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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

City That Never Sleeps [Blu-ray]


(John H. Auer, 1953)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Republic Pictures

Video: Olive Films



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:30:52.405

Disc Size: 20,116,810,739 bytes

Feature Size: 19,271,129,472 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.06 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 23rd, 2013



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)






• None





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).



The Film:

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.

















Audio :

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.



Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their releases.



I was very excited to see City That Never Sleeps - and I wasn't disappointed at all. There is quite a lot of action in the conclusion and it many Noir cycle attributes (hence it is on our Essential list). The Blu-ray does its job as far as the presentation goes and this 1080P will prove to be the best way to watch this gem in your home theater. 

Gary Tooze

April 18th, 2013


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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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