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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Cost of Living" )

 

directed by Joseph Losey
USA 1951

 

Famed director Joseph Losey's long neglected masterpiece, scripted by legendary blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, has been restored to its original bleak splendor by the Film Noir Foundation and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. A nefarious cop stalks a lonely, repressed Los Angeles housewife and decides to win her in the traditional film noir fashion - by knocking off her husband!

***

Webb Garwood (Van Heflin) is a cynical policeman who believes that success comes from lucky breaks. Responding to a... prowler complaint at the home of Susan Gilvray (Evelyn Keyes), he is immediately attracted to her and her wealth. He returns to check up on Susan, and they begin an affair, conducted while listening to her husband William (Emerson Treacy)'s all-night radio program. Feeling guilty, Susan ends the relationship, but Garwood remains obsessed. He pretends to be a prowler on the Gilvray property so he can respond to another police call. Drawing William outside, he shoots him and makes it appear accidental. When Garwood manipulates Susan's confusion about the shooting, she buys his story, and the lovers marry. However, upon discovering that Susan is pregnant too soon, they flee to give birth in secret, but eventually Susan learns the devastating truth. Intense performances by Heflin and Keyes bring alive this story of a prowler who preys on a woman's loneliness while also representing the forces of authority who literally screw those they are supposed to serve.

~ Steve Press, All Movie Guide.

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 25th, 1951 (premiere)

Reviews                                                                      More Reviews                                                                  DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

VCI - Region 0 - NTSC vs. VCI - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the DVD Review!

1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) VCI - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

 

Distribution

VCI

Region 0 - NTSC

VCI
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:32:51 1:32:54.986
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.45 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 23,996,584,603 bytes

Feature Size: 18,636,656,640 bytes

Total Bitrate: 21.98 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG2

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: VCI

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by Eddie Muller
• 'The Cost of Living: Creating The Prowler' featurette (24:58)
• 'Masterpiece in the Margins' featurette (Bertrand Tavernier on The Prowler) (20:06)
• 'On the Prowl: Restoring The Prowler' featurette (9:20)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (1:49)
• Pressbook Photo Gallery (2:58)

DVD Release Date: February 1st, 2011
Keep Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: VCI

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Disc Size: 23,996,584,603 bytes

Feature Size: 18,636,656,640 bytes

Total Bitrate: 21.98 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG2

 

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by Eddie Muller
• 'The Cost of Living: Creating The Prowler' featurette (24:59)
• 'Masterpiece in the Margins' featurette (Bertrand Tavernier on The Prowler) (20:13)
• 'On the Prowl: Restoring The Prowler' featurette (9:20)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (1:49)
• Pressbook Photo Gallery (2:58)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: March 10th, 2015
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 13

 

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: VCI - Region FREE - Blu-ray March 15': Unfortunately, while VCI have progressively transferred this new 1080P advancing upon the older interlaced SD - they have used the inferior MPEG2 (as opposed to either VC-1 or MPEG4 AVC). Film Noir Foundation and the UCLA Film & Television Archive took the extensive pains to restore The Prowler but VCI seem to remain one generation behind in the technical move to digital. The new Blu-ray does look superior in most areas; grain structure support, sharpness and it may actually have a smidgeon more information in the frame. BUT, the visuals could probably have looked better if done if the superior encode.

VCI use a linear PCM 2.0 channel mono at 1536 kbps. It sounds quite strong.  Dialogue is consistent. The score is by Lyn Murray (Losey's The Big Night as well as Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief) and it benefits from the uncompressed rendering sounding richer and deeper than the SD. It exports a significantly mote emotive mood. Like the DVD, there are optional English subtitles on the Blu-ray. These are in a white font (as opposed to gaudy yellow.) The Blu-ray disc is region FREE (despite the back of the box stated 'A'), playable on machines worldwide.

Extras remain very good and mimic the DVD (also all still in 480i). We still get the wonderful audio commentary by Eddie Muller, and the featurettes 'The Cost of Living: Creating The Prowler', 'Masterpiece in the Margins' (Bertrand Tavernier on The Prowler) and 'On the Prowl: Restoring The Prowler' - all running in total almost an hour. There is also the original theatrical trailer and Pressbook Photo Gallery.

This is still an important 'Dark Cinema' classic and a must-own Blu-ray for Noir lovers, but VCI continue to frustrate with their unfortunate authoring. I doubt it will be coming out by anyone else - so despite our objections - this is a strong advancement over the SD - and we give it a begrudging recommendation,

Gary Tooze

***

ON THE DVD: The Prowler is one of the finest film noir titles that unfortunately has been overlooked until Film Noir Foundation and its founder, Eddie Muller, collaborated with UCLA to restore this title and bring it to the big screen at Film Noir Festival in 2008. Last year it premiered at TCM and now VCI gives this film a royal treatment with this special edition DVD release. The dual-layered disc features excellent image quality with hardly any marks or damage. However, regrettably, VCI has not learned how to flag progressive transfers for their DVDs (their Blu-ray release of A Christmas Carol is progressive) as the transfer is interlaced. The mono soundtrack is without any issues and it's worth noting that VCI provides English subtitles for this release.

The disc is stacked with extra features including an excellent audio commentary by Eddie Muller, a very informative 25-minute documentary on the making of the film and a separate featurette with Bertrand Tavernier. There is also featurette about film's restoration, a theatrical trailer - in a very good shape - and a pressbook photo gallery. Besides the unfortunate drawback of interlaced transfer, the disc is top-notch and should easily make my top list of 2011. A highly recommended release.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


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Same extras on both

 


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Screen Captures


Subtitle sample

1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) VCI - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) VCI - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) VCI - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) VCI - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) VCI - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) VCI - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


  Interlacing on the DVD

 

1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) VCI - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Covers

 

 

 

Distribution

VCI

Region 0 - NTSC

VCI
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

 




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