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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "L.A. Investigator, The" )

directed by Alfred L. Werker and

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/mann.htm
USA 1948

The "He" of the title is Richard Basehart, a clever but psychopathic burglar (based on real-life criminal Erwin Walker) Basehart stays one step ahead of the law by listening in to the police band on his radio. To avoid detection, he changes his M.O. on each crime, making it seem that the string of burglaries is the work of several thieves. But Basehart trips himself up when he kills a cop. His own personal Waterloo occurs in the Los Angeles sewer system--a stylish predecessor to the similar (and more widely praised) climax in Sir Carol Reed's The Third Man. Though the direction is credited to Hollywood old-timer Alfred Werker, most of He Walked By Night is the handiwork of an uncredited Anthony Mann. Featured in the film's cast is Jack Webb in the small role of a police lab technician. Impressed by first-hand experience with police procedure and by the semi-documentary quality of He Walked By Night Webb expanded on these elements for his own radio and TV project, Dragnet.

***

This film is one of the greatest examples of film noir, expertly acted and finely directed. Richard Basehart was probably at his very best playing the psychopathic antisocial killer. The supporting players are just as good, all veterans of radio and TV shows of the '20's-'60's. Jack Webb did a great job of directing, making good use of shadows and dramatic lighting effects which would come to define the film noir genre. (Webb also appears briefly as a lab tech). Webb was probably best known at the time for his Dragnet radio show, which he brought to tv a few years after HWBN. And who could forget the finale, set in the LA sewer system (re-used for the 1956 sci-fi classic THEM!)? All in all, a four-star film.

Excerpt of Rob Hubbard's comments on IMdb located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 24th, 1948

Reviews                                                                              More Reviews                                                                DVD Reviews

 Comparison:

MGM - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Alpha - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL vs. Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray vs. Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the US DVD screen captures.

Box Covers

 

 

BONUS CAPTURES:

Distribution

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

Alpha
Region 0 - NTSC
Koch Media
Region 2 - PAL
Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:19:00 1:18:36 1:15:48 (4% PAL Speedup) 1:18:54.187 1:19:04.708
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.99 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.2 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 9.2 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.37:1 1080P / 23.976 fps

Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,041,862,213 bytes

Feature: 21,514,960,896 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.49 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.37:1 1080P / 23.976 fps

Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 29,963,977,984 bytes

Feature: 25,829,799,936 bytes

Video Bitrate: 39.38 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

MGM.

Bitrate:

Alpha

 

Bitrate:

Koch

 

Bitrate: Classic Flix

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: Kino

Blu-ray

 

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0

Dolby Digital 2.0

Dolby Digital 2.0

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1772 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1772 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1994 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1994 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1557 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1557 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit))
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -31dB

Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None None English, None English, None English (SDH),  None
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date: December 2, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Alpha

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• None
 

DVD Release Date: June 24, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 6

Release Information:
Studio: Alpha

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Posters / Stills Gallery (click-thru)
 

DVD Release Date: August 9th, 2013
Keep Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: C
lassicflix

 

1.37:1 1080P / 23.976 fps

Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,041,862,213 bytes

Feature: 21,514,960,896 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.49 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary by biographer and producer Alan K. Rode & writer and film historian Julie Kirgo
• Below the Surface: He Walked by Night - Featurette with cinematographer Richard Crudo, film critic & author Todd McCarthy, writer and film historian Julie Kirgo, film historian & director Courtney Joyner and biographer & producer Alan K. Rode (11:47)
• Image gallery with rare stills and posters
• PLUS: A 24 page booklet with an essay by author Max Alvarez (The Crime Films of Anthony Mann) featuring stills, posters and other production material
• The mono soundtrack has been restored is uncompressed on this release (Blu-ray only)


Blu-ray Release Date: November 7th, 2017
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.37:1 1080P / 23.976 fps

Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 29,963,977,984 bytes

Feature: 25,829,799,936 bytes

Video Bitrate: 39.38 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Imogen Sara Smith
Audio Commentary by Author/Film Historian Alan K. Rode and Writer/Film Historian Julie Kirgo


Blu-ray Release Date: January 30th, 2024
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 8

 

ClassicFlix Blu-ray to date:

 

Along Came Jones

(1945)

Another Man's Poison

(1951)

Casanova Brown

 (1944)

Crime of Passion

 (1957)

Down 3 Dark Streets

(1954)

Five Steps to Danger

(1954)

He Walked By Night

(1954)

 

Merrily We Live

(1938)

Raw Deal

(1948)

The Killer is Loose

 (1956)

The Man Who Watched Trains

 (1952)

The Noose Hangs High

(1948)

T-Men

(1947)

Tomorrow is Forever

(1946)

You Only Live Twice

(1937)

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (January 2024): Kino have transferred Alfred L. Werker and Anthony Mann's "He Walked By Night" to Blu-ray. It is cited as a "Brand New HD Master From a 16bit 4K Scan of the 35mm Fine Grain". It advances on the Classicflix 1080P from six years ago showing slightly more information in the frame, it is often brighter with more balanced contrast, marginally tightens and is housed on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. Always a soft looking film on digital - this Kino transfer of "He Walked By Night" is the best I have ever seen it look on my system.

NOTE: We have added 76 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master (24-bit) audio dual-mono track. There are minor effects but we get a rare original score by Leonid Raab - who is credited in the audio department for Witness for the Prosecution, Dark Passage, Cat People etc..  which supports the film reasonably well sounding a shade more robust than the Classicflix heightening drama through the lossless bass. There are optional English subtitles (see sample below) on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.

Kino include the previous audio commentary by Alan K. Rode and Julie Kirgo, but also add a NEW one with 'dark cinema' favorite, Imogen Sara Smith. She talks about it being a police procedural and part of the semi-documentary trend of the late 40's as well as a 'True Crime' movie - still maintaining their popularity today. She discusses what we know about who directed what in "He Walked By Night" (between Mann and Werker) - the location shooting, stock footage, John Alton cinematography, the push-and-pull between documentary and fantasy, the real life criminal this was based on and plenty more. She is always prepared, fully researched and wonderful. Certainly worth the upgrade alone. There is an O-card slipcase and reversible artwork (see below.) 

So that's it - new, superior transfer, previous (also excellent) commentary with Rode and Kirgo and a new, essential one from Imogen. This masterwork gets a deserved upgrade and Kino's Blu-ray should sit proudly on every Noir devotee's shelf... an easy decision. Don't hesitate.

***

ADDITION: Classicflix Region 'A' - Blu-ray - November 2017: This is another ClassicFlix Blu-ray - part of the Essential Noir list like their The Killer is Loose, Crime of Passion, Another Man's Poison, You Only Live Once, T-Men... 'Dark Cinema' fans are in nirvana!

ClassicFlix transfer has a high bitrate and looks heavy and film-like in 1080P. It's from the, imperfect, MGM source that sometimes shows some softness inherent in the print source. I doesn't appear to have digitization but probably requires a film-level restoration to look any better than this. The contrast is layered and it looks quite pleasing in-motion with very few marks and speckles. I was okay with my HD viewing.

ClassicFlix treats us to an excellent audio commentary by biographer and producer Alan K. Rode & writer and film historian Julie Kirgo. It covers so much including the Anthony Mann input, the detail of the production, the John Alton cinematography etc. It's well worth the indulgence. Below the Surface: He Walked by Night is a 12-minute featurette with cinematographer Richard Crudo, film critic & author Todd McCarthy, writer and film historian Julie Kirgo, film historian & director Courtney Joyner and biographer & producer Alan K. Rodeand it,m likewise, has immense value showing clips from the film with various comments - mostly extolling the production. There is an image gallery with rare stills and posters and the package has a wonderful 24 page booklet with an essay by author Max Alvarez (The Crime Films of Anthony Mann) featuring stills, posters and other production material.  Magnificent.

This is ClassicFlix most complete and staked Blu-ray to date. It's a 'Special Edition' - stunning cover. So, the price is upper tier... but worth every penny and then some.

***

ADDITION: Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL (March 2014): The Koch Media is easily the best. It is dual-layered with a significantly higher bitrate and unlike both US editions is 'Progressive' (not interlaced.) The higher resolution of the PAL produces a minutely crisper image with superior contrast. It also actually has an 'extra' - a click-thru gallery of posters, ads and some stills. I see no signs of this coming to Blu-ray, so - despite the 4% PAL speedup - this is the edition to own of this Noir classic. The MGM appears to be out-of-print.

***

ON THE US DVDs: It is painfully obvious by looking at the screen captures what has happened here. This film escaped into the public domain and a "Madacy" type production company - like Alpha Video - found the cheapest print they could and transferred it to DVD with little regard for the film or the patrons who might purchase it. Alpha Video is another company that has no regard or pride in what they do - they are out to make some quick bucks - essentially out of your pocket. Their only saving grace is that the disc's are usually super cheap. I suggest avoiding them at all costs in the future. They competitively skim profit from distribution companies that might use the extra cash to put a more complete effort into there DVDs.

 

Unfortunately the MGM is also interlaced.

Gary Tooze


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

DVD Menus

(MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Alpha - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL

 

 

Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


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

 

Subtitle Samples

 

1) Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Alpha - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

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

5) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Alpha - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

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

5) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Alpha - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

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

5) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Alpha - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

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

5) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Alpha - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

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

5) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Alpha - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

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

5) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Alpha - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

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

5) Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Kino Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

Hit Counter


 

Box Covers

 

 

BONUS CAPTURES:

Distribution

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

Alpha
Region 0 - NTSC
Koch Media
Region 2 - PAL
Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Tooze

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