|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Private Property [Blu-ray]
(Leslie Stevens, 1960)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Daystar Productions
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc One Size: 24,441,383,152 bytes
Feature Size: 20,868,559,680 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.91 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: November 8th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080P / 24 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1032 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1032 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1778 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1778 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
• New video interview with Still Photographer and Technical
Consultant Alex Singer (18:02)
Description: Two homicidal drifters (played to creepy
perfection by Warren Oates and Corey Allen) wander off the
beach and into the seemingly-perfect Los Angeles home of
unhappy housewife Kate Manx, in this long-lost California
noir written & directed by THE OUTER LIMITS creator
Leslie Stevens. Lensed in stunning B&W by master cameraman
Ted McCord (THE
TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE), PRIVATE PROPERTY
is both an eerie, Jim Thompson-esque thriller and a savage
critique of the hollowness of the Playboy-era American
Dream. Warren Oates delivers his first screen performance
here, years before he emerged in
THE WILD BUNCH and
TWO-LANE BLACKTOP as one of the finest character
actors of his generation; his bizarre Lennie-and-George
relationship with the underrated Corey Allen (James Dean’s
hot rod rival in
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE) is fueled by a
barely-suppressed homoerotic tension. Director Stevens (a
protégé of Orson Welles) and lead actress Manx were married
at the time, and the film was shot in their home; several
years later, Manx tragically committed suicide and her
fragile spirit seems to hang over the film.
An unusual psychological drama for its time, Private Property by director Leslie Stevens revolves around a different kind of triangle. Ann (Kate Manx) is a frustrated housewife whose complaint is almost universal: her husband takes her for granted. Duke (Corey Allen) is a petty thug with a conspicuous absence of morality, and Boots (Warren Oates) is his virginal friend, an implied homosexual. Most of the 79-minute running time is taken up with Duke planning how to snare the appealing housewife for a one-time sexual encounter with Boots. What Duke cannot plan are the effects this will have on the very people he is trying to manipulate, and tragedy results.
Duke is played by Corey Allen, a few years after he hassled James Dean
Without a Cause”; Boots is Warren Oates, a few years before
establishing himself as one of the greatest character actors of the “new
Hollywood.” Kate Manx, Mr. Stevens’s wife at the time, plays the
porcelain beauty Ann; her expertise at portraying vulnerability is made
more poignant by the knowledge that she took her own life in 1964. Mr.
Oates underplays what could have been a schematic “Of Mice and Men”-derived
dynamic, while Mr. Allen’s work as an overconfident sociopath is
consistently insightful enough to make you regret that he didn’t get
more roles this meaty during his career.
“Private Property” is a terrific example of the spell that a confident film can weave by placing a handful of troubled characters in a confined location, and in the end it does feel like as much of a tragedy as a potboiler. Even when Allen oversells or fumbles moments that a handsome-neurotic star of that same era (like Paul Newman) could’ve transformed into antihero black magic, the character still holds the screen, because there’s enough of the aggrieved child in Duke that you feel for him even when he’s being scary and disgusting. And Stevens and his cinematographer Ted McCord (“The Sound of Music”) come up with images that are metaphorically richer than Stevens' very best dialogue, such as a wide shot of Duke and Ann drunkenly slow-dancing into the deep background of a shot, their spiraling movements framed through a booze-smeared tumbler in the foreground.Excerpt from RogerEbert.com located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Private Property comes to Blu-ray from CineliciousPics and is described as a "New 4K restoration from previously lost film elements rediscovered and preserved by UCLA Film and Television Archive". This 1080P image is at the mercy of the restored source. You can see that the print's density improves after the first 5-mintes and contrast benefits. There is plenty of rich grain and detail is modest in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio frame. It looks very watchable in-motion and the presentation remains quite consistent (after that initial few minutes) and the outdoor sequences are bright with depth. We should be privileged to see this hidden gem looking restored in 4K. Bravo!
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is a DTS-HD Master mono track that authentically replicates the film's audio via a 24-bit rendering. The score is by Pete Rugolo (most notable for the music in the 1960's TV show The Fugitive as well as other TV work including 1975's The Invisible Man with David McCallum). It sounds less remarkable as per the production limitations but is consistent and clean - all dialogue very audible. There are optional English subtitles (see sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked disc as confirmed by the back cover.
CineliciousPics' extras include a new, 18-minute, video interview with 'Still Photographer and Technical Consultant' Alex Singer who discusses the production - what he learned from the experience etc. There is also a U.S. theatrical trailer and the package has a 10-page liner notes leaflet with new essay by Don Malcolm as well as a second disc DVD. Those keen should note that it is a limited edition of only 3,000 units.
October 28th, 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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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