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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Secret Invasion [Blu-ray]


(Roger Corman, 1957)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: The Corman Company

Video: Kino Lorber



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

Runtime: 1:37:58.205 

Disc Size: 23,143,632,043 bytes

Feature Size: 21,341,356,032 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.89 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 5th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1557 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1557 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English, None



• On-camera interview with director Roger Corman (5:36)
Original Theatrical Trailer (3:12)





Description: Mickey Rooney (The Big Operator) and Stewart Granger (North to Alaska) co-star in this action-packed war drama about a group of criminals gathered into the greatest infiltration force in WWII. When an Italian general decides to join the Allies, Nazi troops capture and imprison him before he can defect. Desperate for the information and resources the general would provide, the Allies assemble a rescue team of the only men able to infiltrate the Nazi prison undetected... criminals. But when the team's carefully planned prison break erupts into an all-out fight for survival, it will take more than bravery to carry out their mission and turn the tide of the war. Wonderfully directed by cult legend, Roger Corman (Premature Burial) and featuring an outstanding cast that includes Raf Vallone (Phaedra), Henry Silva (The Italian Connection) and Edd Byrnes (TV's 77 Sunset Strip), The Secret Invasion is an explosion of fast, absorbing entertainment that doesn't let up until the final salute.



The Film:

Producer/director Roger Corman briefly abandoned Edgar Allan Poe for The Secret Invasion, a commendable attempt to make a war epic on a "B" budget. The story is a scaled-down precursor to The Dirty Dozen: Five criminals are given a chance at a pardon by agreeing to participate in a suicide mission for British Intelligence. They are smuggled into Yugoslavia where this film was made to conduct several commando raids against the Nazi invaders. The quintet is comprised of veterans of internationally-produced war films: Stewart Granger, Raf Vallone, Mickey Rooney, Edd "Kookie" Byrnes and Henry Silva observe the cast and guess who gets killed first. Corman's skill at generating excitement through quick cutting and careful camera composition is given an exhilarating workout in The Secret Invasion.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE


This Dirty Dozen predates Aldrich's by three years, with Granger leading five convicts, against the promise of free pardons, in a suicidal World War II bid to kidnap an influential Italian general from a Nazi fortress in Dubrovnik. Corman delivers the action all right, making particularly suspenseful use of a device - lacking watches, each member of the team keeps time by rhythmically snapping his fingers so that stages of the kidnap plan can be coordinated - which springs several ingenious surprises on both Nazis and audience. But the real fascination of the film is the extent to which it is cloaked in characteristic Corman/Gothic motifs: Silva's role as the killer with 'dead eyes', inevitably fated to kill his own love; the disguise as hooded monks adopted for the final showdown; Granger's death in an idyllic forest glade after using his own blood to lead a pack of tracker dogs astray. Unexpectedly, the overall tone is strangely elegiac.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

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

Roger Corman's The Secret Invasion has made it to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.  The image is quite solid with surprising detail in close-ups.  This is single-layered with a supportive bitrate and there are instances of depth and tight, realistic colors. The scenery in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Yugoslavia looks excellent in 1080P. I suspect the source was in fine shape. This Blu-ray transfer does its job with a pleasing video presentation.

















Audio :

We get a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1557 Kbps. There are some deeply exported effects - shooting and other aggression - plus a supportive, and occasionally gripping, score by the great Hugo Friedhofer's (Violent Saturday, Man in the Attic, Ace in the Hole, Body and Soul, Gilda). The audio here is solid and the lossless transfer adept. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Extras include a 5-minute interview with director Roger Corman discussing the film and an original theatrical trailer.



I think their description of The Secret Invasion as a 'B' The Dirty Dozen is accurate. While the performances are decent - they certainly don't have the machismo draw that the latter film embodied. But there were enough positives to keep me attentive, although it is not a particularly memorable effort. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray gives a decent presentation, well in advance of SD and those keen will appreciate that, but we can't give an overwhelming recommendation solely based on the strength of the film. 

Gary Tooze

April 29th, 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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