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directed by Howard W. Koch
USA 1955

 

Broderick Crawford (All the King's Men), Ralph Meeker (Kiss Me Deadly), Charles Bronson (Death Wish), Lon Chaney, Jr. (The Wolf Man) and William Talman (The Hitch-Hiker) star in this tough and realistic crime drama about a gang of ruthless convicts who execute a successful prison break to secure a $200,000 loot hidden in Colorado s Royal Gorge National Park. This classic thriller was directed by Howard W. Koch (Badge 373) and written by John C. Higgens (He Walked by Night) with beautiful black-and-white cinematography by Gordon Avil (King Dinosaur).

***

In this violent, gripping drama, a ruthless criminal kidnaps a little boy and takes him into the Colorado wilderness where, unfortunately, the lad accidentally dies in a terrible fall. This doesn't stop the crook from collecting and hiding a substantial ransom. He is eventually captured and imprisoned. There he hooks up with four other bad apples and together they escape and go looking for the money. These criminals are desperate and will stop at nothing to reach their goal. One of them is a true psychopath and the cops and FBI agents must hurry before more blood is spilled.

Posters

Theatrical Release: 3 March 1955 (Detroit)

Reviews                                                               More Reviews                                                         DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

MGM (MGM Limited Edition Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the DVD Review!

1) MGM - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

   

Also available in Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema [Blu-ray] (Big House, U.S.A., A Bullet For Joey, He Ran All the Way, Storm Fear, Witness to Murder):

   

Distribution

MGM

Region 0 - NTSC

Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:22:36 1:23:08.984
Video

1.33:1 Open Matte format
Average Bitrate: 6.41 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.75:1 Disc Size: 18,561,448,581 bytes

Feature Size: 17,402,198,016 bytes

Total Bitrate: 24.82 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

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

Bitrate

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English) DTS-HD Master Audio English 1562 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1562 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles None None
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: January 28th, 2011
Keep Case

Chapters 9

Release Information:
Studio: Kino Lorber

 

1.75:1 Disc Size: 18,561,448,581 bytes

Feature Size: 17,402,198,016 bytes

Total Bitrate: 24.82 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:

3 Trailers of different films
 

Blu-ray Release Date: August 4th, 2015
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters: 8

 

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray July 15': The 2011 DVD from MGM is disgraceful - hazy, green, improper ratio... wow. The new Kino Lorber 1080P breathes new life into the visuals with vastly superior contrast and much tighter lines plus some good grain - and it is in the correct 175:1 aspect ratio (losing from the top and bottom of the Open-matte SD). It still suffers a shade from the source with a few scratches and speckles, plus i noticed a tiny bit of noise. Overall though this is a significant improvement. Tension is notable in the lossless audio transfer of the score by Paul Dunlap (Shock Corridor, Shack Out on 101, Cry Vengeance, Portland Expose, Dragonfly Squadron., Target Earth, Park Row). No subtitles and and trailers as supplements. I love the cast here... and a great little Noir-ish Prison-break pulpy, but realistic, yarn. Yes, even as a bare-bones release, this is recommended. Throw your old DVD in the garbage.

 

***

ON THE DVD: Here is another mid-1950's film from MGM's made-on-demand Limited Edition Collection that, unfortunately, gets an old open-matte transfer. The same year Ralph Meeker was Mike Hammer in Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly, he also made this underrated crime drama Big House, U.S.A. He plays a kidnapper and extortionist who gets sentenced to a short prison term while his loot is hidden safely at the Royal Gorge. Unfortunately to him, he gets a quartet of cellmates who are planning an escape - and these are some of the best character actors of the time - Broderick Crawford, William Talman, Lon Chaney Jr. and Charles Bronson. There is also some added sex appeal from Felicia Farr in a nurse uniform.

Unfortunately, the transfer is weak. Like stated above, the film is presented open matte, but also has a weak contrast and chroma is evident in a few scenes. There is a greenish hue on some monitors. The film starts with an old United Artists logo, so it gives a general idea that the transfer is not recent. The mono soundtrack is unimpressive, but without major issues. There are no extras included with this release and while the film worth viewing at least once, we can not recommend this release.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


DVD Menu
 

 

 Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) MGM - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) MGM - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) MGM - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Covers

 

 

   

Also available in Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema [Blu-ray] (Big House, U.S.A., A Bullet For Joey, He Ran All the Way, Storm Fear, Witness to Murder):

   

Distribution

MGM

Region 0 - NTSC

Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray

 

 




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