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The Scar/The Limping Man [Import]

 NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product Details

  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Vci Video
  • Release Date: Sept. 1 2004
  • Run Time: 159 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B0000C2IVH


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3.0 out of 5 stars Just Ok..... July 5 2004
This dvd contains 2 film noir movies: THE SCAR (1948--80 min.) starring Paul Henreid and THE LIMPING MAN (1953--76 min.) starring Lloyd Bridges.
THE SCAR i would say is the more interesting of these 2 pretty good noir movies. The audio and video quality would rank about a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. They both look pretty good, but they both have several splices and scratches. The audio is fairly clear on both except THE LIMPING MAN has a couple of bad spots. This disc contains an episode of THE STAR AND THE STORY titled "Dark Stranger" starring Edmond O'Brien and a young Joanne Woodward as a bonus. The quality of the bonus episode is very good. It also contains a film noir poster gallery which is cool. All in all this dvd is OK, but it's nothing to cheer about. Let's hope someday an excellent quality disc of both films comes out.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The ending is . . . well, lame. Feb. 8 2006
By Mark Pruett - Published on Amazon.com
This review focuses on the second of the two oddities paired here: THE LIMPING MAN (1953).

Is it a noir? Let's call it a near-noir.

Lloyd Bridges, having survived his encounter with Nabura in the 1945 serial SECRET AGENT X-9, flies into Heathrow and into this British mystery looking a bit older but no worse for wear. As Frank Pryor, he's The American, a fact which unsettles most of the other characters, including one fascinated barmaid who seems to think America is located somewhere out beyond Venus. Scotland Yard has a reason to be interested, though, because the minute Frank steps off the plane the guy walking beside him, who proffers a light, is ventilated by a rifle bullet. Frank hasn't even had a chance to inhale, and suddenly he's looking down at a corpse.

How do we know the bullet came from a rifle? Easy--we see the shooter. Actually, it's not a rifle, it's a crutch; well, not a crutch, but more like a walking stick--a walking stick that you can shoot when you take the little rubber cap off the bottom. Remember when canes all had swords in them? Well, by 1953 they could shoot bullets, which is handy in this instance since the shooter, crouching behind his car, is way too far from his victim to throw a sword.

No one else glimpsed this guy, or his car, sitting by itself in plain view in the field adjacent to the runway, so Scotland Yard naturally interrogates all the passengers on the plane (thankfully we are spared these interviews). They show particular interest in Frank, whom they grill in a cordial, mildly curious way. He's en route to see his wartime girlfriend, Pauline French, so the Yard boys note her address and send him on his way. Then, in an abrupt reversal of cordiality, they put a tail on him.

Pauline, played by Moira Lister (a sultrier name than Pauline French!), is strangely underjoyed to see Frank, though she does her best to put some oomph into her kisses. He learns that Pauline and the dead man, a sleazy character, were . . . well, you know, Frank was way off in America, and the years were long, and the London nights were so foggy and cold. . . . Frank is perplexed: what was she mixed up in? Scotland Yard is suspicious: what other shady connections does she have? And Pauline is a puzzle: why should she be lying to Frank, the American?

There are several good reasons to watch this movie. One is the sheer lunacy of the musical interludes, both of which take place during an onstage magic act. While the magician thrusts knives and other sharp objects through boxes enclosing a supine woman, the woman herself breaks into song ("Hey Presto!" is the engaging title of one number) and keeps it up throughout the act, which we are forced to watch even though we know that the important stuff is happening elsewhere. (When we tire of the singing we can at least distract ourselves with the magician's props, one of which resembles a larger version of the finger chopper that was once every kid's first purchase from the Johnson Smith catalog).

Another good reason is the brief appearance, but only the appearance, of Jean Marsh (she is onscreen for a couple of minutes but has no lines). This was her first movie role (as the landlady's daughter), and she didn't appear in another movie for several years. It's a delight to see this veteran of theater, movies, and TV ("Upstairs, Downstairs," "Doctor Who," FRENZY--it's a long list) as a winsome but saucy 19-year-old in the pointiest bra this side of HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL.

The ending of THE LIMPING MAN: I can't talk about it, and not because I don't want to spoil it for you. No, I want you to watch this thing all the way through so you will suffer as I did. And suffer you will, in the 75th minute of this 76-minute movie. Trust me.

If you can't bring yourself to shell out the asking price for the VCI release, the movie is also available on Alpha and on one of Platinum's Disc's "Mystery" collections.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just Ok..... July 5 2004
By Michael C. Glancy - Published on Amazon.com
This dvd contains 2 film noir movies: THE SCAR (1948--80 min.) starring Paul Henreid and THE LIMPING MAN (1953--76 min.) starring Lloyd Bridges.
THE SCAR i would say is the more interesting of these 2 pretty good noir movies. The audio and video quality would rank about a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. They both look pretty good, but they both have several splices and scratches. The audio is fairly clear on both except THE LIMPING MAN has a couple of bad spots. This disc contains an episode of THE STAR AND THE STORY titled "Dark Stranger" starring Edmond O'Brien and a young Joanne Woodward as a bonus. The quality of the bonus episode is very good. It also contains a film noir poster gallery which is cool. All in all this dvd is OK, but it's nothing to cheer about. Let's hope someday an excellent quality disc of both films comes out.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nice sampling of low-budget film noir, plus great bonus features Nov. 29 2005
By Dave - Published on Amazon.com
Another fine film noir double feature from VCI Entertainment, this disc contains two entertaining B movies, "The Scar (A.K.A. "Hollow Triumph)" and "The Limping Man." Although "The Limping Man" is much more obscure, "The Scar" is by far the better movie on this disc. Having seen two previous versions of "The Scar" on dvd, I was glad to discover that VCI had made at least some attempt to restore the badly damaged public domain print. However, there are still plenty of picture/audio flaws with each movie, but I can almost guarantee that you won't see any better-quality version of either film released on dvd.

1948's "The Scar" stars Paul Henreid as Johnny Muller, a conman and thief who's released from prison after serving a sentence for robbing a payroll. Refusing to learn from his past mistakes, he gets his old mob together and convinces them to rob a gambling club owned by the notorious racketeer Rocky Stansyck. However, the robbery doesn't go as planned, and only Johnny and his friend Marcy escape, the rest being captured and gunned down by Rocky's men. After splitting the stolen $60,000, Marcy heads for Mexico while Johnny goes back to his old job and lays low.

When he discovers that he's an exact look-alike of Dr. Victor Bartok (also played by Henreid), he romances Bartok's sexy secretary Evelyn Nash (Joan Bennett) while learning all he can about the doctor. Johnny eventually kills the doctor and assumes his identity. Dr. Bartok had a big scar on his face, and so Johnny makes an incision on his own face to have the exact same scar. Only after Bartok's death does he realize that his scar is on the opposite cheek of the doctor's. Evelyn discovers Johnny's deception and, angry and heartbroken, plans to leave town.

Refusing to lose Evelyn, whom he truly loves, Johnny makes plans to go to Honolulu with her on a ship. But fate intervenes, and in an ironic twist Johnny's clever scheme backfires. 1948's "The Scar" was produced by Paul Henreid for the "Poverty Row" studio Eagle-Lion, and the legendary John Alton was responsible for cinematography. The plot of "The Scar" is contrived and the ending is gloomy, but the exceptional performances by Henreid and Bennett and Alton's impressive cinematography make this a must in any film noir buff's collection. By the way, Jack Webb has a cameo appearance in this movie!

Next, we have the 1953 British noir "The Limping Man." Frank Prior (Lloyd Bridges) is an American WWII veteran who goes back to England after the war to see his old girlfriend Pauline French (Moira Lister). As he's walking away from the plane at the London airport though, the man right by his side is shot and killed by a sniper. Prior is questioned along with the other passengers, and then released. He does rekindle his romance with Pauline, but the more time they spend together the more he suspects that she's involved somehow in the shooting at the airport.

To make matters worse, Scotland Yard informs Frank that his girlfriend has been seen with known criminals that are connected with the shooting, and Frank finally convinces Pauline to tell him the truth about her past. But Pauline's past catches up with her in the form of a blackmailer, and Pauline must decide the right thing to do, while both Frank and the police desperately try to find those responsible for the shooting. Just when things start to get really exciting, however, there's a twist that changes everything and will definitely leave you disappointed.

Several noir films have a dreamlike quality that drastically affects the story ("Woman in the Window," "The Chase," "Stage Fright," etc.), but in this case it almost ruins the whole movie. Oh well, Lloyd Bridges does a good job in this B movie and it is entertaining enough, until the twist ending. Bonus features on this disc are: An entertaining noir tv episode of "The Star and the Story," called "Dark Stranger" and starring one of the great stars of film noir, Edmond O'Brien. Plus there's a film noir poster gallery and several trailers and dvd previews. Bottom line, this dvd is highly recommended because of "The Scar" and the bonus features.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection of little-known noir gems, undone a bit by mediocre print quality Jan. 15 2010
By Muzzlehatch - Published on Amazon.com
This VCI compilation consists of two lesser-known feature films noir, one a British production and the other an American, and a half-hour episode of the 1955-56 American TV show "The Star and the Story" entitled DARK STRANGER, also very much in the noir tradition. Details:

THE LIMPING MAN (1953, directed by Cy Endfield)
Though the credits show "directed by Charles De la Tour", that's just a pseudondym for the blacklisted Cy Endfield, who after a fascinating if somewhat inconsistent early career was pushed into exile in Europe, from which he never returned. This is his first British film, and it carries over his fascination with magic, his pessimistic noir sensibility, and his ability to find odd bits of business with minor characters that really stand out.

Lloyd Bridges plays Frank Prior, an American returning to London after the war and several years to reconnect with an old flame, actress Pauline French (Moira Lister). While on the airport tarmac he witnesses the man standing right next to him get shot and killed by a sniper from long distance. The man carries no identification and is presumed to be "Kendal Brown" by Scotland Yard, which quickly takes over the case; the sniper is unknown. Prior is questioned a bit and let go, but quickly turns out to be the center of a mystery involving his ex-girlfriend, the widow of "Brown" (Hélène Cordet), blackmail and smuggling.

This is a very well-put-together and exciting Brit-noir, really excellent up until the last couple of reels which fall into place a little too easily - and in particular the last couple of minutes which turn everything around in the manner of a few other "lighter" noirs - but not nearly as successfully as, say, WOMAN IN THE WINDOW manages. Along the way there are lots of inventive touches though which keep the bad taste of the resolution from stinging too much: the sardonic, bitchy, yet entirely silent landlady's daughter (19-year-old Jean Marsh in her first role) who looks on the young Scotland Yard detective with amusement as he can't keep his eyes off her; the kids watching a forbidden TV murder mystery in secret while their parents watch it in another room - and while a couple fleeing the cops pass by; the magic trick performance punctuated by a cabaret song.

An odd mixed bag of a film, more fascinating than really good, but like most of Endfield's work (he's only really well known for Zulu) certainly deserving of a little more respect. This copy is a rather mediocre transfer or taken from a poor source with several drop-outs and poor contrast, but it's watchable enough. It's also available separately from Alpha Video, but that copy is no better than this one.

THE SCAR (1948, directed by Steve Sekely)
aka HOLLOW TRIUMPH
aka THIS is the film that Paul Henreid should be known for

An awful lot of classic films noir revolve around doubling - mistaken identities - stolen identitities - and other troubling and eerie manifestations of the concept that our individualities, our selves, may not really be as uniques as we wish them to be. I'm not sure that any film in the style goes as far into the psychological ramifications of such issues as Steve Sekely's 1948 masterpiece, produced by and starring Paul Henreid.

Henreid must have wanted to get away from the often bland continental romantic leads that he'd been playing for the previous several years. This was the first film he produced, and it led off a very successful second career as a producer/director, mostly in TV. Here Henreid plays medical school dropout/criminal John Muller, getting out of prison in the first scene with the promise of a boring but respectable straight job in California. He doesn't want it and soon gets into trouble knocking over the gambling operation of a bigger gangster in Florida - and going on the run to avoid a bullet-riddled fate.

Muller tries to play it safe and straight for a little while in Los Angeles, but a chance encounter with a dentist who swears that he looks just like Dr. Bartok, the psychiatrist that works in the same medical building changes his mind. Investigating the psychiatrist's operation he finds that indeed he bears a startling resemblance - a fact not unnoticed by Bartok's secretary and apparent paramour Evelyn (Joan Bennett), who soon falls under Muller's slick charm and ends up half-knowingly helping him out in his scheme to find out as much as possible about Bartok.

I won't spoil what happens when Muller is finally ready to take over Bartok's identity and life, and the complications that ensue; suffice it to say that he makes a very large and obvious mistake - but soon finds out that people don't often see the facts that are right in front of their very eyes. And so he is lulled and fooled into a sense of false security - and manages to convince Evelyn that he has, in fact, managed to become a different person more-or-less; until he finds out that the doctor and he had something else in common that he in his arrogance overlooked just as the people around him overlooked his own mistakes.

THE SCAR has a lot to say about how we fool ourselves, and the folly of arrogance - and of those who trust the arrogant and self-confident men who are really unable to face up to their own mistakes. It's about the power of psychological masks and how they oftentimes can completely overawe and sublimate the physical masks we make for ourselves. Henreid manages an almost impossible task - making a truly despicable person almost likeable - or at least believable and pitiable; and Bennett is fine as well. John Alton's photography is as good as ever, which is saying an awful lot. I first watched this film a couple of years ago in a mediocre St. Clair Vision transfer - alas the print on this VCI disc isn't any better but a second viewing really helps to piece together both the wonderful psychological ramifications of the story and the physical beauty of the film, even if it is somewhat hidden in the poor dupe transfer.

DARK STRANGER
Edmond O'Brien introduces, narrates and stars in this story of a writer of pulp fiction whose female lead character (Joanne Woodward) apparently has come to life and is acting out the story that he's written. Helplessly he finds himself falling in love with his fictional creation, knowing the doom that waits for her...

This kind of story has been done a zillion times, especially on TV (there are at least a couple of "Twilight Zone" episodes that come to mind) but rarely any better than here. O'Brien and Woodward have a real chemistry, and the writer's tragic inability to change fate is powerfully conveyed in this short format. Only a weak and rather obvious and unfortunately all-too-typical ending, comparable to that of THE LIMPING MAN, keeps this from being one of the best TV epsides I've ever seen. And the picture and sound quality here is much better than that on the two features.

OVERALL
I'm torn between giving this the highest recommendation or a slightly lesser rating, but in the end I'm going for the 5-star notice, because THE SCAR in particular is just so great - truly one of the finest of all films noir and the high point of Henreid's career - and the others are very much worth seeing as well. I've noted the mediocre quality of the prints for the two feature films, but as other video versions that exist of them are no better, and it's hard to predict when or if any of this stuff will get released in a higher quality form, I think noir aficionados shouldn't think twice about this VCI release, warts and all.
3.0 out of 5 stars Tolerable noirs, with The Scar more tolerable than The Limping Man June 5 2008
By C. O. DeRiemer - Published on Amazon.com
The Scar:
"If you think I'm going to get myself mixed up with you, you're crazy. You're pretty good and you`ve got style, but first comes you, second comes you, third comes you. You're one of those egotistical smart alecks with big ideas. You think you've got a right to get away with murder, and I imagine you often do, but not with me."

That's Evelyn Hahn (Joan Bennett) speaking. She's standing under an awning while the rain buckets down. She's just had an evening out with John Muller (Paul Henreid), a man she met when he came to the office of Dr. Victor Bartok because he'd heard he looks just like Bartok. Bartok is a psychologist and Evelyn Hahn manages things for him. And Evelyn Hahn, unknowingly, has Muller pegged. He's a smart, me first, anti-social criminal who thinks he should have the best. Now he's on the run because a gambler he tried to rob is after him. After seeing Bartok, Muller realizes he's got an escape hatch handy. The two are as identical as twins, except that Bartok has a scar on his cheek. A little boning up on psychology, a little practice mastering Bartok's handwriting, a little self-inflicted scar-making with a scalpel, and a little murder...and Muller becomes Bartok. Can retribution be far behind?

The Scar (aka Hollow Triumph) features great John Alton cinematography. The movie is always a pleasure to watch. Alton often was able to make a B movie look like it might have A movie potential. Paul Henreid, who produced the film, wanted to shed his image of being nothing but a sympathetic nice guy. He does a fine, assured job as Muller, a self-centered, manipulating egoist for whom murder is just another solution to a problem. Briefly seen is Leslie Brooks, a scheming fixture of low budget films, as gorgeous arm candy with Muller/Bartok. To see a real noir mellerdramer, watch her as the star of Blonde Ice, made the same year.

Joan Bennett, however, is utterly wasted. One can't help wondering why she took the role unless possibly as a favor to Henreid. To see just how good she was, watch her in Jean Renoir's The Woman on the Beach [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - Spain ], made the year before with Robert Ryan, and Max Ophul's The Reckless Moment (The Blank Wall) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - Great Britain ], made the year after with James Mason.

The Limping Man:
This goose is reasonably well prepared. The ending of The Limping Man, however, is so arbitrary and dishonest it makes clear how little regard for the audience, or for the integrity of their own movie, the producers must have had.

World War II vet Frank Pryor (Lloyd Bridges) returns to London from America after six years to look up an old flame, Pauline French (Moira Lister), now a successful actress. As he and the other passengers deplane and walk across to the terminal, Frank pauses for a moment and asks the man beside him for a light. There's a gunshot and the man crumples to the ground, shot by a marksman with a high-powered rifle, an assassin with a limp. It's not long before Frank Pryor is up to his neck in murderous intrigue. The mix includes blackmail, smuggling, magic acts, gritty Thames-side docks, backstage theater doings, a pouting French singer and, Frank discovers, some indiscretions in Pauline's past. The plot, under Cy Endfield's direction, keeps moving briskly ahead. The photography is nifty, with lots of nighttime eeriness, shadowy theater cellars and fear-filled eyes highlighted in the gloom.

But the movie reeks of class-conscious accents and acting. Whole generations of British actors, if they were to have a hope of succeeding as lead players, had to master that plummy, nasal, upper-class diction that was supposed to be the hallmark of an English gentleman or lady. When sound came to the movies, that social stratification based on how one spoke was enforced with a vengeance. Things began to change for lead players only when Michael Caine hit the big-time in Britain and kept his Cockney accent. Moira Lister's Pauline French (Lister was born and raised in South Africa) sounds like the carefully educated daughter of the English landed aristocracy, the kind of woman who schedules her love life with her husband as meticulously as she schedules her social engagements with her equals, and with considerably less frequency. She gives such an overly bred, mannered performance it seems unlikely she'd be attracted to an American ex-GI like Lloyd Bridge's Frank Pryor. However, one of the pleasures of the movie is that Frank flies into London on a Lockheed Constellation. We see several shots of this most graceful of airplanes flying and on the ground.

The ending of The Limping Man is a complete cheat. While some of us might enjoy at least some of this movie's 76 minutes, and I'm one of them, its conclusion left me feeling that I'd just been made a fool of.

---------------

Both movies are in the public domain. Don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed.
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