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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Stranger at My Door [Blu-ray]


(William Witney, 1956)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Republic Pictures

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:24:51.086 

Disc Size: 21,209,246,283 bytes

Feature Size: 21,026,488,320 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.56 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 31st, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1779 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1779 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)






• None





Description: Action specialist William Witney was the director of the leisurely, sensitive western Stranger at My Door. MacDonald Carey plays a frontier minister, who much against the wishes of his wife and child invites a fugitive outlaw (Skip Homeier) into his home. At first the outlaw takes advantage of Carey's largesse, but gradually feels the effect of the minister's kindness and altruism. This film has frequently been excerpted into TV documentaries on the basis of one single sequence: a beautifully staged confrontation with a wild, rampaging horse. The split-second editing and the undetectable combination of fact and artifice results in a superb setpiece which arguably represents William Witney's finest work. Stranger at My Door was scripted by Barry Shipman, the son of pioneering female producer/director Nell Shipman.



The Film:

After carrying out a brazen bank robbery, gunfighter Clay Anderson (Skip Homeier) finds safe haven in the home of soft-spoken minister Hollis Jarret (Macdonald Carey), his beautiful wife Peg (Patricia Medina) and son (Stephen Wootton). Hollis extends to Clay every hospitality and gives him every chance at redemption, despite the undeniable sexual attraction that is clearly forming between Peg and the gunman.

In time, Hollis earns the outlaw’s respect, and encourages Clay to turn away from a life of crime. But Clay’s moral reformation comes just as the local sheriff (Louis Jean Heydt) tracks down his location, setting the stage for a tense, and potentially tragic, confrontation.


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

Stranger at My Door gets your typical modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. This is only single-layered but the bitrate is high for the 1.5 hour black and white feature. I expect this quality is mostly dependant on the source - which seems in reasonable condition without undue marks or speckles. Density is also acceptable supporting consistent contrast. The outdoor sequences dominate and, naturally, look pleasingly bright and clear. Detail is modest and there is only minor depth but there is some texture notable. There are a few very dark scenes but they are visible enough not to complain and I saw no noise or artifacts. The Blu-ray provided a typically acceptable 1080P presentation considering the film's unrestored source condition.
















Audio :

Olive use a DTS-HD 2.0 channel mono track at 1779 kbps. There is minor depth in the gunshots and it seems a faithful transfer without flaws. The score is standard genre fare by R. Dale Butts (Hell's Half Acre, City That Never Sleeps, Too Late for Tears). The music has  an even crispness to it at times.  There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.



Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their releases.



I thought this was a decent western. The story has classic-Greek tragedy overtones. The search for redemption, morality and forgiveness juxtaposing the building tension. The Olive Blu-ray (nice cover) is at their usual decent level but bare-bones. I think the value isn't quite there for the current asking price but, if on sale, western genre fans might find this a very pleasing distraction. I did. 

Gary Tooze

March 19th, 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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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Gary W. Tooze






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