Director: Arthur Lubin

Cast: Arthur Lubin, Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines, Charles Coburn


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For anyone who has ever suffered through the various videotape and television presentation of Arthur Lubin's Impact, Image Entertainment's DVD is going to provide a serious revelation. Released courtesy of the Wade Williams Collection -- which usually confines itself to cheap science fiction and horror titles -- this disc has been made from an archival-quality…  See more details below


For anyone who has ever suffered through the various videotape and television presentation of Arthur Lubin's Impact, Image Entertainment's DVD is going to provide a serious revelation. Released courtesy of the Wade Williams Collection -- which usually confines itself to cheap science fiction and horror titles -- this disc has been made from an archival-quality print (evidently from a UK source, to judge from the opening credits) and comes to us with the apparent imprimatur of producer Harry M. Popkin. Whatever the legal details, the image on the disc looks just millimeters short of splendid, filled with sharp detail and good contrast, and balanced throughout, so there are no shifts in texture, brightness, or clarity -- as day slides into night 20 minutes into the picture, the light levels recede ever so gradually while the contrasts stay deep and rich. What's more, the sound is good as well, and is mastered at a decent volume. The quality of the disc allows one to appreciate the subtleties in both the production design and the scoring, which are usually lost in the second- and third-rate masters that generally serve as a source for this movie. It feels so good to watch a picture like this, and not have to contend with washed out contrasts, blurred details, or frame damage, that for most viewers -- who may not have seen a decent looking version of this movie since its copyright lapsed in 1977 -- it will be like seeing it for the first time. The 16 chapters are just adequate for the 111 minute picture, which starts automatically, skipping the menu, which must be accessed manually. The tendency among cineastes is to dismiss the Wade Williams Collection as a freakish body of films, mostly of interest to enthusiasts of "psychotronic"-type science fiction, but with this release, and their issue of Edgar G. Ulmer's Detour, they've done a genuine service to serious film fans far beyond the ranks of cult enthusiasts to Edward D. Wood, Jr. et al. This disc is not to be missed by film noir, thriller, or mystery enthusiasts.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
Impact is a well-told crime drama distinguished by good performances from a veteran cast. Even when playing romantic leads or all-around heroes, Brian Donlevy brought a terse gruffness to his work that added a valuable level of realism. Here he strikes a nice internal-conflict balance as the husband wronged. Rejecting revenge as motivation, Donlevy's character is more interested in rebuilding his own life. Where film noir is often concerned with fatalism and justice in the more karmic sense, "happy ending" crime stories like Impact offer the comfortable reassurance that the organizational structures of society will somehow find a way to set free the innocent and punish the guilty. The film has many parallels to Busby Berkeley's They Made Me a Criminal made ten years earlier in 1939. Both protagonists are wronged by those closest to them. Both are involved in accidents and presumed dead. Both face criminal charges if they are discovered. Both find the love of a good woman. Both are pursued by a principled investigator. Only at the endings do the stories substantially diverge, and even there, both stories give the audience an upbeat finish. The black-and-white cinematography in Impact is undermined by frequent use of daytime exterior shots. Ernest Laszlo was a fine technical cinematographer whose visual style varied depending on what director he was working with. The director here is Arthur Lubin, an efficient craftsman not noted for much in the way of style. Lubin hit success that same year with Francis, a comedy about a talking mule. For much of the remainder of his career, Lubin stayed busy with the Francis sequels and other lightweight animal-oriented projects. While Impact misses out on story originality and cinematic atmosphere, it finds strength in its supporting performances. The much-underrated Ella Raines keeps the film's sometimes sluggish second half moving forward. Charles Coburn, as the investigator, plays pretty much the same character that he did in many of his films. He's good enough that the act doesn't go stale. The best treat is the all-too-brief performance of silent movie favorite Anna May Wong. She's excellent in what few scenes she has. Regrettably, her motion picture career had effectively ended some years earlier and she would appear in only two more films before dying in 1961. Overall, Impact lacks the sustaining energy to attain great classic status, but does its work adequately enough maintain interest and elevate it above many crime dramas of the late '40s.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Image Entertainment
Region Code:
[Dolby Digital, monaural]

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Brian Donlevy Walter Williams
Ella Raines Marsha Peters
Charles Coburn Lieutenant Quincy
Helen Walker Irene Williams
Mae Marsh Mrs. Peters
Tony Barrett Jim Torrance
William Wright District Attorney
Robert Warwick Capt. Callahan
Philip Ahn Ah Sing
Raymond Bond Actor
Mike Pat Donovan Actor
Sam Finn Actor
Richard H. Gordon Actor
Thomas Brown Henry Actor
W.J. O'Brien Actor
Frank Pershing Actor
William H. Ruhl Actor
Martin Doric Actor
Anna May Wong Su Lin
Clarence Kolb Darcy
Art Baker Defense attorney (Eldridge)
Will Wright District Attorney
Sheila Graham Herself
Glenn Vernon Ed
Linda Johnson Telephone operator
Jason Robards Judge
Erskine Sanford Dr. Bender
Ruth Robinson Apartment manager
Tom Greenway Moving van driver
Ben Welden Moving van helper
Hans Herbert Station master
Joel Friedkin Uncle Ben
Joe Kirk Hotel clerk
Mary Landa Della
Harry V. Cheshire Irene's Attorney

Technical Credits
Arthur Lubin Director
Dorothy Davenport Screenwriter
Maria P. Donovan Costumes/Costume Designer
Jay Dratler Screenwriter
Rudi Feld Art Director
Lee Greenway Makeup
Ernest Laszlo Cinematographer
Michel Michelet Score Composer
Arthur H. Nadel Editor
Joseph H. Nadel Associate Producer
Leo C. Popkin Producer
Dorothy Reid Screenwriter
Maurie M. Suess Asst. Director

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapter Index
1. Main Title; Business as Usual [5:16]
2. Well Laid Plans [8:23]
3. "Cousin" Jim [7:36]
4. "From Irene and Me, Sucker" [8:16]
5. Questions and Answers [9:21]
6. Piecing it Together [4:23]
7. New Evidence [9:19]
8. Larkspur, Idaho [9:19]
9. "Bill" [8:27]
10. The Truth Comes Out [10:09]
11. Lies [7:15]
12. The Whole Story [4:16]
13. Going to Trial [5:28]
14. More Harm Than Help [7:48]
15. The Suitcase [5:18]
16. End Credits [:38]

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