The Big Clock

( 1 )


Universal's DVD release of John Farrow's The Big Clock doesn't have a commentary track or any newly or specially conceived supplement -- but it doesn't have a premium price, either. The movie, which never made it to laserdisc, has come out on the studio's mid-priced "Noir" collection line. The one bonus feature that is present is very exciting; the trailer is so cleverly put together that it would be worth seeing in any case, structured as it is around the film's star, Ray Milland and his dramatization of the ...
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DVD (Subtitled / B&W / Full Frame)
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Universal's DVD release of John Farrow's The Big Clock doesn't have a commentary track or any newly or specially conceived supplement -- but it doesn't have a premium price, either. The movie, which never made it to laserdisc, has come out on the studio's mid-priced "Noir" collection line. The one bonus feature that is present is very exciting; the trailer is so cleverly put together that it would be worth seeing in any case, structured as it is around the film's star, Ray Milland and his dramatization of the film on a radio series called Suspense. That's fine and well done, and entertaining, but the real treat for movie, radio, and television buffs is the appearance with Milland of Anton Leader; also sometimes known as Tony Leader, he was a major director/producer on radio and later on television, and something of linchpin in Irwin Allen's organization in the 1960s, as well as the director of Children of the Damned, the underrated mid-'60s sequel to the original Village of the Damned. To finally be able to put a face alongside the name -- and when the man was in his prime -- is a remarkable piece of good luck concerning a movie whose plot partly hinges on the day-to-day ubiquitousness of radio. Now, past that piece of pop-culture minutiae, the movie looks great; while there might be a better transfer to be done, this full-screen (1.33:1) release is acceptable -- not quite on a par with, say, Roy William Neill's The Black Angel (in the same DVD release cycle), but close. The sharpness isn't quite what it should be, but even the dark shots have useful picture information. The sound, though fairly low in volume level, is mastered very sharply and effects such as intercom buzzers leap out. As to the movie, it holds up extremely well today, mostly owing to its vision of power and its corrupting influence, which was decades ahead of its time. The 95-minute feature has been given 18 chapters, which are more than adequate to the task of breaking down the plot. In addition to the trailer, the only other bonus features are French and Spanish subtitles.
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Special Features

Chapter selections; Trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Although hardly unknown, The Big Clock is not as familiar as such other classic film noirs as The Big Sleep or Laura, so fans of noir and psychological thrillers who do not know this film should seek it out. Clock is immensely rewarding for all viewers, but especially for those with an inclination for moody black-and-white cinematography, twisting convoluted plots, and snappy dialogue with a certain edge. Jonathan Latimer's screenplay is clever and lean, providing just enough detail to flesh out its characters without getting in the way of the intricate plot. John Farrow's direction is top notch; he does a masterful job of creating tension and suspense, showing the audience just enough to keep them hooked without giving away too much. He skillfully melds the relatively lighthearted mood of the first portion of the film with the dangerous, desperate mood of the second part. Farrow's efforts are enormously aided by the evocative, atmospheric photography of Daniel L. Fapp and John F. Seitz. Their contributions heighten the tension without becoming overwhelming and make excellent use of shadow and light. Ray Milland is a solid presence as the hero, and Charles Laughton is a menacing delight as the villain, but Elsa Lanchester almost steals the film away from them with her bizarrely amusing supporting role.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/6/2004
  • UPC: 025192550126
  • Original Release: 1948
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Subtitled / B&W / Full Frame
  • Time: 1:36:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 10,242

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ray Milland George Stroud
Charles Laughton Earl Janoth
Maureen O'Sullivan Georgette Stroud
George Macready Steve Hagen
Elsa Lanchester Louise Patterson
Rita Johnson Pauline York
Dan Tobin Roy Cordette
Harold Vermilyea Don Klausmeyer
Henry Morgan Bill Womack
Richard Webb Nat Sperling
Tad Van Brunt Tony Watson
Elaine Riley Lily Gold
Luis Van Rooten Edwin Orlin
Lloyd Corrigan Mckinley
Margaret Field Second Secretary
Philip Van Zandt Sidney Kislav
Henri Letondal Antique Dealer
Douglas Spencer Bert Finch
Eric Alden
Harry Anderson Guard
Lane Chandler Doorman
Lester Dorr Cabby
Ralph Dunn
Bess Flowers Stylist in Conference Room
Theresa Harris Daisy
Edna Holland Staff Member
Bert Moorhouse Editor
Diane Stewart Girl
Napoleon Whiting Bootblack
B.G. Norman George, Jr.
Bobby Watson Morton Spaulding
Frances Morris Grace Adams
Erno Verebes Waiter
Lucille Barkley Hatcheck Girl
Frank Orth Burt, the Bartender
Harland Tucker Seymour Roberts
Gordon Richards Warren Parks
Joe Whitehead Fisher
James Burke O'Brien
Joey Ray Joe Talbot
Henry Guttman Man at Van Barth's
Len Hendry Bill Morgan
Harry Rosenthal Charlie
Noel Neill Elevator Operator
Bea Allen Elevator Operator
Mary Currier Ivy Temple
Earl Hodgins Guide
Robert Coleman Messenger
Norman Leavitt Tourist
William Meader Airways
Jerry James Man with Fish
Julia Faye Secretary
Pepito Perez Headwaiter at Van Barth's
Barry Norton Man at Van Barth's
Ruth Roman Bit Part
Charlie Hall
Technical Credits
John Farrow Director, Producer
Roland Anderson Art Director
William H. Coleman Asst. Director
Sam Comer Set Decoration/Design
Ross Dowd Set Decoration/Design
Hans Dreier Art Director
Ray Evans Songwriter
Daniel L. Fapp Cinematographer
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Gordon Jennigns Special Effects
Jonathan Latimer Screenwriter
Jay Livingston Songwriter
Richard Maibaum Producer
Albert Nozaki Art Director
Gene Ruggiero Editor
John F. Seitz Cinematographer
LeRoy Stone Editor
Wally Westmore Makeup
Victor Young Score Composer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Rat Race (Main Titles) [6:03]
2. Time Is Money [9:22]
3. Fortune Telling [3:49]
4. Blacklisted [8:14]
5. A Green Clock [4:47]
6. Deadly Consequence [4:48]
7. Honeymoon Cut Short [6:13]
8. Manhunt [7:17]
9. Closing In [4:03]
10. Eyewitness [3:24]
11. Dreadful Discovery [4:57]
12. Inside Information [3:07]
13. A Matter of Identification [6:27]
14. Irrelevant Clue [4:41]
15. Shoot to Kill [3:45]
16. Time Stands Still [7:44]
17. Found Our Man [5:54]
18. End Titles [:38]
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Side #1 --
      Spoken Language: English
      Captions & Subtitles
            Captioned for the Hearing Impaired: English
            Subtitles: Español
            Subtitles: Français
            Subtitles: None
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Big Clock - A Big Let Down!

    ¿The Big Clock¿ is a brilliant labyrinth of dark humor and cyclical twists and turns ¿ rather like riding a funhouse car into the murky blackness of uncertainty but with the nervous expectation that you are about to be frightened out of your mind. The film is a taut, lean thriller that presents a curious predicament for its hero, George Stroud (Ray Milland). He¿s a star reporter who is assigned to cover the murder of a mysterious woman by his punctually obsessed editor, Earl Janoth (Charles Laughton). There¿s just one little wrinkle that needs to be overcome; the overworked Stroud not only knows the woman in question but spent the night with her before she met with her untimely demise. There¿s also something else to consider; the woman was Janoth¿s mistress. Now the question arises for Stroud: how to accurately cover the scoop, report all the facts, expose the killer and keep his own name out of the proceedings. Both men are feverishly working to solve the crime, unwittingly culminating in accusations that will expose both their prior relationships with the corpse. Elsa Lanchester appears as Louise Patterson, the high-strung painter whose sketch of the prime suspect slowly begins to take on the figure of George Stroud. ¿The Big Clock¿ was remade in 1987 as the Kevin Costner thriller, ¿No Way Out¿. This is a very disappointing transfer from Universal. The gray scale is poorly balanced with unstable contrast levels and very rough looking whites. Fine detail seems slightly out of focus and, in most cases, is completely lost in a sea of tonal gray. Occasionally pixelization breaks apart the background information ¿ but only briefly and usually between dissolves. There¿s also a minor hint of edge enhancement that is barely noticeable. The audio is mono but very nicely cleaned up. There are no extras.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews