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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Storm Fear [Blu-ray]

 

(Cornel Wilde, 1955)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Theodora Productions

Video: Kino Lorber

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:28:26.301

Disc Size: 19,697,124,210 bytes

Feature Size: 18,567,376,896 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.91 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 4th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1556 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1556 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Trailers for A Bullet For Joey, He Ran All the Way, Witness to Murder

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Newly Re-mastered in HD! Storm Fear is a classic film noir starring, produced and directed by Cornel Wilde (The Naked Prey) as a wounded bank robber, Charlie Blake hiding out with his gang at his brother, Fred (Dan Duryea, Scarlet Street) and sister-in-law, Elizabeth' s (Jean Wallace, The Big Combo) farmhouse during a snowstorm. As time passes the criminals are anxious to move on, but need to rest so Charlie has time to recover, complicating matters more is Charlie s love for Elizabeth with whom he once had an affair. The stellar supporting cast includes Lee Grant (The Mafu Cage), Steven Hill (The Slender Thread) and Dennis Weaver (Duel) with an adapted screenplay by the great Horton Foote (To Kill a Mockingbird) and stunning black-and-white cinematography by Joseph LaShelle (Laura.)

 

 

The Film:

Much of this gripping crime drama takes place in a remote New England farm house owned by the brother of a bank robber. The crook is mortally wounded during his last heist and suddenly shows up seeking shelter. The brother reluctantly harbors the fugitive and his henchmen. Time passes and the henchmen are anxious to move on; unfortunately, their leader is healing. He is also still in love with his brother's wife with whom he had an affair. More trouble ensues when it is revealed that the woman's son was fathered by the crook, not her husband. Meanwhile, a farmhand manages to escape. He tries to alert the cops and this causes the criminals to flee. To help them through the woods the robber takes the boy to guide him. The boy is devastated when his heretofore "decent" uncle shoots his father.

Excerpt from MRQElocated HERE

A gripping film noir that's set in a claustrophobic rural New England farmhouse during a snowstorm, where a physically ill and unsuccessful writer, Fred (Duryea), lives with his wife Liz (Wallace) and their 12-year-old son David (Stollery). The place was bought by his gangster younger brother. There's also a hired hand on the premises, Hank (Weaver), who pines for Liz.

When Hank goes into town for supplies, a gang of bank robbers drive up to the house and force themselves in. The leader of the gang is Fred's kid brother Charlie (Wilde), who got a bullet in his leg when stealing $80,000. The other members are a psychopathic gunman, Benjie (Hill), and a gun moll wearing a mink coat named Edna (Lee Grant). It's not clear which man she's with, but neither shows much interest in her. The gang has killed a policeman, and one other gang member is critically shot and is being held in police custody.

The gang promises to leave in the morning, but a snowstorm prevents them. As they wait in the small cabin, the tension builds as we learn that Charlie used to go out with Liz before she married Fred. We also learn that Liz married Fred when she had David, whose real father he doesn't know is Charlie. The marriage has been a strained one, without much affection or love on Liz' part for Fred. She's still physically attracted to Charlie even though she knows that he's no good. Fred is a bitter man who is jealous of both Hank and Charlie.

Excerpt from Dennis Schwartz Ozu's World located HERE

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

Storm Fear comes to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber looking solid. There is some texture to the visuals, but the contrast may be the best attribute of the 1080P with some appreciated layers that improve shadow detail. The few outdoor sequences do raise-the-bar for the overall image which may have a modicum of softness. The source is clean, and the image is fairly consistent throughout. This Blu-ray gave me a watchable, superior to SD, viewing in regards to the video. I was pleased with the presentation.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel, mono, at 1556 kbps does a competent job of exporting the film's occasionally aggressive sound requirements - guns, shouting, some fighting etc. . The Elmer Bernstein (Kings of the Sun, Hud, To Kill a Mockingbird, Summer and Smoke) score suits the film dark cinema tendencies. It sounds crisp with some depth via the lossless - and seems to export the gritty feel of the film. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Only trailers for three other Noir-ish films; A Bullet For Joey, He Ran All the Way, and Witness to Murder.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Storm Fear is a cracking Noir. And we some of the cycles prominent performers plus a tense story with plenty of conflicts mostly spent in a small, secluded, snow-bound homestead. I was right into this - anticipating my HD viewing for months. It didn't disappoint. The bare-bones Kino Lorber Blu-ray
gives a good presentation of a not-frequently seen Essential Noir. What more could you ask? I was thoroughly entertained and we absolutely recommended!

Gary Tooze

July 22nd, 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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