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directed by Seymour Friedman
USA 19
5
1

Though made in 1951, Criminal Lawyer has the feel of a 1930s film, right down to the casting of Pat O'Brien in the lead. The star plays attorney James Regan, whose unethical methods have earned him the disdain of the American Bar Association. Eventually, Regan is even disgusted with himself, and accordingly crawls into a liquor bottle. Redeemed by the love of girl-Friday Maggie Powell Jane Wyatt, Regan tackles a difficult make-or-break case which comprises the film's tense denouement. Critics in 1951 were impressed by the subtle performance by brutish Mike Mazurki as Regan's bodyguard; few of them were aware that the college-educated Mazurki was a sensitive, highly intelligent performer who was not at all like the thugs and pluguglies he played on screen.

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Though made in 1951, Criminal Lawyer has the feel of a 1930s film, right down to the casting of Pat O'Brien in the lead. The star plays attorney James Regan, whose unethical methods have earned him the disdain of the American Bar Association. Eventually, Regan is even disgusted with himself, and accordingly crawls into a liquor bottle. Redeemed by the love of girl-Friday Maggie Powell (Jane Wyatt), Regan tackles a difficult make-or-break case which comprises the film's tense denouement. Critics in 1951 were impressed by the subtle performance by brutish Mike Mazurki as Regan's bodyguard; few of them were aware that the college-educated Mazurki was a sensitive, highly intelligent performer who was not at all like the thugs and pluguglies he played on screen..

Poster

Theatrical Release: August 23rd, 1951

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DVD Review: Sony Pictures - Region 0 - NTSC

  Individual Release Also available in the 5 disc Sony Film Noir Collection Volume 1 which contains (already reviewed) The Case Against Brooklyn, Criminal Lawyer, The Crooked Web, Escape from San Quentin and The Shadow on the Window
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Sony Pictures

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:12:36
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.32 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

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

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital 1.0 (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Trailer (1:46)

DVD Release Date: March 4th, 2011
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Chapters 8

 

 

 

Comments

Firstly, this is also available in the 5 disc Sony Film Noir Collection Volume 1 which contains (already reviewed) The Case Against Brooklyn, Criminal Lawyer, The Crooked Web, Escape from San Quentin and The Shadow on the Window.

It's a Sony MoD (Made-on-Demand) product - standard single-layered and progressive in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and looks modest. The transfer has a low bitrate but the source is in fine shape and the disc produces a very watchable, if not stellar, image. There is a bit of grain and a shade softer than you might anticipate with muddy contrast sequences. HD can spoil us.

The mono sound is decent but unremarkable and there are no subtitles, and only a trailer as an extra.  Like many MoD discs, you would, probably, buy this solely to see the film.

I like Criminal Lawyer and I think those keen on courtroom dramas will probably enjoy this too. We're talking a B-picture - so not a lot of production values but the story rolls along well. We can't recommend a bare-bones disc purchase but its another worthwhile addition to the Sony Film Noir Collection Volume 1 with hints are the dark cinema.  

  - Gary Tooze

 



 

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  Individual Release Also available in the 5 disc Sony Film Noir Collection Volume 1 which contains (already reviewed) The Case Against Brooklyn, Criminal Lawyer, The Crooked Web, Escape from San Quentin and The Shadow on the Window
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Sony Pictures

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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