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USA 1947

The moodily evocative docudrama T-Men stars Dennis O'Keefe as Dennis O'Brien, a treasury agent determined to bring a counterfeiting ring to justice. O'Brien and his partner Tony Genaro (Alfred Ryder) go undercover to gain the confidence of the ruthless Detroit mob responsible for the phony money. The plot, compelling though it is, takes second place to the film's stylish set pieces, superbly directed by Anthony Mann and brilliantly photographed by John Alton. Among the film's most famous moments is the scene in which two-bit hood Wallace Ford is bumped off in a steam bath by sadistic hood Charles McGraw, not to mention the harrowing vignette wherein O'Keefe, posing as a crook, must stand by silently as his partner Ryder is murdered. One of the finest examples of the film noir form, T-Men proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that a film didn't need to have a lush budget, brilliant Technicolor and Clark Gable to score a hit with postwar moviegoers.

Excerpt from B+N HERE

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When the trail goes cold on a counterfeit ring in Los Angeles, Treasury agents Dennis O'Brien (Dennis O'Keefe) and Tony Genaro (Alfred Ryder) are called upon to infiltrate the shadowy and dangerous underworld of organized crime. Their only lead takes them to Detroit where they convince mob kingpin Carlo Vantucci of their criminal pedigree and start piling up clues to tie the Vantucci mob to the "tough, tight outfit" in L.A.

O'Brien and Genaro finally get a break when they learn a former Detroit hood - The Schemer (Wallace Ford) - is on the outs with the syndicate and has been demoted to pushing the fake paper in Los Angeles. Not wasting a second, O'Brien heads to L.A. and tracks down his cigar-smoking target, quickly duping the counterfeiter into being introduced to the "higher-ups". But the deeper O'Brien penetrates the organization, the more harrowing the mission becomes for him and fellow T-Man Genaro, with their every move being scrutinized and carrying the risk of deadly exposure.

A major box office success upon its release, T-Men holds a special place in film noir canon not only as director Anthony Mann's breakout film, but as the initial pairing of the filmmaker and cinematographer John Alton. Like none before them, their combination of highly stylized camera set-ups, along with the brilliant uses of light and shadows, created the gritty realism and visual tension that made their crime thrillers popular with critics and movie patrons alike.

With a story by Virginia Kellogg (White Heat) and a screenplay by John C. Higgins (Raw Deal), T-Men also features Charles McGraw, Jane Randolph and, in a brief but key scene, June Lockhart.

***

Whether by fluke or design, joining the talents of director Anthony Mann and cinematographer John Alton resulted in one of the most potent creative teams in movie history – certainly in the film noir cycle whose look and energy they helped forge (Alton's contributions are so innovative and striking that they amount to co-direction). Working for Eagle-Lion Studios on Poverty Row, they took a routine agents-in-peril plot packed with propaganda about Our Tax Dollars At Work in Washington and turned it into a memorable film that's little short of extraordinary -- at least at times.

excerpt from telegonus' comments on Imdb HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: December 15th, 1947 - USA

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Comparison:

VCI Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Wild Side Vidéo - Region 0 - PAL vs. Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Wild Side Vidéo - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

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Distribution

VCI Entertainment

Region 0  - NTSC

Wild Side Video
Region 0 - PAL
Classicflix - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:32:06 1:32:16 1:32:17.532
Video

1.331 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.62 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.75 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.37:1 1080P / 23.976 fps

Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,057,307,489 bytes

Feature: 19,645,943,808 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.48 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Fox

 

Bitrate:

 

BFI

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio English (2.0 Mono)

English (2.0 Mono)

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1990 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1990 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles None French (forced) English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: VCI Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Comes in Boxset with "Raw Deal"
• Film Noir Theatrical trailers (2:12)
• Featurette - "Dark Reflections" (6:47)

DVD Release Date: April 30th, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Wild Side Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Introduction by Jean-Claude Missiaen
• Documentary one on The History of Film Noir in the Forties and Fifties (44 min)
• Gallery of photographs
• Booklet of 12 pages signed Philippe Garnier 

DVD Release Date: February 4th, 2004

Digipak
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: C
lassicflix

 

1.37:1 1080P / 23.976 fps

Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,057,307,489 bytes

Feature: 19,645,943,808 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.48 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary by biographer and producer Alan K. Rode
• Into the Darkness: Mann, Alton and T-Men - Featurette with cinematographer Richard Crudo, film critic and author Todd McCarthy, writer and film historian Julie Kirgo, film historian and director Courtney Joyner and biographer and producer Alan K. Rode (10:38)
• A Director's Daughter: Nina Mann Remembers - An Interview with Nina Mann (9:18)
• 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


Blu-ray Release Date: October 10th, 2017
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 24

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Classicflix Region 'A' - Blu-ray - October 2017: This ClassicFlix Blu-ray is another Essential Noir, like their Another Man's Poison, The Killer is Loose, You Only Live Once, and Crime of Passion as well as the upcoming He Walked by Night. This is wonderful news for Noir fans!

The ClassicFlix transfer is 1080P on a single-layered disc with a supportive bitrate. T-Men has many dark, shadowy, moments and I see no noise or background artifacts. It has a film-like heaviness, textures are present and there is no damage and few speckles. It looks very good in-motion and is easily a brighter and superior presentation to the SDs - tighter, sharper etc.. I see some distortion - which may be the DVDs looking vertically stretched beside the HD. I was very pleased with my Blu-ray viewing.  

Classicflix use a linear PCM 2.0 channel (24-bit) and it sounds excellent in reproducing the original production narration, dialogue and the score by Paul Sawtell (Silver City, The Fly, Denver and Rio Grande) which supports and augments the drama via the uncompressed. Optional English subtitles are available (see sample below).

ClassicFlix add many extras - more than any of their other BDs - starting with an audio commentary by biographer and producer Alan K. Rode - one of the best for the dark cinema and he details production and film-level details that garner appreciation in the production. Into the Darkness: Mann, Alton and T-Men is an 11-minute featurette with cinematographer Richard Crudo, film critic and author Todd McCarthy, writer and film historian Julie Kirgo (nice to see her!), film historian and director Courtney Joyner and biographer and producer Alan K. Rode. A Director's Daughter: Nina Mann Remembers spends over 9-minute with Nina Mann. The package has a 24-page booklet with an essay by author Max Alvarez (The Crime Films of Anthony Mann) featuring stills, posters and other production material.

Absolutely recommended! A must-own for Noir aficionados.

***

ON THE DVDs: Hmmm... Hard to know what to think, but my guess is that these are from the same print (same damage marks), and that the French DVD has superior encoding, but is very pale and washed out. It also appears that it may have been taken from an NTSC source without proper conversion for PAL. So we have some ghosting on the NTSC as it has not encoded each frame individually (PS) and a soft pallet on the Wild Side. I suspect that the grainer (that's good) VCI has had some contrast boosting, and is not really superior in that department with slightly artificially richer black levels. It also looks as if the VCI is slightly sharper.

NOTE The VCI comes with another disc - Anthony Mann's "Raw Deal" reviewed HERE. For the money this DVD is too good to pass up!

 - Gary W. Tooze


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

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

 

 

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1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Wild Side Vidéo - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

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NOTE: the flying package ghosting in the NTSC DVD version.


 

1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Wild Side Vidéo - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

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1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Wild Side Vidéo - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

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1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Wild Side Vidéo - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

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1) VCI - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Wild Side Vidéo - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

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

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Distribution

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Region 0 - PAL
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