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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Plunder Road [Blu-ray]

 

(Hubert Cornfield, 1957)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Regal Films

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:12:24.340

Disc Size: 14,501,386,456 bytes

Feature Size: 14,436,593,664 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.42 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 24th, 2013

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 883 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 883 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Plunder Road is a one-of-a-kind film noir beautifully shot in scope by the great cinematographer Ernest Haller (Gone with the Wind, Mildred Pierce). On a dark rainy night, five men stage a well-planned U.S. Mint train robbery and walk away with ten million in gold bullion. To throw the cops off the track, the gang split up the massive haul into three concealed truckloads and go off to three different directions hoping for a perfect getaway. No big stars, just a great cast of character-actor greats; Gene Raymond, Wayne Morris, Elisha Cook Jr., Stafford Repp and Steven Ritch. Soap opera legend Jeanne Cooper (The Young and the Restless) co-stars as Raymond's gun moll. Wonderfully directed by cult favorite, Hubert Cornfield (The Night of the Following Day).

 

 

The Film:

Hubert Cornfield, an uneven director of the 50s and early 60s, supposedly reached his apotheosis with this, his third film. Gene Raymond and Wayne Morris star in a story of a train robbery, made in Cinemascope at a time when 20th Century-Fox was pushing the process on all of its productions, even the lowest budgeted (as this certainly was). My curiosity, at least, is roused.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr located HERE

Not to be confused with the film noir classic Thunder Road, Plunder Road is nonetheless a fine little thriller on its own. Gene Raymond stars as the head of a robbery gang, whose latest caper involves the heist of a gold shipment from a US Mint train. To throw the cops off the track, the gang splits up and goes off in three directions. Two of the gang's gold-laden trucks are captured by the police, but the third makes it all the way to LA. At this point, Raymond melts down the gold and disguises it as fittings for his luxury car. On the verge of getting away scot-free, Raymond is involved in a freeway accident. Cast as Gene Raymond's gun moll is soap-opera favorite Jeanne Cooper (the mother of actor Corbin Bernsen).

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

Plunder Road looks great on Blu-ray from Olive Films. Despite the single-layering the visuals appear crisp with multi-layered contrast and notable shadow detail. I don't know that dual-layering would have benefitted the image quality much more in this case. The black levels are strong indicating the source to have good density. There are a few speckles but no noise. AS the screen captures should attest the Blu-ray provides a strong presentation of an exceptional Noir.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Standard DTS-HD mono track at 883 kbps. Irving Gertz (It Came From Outer Space, Blonde Ice and The Deadly Mantis among others) did the score which adds a nice layer of tension. Flat but hints at seething depth. There are no subtitles and my Oppo 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.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Plunder Road is an excellent Noir (hence its inclusion on our Essential Noir listing). Cornfield captures the essence of the cycle with a well-balanced effort and a super cast. I thoroughly enjoyed the Blu-ray presentation - even the occasional inconsistencies. take into consideration the low budget and this is a wonderful, clandestine gem - which I am so grateful to have seen in 1080P. Noir devotees will be thrilled! 

Gary Tooze

September 24th, 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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