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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Private Property [Blu-ray]

 

(Leslie Stevens, 1960)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Daystar Productions

Video: CineliciousPics

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:20:17.125  

Disc One Size: 24,441,383,152 bytes

Feature Size: 20,868,559,680 bytes

Video Bitrate: 29.91 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: November 8th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080P / 24 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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)

 

Subtitles:

English, None

 

Extras:

• New video interview with Still Photographer and Technical Consultant Alex Singer (18:02)
U.S. theatrical trailer (1:42)
• 10-page liner notes leaflet with new essay by Don Malcolm
Limited Edition of 3,000

DVD included

 

Bitrate:

 

 

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 Official Selection of Hot Docs 2014, Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) and the Rooftop Films Summer Series.

***

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.

 

 

The Film:

Duke is played by Corey Allen, a few years after he hassled James Dean in “Rebel 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.

This tense and upsetting film has more psychological depth and empathy than the comparable sensationalist fare of its time, and shudder-inducing cinematic style to spare. “Private Property” qualifies as a genuine rediscovery.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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.

 

Extras :

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.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Private Property seems very ahead of its time and is a fascinating film - layered with themes of loneliness, morality, desire etc.. The tension in the uncomfortable film builds as we can sense where it is going. It's so cool to see this rediscovered classic for the first time. The CineliciousPics Blu-ray package gives us something lost for almost 50-years - and that alone gives it immense value. This is something to invest some time in - it has a curious edge to its underbelly of brutality. Strongly recommended! NOTE: Now 34% OFF as a pre-order savings at Amazon. 

Gary Tooze

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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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