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Dark Passage (Blu-ray)

The Film:

Written and directed by Delmer Daves in 1947 for Warner Brothers and based on the novel by David Goodis, Dark Passage begins when a criminal named Vincent Parry (Humphry Bogart) escapes from San Quentin Prison. He was in there for murder, accused of killing his wife, but he has always maintained he was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. He does this by hiding in an oil barrel on the back of a truck that rolls away and finds him his freedom. From there, he hitches a ride with a nosey driver who speedily realizes, right after hearing a news broadcast about the escape on the radio, just who he has let into his car. They get into it but Vincent escapes.

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As the cops start off closing in on him, Vincent is quickly rescued by Irene Jansen (Lauren Bacall), a lovely but mysterious woman who knows more about his identity than he possibly expected her to. Wanting to maintain his new located freedom, Vincent goes beneath the blade and has cosmetic surgery completed to alter his face. Every thing in the movie up to this point involving the character himself is shown via Vincent’s eyes but soon after the surgery, the camera utilizes a lot more classic compositions. With his new face prepared to go, he and Irene look to be falling for a single another, but he hasn’t forgotten about the actual explanation he busted out of the massive home in the first place: to clear his name and uncover out who genuinely murdered his wife… but issues aren’t going to be easy. Very first his best friend, George Fellsinger (Rory Mallinson) turns up dead and after that, a pal of Irene’s named Madge Rapf (Agnes Moorehead) gets involved to additional complicate matters.

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The POV angle mirrors that which was employed in The Lady In The Lake, also created in 1947, but right here it’s considerably far more successful. Tension builds quick and efficiently in the 1st portion of the picture as we’re seeing all of this unfold by way of Vincent’s eyes. It sets us up, as the audience, to side with him. We’re part of the action in a way, and what he experiences, we too experience. After the surgery is more than and the camera pulls back (if you happen to be going to cast Bogart in your film you happen to be going to damn properly make positive the audience sees him as well as hears him) we’ve thrown in with Vincent and as factors commence to unravel in exciting ways, we’re sold on it all. Of course, Bogart’s overall performance is a huge portion of what makes this perform also, not just the camerawork. He’s salty, surly, not fairly content with any of this and you can’t genuinely blame him. He and Bacall do have that chemistry right here but it is not as palpable as it is in some of their other movies. She too is very great, however. She not only looks absolutely beautiful in the film but she plays Vincent’s mysterious ally with the appropriate air of mysteriousness, sex appeal and with just a hint of danger. Agnes Moorehead is also great right here, stealing really a handful of scenes.

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The plot itself is not the most realistic but it’s never absolutely nothing quick of exciting and fun. Yes, it subscribes to clichés and yes, it does not specifically deal in logic but that never ever stops us from enjoying it.&#13 &#13

The surgery scene, exactly where we sort of visually experience what is going on in Vincent’s head at the time by way of a strange montage involving his skinless face and Irene’s beautiful visage, really stands out. It really is almost surreal in how it depicts what the character is going via, but it performs. This is a quite attractive hunting movie, lots of fantastic footage of San Francisco and the surrounding location offering up its gritty charm to the image, and to its benefit at that. The scenes that take location soon after that, before the bandages come off, are a tease of sorts. The audience expects to see Bogart’s face from the commence of the film, but we don’t. After the surgery, the bandages remain on for a spell as he goes about obtaining to business, generating the reveal later in the image all the a lot more satisfying. It also leads to some excellent dialogue among the two leads. When the subject of ‘faces’ comes up, Vincent tells Irene “Never adjust yours. I like it just as it is.” And you can inform he means it. We would not want to see it modify either.

&#13 &#13 The Blu-ray:

&#13 Video:

Warner Archive’s AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer presents Dark Passage framed at 1.37.1 fullframe aspect ratio and for the most part it’s really a gorgeous image. The black and white image shows nice, all-natural looking film grain that never feels intrusive or distracting, rather, it just makes the image look like film as it need to. Black levels are sturdy and deep although fine detail is impressive all through and regularly outstanding. The transfer is free of any clear noise reduction or edge enhancement and compression artifacts are by no means as soon as a problem. The old DVD release from years back looked excellent for its time but this one bests it with superior depth, delineation and contrast.

&#13 &#13 Sound:

The primary audio track on this disc is an English language DTS-HD Mono track with optional subtitles accessible in English only. The audio right here is fine. This isn’t a specifically complicated track but the dialogue is usually crystal clear and balanced nicely against the score. The mix, for an older single channel track, sounds quite complete and there are no difficulties with any hiss or distortion to note.

&#13 &#13 Extras:

All of the extras here are carried over from the DVD release and the main supplement on the disc is the ten minute featurette Hold Your Breath And Cross Your Fingers. It is an interesting piece that gives up some background info on Delmar Daves, how the film came to be, Bogart’s interactions with the House Un-American Activities Committee around this time, and the reception that the film received at the time of its release and how it is regarded now. Also found right here is the Slick Hare quick that runs just under eight minutes. This animated feature from 1947, directed by Friz Freleng, characteristics Elmer Fudd alongside cartoon versions of Bogart, Bacall, Frank Sinatra, Groucho Marx and a handful of other Hollywood stars.

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Aside from menus and chapter choice, the Blu-ray also the film’s original theatrical trailer.

&#13 &#13 Final Thoughts:

Dark Passage may possibly be regarded the lesser of the 4 motion pictures that Bogart and Bacall created with each other but it really is nevertheless ridiculously very good entertainment. Loaded with a lot more noir style than you can shake a stick at, it features some excellent performances from a talented cast and it’s ripe with tension and suspense. The new Blu-ray release from the Warner Archive adds practically nothing new to the supplemental package that was ready for the old DVD release but it does supply up a beautiful transfer and strong audio. Hugely recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife exactly where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.&#13

What Do You Think?&#13

Blu-Ray Evaluations

Blu-ray & DVD Bargains 4/21 – The Hobbit Trilogy, Star Trek: The Compendium, Pirates Of Dark Water, Particular person of Interest, Ip Man Trilogy, Blue Bloods, and much more

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Dark Blue (Blu-ray)


&#13 Ron Shelton’s Dark Blue (2002) will forever be grouped with Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day, which arrived one particular year earlier. Each were written by David Ayer, each revolve about crooked cops with reluctant young partners, and both take spot inside a quick window as their environments spiral out of manage. That’s actually exactly where the similarities finish…and no matter which 1 you rank as the much better film, they both have their own set of merits and drawbacks.&#13

&#13 I’ve got a suspicion that Dark Blue has almost certainly aged greater and will continue to do so, even even though the principal purpose it really is nonetheless a relevant drama is due to the true-planet events that seem to take place with much more regularity every single year. Our story follows Sergeant Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell) in Los Angeles, just days prior to the acquittal of fellow officers in the wake of the 1991 beating of Rodney King. Perry is not the textbook example of a stand-up officer: he’s racist, judgmental, and not afraid of bending rules to push his personal agenda and the politics a “boy’s club”. Reluctantly along for the ride is Detective Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman), a handsome young man who’s clearly pegged to be the future Chief of Police according to Perry and his superiors, such as Commander Jack Van Meter (Brendan Gleeson).&#13

&#13 The bulk of Dark Blue issues the questionable actions of Perry, Van Meter and—to a lesser extent—Keough during the aftermath of a violent convenience store robbery by Darryl Orchard (Kurupt) and Gary Sidwell (Dash Mihok), as effectively as their friction with a single of the film’s heroic figures, Assistant Chief Arthur Holland (Ving Rhames). Holland’s assistant Sergeant Beth Williamson (Michael Michele), who had an earlier fling with Keough just before knowing his involvement with the case, is yet another beacon of light in what amounts to an endless sea of shady political dealings, corruption, and other moral roadblocks. But Dark Blue plays it sensible by framing its small story in the shadow of a horrific period in Los Angeles’ history, when the controversial verdict resulted in city-wide riots that killed 53, injured more than two,000, led to a lot more than 10,000 arrests, and triggered much more than $ 1 billion in total home harm.&#13

&#13 This “slow-burn” mentality provides Dark Blue time to breathe prior to the explosive final act, when Perry ultimately starts to query his actions and Keough forms an unlikely second partnership with Williamson. It is an ugly story that manages to go out on a hopeful note, thanks to the commitment of its lead and supporting performances. It really is a minor miracle that director Ron Shelton managed to bring in the strong trio of Russell, Rhames, and Gleeson and sustain such a potent atmosphere despite the film’s restricted price range fortunately, the obvious brief cuts don’t show their seams very frequently. In truth, the only roadblocks are a couple of moments of ridiculous “street” dialogue that not even Russell and Kurupt can provide convincingly. Denzel might have pulled it off a year earlier, but Dark Blue isn’t as lucky. &#13

&#13 Nonetheless, it’s a effectively-crafted film that holds up, despite the fact that Dark Blue has yet to earn a definitive home video release. MGM’s 2003 Particular Edition DVD was a good work, even though the studio’s 2009 Blu-ray dropped the extras in favor of a decent A/V upgrade. This new Blu-ray by Olive Films keeps the very same technical specs and, oddly sufficient, only ports more than a few of the original DVD extras the outcome is a disc that ought to provide far more than it in the end does.&#13

High quality Handle Department

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Video &amp Audio High quality&#13

&#13 Presented again in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, Dark Blue looks identical to MGM’s 2009 Blu-ray…which basically indicates “excellent, but not great”. Clearly, they’re each far better than the 2003 Special Edition DVD (a flipper disc, remember those?), with decent image detail, occasionally powerful textures, and not considerably in the way of dirt and debris. But there’s an undoubtedly thin and not-really-film-like look to this picture as a whole, which was widespread in earlier HD releases and typically the sign that a new master hadn’t been struck. Either way, the film’s regularly down-and-dirty topic matter does not precisely lend itself to glossy visuals, so I doubt several viewers will actually be disappointed with how this Blu-ray looks. But contemplating it really is been six years because the last release (and Dark Blue most most likely won’t get another on this format), it really is a shame there is nevertheless a fair quantity of area for improvement. &#13

&#13 NOTE: The stills and photos on this web page are sourced from promotional outlets and do not represent the title beneath assessment.&#13

&#13 The DTS-HD Master Audio five.1 track, although also identical to the earlier release, sounds just fine to my ears. The action and music regularly spill into the rear channels, with robust separation and nice punchy low finish on a lot of occasions. Dialogue is clean and nicely-recorded with no drop-outs, distortions, or other such problems. My only issue with this release, nonetheless, is the lack of optional subtitles or captions, both of which had been accessible in numerous languages (like English) on the preceding DVD and Blu-ray editions. It’s not surprising for an Olive release, but nonetheless frustrating when you contemplate it would have price little to nothing at all to make confident they were incorporated right here.&#13

&#13 &#13

Menu Design and style, Presentation &amp Packaging

&#13 The primary menu interface is clean and simple to navigate, with separate alternatives for chapter selection and bonus features. Loading time is rapidly with no trailers or ads beforehand, aside from the Olive Films logo. This one particular-disc release is packaged with a studio insert and cover artwork considerably various than the promotional photos below.&#13


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Bonus Attributes&#13

&#13 In contrast to MGM’s 2009 barebones Blu-ray, Olive Films’ new edition attempts to port more than the extras from MGM’s 2003 Particular Edition DVD…but for unknown reasons, a lot of of them did not make the cut. The only products we get right here are two “Internal Affairs” Featurettes: “Code Blue” (18 mins) and “By the Book” (7 mins), in which director Ron Shelton, screenwriter David Ayer, and other important participants discuss the film’s production, improvement, social influence, and the infamous events surrounding its source material. They’re each worth watching and I’m glad to see them carried more than. Also right here is Dark Blue‘s Theatrical Trailer (2 mins), which genuinely does not capture the film’s all round texture really nicely.&#13

&#13 Missing from the 2003 DVD is an audio commentary with Ron Shelton, a third featurette (“Necessary Force”), a photo gallery and a bonus segment integrated as an Easter egg. It really is disappointing that these extras aren’t included for whatever cause, which signifies that fans will most likely want to hang onto those DVDs for a although. &#13

Final Thoughts

&#13 Dark Blue is a somewhat below-appreciated drama that, for clear causes, nevertheless rings accurate in light of current events. It is got a surprisingly great cast and atmosphere contemplating the meager spending budget, which aims for on-the-street realism instead of glossy action in the course of its most effective moments. Yes, Training Day may well get the win if you’re forced to examine the two, but fans of the cast or genre ought to get pleasure from what Dark Blue brings to the table. Olive Films’ Blu-ray is a confusing release, nonetheless: it delivers an identical A/V presentation to MGM’s 2009 barebones disc, yet more than half of the 2003 Particular Edition DVD extras are missing in action. This practically negates the need to have for a double-dip, but these who haven’t purchased Dark Blue on Blu-ray however may possibly want to indulge. Mildly Recommended.&#13


&#13 &#13

Randy Miller III is an affable workplace monkey by day and film reviewer by evening. He also does freelance design and style work, teaches art classes and runs a internet site or two. In his restricted free time, Randy also enjoys slacking off, juggling HD DVDs, and writing in third person.&#13

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