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directed by Ken Annakin
UK 1957

 

Ken Annakin ("Trio"/"Value For Money"/"Holiday Camp") directs this low-budget gem, an overlooked black-and-white thriller that's based on a Graham Greene novel. The psychological drama was superbly written by Guy Elmes and Denis Freeman, and it was filmed in England and Spain. Rod Steiger gives one of his greatest performances, as he portrays a scheming arrogant man who suffers a downfall and finds himself as an outcast in a foreign town and his only friend is a cocker spaniel who he becomes attached to when he's reduced to living like a homeless person and that his one act of kindness (or showing his human side) will lead to his demise. The film plays out as a gripping character study of a once influential tycoon suffering from mental and physical decay but trying to survive anyway he can as things unravel and he's caught in a trap that he put himself in by outsmarting himself.

Unscrupulous German-born American international financier Carl Schaffner (Rod Steiger) has his London office raided by Scotland Yard while he's in New York. The haughty financier faces a ten-year jail term for cooking the books and absconding with $3 million in company funds, and decides to flee to Mexico. While on the train to Mexico he learns through the newspapers that the police have warned the border police to be on the lookout for him. When a fellow passenger, Paul Scarff (Bill Nagy), joins him in his private compartment for drinks, Carl poisons his lookalike and throws his body off the train. He then disguises himself as Scarff and steals his passport. Stopping off at a border town, he poses as Scarff and even possesses his dog Dolores. Carl plans to use the victim's passport to enter Mexico, and then revert back to his own identity to clear a lot of dough out of a Mexico City bank. At the dusty border town Carl learns that the badly injured Scarff miraculously survived and is staying at his motel and that he's wanted by the Mexican police for assassinating a governor.

Excerpt of review from Dennis Schwartz for Ozus' World Movie Reviews located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 20 August 1957 (London)

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DVD Comparison:

Shanachie (British Cinema Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. VCI (The Rank Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for all the Screen Caps!

(Shanachie (British Cinema Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. VCI (The Rank Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Shanachie

Region 0 - NTSC

VCI
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:39:15 1:39:18
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.66 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.3 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:

 

Shanachie (British Cinema Collection)

 

Bitrate:

 

VCI (The Rank Collection)

 

Audio Dolby Digital Mono 2.0

Dolby Digital Mono 2.0

Subtitles None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Shanachie

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• The Making of Across the Bridge (24:35)

DVD Release Date: February 24th, 2004
Keepcase

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: VCI

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Photo Gallery

 

DVD Release Date: August 6th, 2013
Keepcase

Chapters 13

 

Comments

Ken Annakin directs Across the Bridge, a British noir filmed in Britain and Spain and set on US-Mexico border. An exceptional performances by Rod Steiger (Hands Over the City, On the Waterfront) rivals as one of his best in his career and was his own favorite after Sidney Lumet's The Pawnbroker. An excellent, mostly British supporting cast features Bill Nagy as Steiger's doppelganger, David Knight and Marla Landi as an American couple, Bernard Lee as a Scotland Yard Inspector, and, most memorable, Noel Willman as a shady Mexican chief of police.

The film received two releases in US, first in 2004 from Shanachie/Koch Vision and 9 years later from VCI. Despite almost a decade passing between two releases, we can hardly call VCI disc an improvement. Both releases are anamorphically enhanced and have no damage or marks, but both are interlaced and the image on VCI disc looks softer and lighter. VCI disc has slightly more image on the sides, but addition is minimal. Both discs get the same mono soundtrack with some damage during a couple of scenes, but we give VCI preference for providing English subtitles that also translate Spanish dialogue (as in capture 6). Now discontinued disc from Shanachie excels in extras for including a 24-minute featurette The Making of Across the Bridge. Ken Annakin, who passed away in 2009, talks on the screen about the film and reminisces about Rod Steiger. This invaluable short documentary is also available on the 2004 British disc from Carlton that is currently out-of-print as well. A trailer is said to be included on Carlton disc, but we do not own it to confirm. It's a shame VCI could not get the rights to include the making of on their disc or to boost the image to progressive transfer, so we recommend the cheapest disc you can get, but the film itself gets our most enthusiastic recommendation.

 - Gregory Meshman

 


DVD Menus
(
Shanachie (British Cinema Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. VCI (The Rank Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Shanachie (British Cinema Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. VCI (The Rank Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)
Subtitle sample

 


(Shanachie (British Cinema Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. VCI (The Rank Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Shanachie (British Cinema Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. VCI (The Rank Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Shanachie (British Cinema Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. VCI (The Rank Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Shanachie (British Cinema Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. VCI (The Rank Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Shanachie (British Cinema Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. VCI (The Rank Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Shanachie (British Cinema Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. VCI (The Rank Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

draw

Sound:

VCI

Extras: Shanachie

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Shanachie

Region 0 - NTSC

VCI
Region 1 - NTSC

 




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