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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Ida Lupino
USA 1953

 

In an era when Hollywood was dominated by well-entrenched males, Ida Lupino carved a niche for herself as a successful director, becoming only the second woman to be admitted to the director’s guild. Confident of her own capabilities as an actress, Ida stubbornly refused to play any hand-me-down roles - an act, that led to many suspensions. Never one to be done in by circumstances, Ida turned to direction when roles began to dry up. The Bigamist is a classic example of Ida’s talents both in front of a movie camera and behind it as well.

 

****

Married for eight years, and highly successful at selling deep-freezes, Harry (Edmund O’Brien) couldn’t ask for more from life - except that he was childless. Harry’s attempts at adopting a child trigger off a nightmare when Mr. Jordan (Edmund Gwenn) , the head of the adoption agency gets suspicious and begins delving into Harry’s private life. The dogged Jordan soon finds out the reason for Harry’s frequent visits to Los Angeles. In a flashback Harry explains how loneliness and Eva’s (Joan Fontaine) over-indulgence in their deep freeze business had driven him into the arms of the sympathetic Phyllis (Ida Lupino) , and into a second marriage. Will the judge and jury find Harry innocent or will he spend the rest of his life behind bars?

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 3rd, 1953 (USA)

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Alpha - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Film Chest - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

  

and as part of an Ida Lupino Blu-ray Boxset (with Not Wanted / Never Fear / The Hitch-Hiker / The Bigamist):

  

Distribution

Alpha

Region 0 - NTSC

Film Chest

Region 0 - NTSC

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:18:33        1:18:39 1:19:41.067
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.18 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.44 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.66:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,183,945,985 bytes

Feature: 20,180,146,176 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.22 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Alpha:

Bitrate Film Chest:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (English)

Dolby Digital Mono (English)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1553 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1553 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles None None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Alpha

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Alpha Video DVD Catalogue
• Preview

DVD Release Date:
December 21st, 2004
Keep Case

Chapters 6

Release Information:
Studio: Film Chest

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: March 25th, 2014
Keep case

Chapters 6

Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.66:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,183,945,985 bytes

Feature: 20,180,146,176 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.22 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio Commentary by Film Historian Kat Ellinger
Trailers


Blu-ray Release Date:
September 24th, 2019
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (October 2019): Kino have transferred Ida Lupino's The Bigamist to Blu-ray via a "Brand New 4K Restoration". It's on a single-layered disc but the short film has a high bitrate. While there is still some damage in the 1080P (see last capture) much of the speckles and light marks found on the DVDs are minimized. Like The Hitch-Hiker this does have some disconcerting softness and negligible waxiness. While all the PD DVDs were 1.33:1 - this was transferred at 1.66:1 (IMDb states as the 'intended ratio') and you can see the loss of information and judge for yourself the composition of the widescreen presentation. Even with the perception of digitization, this generally towers over the DVDs in-motion. This HD overall does not look strong.

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel mono track (16-bit) in the original English language. It is another advancement in the film's audio sounding far more consistent but not without a few imperfections inherent without a film-level restoration. The score is by Leith Stevens (The Time Tunnel, Crashout, The Night of the Grizzly, Man-Trap, The Five Pennies, The Garment Jungle, Private Hell, The Hitch-Hiker) sounding supportive. Kino offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Kino Blu-ray has an audio commentary by film historian Kat Ellinger who covers a lot of Ida Lupinio herself, her childhood and struggles in the male-dominated world of filmmaking, her strong opinions and courage in pursuing her goals. As typical with Kat she is well-prepared with thoroughly researched aspects of the film. The commentary is filled with salient points on The Bigamist, as well as the principles and similar films of the era. There are also some trailers but none for the feature.

The Bigamist is considered a Film Noir-cum-melodrama and is a fine example of Lupino's strong filmmaking abilities making it a highly remarkable effort considering the non-existent budget. It's a film I was excited to revisit on Blu-ray and, despite reservations on the image quality, the commentary inclusion gives it our endorsement.

Gary Tooze

***

ADDITION: JUNE 2014: Gregory has added captures from the Film Chest, and although overly digitized it looks the best of the three compared. It's quite smooth (grain removed) and probably DNR'ed (characters faces look waxy) but it the print looks significantly sharper than either of the Alpha or AZ2CDS editions. It even has a bit of depth. It also seems to have a shade more information in the frame. Bare bones, audio is a wash, and no subtitles but, on the positive, has a cool cover. For around $10, this offers some value for 'Dark Cinema' lovers. Thanks Gregory!

ADDITION: JUNE 2010: Leonard has graciously sent us some caps from the AZ2CDS edition from May 2005 - and they do indeed appear to look significantly better. I'd definitely opt for that one if I was to purchase from scratch.

***

Alpha Video are, quite possibly, the worst DVD production company in the world. Their product seems almost exclusively PD (public domain), taken from weak sources and most have severe transfer limitations. This is, Predictably, single-layered but I believe it is progressive but with flagrant issues popping up here and there (see last capture). But overall, isn't too bad considering it's Alpha (not saying a lot) . While some sequences look 'okay' - many others are muddy - and this is probably from a 16mm source. It has a black border and rounded top corners exposed on the left edge.  There is an unusual horizontal banding that seems to be occurring but, in the final estimation, it gave me a bargain basement presentation on a CRT.

Audio is inconsistent sounding weak in the opening but settling down as the film runs and there are no subtitles offered on this pragmatic DVD. Extras consist of Alpha promotions.

Being PD there are a few other DVD versions of The Bigamist available - including 2 that claim be be 'digitally remastered' - which essentially means nothing. None state a 'restoration' which is what this Alpha source, most requires. An AZ2CDS version is HERE (for about double the price of this edition), the one with the most attractive cover, and monetarily more reasonable than the other two, is from Synergy HERE and the newest version (May 2010) from DigicomTV HERE. Unless these are working with a 35mm source I suspect quality is about the same, but the film is good enough that we should compare one day. I bought the Alpha knowing it was the cheapest available as I really wanted to just see more of Lupino's work.

Another perfectly provocative title for the dark cinema style. There are times this production seems disjointed to me but the leads are so good it carries the film's momentum. Joan Fontaine, most notable as Hitchcock’s Rebecca is sterling, Noir everyman Edmond O’Brien (The Hitch-Hiker - also directed by Lupino - and D.O.A.) is solid as the troubled and torn traveling salesman and Lupino can do no wrong in my book - on either side of the camera. She always comes across exceptionally well as being physically diminutive... but iron-clad strong.

There is quite an interesting story behind The Bigamist. The screenwriter was Lupino's husband Collier Young - they would divorce just before this film and he would immediately marry - you guessed it - Joan Fontaine. Perhaps some 'art imitates life' overlap here? And what about the investigator for the adoption agency? It's Edmund Gwenn - who was mentioned in The Bigamist on the bus ride of the star's homes where Phyllis (Lupino) and Harry Graham (O'Brien) first meet. The driver announces to the busload " and there's the home of Edmund Gwenn - Santa Claus from Miracle on 34th Street!".

I thought this was fairly good with some Noir tendencies (much of the story is told in flashback). It definitely deserves better but for just viewing the film this Alpha Video DVD sufficed for a reasonable price. We may compare this title - so the more A/V conscious should 'stay tuned'.

  - Gary Tooze

 


1) Alpha - Region 0 -  NTSC LEFT

2) Film Chest - Region 0 - NTSC RIGHT

 

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


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

 

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

 

 

1) Alpha - Region 0 -  NTSC TOP

2) AZ2CDS - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Film Chest - Region 0 - NTSC THIRD

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

 

 


1) Alpha - Region 0 -  NTSC TOP

2) AZ2CDS - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Film Chest - Region 0 - NTSC THIRD

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

 

 


1) Alpha - Region 0 -  NTSC TOP

2) Film Chest - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

 

 


1) Alpha - Region 0 -  NTSC TOP

2) AZ2CDS - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Film Chest - Region 0 - NTSC THIRD

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

 

 


1) Alpha - Region 0 -  NTSC TOP

2) AZ2CDS - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Film Chest - Region 0 - NTSC THIRD

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

 

 


1) Alpha - Region 0 -  NTSC TOP

2) Film Chest - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

 

 


1) Alpha - Region 0 -  NTSC TOP

2) Film Chest - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

 

 


1) Alpha - Region 0 -  NTSC TOP

2) Film Chest - Region 0 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

 

 

Visible Damage on Blu-ray

 

 


Box Cover

  

and as part of an Ida Lupino Blu-ray Boxset (with Not Wanted / Never Fear / The Hitch-Hiker / The Bigamist):

  

Distribution

Alpha

Region 0 - NTSC

Film Chest

Region 0 - NTSC

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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Gary Tooze

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