Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

Directed by Henry Hathaway
USA 1947

 

Kiss of Death is a semi-documentary thriller, one of a cycle of documentary-based noirs, which began life not as pulp fiction but as a version of the facts, derived from the case files of Eleazar Lipsky, an aspiring novelist and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney. Ben Hecht, screenwriter of The Front Page and Scarface, and Charles Lederer, a frequent collaborator, delivered the script.

Sharing with the later On the Waterfront (1954) the theme of heroic informing, the film was a huge hit for Fox. The giggling psycho killer, the old lady in the wheelchair pushed down the stairs - this is the film wherein Richard Widmark became a star, Victor Mature became an actor, sadism came to the big screen and Hollywood neorealism got tangled in the dreamscape of noir.

Richard Widmark, then a radio actor, made his film debut, stealing every frame as the terrifying, grinning, snickering killer Tommy Udo. Udo, with his animal ferocity and vicious joie de vivre, is clearly a spiritual nephew of Scarface's Tony Camonte, but Widmark himself is to be credited with many of the inspired details of his performance.

***

Small-time crook Nick Bianco gets caught in a jewel heist and despite urgings from well-meaning district attorney D'Angelo, refuses to rat on his partners and goes to jail, assured that his wife and children will be taken care of. Learning that his depressed wife has killed herself, Nick informs on his ex-pals and is paroled. Nick remarries, gets a job and begins leading a happy life when he learns one of the men he informed on, psychopathic killer Tommy Udo, has been released from custody and is out for revenge against Nick and his family.

***

A gritty tale of deceit and manipulation filmed with an almost documentary-style realism, this hard-edged noir thriller stars Victor Mature as a gangster who takes the rap for a jewelry-store heist to protect his wife and children. But when his friends on the outside fail to honor their promise, he turns the tables on the mob and works with the FBI to incriminate the men who helped put him away. Richard Widmark debuts as the evil mobster with the manic laugh.

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 27th, 1947

Reviews                                                               More Reviews                                                              DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL vs. Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

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

2) BFI - Region 2 - PAL  SECOND

3) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Cover

  

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Twilight Time
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:38:54  1:34:51 (4% PAL speedup)  1:38:59.308 1:38:59.433
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 9.3 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.96 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,884,497,884 bytes

Feature: 23,768,968,320 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 27.93  Mbps

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 27,827,365,829 bytes

Feature: 27,632,093,184 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 26.99  Mbps

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

Bitrate:

 Fox

Bitrate:

BFI

Bitrate Signal One

Blu-ray

Bitrate Twilight Time

Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), DUB: Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)   English (Dolby Digital 2.0) LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1968 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1968 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Isolated Score:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1700 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1700 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2026 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2026 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1983 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1983 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

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

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by film historians James Ursini and Alain Silver
• Still Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: December 6th, 2005

Keep Case
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio: BFI Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Interview with Richard Widmark (18:27)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:14)

• 14-page liner notes booklet with photos and essay by Lee Server

DVD Release Date: October 15th, 2007

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 15
 

Release Information:
Studio: Signal One

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,974,933,390 bytes

Feature: 21,163,343,424 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 23.99  Mbps

 

Edition Details:

• Feature-length audio commentary with film historians James Ursini and Alain Silver

• Interview with Richard Widmark (2002): the celebrated actor in conversation at the National Film Theatre (18:30)
• Original Theatrical Trailer (2:21)

Blu-ray Release Date: July 25th, 2016
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Release Information:
Studio:
Twilight Time

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 27,827,365,829 bytes

Feature: 27,632,093,184 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 26.99  Mbps

 

Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary with Film Historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman
Audio Commentary with Film Historians James Ursini and Alain Silver
Isolated Music Track
Original Theatrical Trailer (2:20)
• Liner notes by Julie Kirgo
Limited to 3,000 Copies!


Blu-ray Release Date:
February, 2017
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 24

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Twilight Time Blu-ray - February 17':  Firstly, very similar. I am certain I heard that the restoration was done by the same individual and it then becomes a matter of the BD transfer - which is almost identical. It looks fabulous - excellent contrast. I did not a couple of inconsequential macro-blocking incidents on the Twilight Time - you can see it in the capture near the bottom with Brian Donlevy sitting at his desk - behind his right shoulder, on the wall. Still, very impressive in-motion.

Audio is also lossless and 24-bit and optional English (SDH) subtitles are available. The Twilight Time Blu-ray is region FREE and limited to 3,000 units.

Twilight Time add their usual isolated score option - by David Buttolph (Somewhere in the Night, Pete Kelly's Blues, Rope, Three Secrets, Blood and Sand and many more) plus the same James Ursini and Alain Silver commentary (as found on the Signal One and the 2005 Fox DVD) and a trailer. But Twilight Time add a new commentary with Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman and their usual liner notes leaflet with an essay.

Great release - the Signal One is about $6 cheaper - not including shipping, but the Twilight Time's additional commentary, isolated score option and liner notes make up for that.. either way, this Blu-ray is a must-own for Noir fans.

***

ADDITION: Signal One - Region 'B' Blu-ray (July 2016): 20th Century Fox offered a solid DVD back in 2005 but the higher resolution adds another film-like layer to the visuals. It's authentically darker, deeper black levels , fine texture and a touch of depth.

Audio goes linear PCM 2.0 channel in original English and supports the film's effects well. The score works very well with the docu-feel and despicable characters like Tommy Udo. It sounds flawless in the uncompressed and dialogue is clear and consistent. The Blu-ray disc is region 'B'-locked.

Extras include the best of the past 2 DVDs with the excellent commentary by film historians James Ursini and Alain Silver - as found on the 20th Century Fox DVD as well as a 2002 interview with Richard Widmark from the National Film Theatre as found on the BFI SD. There is also a theatrical trailer.

This is a Noir that continues to impress me over time - always love Coleen Gray - the commentary helps with the appreciation but it's a tough, grim, realistic crime drama. Fans of the cycle should have this Blu-ray in their library.

***

ADDITION: BFI - Region 2- PAL (October 07'): Image quality is excellent on the BFI - dare I say - an exact match of the Region 1 Fox - there are some slight differences but overall we have 6-of-one-half-dozen-of-the-other in terms of the image. Audio and subs - we have no complaints - many know I personally prefer the white over the yellow subtitles but on an English language film - this is not a deal breaker for me.

What is the significant difference is in the supplements - the Widmark interview with Adrian Wootten from 2002 at the National Film Theatre (Crimescene Festival) is pretty good and I appreciate BFI adding it (and the liner notes booklet), but... the Ursini / Silver commentary is golden by comparison. Price favors the, always reasonable, Fox release, but for PAL locked audiences the BFI supports a strong recommendation. Fabulous Noir entry!   

****

On the Fox: Very good image quality from Fox - it is a little soft in spots but contrast is superb and a see a tiny amount of good film grain. It is typical of their previous Noir releases - well maybe a notch ahead. I only listened to the mono track and it was a little inconsistent with hushed dialogue and explosive interludes. I had never seen this film previously and was blown away by Vic Mature performance - it might be the best I have ever seen him. I can also see why Widmark got a reputation for his characterization- WOW! Ursini and Silver make a great commentary combination playing off each other very well and their love/obsession with the Noir genre really shows through again. This film really impacted well on me and is definitely in my list of favorite Noirs right now - this disc may even get a mention in the DVD of the Year category. Well done Fox!

Gary W. Tooze


Menus

 

(20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL RIGHT)


 

Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

Twilight Time - Region 'A'- Blu-ray

 


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

 

 

Subtitle Sample

 

NOTE: Not exact frame

 

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

2) BFI - Region 2 - PAL  SECOND

3) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

Screen Captures

 

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

2) BFI - Region 2 - PAL  SECOND

3) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

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

2) BFI - Region 2 - PAL  SECOND

3) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

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

2) BFI - Region 2 - PAL  SECOND

3) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

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

2) BFI - Region 2 - PAL  SECOND

3) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


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

2) BFI - Region 2 - PAL  MIDDLE

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

 


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

2) BFI - Region 2 - PAL  MIDDLE

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

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


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

Box Cover

  

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL Signal One - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Twilight Time
Region FREE -
Blu-ray




 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!