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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
City That Never Sleeps [Blu-ray]
(John H. Auer, 1953)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Republic Pictures
Video:Olive Films / Imprint
Region: 'A'/ Region FREE
Runtime: 1:30:52.405 / 1:30:29.715
Disc Size: 20,116,810,739 bytes / 32,328,886,524 bytes
Feature Size: 19,271,129,472 bytes / 26,672,216,064 bytes
Video Bitrate: 27.06 Mbps / 32.84 Mbps
Chapters: 9 / 12
Case: Standard Blu-ray case/ Transparent Keep case
Release date: April 23rd, 2013 / May 21st, 2021
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 871 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 871 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps
2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
• None / English, none
NEW Audio commentary film
critic and historian Imogen Sara Smith (2020)
Package - Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Description: Film Noir veterans John H. Auer (Hell's Half Acre) and Steve Fisher (I Mobster) directed and wrote this police thriller in the vein of the popular Detective Story of two years earlier. The film juggles around five characters through a particularly bad night in a Chicago police precinct - Johnny Kelly (Gig Young), a stressed out cop ready to crack; Sally "Angel Face" Connors (Mala Powers), a lounge singer looking for a way out; Hayes Stewart (William Talman), a thug-for-hire who's dying to move up in the syndicate; Penrod Biddel (Edward Arnold), a smooth and corrupt district attorney; and Sgt. Joe (Chill Wills), an honest cop trying to keep Joe on a straight path. Beautiful black-and-white cinematography by John L. Russell (Psycho) and another great bad-girl performance by film noir goddess Marie Windsor (Force of Evil).
No, not a satirical documentary about Market Harborough, but a rare example - actually, the only example - of whimsical noir. Routinely the film assembles its angst-racked characters: the cop tempted into dishonesty for love of a stripper, the ageing attorney with a bored young wife, the killer who dotes on his pet rabbit, etc. Familiar images recur: a fugitive darting across a railroad yard, headlights slicing down an alley, a sudden sweaty close-up. But then the film tilts towards fantasy with the introduction of Wills as the Spirit of the City, no less, materialising for the night as Young's ghostly patrol car partner, observing the action with Buddha-like understanding. Gig and Chill aside, this is an averagely satisfying thriller, inventively shot on wintry Chicago locations.Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE
John Auer directed and Steve Fisher wrote this police procedural film in the vein of the popular Detective Story of two years earlier. The film juggles around four characters through a particularly bad night in a Chicago precinct -- Johnny Kelly (Gig Young), a stressed out cop ready to crack; Sally "Angel Face" Connors (Mala Powers), a cheap strumpet lounge singer; Hayes Stewart (William Talman), a former magician and present thug; Penrod Biddel (Edward Arnold), a smooth and corrupt district attorney; and Sgt. Joe (Chill Wills), an Everyman character, known as "The Voice of Chicago." The skimpy plot concerns Kelly, who is having an affair with Angel Face and is ready to quit his job and leave his wife Kathy (Paula Raymond) at the drop of a hat. In order to get quick money to escape Chicago and start life anew with Angel Face, Kelly accepts an assignment and a payment from Biddel to escort low-life Stewart across the state line.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
City That Never Sleeps is a cracking Noir from Olive Films. The Blu-ray is typical for them - bare-bones, straight transfer with no manipulation. Any inconsistencies are directly due to the source used - which is not bad at all. There are a few speckles and light surface scrat6cehs here and there but nothing fatally poor. This is only single-layered and contrast looks a shade dusty at times - but generally detail is supported well. There may be a touch of green in there but overall I would say the image quality is positive - not stellar but very watchable. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering, had no noise and gave me a pleasing presentation.
The Imprint is part of their Essential Film Noir: Collection 2 on Blu-ray with Hollywood Story (1951), The City That Never Sleeps (1953), Plunder of the Sun (1953) and Private Hell 36 (1954). It's a step up from the Olive video transfer although utilizing the same source. It's dual-layered with a higher bitrate and looks crisper with slightly better contrast.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Subtitle Sample - Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray
More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Imprint Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE
Score is by R. Dale Butts who composed for many westerns and Noirs and Noir-leaning crime dramas (Hell's Half Acre). It is clean and mood enhancing via the lossless - a DTS-HD Master mono track at 871 kbps which has a bit of depth but predictably flat. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Like the video, the audio takes a similar bump to linear PCM, but at 24-bits. This is notable in the score by R. Dale Butts (Panther Girl of the Kongo, Too Late For Tears, No Man's Woman, The Shanghai Story, Stranger at My Door, Hell's Half Acre, City That Never Sleeps, Trigger Jr.) that carries more depth and a tighter high end. The Imprint offers optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray disc.
No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their releases.
The Imprint has, one of my favorite Noir commentarists with Imogen Sara Smith extolling the film, identifying its weaknesses making comparisons to others made at the time - especially efforts that are set over the course of a single night like Carol Reed's Odd Man Out to Martin Scorsese's After Hours with other Noir-ish examples being Deadline at Dawn, The Devil Thumbs a Ride, All Night Long, and Elevator to the Gallows. She is always well-prepared and brilliant in her subtle analysis relating stories about Gig Young, Mala Powers, William Talman, Edward Arnold, Marie Windsor etc.. There is also a new 20-minute interview with author & film critic Kim Newman On ”City That Never Sleeps”. Kim's insight are always welcome with less-known tidbits of the production. He is a gem of digital media supplements. Lastly, is a theatrical trailer.
Olive - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray
The newer Imprint towers above the 2013 Olive Blu-ray in all categories and their Essential Film Noir: Collection 2 on Blu-ray with Hollywood Story (1951), The City That Never Sleeps (1953), Plunder of the Sun (1953) and Private Hell 36 (1954) is strongly recommended to 'Dark Cinema' fans. This is an excellent title addition with the informative Imogen Sara Smith commentary and improved a/v (and subtitles.) It is absolutely recommended! A definite keeper. I'm very pleased to have this complete package loaded with extras.
April 18th, 2013
July 12th, 2021
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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