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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Michael Gordon
USA 1949

 

"Once she was someone's wife... now she's just someone's luck!" First seen getting roughed up in an alley for gambling with loaded dice, Barbara Stanwyck (DOUBLE INDEMNITY) is Joan Booth, newly wed and on her honeymoon in Las Vegas while her husband David (Robert Preston, THIS GUN FOR HIRE) works on a story about the new dam. A former writer hoping to pitch a story about gambling to a magazine back in Chicago, Joan is caught taking candid photographs with a concealed camera. Surprisingly, casino owner Corrigan (NO WAY OUT's Stephen McNally, whose real given name is Horace as his character in the film is embarrassed to admit) - agrees to let her take photographs and gives her some of the house chips to take a spin at the wheel. With her husband retiring early each night for work in the morning, Joan spends more and more time on the casino floor, briefly enjoying her reputation with other regulars as a lady luck. When Joan's luck turns and a spurned Corrigan no longer allows her to play with the house money, she dips into the money Paul has left in the hotel safe. Pawning her camera, Joan is able to win the money back and get it out of her system; but the sudden arrival of her possessive older sister Ruth (Edith Barrett, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE) requires her to stay on in Vegas as her husband starts his drive back cross country. When Paul discovers a broke and depressed Joan, he hands in his story, resigns, and whisks her off to Mexico and a secluded house on the beach with the goal of writing a book; but their happiness is short-lived when Joan runs into a couple (THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER's Don Beddoe and HANGMEN ALSO DIE's Nana Bryant) from Vegas who point her towards an illegal operation behind the local hotel. Upon discovering that Joan has lost all of their savings, he splits his remaining cash between them and heads back to Chicago in search of a job hoping that she will follow him. Of course, Joan has to pass through Vegas on the bus to Chicago and ends up approaching Corrigan about a job to make back David's money. Corrigan, however, is pulling out of Vegas and instead offers to make Joan the front for a horse racing operation. With a weekly allowance of money to play with as the owner of a stable, Joan slips back into her old ways and is regarded by Corrigan's cohorts as "worse than a lush" whose compulsive behavior could prove deadly if she cannot keep herself away from the track during a fateful race. The story is told in flashback by David to Joan's doctor (John Hoyt, BLACKBOARD JUNGLE) with more anguish to come in the climax as they try to get at the root of Joan's addiction. A young Tony Curtis (THE BOSTON STRANGLER) has a single scene as a bell boy. Photographed by Russell Metty (TOUCH OF EVIL) and scored by Frank Skinner (THE DARK MIRROR).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: May 20th, 1949

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL vs. Universal Studios (The Barbara Stanwyck Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas and Gregory Meshman for the DVD Screen Caps!

Box Cover

Only available at present as part of Kino's Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema III with Abandoned, The Lady Gambles and The Sleeping City

  

Distribution

Simply Media

Region 2 - PAL

Universal Studios
Region 1 - NTSC
Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:34:39 (4% PAL speedup)        1:38:39  1:39:00.934
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.84 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.23 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.37:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 19,399,880,674 bytes

Feature: 18,972,002,304 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.35 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Simply Media:

Bitrate Universal:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio English (Dolby Digital mono) English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554 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 English SDH, None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Simply Media

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
� none

DVD Release Date: June 6th 2016
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
� 6 films on 3 discs

 

DVD Release Date: April 27th 2010
3 discs in a digipack

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.37:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 19,399,880,674 bytes

Feature: 18,972,002,304 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.35 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Kat Ellinger


Blu-ray Release Date:
June 9th, 2020
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 10

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (June 2020): Kino have transferred the Barbara Stanwyck Not-quite-Noir The Lady Gambles to Blu-ray. It is part of their Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema III with Abandoned, The Lady Gambles and The Sleeping City. This is transferred to a single-layered disc but the 1080P is gorgeous with beautifully consistent grain, greatly improved detail and some depth. It still shows the same marks and speckles but the overall HD presentation is quite an improvement over SD.

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel dual-mono track (16-bit) in the original English language. It is another advancement in the film's audio and occasionally dramatic score by Frank Skinner (The Sleeping City, The Appaloosa, Madame X, Magnificent Obsession, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, All That Heaven Allows, Thunder Bay, and The Naked City) that support the film and its Noir conventions well. Kino offer optional English (SDH) subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Kino Blu-ray has a new commentary by Kay Ellinger. She focuses her discussion on Stanwyck and Michael Gordon making a case that The Lady Gambles fits into the Noir and 'woman's picture' genres (also a female 'The Lost Weekend'). She's very good to listen to bringing some interesting analysis to the film and the era of similar cinema. There are also some trailers but none for The Lady Gambles.  

The Lady Gambles is all Stanwyck, stepping outside her typically strong character to portray a sly, vulnerable and restrained Joan Boothe as part of the 'addiction' cinema or 'society message' genre. More a melodrama than a Noir. Stanwyck alone on Blu-ray and an Ellinger commentary give further high value to Kino's Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema III.

NOTE: Don't blink or you may miss Tony Curtis as the bellboy

Gary Tooze

ADDED 3-disc Barbara Stanwyck Collection: June 2016: Simply Media's new release of The Lady Gambles compelled me to pull up the 3-disc Barbara Stanwyck Collection, released by Universal in 2010, to see how they compare. In the set, the film shares dual-layered disc with screwball comedy The Bride Wore Boots (1946). The transfers are compatible with same faint marks that helped me match exact frames for captures 1 and 7, but NTSC image looks softer. PAL specification adds a sliver of information to the sides, but the difference is minuscule. Region 1 disc is without PAL speedup and also features English SDH subtitles. Like many other Universal sets, all films in Barbara Stanwyck Collection were released on made-in-demand discs, including this one, but the 6-film collection is a better purchase, especially at the discounted price.

 - Gregory Meshman

Available stateside only in the three disc THE BARBARA STANWYCK COLLECTION, THE LADY GAMBLES is one of seven Universal titles Simply Media is releasing in June on DVD for the first time in the UK. The barebones, non-anamorphic fullscreen presentation is in line with what we have come to expect of the studio film noirs, and there are no complaints about the single-layer encode or the Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track. There are no extras.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL

 

Universal Studios (The Barbara Stanwyck Collection) - Region 1 - NTSC

Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


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

 

Subtitle Samples

 

1) Universal Studios - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

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

 

 


1) Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Universal Studios - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

 


1) Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Universal Studios - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

 


1) Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Universal Studios - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

 


1) Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Universal Studios - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

 


1) Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Universal Studios - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

 


1) Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Universal Studios - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

 


1) Simply Media - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Universal Studios - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

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

 

  

 

Box Cover

Only available at present as part of Kino's Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema III with Abandoned, The Lady Gambles and The Sleeping City

  

Distribution

Simply Media

Region 2 - PAL

Universal Studios
Region 1 - NTSC
Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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Gary Tooze

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