do.

Biting, observant, set against a glittery show-biz backdrop, The Hard Way has earned its reputation as one of Hollywood's great melodramas. Among the film's many fine performances, two stand out. Jack Carson, typically cast in comic roles, is powerfully affecting as a song-and-dance man whose kind heart is no match for Helen's ruthless wiles. And Ida Lupino is pitch-perfect as Helen, etching an indelible portrait of twisted ambition that won her the 1943 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress.




Theatrical Release: February 20th, 1943

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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 1:49:00
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate:  4.86 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 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Archive Advert (:59)

• Trailer (2:08)

DVD Release Date: July 6th, 2009

Keep Case
Chapters: 13



What we get with The Hard Way is some of Ida Lupino's best work (the role passed over by Bette Davis), journeyman director Sherman's claim it was his most personal film, James Wong Howe's brilliant cinematography and, told through flashback (a common Noir convention), a story that stretches from a grimy depressed coal-mining town right through the glitz of show-biz adulation. It's as tragic as it gets with impressive melodrama circling like a melancholy shark. THIS is a damn good film. 

It's a stand-up, single-layered, progressive, DVD-R that holds its own despite the lowish bitrate. The image has great detail and healthy contrast with only a few instances of notable noise. It pixilated on me for a couple of frames but that was all the complaining I'll do. There is no damage - this was good enough to get a standard SD release (a film deserved of some extras).

As usual, no subtitles - and, unremarkable but clear 2.0 channel sound. Extras consist a 2:08 trailer and the Archive advert that starts the disc presentation.

I've always been a Lupino fan and give some much required applause for the bit part of Roman Bohnen - who I always seem to remember his smaller contributions. This is one of director Sherman's best films and the Warner Archive DVD-R gave me a genuinely good presentation. Taking the limitations into consideration -thumb-up as the only game in town to see this excellent film on DVD.

NOTE: At the writing of this review there is a healthy sale at the WBshop link - this is less than $14. I think it's well worth it!

Gary W. Tooze


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Region 0 - NTSC

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