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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Caught [Blu-ray]

 

(Max Ophüls, 1949)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:28:31.305

Disc Size: 19,588,037,825 bytes

Feature Size: 19,509,374,976 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.98 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 8th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 917 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 917 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Caught is a tale of Leonora (Barbara Bel Geddes, Vertigo), an aspiring carhop who meets and marries a mysterious millionaire, Smith Ohlrig (Robert Ryan, God’s Little Acre). Soon after the wedding, Laura realizes she’s trapped in a loveless marriage with a ruthless workaholic husband who torments her with twisted mind games. Unable to obtain a divorce from Smith, she moves out of the mansion and goes to work for a dedicated doctor, Larry Quinada (James Mason, Odd Man Out). The two quickly fall in love but the romance comes to an abrupt halt when Leonora learns that she is pregnant with Ohlrig’s child. Legendary director Max Opuls (Letter From An Unknown Woman, The Reckless Moment) and the top-notch cast masterfully navigate the ensuing complications through atmospheric cinematography by Lee Garmes (Duel In The Sun) and stylish art direction from Frank Paul Sylos (Suddenly). Caught was adapted for the screen by Arthur Laurents (West Side Story, Rope) from Libbie Block’s novel “Wild Calendar.”

 

 

The Film:

A key American melodrama: draw a line between Citizen Kane and Written on the Wind, and you'll find Ophuls' noir classic at the heady mid-point. A car-hop Cinderella (Bel Geddes) chases a fashion-plate, charm-school dream; a childishly megalomaniac millionaire (Ryan) marries her to spite his analyst. Ophuls holds back his camera to frame the sour domestic nightmare, but gloriously equates motion with emotion when Bel Geddes takes solace with James Mason's virtuous doctor. The alluring web of hearts and dollars has rarely looked so deadly, and only the studio spared us the sight of the kill.

Excerpt from Timeout located HERE

A melodrama and thriller with a very dark edge, director Max Ophuls' Caught (1949) centers on a lovely, romantic young woman Leonora Eames (Barbara Bel Geddes) who wants nothing more than to fall in love. But her friends are more pragmatic, and encourage Eames to find a rich husband. Her first step toward that goal, on the advice of her roommate, is to enroll in the Dorothy Dale School of Charm where she learns how to entrap a man from the proper social station.

While practicing her newly-formed charm school skills as a department store model (look for Leave It to Beaver's Barbara Billingsley as a store customer interested in Eames' fur coat), Eames is approached by an effeminate toady, Franzi Kartos (Curt Bois) whose job it is to procure pretty girls for his very rich boss Smith Ohlrig (Robert Ryan). Kartos invites Eames to a party aboard Ohlrig's yacht, the beginning of a dark and tempestuous relationship. Eventually Eames and Ohlrig marry though it is more for Ohlrig to prove a point to his psychiatrist (Art Smith) than for love. Eames becomes an unhappy, unloved captive in Ohlrig's Long Island mansion until an ugly confrontation and Eames' decision to break away. She finds a job as a receptionist at a busy doctor's office in a working class Manhattan neighborhood where she falls in love with the principled, compassionate pediatrician Larry Quinada (James Mason) whose lack of materialism makes him everything Ohlrig is not. But Ohlrig isn't finished with Eames and he devises a plan to make sure she and Quinada will never be together.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

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

Ophüls' Caught receives a single-layered transfer to Blu-ray from Olive Films. Contrast seems reasonably supported with some pleasing layers. Grain textures are visible. There are a few speckles but no damage. Detail is modest and there are instances of depth. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering and the 1080P presentation was consistent. While it doesn't look spectacular - it does look solid.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD mono track at 917 kbps sounds consistent with hints at depth in the score by Friedrich Hollaender (Berlin Express, Background to Danger, The Verdict). It seems a faithful transfer without flaws and dialogue is clean and clear. 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 all of their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Caught is a wonderful Noir - underplayed and still melodramatic. Seeing Ophüls magic in a dark-cinema vein makes this essential.  The Olive Blu-ray does a decent job and is, easily, the best digital presentation of the film I've seen to date. Easy recommendation and this package would be suitable as a part of any Blu-ray library. 

Gary Tooze

June 25th, 2014

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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