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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Collision' or 'Hard Bargain' or 'The Thieves' Market')

Directed by Jules Dassin
USA 1949

Thieves’ Highway vividly depicts the perilous world of “long-haul boys,” who drive by night to bring their goods to the markets of America’s cities. Richard Conte stars as ex-G.I. Nick Garcos, a tyro trucker bent on satisfaction from the man responsible for crippling his father—ruthless market operator Mike Figlia (Lee J. Cobb). But when Figlia gets wise to his plan, Nick finds himself in a web of treachery and heartbreak. The Criterion Collection is proud to present this searing melodrama from master Jules Dassin.

***

Thieves' Highway was made during a remarkable run of noir pictures that confirmed its director, Jules Dassin, as one of the genre's major forces. Following on from Brute Force and The Naked City, with Night and the City and Rififi soon to follow, it more than deserves its place in such hallowed company.

Returning from the war to discover his father has been crippled in an altercation with a brutish mob-connected kingpin, Nick Garcos puts aside thoughts of settling down and instead focuses them on revenge. He buys an old army surplus truck and hits the road a 36-hour non-stop to San Francisco and, he hopes, a little justice...

Starring Richard Conte as Garcos and Lee J. Cobb as the object of his hate-filled intentions, Thieves Highway is as tough as film noir gets. Adapting his own novel, A.I. Bezzerides (who would later bring Kiss Me Deadly to the big screen) created a slice of pure pulp poetry.

Posters

Theatrical Release: January 18th, 2003 - Tokyo

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Comparison:

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 Box Covers

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 273 - Region 1 - NTSC Arrow Video
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:34:00  1:33:59.675
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.4 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

1.33:1 1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,225,011,675 bytes

Feature: 27,507,045,312 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.91 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0)  LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by Alain Silver, editor of Film Noir Reader and author of Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles
• Video interview with Jules Dassin
• Trailer for The Long Haul of A.I. Bezzerides (2004), a new documentary on Bezzerides, author of the screenplay for Thieves’ Highway and the novel on which it was based
• Original theatrical trailer
• Liner notes essay by film critic Michael Sragow

DVD Release Date: February 1st, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 22

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow

 

1.85:1 1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,714,971,397 bytes

Feature: 24,637,526,976 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.94 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

The Long Haul of A.I. Bezzerides, a 55-minute documentary portrait of Thieves Highway author and screenwriter, featuring contributions from Bezzerides, director Jules Dassin and writers George P. Pelecanos (The Wire), Mickey Spillane (Kiss Me Deadly) and Barry Gifford (Lost Highway) (55:42)
The Fruits of Labour, a new video essay about the genesis, production, reception and politics of Thieves Highway by Frank Krutnik, author of In a Lonely Street: Film Noir, Genre, Masculinity (33:39)
Selected scene and character commentaries by Frank Krutnik (The Homecoming - 12:19, Delicious Gold - 7:48, Rica - 10:46)

Stills Gallery
Theatrical trailer (2:06)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Alastair Phillips (co-author of 100 Film Noirs), illustrated with original production stills

DVD included!

Blu-ray Release Date: October 19th, 2015
Transparent
Blu-ray case

Chapters: 13

 

 

 

Comments:

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

 

ADDITION: Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray October 15': The Arrow looks marvelous - just as I presume the film  to have looked theatrically. It's a beautiful dual-layered transfer showcasing some brilliant film-like visuals with the inherent thickness and excellent contrast. It looks super-sweet in-motion - darker than the manipulated Criterion SD (a shade too much 'magic'), and, presumably, totally accurate - smokey and heavy, in 1080P. The Arrow is either horizontally stretched (fatter faces) or the Criterion vertically streteched (slimmer faces). It may be a little of both. I was not bothered at all. IMO, the softer look is more accurate, is smoother (Criterion has some minor compression artifacts along with the digitization issues.)

 

Arrow go with a linear PCM Audio 1.0 channel mono track at 1152 kbps (24-bit). Likewise, it seems very pleasing to me sounding rich and tight. The score by the great Alfred Newman (The Diary of Anne Frank, Bus Stop, Blood and Sand, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Panic in the Streets, The Song of Bernadette etc. etc.) with Cyril J. Mockridge (Where the Sidewalk Ends, Desk Set, The Ox-Bow Incident, The Dark Corner, My Darling Clementine, Nightmare Alley) and supports the films wonderfully via the uncompressed transfer. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'B' Blu-ray disc.

 

Arrow, once again stack their release with impressive supplements. The Long Haul of A.I. Bezzerides is a 55-minute documentary portrait by Fay Efrosini Lellios the Thieves Highway author and screenwriter, featuring contributions from Bezzerides, director Jules Dassin and writers George P. Pelecanos (The Wire), Mickey Spillane (Kiss Me Deadly) and Barry Gifford (Lost Highway). It's very informative and really worth watching for fans of Noir. The Fruits of Labour, is a new 1/2 hour video essay about the genesis, production, reception and politics of Thieves Highway by Frank Krutnik, author of In a Lonely Street: Film Noir, Genre, Masculinity. Arrow include about 30-minutes worth of selected scene and character commentaries by Mr. Krutnik for the segments; The Homecoming, Delicious Gold and Rica. His insights are very much appreciated by this reviewer. Lastly, is a still gallery, a theatrical trailer and the package contains a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys and a collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Alastair Phillips (co-author of 100 Film Noirs), illustrated with original production stills. Being dual-format a DVD is included.

 

The film is too good - Noir class - the Blu-ray has our highest recommendation! What a package!

***

ON THE DVD: Aside from some very infrequent missteps, almost exclusively in their early days of DVD production, the Criterion Collection is usually worthy of totally blind purchases. This film looks great with some minor edge-enhancement halos (see sample below). Also a shade of minor chroma (not captured) in two spots the image is exquisitely sharp with no scratches or damage, perfectly appointed optional subtitles, clear original audio and worthwhile extras that help garner further appreciation of this great cinema masterpiece. The ten minute Dassin interview is key but I craved it to be much longer. Alain Silver knows his stuff and the commentary is highly relevant to the film - very good! For me this will be one of my favorite films-to-DVD of the year - in a year filled with marvels. We certainly recommend even with the imperfections in the video!

Gary W. Tooze

 





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1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


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2) Criterion DVD (edge enhancement halos) - MIDDLE

3) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

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Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

 

 Box Covers

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 273 - Region 1 - NTSC Arrow Video
Region 'B' -
Blu-ray





 

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