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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "The Numbers Racket" or "The Story of Tucker's People")

directed by Abraham Polonsky
USA 1948

A relentlessly grim and mesmerizing film noir, Force of Evil (1948) presents a world thoroughly steeped in corruption. Director Martin Scorsese has called the film a seminal influence on his own gangster dramas (Mean Streets, 1973, Goodfellas, 1990). Especially impacting Scorsese's own movie antiheroes was Force of Evil's star John Garfield, as corrupt lawyer Joe Morse, a man whose face is "a landscape of moral conflict."

In a role that typified the harsh, cynical edge he could bring to his pictures, Garfield is a powerful, selfish Wall Street lawyer who grew up on the streets (like Garfield himself, a product of Bronx street gangs) but has risen to a place of undeniable importance.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

***

In New York City, unscrupulous lawyer Joe Morse (John Garfield), has the opportunity to make it big by teaming up with cutthroat gangster Ben Tucker (Roy Roberts) to consolidate the numbers racket. The only hitch in the plan is Morse's brother, Leo (Thomas Gomez), who refuses to involve his bank in the plan. As a result, Leo's bank would go from being saved to being another casualty in Morse and Tucker's thirst for power. Now, Morse must choose between money and family

***

Dark and brooding, FORCE OF EVIL offers one of Garfield's greatest performances as the cynical, hard-as-nails lawyer. Pearson, in her first of only two films, doesn't really register in a role that could use Shelley Winters or Ida Lupino rather than a June Allyson clone. Her presence is more than offset, however, by Gomez's marvelous performance and that of the suitably slimy Roberts. A tour de force for gifted writer Polonsky, FORCE was the only film he directed before he was blacklisted for being an uncooperative witness before HUAC in 1951; he didn't direct another feature for 21 years. At its best, FORCE achieves a style at once brutal and poetic, documentarian and noir.

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: 25 December 1948 - USA

Reviews                                                                                More Reviews                                                                          DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL vs. Olive Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Arrow Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 Big thanks to Ole Kofoed for the Region 1 captures and thanks to Pieter Boven for the PAL DVD captures!

1) Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND
3) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD
4) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray RIGHT
 
Box Covers

    

  

 

Distribution

Lions Gate

Region 1 - NTSC

Wild Side Video

Region 2 - PAL

 Olive Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:18:28 1:18:51 1:19:04.740 1:18:34.835
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.27 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.84 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 14,550,304,386 bytes

Feature: 14,256,592,896 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,445,554,353 bytes

Feature: 24,131,078,208 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

Lions Gate

 

Bitrate:

 

Wild Side

 

Bitrate: Olive

 

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: Arrow

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital mono

English (Dolby Digital 1.0), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 1.0)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 848 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 848 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

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

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles English (Closed Captions), and none French (forced) None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Lions Gate

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• No extras!

DVD Release Date: May 11, 2004
Keep Case

Chapters 15

Release Information:
Studio: Wild Side Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

 Edition Details:
• Animated menus
• Filmographies of John Garfield & Abraham Polonsky
• Hollywood Remembers: John Garfield (24'), in English with forced French subtitles
• Interview with Pierre Rissient (20'), in French without subtitles
• Interview with Bertrand Tavernier (21'), in French without subtitles
• Photo gallery
• 10 page booklet, in French

DVD Release Date: June 10, 2003
Slimline Digipack

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:

1.33:1 - 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 14,550,304,386 bytes

Feature: 14,256,592,896 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 22.00 Mbps

Edition Details:

• Martin Scorsese intro (3:33)

Blu-ray Release Date: July 31st, 2012
Standard Blu-ray Case inside cardboard slipcase
Chapters: 8
 

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,445,554,353 bytes

Feature: 24,131,078,208 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Glenn Kenny and Farran Smith Nehme
• Introduction to Force of Evil by Martin Scorsese (3:33)
• An Autopsy on Capitalism: A visual essay on the production and reception of Force of Evil by Frank Krutnik, author of In a Lonely Street: Film noir, genre, masculinity (37:33)
• Commentary on selected Force of Evil themes by Krutnik (9:09 + 10:25)
• 2 Radio programme about Un-American witch hunts (29:00 + 28:51)
• Lux Radio Theatre (Body and Soul) 59:58
• Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow for all films
• Hardback book featuring new writing on all the films by noir experts and critics including Michael Brooke, Andrew Spicer, David Cairns and Tony Rayns and more [Limited Edition Exclusive]

DVDs of all 4 films

Blu-ray Release Date: November 20th, 2017
Custom Blu-ray Box
Chapters: 13

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Arrow Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - November 17': Arrow's Four Film Noir Classics Limited Edition has The Dark Mirror, Secret Beyond the Door..., Force of Evil, and The Big Combo. They are not sold separately by Arrow at present and are only available in this boxset. There are other Blu-ray releases, like this Olive Film edition here, and we have compared many captures.

Limited Edition set of only 2000 copies!

The Arrow 1.33:1 transfer has a max'ed out bitrate - it is darker, cleaner, finer grain and has richer black levels. It doesn't seem to have the speckles of the Olive or they are not as prominent on the Arrow. The Arrow is, once again, the best in terms of image.

Arrow is also better than the Olive Blu-ray in the audio - Arrow's 24-bit linear PCM mono vs. the DTS-HD Master (16-bit) track. The film has only one major aggressive scene but we get another seething score from David Raksin (Daisy Kenyon, Whirlpool, Fallen Angel, Laura, Bigger Than Life) and it's an important part of the film experience highlighting the undercurrent of deceit and corruption. It sounds excellent in the uncompressed. Arrow also add optional English (SDH) subtitles (see sample below) on their Region FREE Blu-ray disc.

Another commentary - this one by Glenn Kenny and Farran Smith Nehme. I have not yet indulged but will do so soon. There is a 3/5-minute introduction to Force of Evil by Martin Scorsese also found, as the only extra, on the Olive Blu-ray plus Arrow include some new supplements. An Autopsy on Capitalism is a 38-minute visual essay on the production and reception of Force of Evil by Frank Krutnik, author of In a Lonely Street: Film Noir, Genre, Masculinity. He also does some excellent commentary on two selected Force of Evil themes by Krutnik running about 20-minutes in total. There are two fascinating radio programmes about 'Un-American Activity Witch Hunts' as addressed by Hollywood stars - each piece running about 1/2 hour plus an hour long Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of Body and Soul with Garfield. The package offers reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow for all films and a hardback book featuring new writing on all the films by noir experts and critics including Michael Brooke, Andrew Spicer, David Cairns and Tony Rayns and others.

The whole Four Film Noir Classics Limited Edition package is fantastic - one of the best of the year. Noir aficionados should consider this Region FREE, 4 Blu-ray, set a must own! 

***

ADDITION: Olive Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - June 12':  This is quite a big jump over the less polished SD visuals. The 1080P image is brighter, with more layered contrast and appears significantly sharper. The HD transfer shows some pleasing grain and supports the films deft cinematography to a much higher degree. Olive Films add the original mono track in a clean lossless rendering and add a classy Scorsese discussing and extolling the film (with spoilers) citing it as an important work in influencing many of his works from Mean Streets to Raging Bull. I'm very pleased with how Force of Evil a/v has turned out on Blu-ray and give this important film package a strong recommendation.

***

ON THE DVDs: The French Region 2 is horribly yellow/green, flat, dull, contrast boosted, has ghosting and is hazy... and to top it off it has forced French subtitles. It eclipses the Region one in Extras (not hard) but many of the features do not have English subs (and are with French audio). I don't see any extensive cropping on either issue. Notice the total time - this indicates that the Region 2 DVD was taken from a NTSC source and not converted before digitizing to PAL. So it will have inherent artifact problems as well as ghosting (see last capture).  Easy choice as the image on the Region 2 is so dreadful - Region 1 all the way!

One note: I do like the French cover a lot better!

- Gary W. Tooze

 


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

 

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1) Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND
3) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD
4) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 



1) Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND
3) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD
4) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


1) Lions Gate - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Wild Side Video - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND
3) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray THIRD
4) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

NOTICE: slight incident of 'ghosting' on the Region 2 DVD

 

More Blu-ray Captures

1) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP
2) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 
 

1) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 
 

1) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 
 

1) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 
 

1) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 
 

1) Olive Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow Film - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

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Report Card:

 

Image:

Arrow Blu-ray

Sound:

Arrow Blu-ray

Extras:

Arrow Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

    

  

 

Distribution

Lions Gate

Region 1 - NTSC

Wild Side Video

Region 2 - PAL

 Olive Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...