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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Appointment With Crime [Blu-ray]


(John Harlow, 1946)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: British National Films

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:31:28.107

Disc Size: 23,915,751,520 bytes

Feature Size: 23,769,612,288 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.10 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 21st, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1762 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1762 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English, None



• None





Description: Leo Martin (William Hartnell) is a low-level member of a smash-and-grab gang run by shady dance-club owner Loman (Raymond Lovell), who is cajoled into a risky job on a major jewelry store. When the robbery goes wrong, and Martin is caught (and his wrists broken), the hood keeps silent and does his stretch in prison -- all along, he nurses a grudge against Loman and his driver Hatchett (Victor Weske) for running out on him. And that grudge grows to full-blown, murderous vengeance when Loman blows off the newly-released Martin as no use to the gang (as his hands aren't what they used to be). Now Martin plans to get even by squeezing Loman dry of everything he has, starting with his peace-of-mind -- he implicates the club owner in a murder, while planning a seemingly perfect alibi for himself, and also manages to latch on to the ring-leader that Loman is fronting for, "respectable" art dealer Gregory Lang (Herbert Lom). Lang has a knack for tying up loose ends -- including Loman -- and thinks he can handle a low-level spiv like Martin, but he doesn't reckon with the latter's rage, deviousness, or resourcefulness. Martin's planning gets him past all of the obstacles in his way, even -- so it seems -- the plodding efforts of Inspector Rogers (Robert Beatty), still investigating the killing that put Martin's plan into operation.



The Film:

The British came to film noir at just about the same time that the Americans did -- it's just that fewer people noticed, and the genre never grabbed the imagination of audiences in England the way that it did Americans. But the British film industry did its share of film noir, of which Appointment With Crime is a good example, in addition to being the best picture that director John Harlow ever made. William Hartnell is a nasty, unpleasant, yet ever-so-slightly sympathetic protagonist, a crook with smashed wrists, the latter owing to the machinations of his boss Loman (Raymond Lovell at his oiliest). With his receding chin and darting, beady eyes, he resembles a demonic version of the kind of belligerent eccentrics that Howard Morris later specialized in on television. And the world he inhabits is filled with people just as unpleasant as he is, including untrustworthy (and un-reliable) gang leader Loman, gullible taxi dancer Joyce Howard, manipulative, murderous money man Gregory Lang (Herbert Lom), and his flamboyantly gay assassin Penn (Alan Wheatley). So when he starts planning revenge and murder -- and can figure far enough ahead to work out an alibi to give Inspector Rogers (Robert Beatty), as well as turn Lang's self-protective impulses to his advantage -- one can almost identify with his character, to the degree of wanting him to succeed, at least part of the way. Hartnell's energy drives this movie forward, and he's helped by some clever intermingling of montage sequences at the beginning, and quite a few odd and disconcerting camera angles at stretegic points, which make this movie look very interesting at several strategic points. Some of the expositional sequences plod a bit, but overall this is a lively, offbeat crime thriller with a lot of dark shadows, psychological and otherwise, hanging over its characters and action.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Leo Martin (William Hartnell, TV's Doctor Who), a smash & grab thief working for crime boss Gus Loman (Raymond Lovell, 49th Parallel), is caught by the police during a robbery gone wrong that leaves his wrists broken. Abandoned by Loman at the scene of the crime, Martin vows revenge against the boss who left him to shoulder the blame in the stylish British noir Appointment with Crime. Directed and written by John Harlow (Dangerous Cargo), Appointment with Crime co-stars Herbert Lom (A Shot in the Dark) as the reptilian crime lord Gregory Lang and Joyce Howard (Shadow of the Past) as Carol Dane, a woman drawn to the dangerous Leo Martin.

Excerpt from Dave Sindelarof located HERE

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

Appointment With Crime arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films. This is only single-layered but it looks reasonably strong with some decently layered contrast and grain textures consistent and visible. The bitrate is very high. There are a few minor speckles.  There is a touch of depth here and there. The Blu-ray presentation is appealing and supported the film's darker elements adeptly.




















Audio :

Audio is transferred to a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1762 kbps. It sounds a shade weak at times - more the fault of the source I suspect. The score is by George Melachrino (Eight O'Clock Walk, No Orchids For Miss Blandish) sounds louder than the dialogue but Olive include optional, yellow (see sample), English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their releases.



Appointment With Crime is very dark and Noir-leaning and I thoroughly enjoyed the revenge-based story. Certainly a British venture into the cycle. The bare-bones Blu-ray gives a strong presentation and fans who enjoy crime-dramas of the era will find it appealing. It would make a great double feature as a 'B' feature with an essential Noir title. 

Gary Tooze

June 14th, 2016

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.

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