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directed by W. Lee Wilder
USA 19
4
7

A man whose business is failing decides to marry his legal ward, in order to get his hands on her money. The only problem is that she is in love with a young doctor. The businessman hires a killer to eliminate his rival, but it isn't long before things begin to go wrong.

***

Albert Dekker plays a crooked investment agent who embezzles a large sum from an estate, hoping to cover his crime by marrying the estate's heiress (Catherine Craig). The girl is already engaged, so Dekker arranges to have the fiance killed. The hit man's only means of identifying the victim-to-be is his picture in the society columns. But the girl changes her mind and agrees to marry Dekker--meaning that it is his picture that will appear in the columns, thereby condemning him to death. Desperately trying to contact the hit man, Dekker discovers that the man is dead...but the assassin's successor is still at large. A cheap but tidy "hoist on his own petard" melodrama, The Pretender was produced and directed by W. Lee Wilder, brother of the more famous (and frankly more talented) Billy Wilder.

Title Cards + Poster

Theatrical Release: August 11th, 1947

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DVD Review: Mr. Fat-W Video - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution

Mr. Fat-W Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:09:18
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.58 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 Dolby Digital 1.0 (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Mr. Fat-W Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: December 30th, 2013
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Chapters 6

 

Comments

Well, I wasn't expecting much from the DVD - it looks rather poor - but I wanted to see this 1947 Noir  that is designated on our Essential listing. It turns out the film is a decent effort - 'embezzlement' and 'paranoia' the drivers. Albert Dekker leads the way and, from the excellent Where Danger Lives blog; 'In spite of Dekker’s work in front of the camera he remains one of the unlucky souls for whom the Kenneth Anger-hyped speculation surrounding his grisly, sexualized death will forever overshadow anything he accomplished in life. It seems that whenever his name comes up writers feel obligated to rehash the details of his demise. Dekker’s corpse was discovered in the bathroom of his Hollywood apartment in 1968, hands shackled behind his back and body hanging limply from the shower curtain.'

The transfer is from a poor analog source (possibly TV or VHS) and is standard single-layered - and interlaced - in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio but looks like it may be cropped (very tight, and occasionally awkward, composition). This is by Mr. Fat-W Video (never heard of them before) and even starts with a kind of animated logo but there are no menus and the image hints at Chroma and has an ineffectual bitrate. No extra or subtitles and the video was scratchy. It's hard not to have elevated standards with Blu-ray becoming the norm.

On the positive, it did let me see this The Pretender - a film that deserves better than this SD, low level, treatment.  And I have seen worse. But take this review as more of a warning to 'avoid' unless you are not as concerned with the quality as much as seeing this sneaky Noir. In that case you might gain some value. I don't see any other digital representation of The Pretender  available so far.  

  - Gary Tooze

 



 


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  Combing - Interlaced Transfer

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Mr. Fat-W Video

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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