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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Frank Borzage
USA
1939

 

Young medical student John Wesley Beaven is torn between the detached, cold pragmatism of Dr. Forster (Akim Tamiroff) and the humanistic attitudes of kindly Dr. Cunningham (William Collier Sr.). Matters are brought to a head when Beaven must choose between his career and impending marriage to fellow student Audrey Hilton (Dorothy Lamour). Dr. Forster convinces Audrey to return to her native China and let Howard pursue his studies undistracted. She takes Forster's advice, but Howard follows her. Once in the Orient he is injured in a bomb blast, and in a makeshift hospital, Dr. Forster is called on to perform a risky operation to save his life.

***

Idealism vs. Practicality is the Disputed Passage in this lavishly mounted soap opera. Based on a novel by Lloyd C. Douglas (The Robe, Magnificent Obsession) the film stars John Howard as young medical student John Wesley Beaven. In the course of his education, Beaven is torn between two philosophies: the cold pragmatism of Dr. Forster (Akim Tamiroff) and the humanistic attitudes of kindly Dr. Cunningham (William Collier Sr.), who of course is author Douglas' alter ego. The crisis within Beaven comes to a head when he must choose between his career and his impending marriage to Audrey Hilton (Dorothy Lamour). A literally explosive climax in war-torn China brings the story to a logical and satisfying solution. Kudos again to director Frank Borzage for bringing warmth and credibility to the most sloppily sentimental of storylines.

***

Being an inveterate prover of self-evident propositions, Lloyd C. Douglas is demonstrating at the Paramount that there is more to the art of healing than pure science, that even the most cynical surgeon sometimes has to admit the existence of forces beyond his scalpel's reach. "Disputed Passage," which seems a fair enough adaptation of his latest popular novel, presents the argument cogently enough, although with less than scrupulous fairness. Dr. Douglas, almost against his will, has given his materialist all the better of the debate while it is on a rational plane. His climax, proving the existence of a soul—at least, that's what we suppose it proved—rests entirely on an emotional appeal, and not too securely on that.

Excerpt from the NYT located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 25th, 1939

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Comparison:

Universal 'Vault Series' - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Universal - Region 0 - NTSC Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:27:18        1:31:01.038 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.26 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,627,773,491 bytes

Feature: 20,845,731,840 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.13 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio English (Dolby Digital mono)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1555 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1555 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, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date: September 6th, 2016

Keep Case
Chapters: 9

Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,627,773,491 bytes

Feature: 20,845,731,840 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.13 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

NEW Audio Commentary by Film Critic Nick Pinkerton
Trailers


Blu-ray Release Date:
September 15th, 2020
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 (September 2020): Kino have transferred Frank Borzage's (Lucky Star, Street Angel, 7th Heaven) Disputed Passage to Blu-ray. The disparity between the 'Vault Series' DVD and the new Blu-ray is immense. This is a prime example of why 1080P can significantly upgrade older film on DVD.  DoP William C. Mellor (Giant, A Place in the Sun, The Diary of Anne Frank, Bad Day at Black Rock) exports some exquisite sequences with brilliant light and shadows that are picked up far more apparently in HD than the muddy DVD. Detail rises dramatically but we can see the Blu-ray is slightly cropped - mostly on the side and bottom edges - gaining a bit on the top. The HD presentation is miles ahead of the DVD and I very much appreciative seeing it looking so much better.  

NOTE: We have added 34 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (16-bit) in the original English language. It is another notable advancement in the film's SD lossy upgrade via the dialogue and score by Friedrich Hollaender (The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Caught, Berlin Express, Background to Danger, The Verdict), heightening drama, sounding a bit deeper with more consistent audio. Kino offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Kino Blu-ray includes a new audio commentary by film critic Nick Pinkerton. After providing detail of the cast and crew, he discusses the Sino-Japanese War, Japanese invasion of Manchuria, Borzage's romanticism and significantly more reading an occasional review from the era or comments on the director. He provides fascinating detail on Lee Ya-Ching - who had a remarkable life if small role in Disputed Passage. Aside from being very workmanlike - he is excellent and I always gain from listening to his comments. There are also some trailers although none for the film.

Once again the 'Blu-ray 'effect has occurred and I enjoyed this film immensely more in 1080P than in SD via Universal's painfully weak DVD - by comparison. Disputed Passage is another touching and human Frank Borzage well-realized melodrama. The Pinkerton commentary adds further value to the Kino Blu-ray and we give this a solid recommendation for fans of vintage films, the director or stars Akim Tamiroff, John Howard or, pretend-Asian, Dorothy Lamour.

Gary Tooze

 


Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


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

 

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

 

 


1) Universal - Region 0 - NTSC  TOP

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

 

 


1) Universal - Region 0 - NTSC  TOP

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

 

 


1) Universal - Region 0 - NTSC  TOP

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

 

 


1) Universal - Region 0 - NTSC  TOP

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

 

 


1) Universal - Region 0 - NTSC  TOP

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

 

 


1) Universal - Region 0 - NTSC  TOP

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

 

 


1) Universal - Region 0 - NTSC  TOP

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

 

 


1) Universal - Region 0 - NTSC  TOP

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

 

 


 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Cover

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Universal - Region 0 - NTSC Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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