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Columbia Noir #1 (Limited Edition) Blu-ray


Escape in the Fog (1945)           The Undercover Man (1949)          Drive a Crooked Road (1954)


5 Against the House (1955)          The Garment Jungle (1957)          The Lineup (1958)

 

 

Six tough, no-nonsense noirs from six of the genre’s toughest, no-nonsense directors: Budd Boetticher’s Escape in the Fog, in which a nurse and a war veteran take on Nazi spies in San Francisco; Joseph H Lewis’ The Undercover Man, inspired by the real-life case against Al Capone; Richard Quine’s Drive a Crooked Road, which finds Mickey Rooney moving away from comedies and musicals to a tougher persona; Phil Karlson’s 5 Against the House, starring Kim Novak as a nightclub singer embroiled in a casino heist; Vincent Sherman’s The Garment Jungle, from which Kiss Me Deadly director Robert Aldrich was famously fired; and Don Siegel’s police procedural The Lineup, based on the radio and television series, and as brutal a film as he ever made.

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 5th, 1945 - May 1st, 1958

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Review: Indicator - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

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Runtimes

Escape in the Fog (1945): 1:02:50.057   

The Undercover Man (1949): 1:29:44.629

Drive a Crooked Road (1954): 1:22:51.841

5 Against the House (1955): 1:23:13.279

The Garment Jungle (1957): 1:27:49.472

The Lineup (1958): 1:26:31.895

Video

Escape in the Fog (1945)

1.37:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,525,339,352 bytes

Feature: 15,355,272,768 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.51 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

The Undercover Man (1949)

1.37:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,782,294,705 bytes

Feature: 18,234,573,504 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.39 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Drive a Crooked Road (1954)

1.85:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 23,362,813,079 bytes

Feature: 18,759,104,064 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

5 Against the House (1955)

1.85:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,157,631,789 bytes

Feature: 19,349,751,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

The Garment Jungle (1957)

1.85:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,213,381,433 bytes

Feature: 19,057,167,936 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.02 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

The Lineup (1958)

1.85:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,332,238,349 bytes

Feature: 18,923,652,672 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.09 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Escape in the Fog (1945) Blu-ray:

Bitrate The Undercover Man (1949) Blu-ray:

Bitrate Drive a Crooked Road (1954) Blu-ray:

Bitrate 5 Against the House (1955) Blu-ray:

Bitrate The Garment Jungle (1957) Blu-ray:

Bitrate The Lineup (1958) Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentaries:

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

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

 

Edition Details:

 

Escape in the Fog (1945)

Audio commentary with film historian Pamela Hutchinson (2020)
The Fleet That Came to Stay (1945, 21:12): World War II documentary, compiled by Budd Boetticher from original combat footage captured during the Battle of Okinawa, and released shortly after Escape in the Fog
You Nazty Spy! (1940, 18:02): World War II comedy starring the Three Stooges, in which the trio satirize the Third Reich and help publicize the Nazi threat to American audiences
Image gallery: publicity and promotional material

 

The Undercover Man (1949)

• Audio commentary with writer and film programmer Tony Rayns (2020)
• Man on a Bus (1945, 28:53): short film directed by Joseph H Lewis for the United Jewish Appeal, featuring a star-studded cast, including Walter Brennan, Broderick Crawford, Ruth Roman, and Lassie
• Income Tax Sappy (1954, 16:31): comedy starring the Three Stooges, in which the trio come under the scrutiny of the US Treasury Department when they get creative with their tax returns
• Image gallery: publicity and promotional material

 

Drive a Crooked Road (1954)

• Audio commentary with film critic Nick Pinkerton (2020)
• The Guardian Interview with Mickey Rooney (1988, 83 mins): archival audio recording of the much-loved actor in conversation with Tony Sloman at the National Film Theatre, London
• Introduction by Martin Scorsese (2012, 1:56)
• Screen Snapshots: ‘Mickey Rooney, Then and Now’ (1953, 9:51): Columbia Pictures promotional short featuring the famed performer looking back at one of his childhood roles
• Higher Than a Kite (1943, 17:32): comedy starring the Three Stooges, in which the trio play mechanics who find themselves in a situation that’s way out of their control
• Original theatrical trailer (1:56)


5 Against the House (1955)

• Audio commentary with film critic David Jenkins (2020)
• The Guardian Interview with Kim Novak (1997, 1:06:47): archival video recording of the celebrated actor in conversation with David Robinson at the National Film Theatre, London
• Sweet and Hot (1958, 16:23): comedy starring the Three Stooges, in which the trio team up with a female singer in the hope of finding fame and fortune in the big city
• Original theatrical trailer (1:53)
• Image gallery: publicity and promotional material

 

The Garment Jungle (1957)

• Audio commentary with film historian Kevin Lyons (2020)
• It’s a Jungle Out There (2007, 19:42): archival interview with actor Robert Loggia, conducted by Alan K Rode of the Film Noir Foundation following a screening of The Garment Jungle
• Law of the Jungle (2020, 15:04): writer and film programmer Tony Rayns discusses Robert Aldrich and The Garment Jungle
• Rip, Sew and Stitch (1953, 16:39): comedy starring the Three Stooges, in which the trio play tailors who find themselves caught up in criminal activities
• Original theatrical trailer (2:35)
• Image gallery: publicity and promotional material

 

The Lineup (1958)

• Audio commentary with author James Ellroy and the Film Noir Foundation’s Eddie Muller (2009)
• Audio commentary with film historian David Del Valle and author and screenwriter C Courtney Joyner (2020)
• The Influence of Noir (2009, 6:29): appreciation by filmmaker Christopher Nolan
• The Streets of San Francisco (2020, 7:03): video essay guide to the locations of The Lineup
• Three episodes of The Lineup radio series: ‘The Candy Store Murder’ (1950, 29:50), written by Blake Edwards; ‘The Case of Frankie and Joyce’ (1951, 30:51); and ‘The Harrowing Haggada Handball Case’ (1951, 25:56), written by Edwards and Richard Quine
• Tricky Dicks (1953, 15:57): comedy starring the Three Stooges, in which the trio send up the police procedural
• Original theatrical trailer (2:09)
• Trailer commentary: short appreciation by A History of Violence screenwriter Josh Olson (2:45)
• Image gallery: promotional and publicity materials


Blu-ray Release Date:
November 30th, 2020
Custom case with Transparent Blu-ray Cases

Chapters 8 / 10 / 10 / 10 / 10 / 10

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Indicator Blu-ray (October 2020): Indicator have transferred six Columbia Film Noirs - directed by the likes of Budd Boetticher, Joseph H. Lewis, Phil Karlson, Vincent Sherman, Robert Aldrich, and Don Siegel... specifically the titles in this package are Escape in the Fog (1945) The Undercover Man (1949) Drive a Crooked Road (1954), 5 Against the House (1955) The Garment Jungle (1957) and The Lineup (1958) to 6 individual Blu-rays. They Noir films feature stars; Glenn Ford, Nina Foch (2), Guy Madison, Kim Novak, Brian Keith, Mickey Rooney, Dianne Foster, Kevin McCarthy, Jack Kelly, Otto Kruger, Lee J. Cobb, Kerwin Mathews (2), Gia Scala, Richard Boone, Robert Loggia, Eli Wallach, Richard Jaeckel and others. Dark cinema fans delight at the selections for Volume #1 and have high anticipation for future packages.

All six films are presented for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK, with The Undercover Man and Drive a Crooked Road making their world Blu-ray premieres.

We have compared where we could both Sony DVDs (even one from Spain for The Undercover Man - thanks Gregory!) and Kit Parker Blu-rays below. Despite being on single-layered discs the films look excellent in 1080P with supportive grain textures and impressive contrast. Only on The Undercover Man is there a slight drop in quality around the hour and 10-minute mark. This is brief and, we presume, a function of the available source. Predictably the image quality towers above the older SD transfer and is on par, or slightly in advance, of the Kit Parker Blu-rays (released by Millcreek in 3 X 9 film packages - with 3 films per bare-bones Blu-ray.) These Indicators have each film with their own Blu-rays that include extensive extras. Technically these are 2K restorations of Escape in the Fog, The Undercover Man and The Garment Jungle and High Definition presentations of Drive a Crooked Road, 5 Against the House and The Lineup.

NOTE: We have added 120 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Indicator use linear PCM mono track (24-bit) in the original English language. The effects reflect the era and budget that they were made and gunfire can export some depth but the film's audio is authentically flat with scores by composers such as George Duning (My Sister Eileen, Two Rode Together, The Eddy Duchin Story, 3:10 to Yuma, Jeanne Eagels, The Shadow on the Window, Tight Spot, etc.) and Leith Stevens (I Married a Monster From Outer Space, Great Day in the Morning, The Gun Runners, Syncopation, World Without End, The Night of the Grizzly, 20 Million Miles to Earth, When Worlds Collide) and Mischa Bakaleinikoff (New Orleans Uncensored, The Crooked Web, Cell 2455 Death Row, Comanche Station, It Came from Beneath the Sea, The Giant Claw, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The 27th Day, 20 Million Miles to Earth, Lady for a Day.) sounding a bit deeper with more consistent dialogue. Indicator offer optional English (SDH) white subtitles (not gaudy yellow like on the Sony DVDs) on their Region 'B' Blu-rays.

The Indicator Blu-ray offers plenty of extras, many new. There are audio commentaries - at least one for each film - including film historian Pamela Hutchinson on Escape in the Fog, film programmer Tony Rayns on The Undercover Man, Nick Pinkerton on Drive a Crooked Road, critic David Jenkins on 5 Against the House, film historian Kevin Lyons on The Garment Jungle and, from 2009, with author James Ellroy and the Film Noir Foundation’s Eddie Muller on The Lineup plus a new second one with film historian David Del Valle and author and screenwriter C Courtney Joyner also on The Lineup. What I have sampled is excellent and I look forward to the opportunity to indulge in them fully when time permits. There are also both new an older extras - such as an introduction to Drive a Crooked Road by Martin Scorsese from 2014 and an archival 20-minute interview with actor Robert Loggia conducted by Alan K. Rode after a screening of The Garment Jungle from 2007. I enjoyed the the new 1/4 hour appreciation of The Garment Jungle by Tony Rayns and the rehash (from the older DVD set) of The Influence of Noir appreciation of The Lineup by filmmaker Christopher Nolan from 2009 running 5.5 minutes. Other highlights are the radio episodes of 'The Candy Store Murder’ from 1950, written by Blake Edwards; ‘The Case of Frankie and Joyce’ from 1951; and ‘The Harrowing Haggada Handball Case’ also from 51' written by Edwards and Richard Quine. They each run about 1/2 hour. There is also Screen Snapshots: Mickey Rooney, Then and Now from 1953. It's a Columbia Pictures promotional short featuring the likeable performer looking back at his series of Mickey Maguire comedies. Man on a Bus from 1955 is a 28-minute short film directed by Joseph H Lewis for the United Jewish Appeal, featuring a star-studded cast, including Walter Brennan, Broderick Crawford, Lassie, and Ruth Roman, and presented in High Definition on the The Undercover Man Blu-ray. There are original theatrical trailers for Drive a Crooked Road, 5 Against the House, The Garment Jungle and The Lineup, image galleries for each film with promotional and publicity materials and 6 Three Stooges shorts (Joe, Shemp and, importantly, Curlys) - one per film. These run shy of 20-minutes each. The package has a limited edition (6,000 numbered units) exclusive 120-page book with new essays by Iris Veysey, Paul Duane, Jill Blake, Wheeler Winston Dixon, Nathalie Morris, and Sergio Angelini; archival interview extracts with Budd Boetticher, Joseph H Lewis, Phil Karlson, and Robert Aldrich; extracts from the autobiographies of Don Siegel and Vincent Sherman; and film credits.

DVDBeaver loves Film Noir. I am delighted to now have The Undercover Man and Drive a Crooked Road on Blu-ray. I love them both, but especially the latter. The Lineup is one of the more coveted Noirs in this boxset. But the huge bonus are the extras and new commentaries. One day these may get released on individual  Blu-ray by Indicator but with the valued supplements - this limited edition is a must own for those who are addicted to the 'Dark Cinema'. Our highest recommendation!

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 

Escape in the Fog (1945)

 

The Undercover Man (1949)

Drive a Crooked Road (1954)

5 Against the House (1955)

The Garment Jungle (1957)

The Lineup (1958)


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