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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Directed by Richard Fleischer
USA 1959

 

When Orson Welles speaks in any of his films, he makes words sound as if they were born of lightning. It is the same in “Compulsion” where he, as Jonathan Wilk---representing Clarence Darrow in this examination of the famous Leopold-Loeb murder case in 1924 Chicago—works not to understand the young men (Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman) who heinously murdered a young boy, but to seek for them the justice that is deserved without resorting to the death penalty, as Darrow was known for being against.

Welles doesn’t walk in until late in the movie when, after Judd Steiner (Stockwell) and Artie Strauss (Dillman) confess, his services are obviously needed. Before him, his growing girth and his rumbling, thunderous voice, the burning questions about Steiner and Strauss rush forth in our minds when, cleverly by the efforts of director Richard Fleischer and screenwriter Richard Murphy, we thankfully don’t see the actual murder take place, but find out about it when Sid Brooks (Martin Milner, who photographed well in black-and-white and color, by way of “Adam-12”), a budding newspaperman and fellow classmate of Steiner and Strauss, is sent by one of the writers of the Globe to the morgue to see about the young victim’s body, the condition of it, and if there are any clues to give way as to how it happened.

Excerpt from Film Threat Indie Voice located HERE


Trivia: Because Orson Welles was having tax problems during the production, at the end of shooting his salary for the movie was garnisheed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. This upset Welles so much that just before he finished looping his dialogue in post-production, he stormed off the studio and left the country. All that was left to be looped was the last 20 seconds of his end speech in the courtroom. Incredibly, editor William Reynolds fixed this problem without needing Welles. Reynolds took words and pieces of words Welles had spoken earlier in the movie, and pieced them one by one into those 20 seconds.

Poster

Theatrical Release: April 1st, 1959

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Comparison:

20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

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

 

Box Covers

 

 

There is a French Blu-ray also available:

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:43:00  1:43:08.390   1:43:11.101  
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.92 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,333,737,440 bytes

Feature: 21,675,633,600 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 22.99  Mbps

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,014,884,616 bytes

Feature: 23,413,272,576 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 26.75 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Signal One  Blu-ray

Bitrate: Kino  Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 4.0), DUBs: French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0) 

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2201 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2201 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48
kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Guardian Interview:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

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)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps

Subtitles English, Spanish, None English (SDH), None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical trailer
• Teaser
• Fox Flix trailers

DVD Release Date: May 23rd, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 24

Release Information:
Studio: Signal One

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,333,737,440 bytes

Feature: 21,675,633,600 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 22.99  Mbps

 

Edition Details:

• The Guardian Interview with Richard Fleischer (1981, audio only): the award-winning director discusses his career after a screening of Compulsion (1:43:10)
• The Guardian Interview with Richard Fleischer (1994): Fleischer returns to the NFT for this filmed interview (1:16:42)
• Orson Welles in the Courtroom Scene from Compulsion (1959, audio only): reproduction of the original 7" vinyl (10:12)
• Lobby cards, posters and stills gallery (:59)
• Original theatrical trailer (2:27)

Blu-ray Release Date: February 29th, 2016
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters: 11

Release Information:
Studio: Kino
 

1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,047,708,853 bytes

Feature: 36,837,795,840 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

 

Edition Details:

Audio Commentary by Film Historian Tim Lucas
Trailers for Compulsion (1:01), 23 Paces to Baker Street (2:15), Five Miles to Midnight (3:19) and The Stranger (1:17)

Blu-ray Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters:8

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray February 17': There are some differences in the 1080P image qualities - the Signal One Blu-ray is darker and there is some negligible movement in the frame that I can't identify. It's a case where the disparities are so minute that the majority of systems and home theater owners won't distinguish the differences between the single-layered transfers, but - if I was to guess - I think the darker Signal One may be more, theatrically, accurate although both are from a 4K restoration.

Kino don't go in for the surround bump and have a competent DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel - also 16-bit. The effects and score, likewise, by Lionel Newman (The Boston Strangler, A Kiss Before Dying, The Proud Ones) sounds strong via the lossless. Kino also add optional subtitles in a smaller font (see sample) and the Blu-ray disc is region 'A'-locked.

The most significant difference in the packages is the addition of another fabulous Tim Lucas commentary. He remains one of my favorites covering plenty of detailed information on the true crime, the performers and the dialogue. It's excellent and worth the price alone if only in education on the production and history of the crime. He's fabulously prepared. There are also trailers for Compulsion, 23 Paces to Baker Street, Five Miles to Midnight and The Stranger.

Both packages are excellent but I would encourage a double-dip to own the Kino Blu-ray with the Lucas commentary. Essential stuff folks...

***

ADDITION: Signal One - Region 'B' Blu-ray (February 2016): Sweet! - Signal One keep announcing themselves with superior Blu-ray packages and they keep delivering. The DVD looked solid but the 1080P (a 4K digital restoration, no less!), even single-layered, bests it handily with deep black levels with a wonderfully crisp sheen and a hint of gloss. Wow. WE lose a little information on the right edge but gain a similar amount on the left. The slightly darker image is very impressive in-motion.

NOTE: My error - I just noticed we don't have near enough captures of the great Dean Stockwell. His role in this film is essential. I will add a couple.

As for the audio, Signal one go linear PCM but miss out on the 4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints - Westrex Recording System) as found on the DVD but make-up for it bumping to a 5.1 surround option. Crisp all-around and they have optional English (SDH) subtitles on their region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Supplements have a Guardian interview with Richard Fleischer from 1981 playing as the film runs like a commentary. The award-winning director discusses his career after a screening of Compulsion and another Guardian interview with Richard Fleischer from 1994 where he returns to the NFT running 1 1/4 hours. he's a fascinating filmmaker who knows his craft. We get an interesting 10-minutes of Orson Welles in the Courtroom Scene from Compulsion (1959, audio only): a reproduction of the original 7" vinyl plus some lobby cards, posters and stills in a gallery plus a trailer. Those certainly are superior to the DVD.

Great job Signal One - another winner and must-own film - hopefully this dark film will be 'rediscovered' to a new generation as the masterwork it is with the help of this 4K digital restoration release. Keep'em coming Signal One! We give this Blu-ray our highest recommendation!  

***

ON THE DVD (May 2006): Extremely impressive image by Fox - clean, exceptional contrast and grey scale, solid detail, no untoward damage marks or scratches, progressive and beautifully rendered 2.35 anamorphic scope. The 4.0 audio was clear and consistent. The optional subtitles are yellow. The only shame of this release are the lack of extras where the film would surely support some - even, possibly, a commentary. Still, it's great to have this masterfully created film on digital in such a sterling image and uncommonly reasonable price.

Gary W. Tooze

 





DVD Menus


Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray



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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

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

 

Screen Captures

 

1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

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

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

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

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

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

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 


1) 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray  BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


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

Box Covers

   

   

There is a French Blu-ray also available:

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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