|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Hell on Frisco Bay [Blu-ray]
(Frank Tuttle, 1955)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Jaguar Productions
Video: Warner Archive
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 30,348,491,074 bytes
Feature Size: 28,782,458,880 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: October 24th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 2.55:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
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)
English (SDH), none
Description: Screen icon Alan Ladd produces and stars in this crime spectacle, shot on location in noir central – San Francisco. Steve Rollins (Ladd) is both ex-cop and ex-con, recently sprung from the stir. Spurning both love (Joanne Dru, as a songstress spouse who strayed) and friendship (William Demarest as his ex-police partner), Steve has one singular quest: Kill whoever set him up for murder, or die trying. Blending adult drama, detective story and noir, Hell on Frisco Bay is a cinema stew that’s heavy on the savor and the flavor, thanks to its colorful CinemaScope and a top-notch supporting ensemble. Heading that ensemble is Edward G. Robinson, delivering one of his most unforgettable mobsters, the utterly repulsive and remorseless Vic Amato. Fay Wray nearly steals the show as a faded screen queen, while Paul Stewart serves up one of his finest performances as Joe Lye, Amato’s hired killer with a conscience.
HELL ON FRISCO BAY is the story of a man obsessed with revenge.
The film is set in San Francisco and opens with Steve Rollins (ALAN
LADD) leaving San Quentin prison and being met by his wife, Marcia
(JOANNE DRU) and his cop friend Dan (WILLIAM DEMAREST). Immediately we
see and feel the pent up emotions of Rollins as he coldly says to
Marcia,”I told you to get a divorce.”
After five years in San Quentin prison, former policeman Steve Rollins
is released. Unjustly convicted of manslaughter in an arrested man's
death, Steve is met by a friend from the force, Dan Bianco, and by wife
Marcia, whom he shuns because she has been unfaithful to him.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Hell on Frisco Bay has some defining image inconsistencies on Blu-ray from The Warner Archive. Firstly, I liked the film - it had some bona-fide Noir conventions - a crime drama, ex-con, revenge, Ladd, Edward G. etc. The image has some very noticeable anomalies that I have given capture samples of at the bottom. It looks more like a poor source than digitization but it was quite visible in-motion on both my 60" and 43" systems. Scenes often culminate with the last few frames reverting to having, what looks like, color alignment issues (toggle between the last 2 pairs of captures). They dissolve but not in a conventional transition. There is very little grain - again indicating to me this may be from a secondary or tertiary source - not the original negative. It has sequences that look flat, waxy and soft, but the colors 'run' and lose tightness (I'm not suggesting this is the case - it just looks like what happens when three-strip Technicolor has shrinking issues) are probably the most distracting features. It is in the, appealing, 2.55:1 Cinemascope aspect ratio. This Blu-ray is video is highly imperfect and I'm surprised it was chosen for 1080P release with, only, a source available containing these odd anomalies.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio is rendered in a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1994 kbps (24-bit). The film had a 4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound System) but this was not attempted to be replicated via the lossless transfer. I did hear one unusual sequences at 1:04:35 where the character's voice had a dramatic shift (as if DUB'ed for 2 sentences.) I found it very noticeable. There are effects in Hell on Frisco Bay - a few aggressive one - guns, fists, boats and an exposition - that have depth but the sound of the film would be notable for the iconic Max Steiner (Since You Went Away, Sergeant York, Key Largo, Casablanca, The Caine Mutiny, Bird of Paradise, Beyond the Forest, Pursued etc. etc.) score that, in the final 10-minutes sounds, positively, Herrmann-esque with some violent, varied, orchestrations. Sweet. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles (see sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
The only supplement is a trailer.
November 23rd, 2017