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directed by Harold Daniels
USA 1951

Gravel-voiced granite man-of-noir Charles McGraw stars in this classic flick about crime and passion, taken and shaken with a twist. McGraw plays “Honest” Joe Peters, a Los Angeles-based insurance detective gifted with a mind for graft but a soul for the straight and narrow, making him a natural at his job. It all starts to go south for Joe when a lithesome chiseler named Diane (Joan Dixon) uses him as a soft touch to take an airline for a ride. Joe falls hard for the dame, but she’s shooting for the World Series and he’s pitching for the bush leagues. Faster than you can spell “Walter Neff,” Honest Joe is cutting a deal with local racketeer Kendall Webb (Lowell Gilmore) and laying out the greatest train heist of the 20th Century. Unfortunately for Joe, his insurance detective partner (Louis Jean Heydt) is a straight shooter and Diane’s heart hides some unexpected turns.

***

An insurance investigator, a dame with a yen for the finer things in life and a mail robbery gone horribly wrong are the ingredients in this low-budget but highly engrossing film noir. Charles McGraw and Louis Jean Heydt are tough insurance agents but their partnership comes in for some rough sailing when he former falls head over heels for Joan Dixon, a lady apparently not averse to letting herself be wined and dined by an obvious gang leader (Lowell Gilmore). In an attempt to win the lady's favors, McGraw concocts a plan to rob a mail train insured by his own company. Too late does he discover that the girl is perfectly willing to accept him as he is.

Poster

 

Theatrical Release: September 17th, 1951

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:13:12
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.76 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: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: February 7th 2014
Keep Case

Chapters 10

 

 

 

 

Comments

Roadblock has quite the gold-digger in Joan Dixon. Along with the curious pace, both crime and love-angle - it makes for a solid Noir.

It's standard Warner DVD-R, single-layered, but progressive in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and looks acceptable. This is labeled under Warner's "Film Noir Archive Collection" marquee and the image is decent with a few minor speckles and frame specific damage. It's a little soft but may strongly reflect the original appearance. Black levels are solid and detail has surprisingly pleasing moments. The disc supports the film with a high bitrate and some visible grain texture.

The mono sound is decent but unremarkable and there are no subtitles offered. There are no supplements at all - and only one, generic, menu screen.

Juicy Black Cinema stuff here. Real grassroots Noir. Perhaps beyond the official tagline 'Hot Lead and Cold Cash Outside the Law' another could be that 'love is blind'. Joan Dixon's a honey. Recommended! 

  - Gary Tooze

 



 

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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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