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Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews(2 star). See all 21 reviews
on May 30, 2001
It is sad that such a tense, gritty and beautiful little film has been given such an awful presentation. The picture quality is passable, but tends to be murky. John Alton was noted for his use of shadows, but this transfer leaves much to be desired. It can be lived with, however, since this was an independent film and possibly nothing else survives. The sound howver, is another story. It is TOTALLY unacceptable. Throughout the entire film, quite loud at time, is an audio problem known as "motorboating". This occurs when the edge of the picture frame gets into the track area and you "hear" the frame lines in the soundtrack as a constant humming, like a boat motor. It RUINS this films, especially in a scene where silence is key. Although this problem is present in the original material used to make this transfer, it should have been corrected. I cannot recommend this video to anyone unless you are a die-hard J.H. Lewis fan. It's sad, because this is a highly enjoyable film, a fascinating counterpoint to Lewis's raucous "Gun Crazy".
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on June 24, 2002
Fans of the Noire B-Picture can learn a lot from this movie. Joseph Lewis (the magnificent "Gun Crazy") helms it, John Alton ( "T-Men", "Railroaded", and the astounding "Raw Deal") photographs, and the cast includes Cornel Wilde, Richard Conte, Brian Donlevy, and the young Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman.
Film students take note:
There's obviously no money to spare here: the sets are all recycled from other B-pictures. What's impressive is how Lewis uses the same locations for multiple shots without and significant re-setting, he keeps his angles down and holds the long take. Alton helps with the right atmosphere and his wonderfully graphic compositions, and the cast get on board for the ride. You can almost see another "Gun Crazy" or "Raw Deal" emerging.
But the script is awful. In B-Movies, "Talk Is Cheap" - much cheaper than action, or scene changes. That's why Reservoir Dogs spends so much time in a warehouse (the similarities don't end there: in a scene of remarkable brutality Wilde is taped to a chair and tortured via a hearing air placed near his EAR!). But one of the problems with shooting few locations fast, is you need the dialog to fill the scenes.
It's just not here. The speeches (there isn't any conversation here, just hard-line pronouncements) are all tough-guy cliché: "he's the kind guy that blah blah blah, and blah blah, but blah blah, because mark my words, blah blah". They're not very good and they always go on for a few sentences -- or a page -- too long. Someone's always trying to stretch the analogy, or extend a metaphor, or get with the poetry of the streets. Nothing they say has anything to do with character. This the kind of juvenile dialog that turns up in parodies of old noire B-pics. It's a shame, because while this is a very capable cast worthy of better material, they just can't save this.
Picture and sound quality are good (Image Entertainment is an excellent DVD label), but unless your a student or serious film buff this is nothing more than a curiosity.
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