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The Weapon [Blu-ray]
(Val Guest, Hal E. Chester, 1956 )
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Periclean Productions
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 21,933,786,677 bytes
Feature Size: 21,789,499,392 bytes
Video Bitrate: 32.99 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: January 20th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2117 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2117 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Description: When a young boy (Jon Whiteley) accidentally shoots a playmate with a pistol found in the rubble of a bombed-out building, he runs away from home and wanders the streets of postwar England. Ballistic analysis connects the weapon to the unsolved murder of a military officer ten years earlier. A gruff American captain, Mark Andrews (Steve Cochran), attempts to track down the missing gun, while trying to appease the boy’s anxious mother (Lizabeth Scott). The search for the missing boy (and the weapon he’s carrying) leads Andrews into the seedy London underworld, where a series of unsavory characters attempt to divert him from his quest. As depicted by director Val Guest the decayed urban setting resembles the Vienna of Carol Reed’s The Third Man, permeated by grime and shadow, and shot through with an oppressive sense of despair.
The Weapon is a loose grouping of elements first seen in the 1951 British melodrama The Yellow Balloon. Jon Whitely plays a young London boy who finds a loaded gun in a blitzed-out building. He fires, accidentally shooting a playmate. Believing he's killed his friend, the boy runs away--leading to a relentlessly suspenseful climax. Though filmed in England, The Weapon was geared from the start for primarily American audiences; its producer was Hollywood's own Hal E. Chester, and its adult stars included Steve Cochran and Lizabeth Scott. The script was written by Fred Freiberger, best known to sci-fi followers as the producer of the original Star Trek's third and final season.Excerpt from Barnes and Noble located HERE
A neat suspense story about a youngster, Whiteley, who accidentally shoots his playmate with a gun he finds, then hides the weapon and runs away. The gun turns out to be the murder weapon in a case involving a US Army officer 10 years earlier. CID officer Cochran is in pursuit of the boy, as is the murderer of the Army man. The killer tries to force the boy to dig up the weapon but has to flee when Cochran closes in. The chase leads to a gutted building, and the killer falls to his death. A well-crafted, energetic thriller.Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Weapon has a, predictably, single-layered, bare-bones, Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. Unfortunately the film is filled with speckles (almost every frame had some) and a small amount of, less-noticeable, damage marks. I also noted some warped frames a few times. It is transferred in a bastardized 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The black levels appear acceptable - occasionally strong - and detail is right about when you might anticipate with some pleasing grain textures present. The greyscale and shadow-detail are actually quite good. There is even a few instances of notable depth. The 1080P Blu-ray is based on a unrestored source and, although has imperfections, it was nothing that negatively impacted my viewing.
NOTE: Jim Harwood says in our FaceBook group: "The speckles don't bother me personally. Having been a 16mm print collector for decades, specks, dirt and other duped in crud go with the territory. "
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Scratchy audio in the credits didn't bode well but it soon cleared and was acceptable, if not stellar, throughout most of the film. Olive's DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 2117 kbps seems to do the best with what was provided, but like the video could have used some form of restoration. James Stevens composed sporadically for film through his career and his score for The Weapon is fairly unremarkable but adds some receptive flavor to the shadowy mix and sounds flat without much punch. There are a few aggressive effects and gun shots through the film. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with most of their Blu-ray releases. The Weapon is such a keen little cracker - I'd have loved a commentary or some production information.
January 26th, 2015
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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