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USA 1937

Fritz Lang's second American film (often regarded as his best from that period) is a bold paradox - diverging from the normal fare of the times. Characters are introduced - they are put to a test - we question - and quickly it is two star-crossed lover's vs. society as they fight an unjust fate. Henry Fonda is perfect inflicting a stern, tempted but struggling body language into his portrayal of parolee Eddie Taylor. Sylvia Sidney plays his ever-faithful gal. It's great to see the birth of Film Noir with Lang's expressionist influences as he waves his camera like a moral wand over the wholesome "Bonnie + Clyde-esq" lovers on the run. Great film, great ending with a spiritual twist right out of left field. I loved it.

Posters

Theatrical Release: January 27th, 1937 - USA

Reviews                                                                                 More Reviews                                                                  DVD Reviews
 
 

 Comparison:

Image Entertainment -  Region 1 - NTSC vs. Cinema Region 2,7 - PAL vs. Eagle Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Cinema Region 2,7 - PAL SECOND

3) Eagle Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

 

Distribution Image Entertainment  Region 1 - NTSC Cinema Club  Region 2,7 - PAL Eagle Films -  Region 'B' - Blu-ray Classicflix -  Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:25:39   1:22:27 (4% PAL speedup) 1:25:56.041 1:25:59.666
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.33 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.97 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

Disc Size: 22,467,220,224 bytes

Feature Size: 22,214,473,728 bytes

Average Bitrate: 30.98 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Disc Size: 23,461,222,509 bytes

Feature Size: 22,104,625,152 bytes

Average Bitrate: 28.68 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

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

Bitrate: NTSC

 

Bitrate: PAL

 

Bitrate: Eagle Films Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: ClassicFlix Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)  English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)  DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1346 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1346 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1773 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1773 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1810 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1810 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles None None Italian, None English (SDH), None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

DVD Release Date: June 24th, 2003

Keep Case
Chapters: 16

Release Information:
Studio: Cinema Club

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

DVD Release Date: August 9th, 2004

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Eagle Films
 

1.24:1

Disc Size: 22,467,220,224 bytes

Feature Size: 22,214,473,728 bytes

Average Bitrate: 30.98 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

Blu-ray Release Date: February 2nd, 20
11
Standard
Blu-ray Case inside cardboard slipcase
Chapters:
8

Release Information:
Studio: C
lassicflix

 

1.37:1

Disc Size: 23,461,222,509 bytes

Feature Size: 22,104,625,152 bytes

Average Bitrate: 28.68 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P


Edition Details:

• Commentary by Jeremy Arnold

Restoration Comparison (5:12)

Blu-ray Release Date:
July 25th, 2017
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 22

 

 

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

ADDITION: Classicflix Region 'A' - Blu-ray - August 2017: The big issue is that the Italian 1080P transfer is in 1.24:1 and everything is stretched vertically - people's heads are noticeably distorted. The ClassicFlix, is much darker and in the accurate 1.37:1. It doesn't look like the best source was provided but it does have plenty of grain and I might lean to the darker image being more authentic - although it can obscure detail and appear softer. It looks quite good in-motion although there are some compression issues and minor noise. For many, the 'lighter' appearance of the European digital transfers is more pleasing. The ClassicFlix has some negligible cropping, in spots, as compared to the Italian Blu-ray. The ClassicFlix is single-layered with a high bitrate.

ClassicFlix use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1773 kbps (24-bit) and it supports the film's effects well. The score by the great Alfred Newman (Call Northside 777, Cry of the City, The Diary of Anne Frank, Bus Stop, Blood and Sand, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Panic in the Streets, The Song of Bernadette etc. etc.) and benefits from the lossless rendering. The Blu-ray disc has optional English subtitle (see sample below) and is Region 'A'-locked.

Aside from a 5-minute restoration comparison, the true highlight of the Blu-ray is the commentary by Jeremy Arnold (author of Turner Classic Movies: The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter). After enjoying the film, I relaxed with this data-filled commentary with Noir references and plenty of detail on the production, Lang, Fonda, Sylvia Sidney etc.

There is still plenty of value here with this Blu-ray of a fate-jinxed Fritz Lang Noir gem - ratio-corrected - thick and dark, lossless audio and the educational commentary. My advice would be don't get too picky about the image and Noir devotees should indulge!

***

ADDITION: Eagle Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - February 2011: This is quite good - the single-layered Italian Blu-ray has a very strong bitrate and appears to come from the same restoration/source as the UK Cinema Club (that now appears out-of-print) but it vertically stretched. It has more grain, less artifacts, and shows some depth. Contrast is very strong. Ay time the Cinema Club now looks a little horizontally stretched beside the Blu-ray, or as a few point out the Eagle Films is horizontally compressed (overly thin faces). This may be too distracting for some. I do find it noticeable and distorted.

There are no extras worth mentioning (a liner notes booklet in Italian) - audio is imperfect - a bit inconsistent (sometimes hollow and tinny) but is lossless in a respectable 2.0 channel. There are optional Italian subtitles and an untested Italian DUB but you can watch the film without either in the original, lossy, English. Many fans of the film will be distraught over the ratio distortion.

***

ADDITION - Cinema Club - June 06 - WOW - what a difference in every area - including price. Let's see the Image Entertainment is cropped, much more visible damage , much weaker contrast and it's double the price. Not a hard decision here - Image Entertainment should be embarrassed by this comparison. Buy the Cinema Club today - GREAT NOIR!

ON THE IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT DVD: Sometimes you can have some understanding and respect for older films that are not top-interest driven being put to DVD. There is little to no profit in any restoration. This is a very poor image and very poor audio regardless of that fact. The picture quality is very soft and hazy and detail and resolution are low. It has compounded that with no Extras. I can only recommend this film, certainly not this DVD which is of Madacy quality at best. Let's all wait and someone someday will put this film out in a better transfer - perhaps in a Fritz Lang Boxset. I give this Image NTSC DVD out of  .

Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Menus

(Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Cinema Region 2,7 - PAL RIGHT)

 

Eagle Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

Screen Captures

Subtitle Sample - Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Cinema Region 2,7 - PAL SECOND

3) Eagle Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Cinema Region 2,7 - PAL SECOND

3) Eagle Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Cinema Region 2,7 - PAL SECOND

3) Eagle Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Cinema Region 2,7 - PAL SECOND

3) Eagle Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Cinema Region 2,7 - PAL SECOND

3) Eagle Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Cinema Region 2,7 - PAL SECOND

3) Eagle Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Cinema Region 2,7 - PAL SECOND

3) Eagle Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Cinema Region 2,7 - PAL SECOND

3) Eagle Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Image Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Cinema Region 2,7 - PAL SECOND

3) Eagle Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray THIRD

4) Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Box Covers

 

 

Distribution Image Entertainment  Region 1 - NTSC Cinema Club  Region 2,7 - PAL Eagle Films -  Region 'B' - Blu-ray Classicflix -  Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 




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Gary Tooze