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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by John Huston

USA 1950

 

In a smog-choked city somewhere in the American Midwest, an aging criminal mastermind, newly released from prison, hatches a plan for a million-dollar jewel heist and draws a wealthy lawyer and a cherry-picked trio of outlaws into his carefully devised but inevitably doomed scheme. Anchored by an abundance of nuanced performances from a gifted ensemble—including a tight-jawed Sterling Hayden and a sultry Marilyn Monroe in her breakout role—this gritty crime classic by John Huston climaxes in a meticulously detailed anatomy of a robbery that has reverberated through the genre ever since. An uncommonly naturalistic view of a seamy underworld, The Asphalt Jungle painstakingly depicts the calm professionalism and toughness of its gangster heroes while evincing a remarkable depth of compassion for their all-too-human fragility, and it showcases a master filmmaker at the height of his powers.

***

'Doc' Riedenschneider (Sam Jaffe) is a legendary crime 'mastermind'. He has just been released from prison. He has a new scheme for a million-dollar burglary. He enlists safecracker Louis (Anthony Caruso), reinforcer Dix Handley (Sterling Hayden), experienced driver Gus (recognize James Whitmore) and financial backing by Emmerich (Louis Calhern). Staffing is a problem for legitimate business as well as the nefarious types and a smooth heist becomes fraught with an accumulation of errors that spiral out of control. What the viewer sees is a masterpiece of the "noir" genre with subtle reference to a disaffected urban underground community.

     

Posters

Theatrical Release:  May 23rd, 1950 - USA

Reviews                                                    More Reviews

 

Comparison:

Warner - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Warner - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Covers

 

  

      

     

Warner -  Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 847 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:52:04 1:52:25.029
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.91 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

Chapters : 32

1.37:1 1080P / 23.976 fps

Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,910,815,245 bytes

Feature: 25,296,285,696 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.02 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

 

Bitrate: Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 5.1) 

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, French, None English (SDH), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Black & White, Box set
• 5 classic film noirs all with commentary:
The Asphalt Jungle
Gun Crazy
Murder My Sweet
Out of the Past
The Set-Up
See individual DVDs for more details
• Number of discs: 5

DVD Release Date: July 6, 2004

Cardboard Box with 5 Keep Cases

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

1.37:1 1080P / 23.976 fps

Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,910,815,245 bytes

Feature: 25,296,285,696 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.02 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

Audio commentary from 2004 by film historian Drew Casper, featuring archival recordings of actor James Whitmore
Pharos of Chaos, a 1983 documentary about actor Sterling Hayden (1:59:02)
New interviews with film noir historian Eddie Muller (24:11) and cinematographer John Bailey (20:12)
Archival footage of writer-director John Huston discussing the film (0:50)
Episode of the television program City Lights from 1979 featuring Huston (48:29)
Audio excerpts of archival interviews with Huston (6:01)
Trailer (2:37)
PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien


Blu-ray Release Date:
December 13th, 2016
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 31

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - November 2016: Criterion's 1080P is cited as a "New 2K digital restoration". It is not the most dynamic upgrade over SD but the higher resolution better layers the contrast, show some depth and tightens sharpness. There are hints of texture and a few light surface scratches remain but overall, in-motion, the 1080P produces a very satisfying HD image.

Criterion go linear PCM, in authentic mono. It is 24-bit, flat but carries some depth very evident in the the iconic Miklós Rózsa (The Lost Weekend, The Killers, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Double Indemnity) score. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on the Region 'A' Blu-ray disc.

Criterion add the entertaining 2004 audio commentary from film historian Drew Casper, featuring archival recordings of actor James Whitmore as found on the older DVD. There is also Pharos of Chaos, a, 2-hour, 1983 documentary about actor Sterling Hayden directed by Manfred Blank and Wolf-Eckart Bühler and also entitled Leuchtturm des Chaos (German) - but is in English. It shows what an interesting chap Hayden was (he died in 1986 at 70-years of age.) There are new interviews with film noir historian Eddie Muller for a satisfying 25-minutes and 20-minutes with cinematographer John Bailey addressing the visual techniques employed by director of photography Harold Rosson and director John Huston in The Asphalt Jungle. There is brief archival footage of writer-director John Huston discussing the film and a full, 50-minute, episode of the television program City Lights from October 10th, 1979 featuring Huston discussing his life, work and family. There are also some audio excerpts of Huston speaking edited together from several updated archival audio interviews conducted by film critic Gideon Bachmann. In them director Huston discusses his methods for writing and directing a feature film. There is also a trailer and the package contains a liner notes booklet with an essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien.

From Warner's first wonderful Noir Boxset - a dozen years ago - we already have Out of the Past, Gun Crazy, and Murder, My Sweet on Blu-ray with, hopefully, The Set-Up coming soon. Now The Asphalt Jungle! - Thank you Criterion! For those who love Noir - this is a no-brainer - a deliciously twisted heist thriller to match the best of them. So much value with the plentiful extras - buy with confidence.

Gary W. Tooze


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Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray


   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...