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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Flame of Barbary Coast [Blu-ray]


(Joseph Kane, 1945)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Republic Pictures

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:31:28.858

Disc Size: 20,231,303,266 bytes

Feature Size: 20,158,304,256 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.00 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 18th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 925 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 925 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: John Wayne plays Duke Fergus, a good-hearted rancher from Montana who comes to San Francisco to collect a debt owed to him by Tito (Joseph Schildkraut), slick owner of a casino. He falls in love with Flaxen (Ann Dvorak), the beautiful saloon singer engaged to Tito. Duke loses his hard-earned bankroll at Tito's casino forcing him to leave town. But not for long! The next time he comes to town, his luck radically changes. In fact, he's so lucky that he almost cleans out Tito's casino. With his winnings, Duke builds a casino across the street from Tito, hiring Flaxen as his opening night headliner. All goes well until the great San Francisco earthquake forces Duke, Flaxen and all the residents of the city to regroup and rebuild. William Frawley (I Love Lucy) and Virginia Grey (Strangers in the Night) also star in this exciting drama featuring "the Duke" at his larger than life finest. Directed by Joseph Kane (The Lawless Nineties). Nominated for two Academy Awards.



The Film:

In this western, a Montana cattle rancher travels to San Francisco's notorious Barbary Coast and ends up falling in love with a dance hall girl who helps him win big at the gaming tables. Unfortunately, a card sharp takes it all from the innocent rube. The dance hall girl is also involved with the sharper. This western chronicles the way in which the rancher gets his revenge and wins back the love of the woman. The great earthquake of 1906 provides the story's climax.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Wayne is a Montana cattleman who falls in love with Dvorak on San Francisco's Barbary Coast. She helps him win a large sum of money at the gambling tables, but he then loses it to a card cheat, Schildkraut. The Duke goes back to Montana and learns cards from an ace gambler. Returning to Frisco, he cleans up and opens his own gambling saloon. Dvorak is hired as the entertainment. The 1906 earthquake destroys Wayne's place, and, when Dvorak recovers from her injuries, they leave for Montana. A lame script that a cast of healthy actors could not put on its feet, although Schildkraut makes a fine effort.

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Flame of the Barbary Coast has a modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. It's one where I might say the screen captures look superior to the image in-motion. There are plenty of speckles/light vertical scratches that are mostly frame-specific. This is single-layered with a decent bitrate and contrast looks strong - but the inconsistencies are more the condition of the source than the transfer. I wouldn't say that it was poor but just heavier in the form of lighter damage than what we are usually used to from Olive's vintage films in 1080P. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering and the weaknesses had no overly detrimental effect on my viewing. Nice to see the grain textures and there were a couple of instances of depth.














Audio :

The DTS-HD mono track at 925 kbps has no depth or range to speak of but it seems a faithfully flat transfer without flaws. Dialogue was audible and clean. 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 almost all of their releases.



I would only say I found Flame of the Barbary Coast mildly entertaining. It seemed held up solely by 'The Duke's' good-natured, but wily, Duke Fergus. The characters are one-dimensional and the melodrama dolled out in healthy portions. I didn't dislike it but it's not a film that will stay with you. Considering the relatively rough-shape of the print and bare-bones stature of the Blu-ray package, only the stalwart John Wayne fans should consider. 

Gary Tooze

June 19th, 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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