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directed by Robert Florey
USA 1949

 

1949's "The Crooked Way" is an obscure but highly enjoyable film noir, with some of the most stylish noir photography and lighting I've ever seen. This is because the cinematography was handled by the legendary John Alton, the most recognized and respected name in film noir cinematography. To be honest, I've never thought of John Payne as a great actor. However, with his gloomy, cynical personality and his frequent frowning, he was perfect for film noir, and appeared in several classics besides this one ("Kansas City Confidential", "Slightly Scarlet", "99 River Street", "Hell's Island"). With sharp dialogue, a well-crafted and fast-paced plot, and amazing cinematography, "The Crooked Way" is a great film noir that deserves a better reputation.

Excerpt from David Forehand's review located HERE

 

Newly Re-mastered in HD! Everyone wants a piece of Eddie Rice! John Payne (99 River Street, The Boss) plays Eddie Rice, a highly decorated and wounded war veteran who has lost his memory. As he heads to Los Angeles to try and figure out his identity, two police detectives arrest him. Turns out he is really Eddie Riccardi, a former employee of the notorious mob boss Vince Alexander (Sonny Tufts, The Seven Year Itch). No one seems happy to see Eddie again and when he's framed for murder, Eddie must find the real killer and clear his name by navigating through the crooked underbelly of Los Angeles. Featuring top-notch direction by veteran filmmaker Robert Florey (The Cocoanuts) and stunning cinematography by the great John Alton (He Walked by Night, T-Men).

Posters

Theatrical Release: 22 April 1949

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Comparison

Geneon Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the DVD Review!

1) Geneon Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

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

 

Box Covers

   

    

Distribution

Geneon Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:25:51 1:29:24.317
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.71 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 19,297,425,192 bytes

Feature Size: 18,109,403,136 bytes

Total Bitrate: 23.95 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC / 1080P

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 2.0 Mono) DTS-HD Master Audio English 1568 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1568 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Subtitles None None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Geneon Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: November 22, 2005
Slim transparent case

Chapters 19

Release Information:
Studio: Kino Lorber

 

Disc Size: 19,297,425,192 bytes

Feature Size: 18,109,403,136 bytes

Total Bitrate: 23.95 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC / 1080P

 

Edition Details:

• Trailers for A Bullet For Joey  (2:07) He Ran All the Way (2:13), Witness to Murder (2:08)
 

Blu-ray Release Date: December 8th, 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 December 15': It looks as though the 2005 Geneon DVD was from an unconverted PAL source or it is conveniently cut by 4%. The Kino image is a dramatic improvement - brighter, lighter, more detail and more information in the frame. The source used has some prominent scratches, and marks (see samples) and the higher resolution probably brings them out with more prominence. There are a few dropped frames. Noir lovers won't find this a distracting issue. The SD was a cheapy and the bare-bones 1080P is significantly superior but the film has had no restoration.

Kino use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1568 kbps (16-bit). It also sounds a shade rough (2 dropouts) but there is some depth. The score is by Louis Forbes (The Bat, Pitfall, Silver Lode, The Man Who Cheated Himself, Escape to Burma, Slightly Scarlet, The River's Edge) does real service to the shadowy atmosphere augmented by the lossless transfer. There are no subtitles on the region 'A'-locked disc - and the only extras are three trailers - none from this film.

It's presently 48% OFF pre-order and it's an easy recommendation, warts and all, for lovers of Noir. Such great cinematography - at this price - go for it and drink deeply of the dark cinema pool!

***

ON THE DVD: The plot of this B film-noir is similar to Somewhere in the Night that Fox released on DVD in Sept. 2005. John Payne stars as Eddie Rice, a war veteran who has lost his memory trying to piece together his life before going to war. The straight-forward crime story is complemented by the terrific cinematography by John Alton. Geneon Entertainment bare-bones DVD is a welcome release of this rarely seen film. The presentation is much better than most Alpha releases, but like their Big Combo disc, it suffers from ghosting and blurring during many motion scenes (see last capture). Like other Cinema Deluxe releases, the DVD comes in ultra-thin case. Geneon provided generous 19 chapters, but there are no menus and the disc starts playing once the disc is inserted and stops when the film is over. Considering really cheap price and the rarity of the film, it comes highly recommended until something better comes along.

 - Gregory Meshman

 





 

Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


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

 

Screen Captures

1) Geneon Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) Geneon Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) Geneon Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) Geneon Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) Geneon Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


1) Geneon Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

 


  combing/ghosting sample on DVD

 

1) Geneon Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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

 

 

Damage visible on the Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray



Box Covers

   

    

Distribution

Geneon Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Kino Lorber
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray


 




 

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