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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Waterfront aka "Waterfront Women" [Blu-ray]


(Michael Anderson, 1950)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Paul Soskin Productions

Video: Network



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

Runtime: 1:20:21.833

Disc Size: 17,871,884,635 bytes

Feature Size: 17,562,034,176 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 2nd, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



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



English, none



Image Gallery
Original Pressbook PDF





Description: This outstanding drama traces the turbulent life of a seaman brutalised by a life of hard work and hard drinking, and the challenges facing the three children he abandons as they struggle to make their way in Depression-era Liverpool. Featuring powerful performances from Robert Newton, Susan Shaw, Kathleen Harrison and a young Richard Burton appearing here in only his third film Waterfront is presented in a brand-new High Definition transfer from the original film elements in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio.

When ship's fireman Peter McCabe walks out on his long-suffering wife, he leaves her impoverished, with two young daughters and a boy born soon after his departure. After an absence of fourteen years McCabe returns, sacked and humiliated, trailing trouble in his wake...



The Film:

A good-for-nothing sailor walks out on his young family leaving them to fend for themselves in the Liverpool slums. They make a go of their lives and the eldest daughter, now a woman, is none too pleased at her father's attempted return.


Adapted from the novel by John Brophy, this kitchen-sink melodrama is set amongst the slums of Liverpool’s docklands.

McCabe (Robert Newton), a hard-drinking sailor, abandons his pregnant young wife (Kathleen Harrison) and two children in favour of a life at sea. Fourteen years later he returns to Liverpool, and owing to a grudge with the ships engineers, whom he kills in a drunken rage, he finds himself in prison. His wife visits him in jail and introduces him to the child he’s never seen.

Excerpt from located HERE


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

Waterfront gets a single-layered transfer to Blu-ray from Network in the UK. I appreciated the rich black levels and assume the source had serviceable density, although there are hints of digital manipulation and I noticed some signs of, unfortunate, edge enhancement halos. They didn't bother me though. The 1080P supports solid contrast and impressive texture with a fairly flat appearance in the 1.33:1 frame.  It's very clean with only a few speckles. I noticed no unsightly artifacts or noise. This Blu-ray from a good source supplies a watchable HD video presentation of a 65-year old film.




















Audio :

We get a standard linear PCM 2.0 channel mono at 1536 kbps. The source does have some weakness sounding a bit scratchy early on, but once it settled I never noticed it again. I don't recall any score, although we do get Liszt's Les Preludes by The London Symphony Orchestra at the theatre sequence. It has a bit of crispness and depth in the uncompressed. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

Nothing but an image gallery with some behind the scenes photos and posters and in the root of the disc you can access a PDF of the original Pressbook. I would have liked more but the film appears to have been 'off the radar' for a long time with very few reviews on the Net.



I appreciated the vérité aura of Waterfront. It's a very strong film involving the struggling lower classes in Liverpool. Performances are excellent with endurance and disappointment always prevalent. The Network Blu-ray provides an acceptable 1080P presentation looking far superior to SD. I would think the film deserves more supplements, but I was thankful just to see the film. I think it may be priced a bit high - at present, but there is still good value if you are keen on this genre. 

Gary Tooze

March 11th, 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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