Film Noir Classics Collection, Vol. 3

Overview

Warner Home Video's Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 3 cuts across two film libraries now owned by Warner, its five movies drawn from RKO, and, surprisingly, MGM, which was the least invested in film noir of any of the major studios -- though when they made a movie in this genre, they succeeded admirably. In this instance, the major MGM entry is Anthony Mann's Border Incident 1949, one of the darkest crime films of its era. Using the 1974 reissue edition, it has been transferred beautifully and is given the ...
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Overview

Warner Home Video's Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 3 cuts across two film libraries now owned by Warner, its five movies drawn from RKO, and, surprisingly, MGM, which was the least invested in film noir of any of the major studios -- though when they made a movie in this genre, they succeeded admirably. In this instance, the major MGM entry is Anthony Mann's Border Incident 1949, one of the darkest crime films of its era. Using the 1974 reissue edition, it has been transferred beautifully and is given the best presentation that the movie has ever had on the small screen; even the most darkly lit scenes present useful picture information in a fine full-screen 1.33:1 transfer, and the audio is clean and sharp as well, if not quite as loud as one might like it, but that's overcome easily enough. The one major feature, other than a trailer, is a commentary track by NYU professor Dana Polan, who is more verbose than useful, often explaining the obvious and just about as regularly digressing in dubious ways. He also gets one important fact that he goes out of his way to cite, wrong: the comic strip Terry and the Pirates did not cease publication a couple of years before Border Incident was produced, as Polan states -- it was still being published in the 1960s. Much better and more informative and entertaining is Vivian Sobchack's commentary track on John Farrow's His Kind of Woman; a wonderfully stylish if not too clearly plotted noir classic from the RKO library, it's fun to watch on its own terms, and Sobchack manages to join the fun on her commentary while still providing a ton of fascinating information. Also, the movie is complicated enough in its plot to justify the 34 chapters -- one only wishes that there were a trailer as well. Robert Montgomery's Lady in the Lake 1946 has one of the most unintentionally funny trailers you'll ever see, pushing a supposed innovation -- the subjective camera -- that, MGM assured the public, was as important as the introduction of sound. The gimmick really didn't work, though it was diverting at times, and the movie does bear a close look as a fascinating failure. Giving it a close look is easy here, in what has to be the best home-video transfer that it has ever received. Even more successful is the joint commentary by scholars Alain Silver and James Ursini, who have written more than their share of essays on Raymond Chandler and film noir. Their observations tend to be direct and factual, and deal with what we're seeing and hearing. They also a great job of framing the movie in historical terms; the best observation comes near the beginning, when it's explained how this movie runs counter to the documentary-style crime films that were just starting to manifest themselves at the time. John Cromwell's The Racket 1951 is a somewhat lesser part of Robert Mitchum's output at RKO, with some unusual attributes, but it gets a first-rate commentary track from film noir scholar/enthusiast Eddie Muller, who provides a fun, rambling, wide-ranging series of observations, as engaging in its style as any track of its kind ever done; he's having as much fun watching this movie as we are, and it's infectious listening to him work. The full-screen 1.33:1 transfer is fine, clean, and sharp throughout and with good sound to go along with it. Nicholas Ray's On Dangerous Ground 1951 comes complete with its original trailer and a commentary track by Glenn Erickson. He's a little stiff compared with some of the other scholars represented in this set, but that's in part owing to the pacing of the movie, which doesn't lend itself to a loose-limbed commentary; he does his best, which is considerable, to deal with what he must to tie together the movie's many facets. The movie looks great, the full-screen picture appropriately dark but filled with detail, and the audio has been given a fine account, bringing out the finer details of Bernard Herrmann's score. Erickson doesn't neglect Herrmann's music, either, which was an essential component of the movie's structure and content. The sixth disc is the most unusual, comprised of the documentary "Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light," hosted by author James Ellroy and featuring observations by directors Sydney Pollack, Paul Schrader, Christopher Nelson, and Frank Miller, among others. This is as good an account of the movie genre as has been committed to film as opposed to the printed page, delving into the ins-and-outs of the field and its development and later decline, the cinematographers, editors, and composers, as well as the directors who made their names in the field, and the literary roots of the genre as well. The selection of clips is also extremely generous, and the 68-minute film would make the disc worth about 30 dollars by itself, but the makers have also loaded this disc up with a quintet of entries from MGM's short series "Crime Does Not Pay," which are not only superb vest-pocket crime thrillers but contain the early work of directors such as Joseph Newman, Roy Rowland, Fred Zinnemann, and Joseph Losey. Each of the six titles comes packaged in a slim individual slipcase, and each one is adorned with distinctive cover art. Each disc also opens automatically to a cleverly designed and easy-to-use two-layer menu that offers simple access to all of the special features on the disc.
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Special Features

Closed Caption
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Although the previous two collections in this series effectively mined most of the best noirs from Warner Bros.' extensive library, Volume 3 nonetheless reveals lesser-known gems from the vaults. In The Lady in the Lake (1946), a fascinating if not altogether successful experiment, director and star Robert Montgomery attempts to replicate the effect of Raymond Chandler's first-person whodunit by substituting the camera for the eyes of private detective Philip Marlowe, who is heard but seldom seen (and only then in mirrors) during the search for a missing wife believed to have been murdered. Less audacious but equally enjoyable is The Racket (1951), which stars Robert Mitchum as a hard-boiled, incorruptible cop and Robert Ryan as the suave gangster he's determined to apprehend. Mitchum also stars in another 1951 favorite, the generally underrated His Kind of Woman, playing a fall guy who goes to Mexico for a big payoff from crooked big-shot Raymond Burr. This John Farrow-directed thriller boasts a great supporting cast that also includes Jane Russell, Vincent Price, and erstwhile cowboy star Tim Holt. On Dangerous Ground, a 1952 melodrama directed by cult favorite Nicholas Ray, gives Robert Ryan a chance to play the tough cop, but his performance is overshadowed by that of leading lady Ida Lupino, superb as a blind woman whose brother is the object of a manhunt. The weakest film of this box, Anthony Mann's Border Incident (1949), is not nevertheless without interest and, in fact, remains topical even today. It stars Ricardo Montalban and George Murphy as Mexican and American law enforcement officials, respectively, paired to investigate the exploitation of illegal farm workers.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/18/2006
  • UPC: 012569761247
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Full Frame
  • Presentation: Bonus DVD / Slip Sleeve / Mixed Media Set / Full Frame
  • Language: English
  • Time: 9:17:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 13,443

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Film Noir Classics Collection, Vol. 3: Border Incident
1. Credits [1:04]
2. Border Murders [4:48]
3. Covering the Circle [3:37]
4. Crossing Outside the Law [4:50]
5. In His Hands [4:16]
6. Follow the Gringo [2:39]
7. Police and Snakes [4:42]
8. Death in Transit [2:05]
9. Higher Demands [5:42]
10. Clay Pigeon [2:29]
11. Torturing Jack [6:29]
12. Parkson's Visitors [4:12]
13. Dealer's Choice [1:05]
14. Man in the Tower [5:37]
15. Talking to Himself [3:10]
16. Pickup of a Pickup [5:16]
17. Saving His Neck [4:25]
18. Kansas City Tip [2:27]
19. In Death's Path [3:12]
20. Calling the Cops [5:46]
21. Amboy's Upper Hand [3:00]
22. Canyon of Death [4:29]
23. Fighting Back [3:05]
24. Quicksand Rescue [4:06]
25. Coda and Cast List [1:30]
Disc #2 -- Film Noir Classics Collection, Vol. 3: His Kind of Woman
1. Credits [1:14]
2. Three Locales [4:40]
3. Milner's Mess [3:28]
4. Destination Mexico [4:06]
5. Five Little Miles From San Berdoo [3:00]
6. Fellow Passengers [3:35]
7. Morro's Lodge [4:37]
8. Trying to Be Sociable [3:40]
9. Cardigan and Other Players [4:15]
10. How Ignorant Are They? [4:24]
11. Pair of Gamblers [2:55]
12. Mixed Reviews [3:02]
13. You'll Know [3:21]
14. Bringer of Luck [4:10]
15. Ironing Things Out [3:41]
16. Fools Try the Impossible [1:31]
17. Meeting the Mrs. [2:49]
18. Beautiful Dinner Ruined [3:28]
19. The Patsy [4:37]
20. Out of His Precinct [5:10]
21. Body on the Beach [2:43]
22. No Time for Histrionics [4:48]
23. Hunting Ground [4:07]
24. Aboard Ship [3:26]
25. Gone to Heaven [2:48]
26. Learning the Hard Way [3:48]
27. The Drop on Thompson [3:30]
28. Man's Work [4:52]
29. Abandon Ship [3:23]
30. The Sea Ham [4:28]
31. Lights Out [2:16]
32. Boat Battle [3:36]
33. Bullet for a Bad Man [2:13]
34. Handy Thing to Have [2:04]
Disc #3 -- Film Noir Classics Collection, Vol. 3: "Lady in the Lake"
1. Yuletide Credits [1:38]
2. Through My Eyes [2:18]
3. Marlowe's Price [7:39]
4. Don't Try to Be Cute [4:15]
5. Knockout Punch [3:10]
6. Certain Kinds of Cops [4:28]
7. Lady in the Lake [4:16]
8. Everything or Nothing [4:14]
9. Lady at Lawery's House [4:33]
10. Shower Surprise [2:44]
11. Death of the Party [9:48]
12. Hard-Hitting Truth [4:48]
13. Christmas Eve Reprieve [7:19]
14. Dugan's Tip [3:06]
15. Marlowe's "Accident." [4:13]
16. Handy Bystander [3:59]
17. Reaching for the Phone [3:26]
18. Her Christmas Wish [7:01]
19. Only Way Out [8:16]
20. Mystery Woman With a Gun [5:18]
21. Lethal Lovers [5:12]
22. Scarily Wonderful [:37]
Disc #4 -- Film Noir Classics Collection, Vol. 3: On Dangerous Ground
1. Credits [1:17]
2. Roll Call [3:41]
3. Search for Suspects [4:31]
4. What's With Jim? [3:21]
5. Real Cute Encounter [4:26]
6. Making Bernie Talk [3:31]
7. Brawley's Warning [3:49]
8. You Must Like It [2:12]
9. Gangster With a Badge [2:03]
10. Out-of-Town Case [3:17]
11. Suspect's Trail [3:41]
12. Off the Road [2:56]
13. Woman of the House [4:46]
14. Blind Truth [3:31]
15. Lonely to the Touch [4:52]
16. Confession [4:30]
17. Hiding Place [4:05]
18. Cornering Danny [3:28]
19. Death of a Kid [4:30]
20. Sister's Prayer [3:59]
21. Mary's Eyes [5:40]
22. Reaching Out [3:22]
Disc #5 -- Film Noir Classics Collection, Vol. 3: The Racket
1. Credits [1:05]
2. Crime Commission [2:52]
3. Nick Knows [5:10]
4. Higgins' Accident [5:05]
5. McQuigg's Reputation [3:11]
6. Nice Work, Johnson [5:49]
7. Getting Personal [6:09]
8. Danger on Their Doorstep [1:55]
9. Rooftop Ruckus [4:27]
10. Pressure Above and Below [3:40]
11. Collar at the Club [4:45]
12. When I Say It, Do It [3:08]
13. Prominent Names [3:58]
14. Nick's Business [3:55]
15. Holding Onto Irene [2:36]
16. Johnson's Visitors [4:06]
17. Plan of Attack [2:43]
18. Station Shooting [5:47]
19. Killed on Duty [3:16]
20. The One I Want [2:51]
21. Unafraid Witnesses [4:06]
22. The Old Man's Orders [3:38]
23. Silencing Nick [1:51]
24. Justice Machine [2:27]
Disc #6 -- Film Noir Classics Collection, Vol. 3: Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light
1. Introduction [2:26]
2. Into the Darkness [2:19]
3. What It Is. What It Ain't [3:57]
4. Birth of a Bad Dream [7:34]
5. Life's Cheap. Then You Die [6:05]
6. The Guy Pulling the Strings [2:57]
7. Masters of Darkness and Light [8:30]
8. Cut to Black [4:00]
9. Lullaby for the Damned [6:10]
10. Method Behind the Madness [8:44]
11. Caught in a Web [8:03]
12. Can't Cheat Fate [2:07]
13. Final Fade Out [4:35]
1. Women in Hiding [21:46]
2. You, the People [21:18]
3. Forbidden Passage [20:41]
4. A Gun in His Hand [18:57]
5. The Luckiest Guy in the World [21:07]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Film Noir Classics Collection, Vol. 3: Border Incident
   Play
   Scenes
   Features
      Commentary by Dana Polan
      Theatrical Trailer
   Languages
      Spoken Languages: English
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Français
      Subtitles: Español
      Subtitles: Off
Disc #2 -- Film Noir Classics Collection, Vol. 3: His Kind of Woman
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Commentary by Vivian Sobchack
   Languages
      Spoken Languages: English
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Français
      Subtitles: Español
      Subtitles: Off
Disc #3 -- Film Noir Classics Collection, Vol. 3: "Lady in the Lake"
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Commentary by Alain Silver and James Ursini
      Theatrical Trailer
   Languages
      Spoken Languages: English
      Spoken Languages: Français
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Français
      Subtitles: Español
      Subtitles: Off
Disc #4 -- Film Noir Classics Collection, Vol. 3: On Dangerous Ground
   Play
   Scenes
   Features
      Commentary by Glenn Erickson
      Theatrical Trailer
   Languages
      Spoken Languages: English
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Français
      Subtitles: Español
      Subtitles: Off
Disc #5 -- Film Noir Classics Collection, Vol. 3: The Racket
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Commentary by Eddie Muller
   Languages
      Spoken Languages: English
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Français
      Subtitles: Español
      Subtitles: Off
Disc #6 -- Film Noir Classics Collection, Vol. 3: Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light
   Play
   Scenes
   Crime Does Not Pay
      Play All
   Languages
      Spoken Languages: English
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: Français
      Subtitles: Español
      Subtitles: Off
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