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(aka 'The Dividing Line')

Directed by Joseph Losey
USA
1950

 

The Lawless was director Joseph Losey's second feature-length film. The story concerns a group of Mexican-American migrant workers who are subjected to all sorts of abuse and intolerance by their California bosses. A violent clash between whites and Latinos at a dance results in a torrent of bigotry. Seemingly the only Californian willing to champion the workers' cause is crusading newspaperman Larry Wilder, and soon he too is the victim of senseless mob violence. The story boils to a manhunt for a fugitive fruit-picker who has been accused of fomenting the aforementioned riot. Director Losey, producers William Pine and William Thomas and screenwriter Geoffrey Homes (aka Daniel Mainwaring) are to be commended for tackling a controversial issue in an honest, no-nonsense fashion; even so, the film ends in standard Hollywood-liberal fashion with a white man coming to the rescue.

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This Intriguing study of Mexican-American fruit-pickers, subjected to all sorts of abuse and racial discrimination in a California small town was the second feature-film by legendary director Joseph Losey (The Servant). Macdonald Carey plays a crusading newspaperman who seemingly is the only person willing to champion the oppressed workers' cause and tries to stop a lynch mob's manhunt of a Latino fugitive accused of fomenting a riot. The director, producers and writers of this film are to be commended for tackling a controversial issue in an honest, no-nonsense fashion. Joseph Losey was later blacklisted in the United States and moved to Europe where he made the remainder of his films, mostly in the United Kingdom.

Poster

Theatrical Release: June 1st, 1950

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DVD Review: Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution Olive Films
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:22:33
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.99 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date: May 29th, 2012

Keep Case
Chapters: 8

 

Comments:

Despite the well-crafted story (Daniel Mainwaring's script) and Losey's interesting direction - the preachy leanings run... deep. I think it is fascinating to see the small touches blended into The Lawless.

The image is typical of Olive - dual-layered, very clean, strong contrast with a above-average bitrate. It looks quite solid for the format without notable flaws - and no manipulation. There is some pleasing grain visible.  Audio is unremarkable but close, I'll wager, to the way it was produced - dialogue is consistent and audible. There are no subtitles nor extras of any kind.

I'd have loved to hear a commentary or post-discussion about Losey's The Lawless. It is certainly worthy of analysis. The complex style has a curiosity to it - and the film itself is also worthy of multiple viewings. Fabulous choice by Olive Films - this is a keeper. 

Gary W. Tooze

 


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DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Olive Films
Region 1 - NTSC



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