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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

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

1) MGM - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Alpha - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Koch Media - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

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

 

Box Covers

Distribution

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

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

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

Bitrate:

MGM.

Bitrate:

 

Alpha

 

Bitrate:

 

Koch

 

Bitrate:

 

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)

Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None None English,  None English,  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

 

 

 

Comments

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

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.

A DTS-HD Master (24-bit) audio 2.0 channel is utilized. 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 bit shallow/thin with heightened drama augmented via bass through the lossless track. There are optional English subtitles (see sample below) on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.

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. This masterwork finally gets its just due. It's a treasure that will sit proudly on my Noir shelf... very strongly recommended!

***

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

 


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

 

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

 

 

 

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 BOTTOM

 

 

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Box Covers

Distribution

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

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



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...