13 Rue Madeleine
Henry Hathaway's 13 Rue Madeleine (1946) is the most enduring of a tiny group of postwar feature films dealing with the OSS, or Office of Strategic Services -- precursor to the CIA -- that went into production soon after the end of World War II. Its mix of a documentary approach and the best elements of the spy thriller, and some of the best performances ever given by its supporting cast members, has allowed the film to endure in popularity across the generations. The movie was long a staple of broadcast television, though this reviewer doesn't remember it looking quite this rich or sharp, or being as seamless as it plays back here. The film captured the best elements of documentary
ewsreel realism and movie studio smoothness, and the rich full-frame image (1.33-to-1) on this DVD brings those elements out in ways that no presentation since 1947 has managed to do. The 18 chapters are more than adequate for the briskly paced 95 minute movie, which is supplemented by its original trailer (which makes this intelligently wrought plot sound a bit more overheated than it is). Among the bonus features, for no obvious reason we're treated to a Fox-Movietone newsreel dealing with the German V-weapons. Additionally, there are trailers for five more movies in the same round of releases from Fox's "War Classics" series, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, The Desert Fox, The Enemy Below, Sink The Bismarck, and The Blue Max. All of this material is accessible through an easily navigable triple-layer menu that opens automatically on start-up.