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(aka "Riff-Raff" )


directed by Ted Tetzlaff
USA 1947


One of the many felicities of Ted Tetzlaff's top-notch Riffraff, the cinematography of George Diskant can be best seen, unencumbered by dialogue, in the first few dazzling minutes. Torrential storms darken an airfield in Peru, where in the dead of night a cargo plane bearing two passengers departs for Panama; only one of them arrives. The opening previews Tetzlaff's pure-cinema approach; he lets the story unfold through images (and occasionally sounds) with a casual adroitness that remains striking more than half a century later.

At the center of the story is Pat O'Brien, a Canal Zone operative-for-hire. The surviving passenger engages him for protection, but doesn't survive for long. Then an oil company hires him to find a map, supposedly with the vanished man, of unclaimed oil fields in Peru. Walter Slezak wants it, too, but through strong-arm tactics. O'Brien, with the help of his driver Percy Kilbride and nightclub singer Anne Jeffreys, sets out in pursuit of the elusive document (which we know from almost the get-go hangs pinned to a screen in his room).

In retrospectives of film noir, Riffraff usually gets overlooked. While its genre is international intrigue and its touch on the light side, its conventions and, especially, its look, bring it to the fringes of the noir cycle.

Excerpt of review from Bill McVicar for located HERE


Theatrical Release: 28 June 1947 (New York City, NY)

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Film Noir Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:20:03

1.31:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.2 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.


Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.31:1

Edition Details:
� None

DVD Release Date: June 9th, 2015
Keep case

Chapters 10





Summer of 2015 will be remembered as summer of darkness - film noirs airing every Friday on TCM in June and July and an on-line noir course Into the Darkness: Investigating Film Noir, presented by TCM and Ball State University that can be taken by everyone to widen their noir knowledge. Warner Archive Collection adding their own spark, issued 5 RKO noirs on June 9 under their ongoing Film Noir Archive Collection marquee.

Films included are not some tier Z hardly noirs, but are from the best film noir studio, RKO, and directed by some of the biggest names in the genre - Anthony Mann (Two O'Clock Courage), Richard Fleischer (The Clay Pigeon), Robert Wise (Criminal Court) or starring the heavy-hitters George Raft (Johnny Angel) and Pat O'Brien (Riffraff). There is something for everyone as we review these releases.

Riffraff (or Riff-Raff, not to be confused with Jean Harlow's 1937 picture also released by Warner Archive) is perhaps least known movie in the bunch. After the tour-de-force dialogue-free opening sequence in a drenching rain somewhere in Panama brilliantly shot by George Diskant, our story settles with a private detective Dan Hammer (Pat O'Brien) who knows his way around Panama and agrees to locate a map showing oil depositis locations in South America. Anne Jeffreys, more beautiful in the film than any poster suggests, plays his love interests, snookered by shady businessman Walter Gredson (always oily Jerome Cowan) to get the map by getting close to Hammer. Walter Slezak plays a hired killer who is also interested in location of the map. The most fun is that unbeknown to any characters, the viewer knows the location of the map from the very start. It all comes together under the able direction of Ted Tetzlaff (The Window).

Warner Archive releases the film on made-on-demand single-layered disc in a newly remastered progressive transfer. Like many other RKO titles, the film has been available on DVD from Spain, but image quality from Warner is splendid, with very little damage and good contrast. It is window-boxed with slight black bars on the sides at approximately 1.31:1 aspect ratio. The mono audio is fine, with no damage and there are no subtitles or captions. Disc from Warner Archive has no extras, yet this release gets our most enthusiastic recommendation for the film itself.

  - Gregory Meshman


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Region 0 - NTSC



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