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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Cover Up [Blu-ray]


(Alfred E. Green, 1949)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Strand Productions

Video: Kino Lorber



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:22:39.996

Disc Size: 16,764,836,917 bytes

Feature Size: 16,705,689,600 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.90 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 24th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: Newly Re-mastered in HD. A Small Town...with Big Secrets! Sam Donovan (Dennis O'Keefe, T-Men, Raw Deal) is an insurance investigator sent to a small Midwest town, to find out whether the death of one of its policyholders was a suicide or murder. Sam is convinced that he was murdered but the entire town, led by the sheriff (William Bendix, Lifeboat), is not talking. It's only when local girl Anita (Barbara Britton, I Shot Jesse James) breaks her silence does Sam begin to uncover the truth. As he falls in love with Anita, he begins to unravel the secret everyone in the town is keeping. Directed by Alfred E. Green (Baby Face), with stunning black-and-white cinematography by the great Ernest Laszlo (Judgment at Nuremberg).



The Film:

Dennis O’Keefe, who gets second billing, even though it’s his actions (and reactions) we follow throughout the movie, plays an insurance investigator in Cover Up. In the unnamed small town somewhere in the Midwest (near Chicago, apparently) where he’s been sent to look into a reported case of suicide, he runs straight into a stone wall.

The local sheriff, played by a placid, pipe-smoking William Bendix, is friendly enough, but when asked about the gun, the bullet, anything at all, evades the answers. The coroner’s out of town, I don’t know where the gun is, I don’t know what type of gun it was, all the while puffing away, looking slyly upward to see how his act is going over.

No fool he, Sam Donovan (that’s O’Keefe) knows it’s an act, too, but he has no choice but to realize that any investigating he has to do, he’ll have to do on his own. Complicating matters is that he is falling for the girl he rode into town with on the bus (Barbara Britton).

Excerpt from MysteryFile located HERE


Alfred E. Green ("Baby Face"/"The Jolson Story"/"Sierra") directs this pleasing old-fashioned crime drama that's written in a Christmas spirit way by Dennis O'Keefe and Jerome Odlum. It's about Chicago insurance detective Sam Donovan (Dennis O'Keefe) who investigates in the rural peaceful Midwestern small town of Cleberg, during the Christmas holiday season, the supposed suicide of a hated elderly local named Roger Phillips. Why the town hates him is never clarified with specifics, but he was reputed to be a scoundrel. Things don't add up to suicide for Sam when Sheriff Larry Best (William Bendix) informs him there was no gun found and no coroner's report. But no one in town, including the sheriff, wants to call it murder. Sam forces the reluctant sheriff to show him the recovered bullet from the missing Luger murder weapon. The beneficiary of the estate, the victim's niece (Virginia Christine), doesn't want an investigation even if the insurance policy has a double indemnity in case of murder--meaning she would receive twice as much in benefits.

Excerpt from Dennis Schwartz located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Cover Up comes to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. The source is in solid shape and despite a few very minor vertical scratches - it is exceptionally clean - with hardly any speckles. The image certainly advances over the sloppy DVDs that have surfaced.  This is only single-layered with modest bitrate but I expect this is as good as the film has ever looked on digital. There is a touch of depth - and contrast layers are pleasing. Detail wavers a shade, but that is probably the original production. Pretty solid overall with some nice grain textures and only a minor few artifacts. The cinematography by master Ernest Laszlo (Ten Seconds to Hell, While the City Sleeps, Kiss Me Deadly, D.O.A.) embodies his realistic and naturalistic visuals and is supported well by the 1080P.




















Audio :

What has become a standard DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel mono at 1554 kbps significantly elevates the Hans J. Salter (Man Without a Star, Scarlet Street, The Land Unknown, The War Lord, The Mole People) score. It sounds almost Herrmann-esque at times with its depth. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

None. Not even a trailer - a true bare-bones disc.



Cover Up is a sweet little Noir-wannabe mystery. I was frequently reminded of Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt with the small town atmosphere and darkness ominously circling the edges of innocence. Of course, it's not that good... but is still a desirable film experience.  The bare-bones Kino-Lorber Blu-ray is appealing despite the lack of value-to-price ratio. I think 'Dark Cinema' and vintage mystery devotees may find this too enticing to pass-up even though it may not fit solidly within the Noir cycle. I still suspect they'll enjoy the flic. 

Gary Tooze

February 17th, 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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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