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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Shanghai Story [Blu-ray]

 

(Frank Lloyd, 1954)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Republic Pictures

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:30:11.447

Disc Size: 22,950,324,076 bytes

Feature Size: 22,752,282,624 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 31st, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1921 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1921 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Produced and directed by the prestigious Frank Lloyd, The Shanghai Story was promoted as a "class" production by the bread-and-butter firm of Republic Pictures. The film takes place in the eponymous far-eastern metropolis (courtesy of the Republic backlot), where Communist police chief Colonel Zorek (Marvin Miller) hopes to trap an American spy. Zorek rounds up the usual suspects and sequesters them in a seedy hotel. Could the spy be Dan Maynard (Edmond O'Brien), a cynical doctor? Is it munitions profiteer Ricki Dolmine (Barry Kelley)? Perhaps it's two-fisted mercenary seaman Knuckles Greer (Richard Jaeckel). Orrrrrrr, maybe it's the mysterious Rita King (Ruth Roman), who is inexplicably given permission to come and go as she pleases by the otherwise intractable Zorek. True to form, this Republic A-picture resolves its problems with a final reel of good old B-flick action and violence.

 

 

The Film:

A captivating drama reminiscent of Grand Hotel (transposed to a Cold War setting), The Shanghai Story follows the intersecting lives of Western expatriates who are held in confinement by the Communist Chinese government. Edmond O’Brien stars as Dr. Dan Maynard, a physician determined to uphold the Hippocratic oath, without bending to the will of his heartless captors. The Chinese commander (Philip Ahn) suspects a spy among the Americans, and Maynard believes the informant must be Rita King (Ruth Roman), an icy beauty born in Tangiers, clad in diamonds and furs, seemingly immune to the martial law that hangs like a shadow over Shanghai. When an intelligence agent (Whit Bissell) is killed in a daring escape, O’Brien joins forces with a small-time hoodlum (Richard Jaeckel) to convey information to the Allied forces. But when Rita learns of the plot, will she bring about his success — or his downfall?

 

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

A lesser-seen war-drama thriller The Shanghai Story reaches Blu-ray via Olive Films.  No surprises with the single-layered transfer with a high bitrate. There is a weakness that we don't see often from Olive in the form of some brief artifacts hidden in the grain. The 1.66:1 ratio in 1080P looks quite fetching in-motion with adept contrast layering but the star is the texture. There is frequent frame-specific speckles and light damage. Jack Marta's cinematography is rich with shadows and a smoke-filled aura giving the impression of a mysterious, dangerous, orient. This Blu-ray does its job and provides a pleasing HD presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Olive use a DTS-HD 2.0 channel mono track at 1921 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 (Stranger at My Door, 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.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
The Shanghai Story is another of those atmospheric hopefuls that doesn't quite reach its potential. It has a lot going for it - notably Ruth Roman (who I'll watch in anything) and Edmond O’Brien with a nicely hatched plot that gets a bit jumbled. I was pleased with the wonderful darkness, shadows and persistent fog. The Olive Blu-ray is at their predictable level and a big positive with impressive texture. Priced high for the value but a luscious aura to bathe in. 

Gary Tooze

March 20th, 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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

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
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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