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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Cell 2455, Death Row" )


directed by Fred Sears
USA 1955

Based on the autobiographical book by Caryl Chessman, this fictionalized account of how a boy becomes a brutal criminal is both shocking and sensational. William Campbell plays Whit Whittier, who begins with petty crime, escalating to violence, and finally convicted on charges of robbery and rape, is sent to San Quentin's Death Row. While awaiting execution, Whittier studies law and manages to successfully represent himself in appeal after appeal. The real story of Chessman was controversial for the prosecutor's use of the Lindbergh kidnap law, in an unorthodox way, resulting in Chessman's death sentence for crimes that did not amount to murder. A gripping, shocking film, particularly for its time, which explores the problems of juvenile delinquency and the justice system without shying away from controversy. Directed by Fred F. Sears (Earth vs. The Flying Saucers and Rock Around the Clock), with Marian Carr, Kathryn Grant and Vince Edwards.


Theatrical Release: April 19th, 1955

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DVD Review: Sony - Region 0 - NTSC

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Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:16:54

1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.32 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.


Audio Dolby Digital 1.0 (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer (2:13)

DVD Release Date: March 5th, 2011
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Chapters 8



I was starting to really get into Cell 2455 Death Row and then it seemed to abruptly conclude. It didn't feel like a 'B'-picture as I viewed it (it has some superior attributes)  but certainly finished with, what felt like, time to spare.

It's standard single-layered but progressive in, and around, the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. IMDb says it was originally 1.66:1 - which I suppose is possible but seems odd to me. This is another Sony MoD and is watchable but certainly nothing stellar in terms of a visual presentation. Contrast is a bit muddy.

The mono sound is decent but unremarkable and there are no subtitles offered. The only supplement is the film's trailer.

I could help but think of ToS every time I saw actor William Campbell - playing the protagonist Whit Whittier. He was the memorable 'Trelane' in The Squire of Gothos. I like prison dramas although this views it from an unusual angle. It was okay, but I probably wouldn't recommend at the offered price. 

  - Gary Tooze



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Region 0 - NTSC


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