DVD News #313: The Whistler Film Noir Collection (1944-48).


Columbia’s The Whistler series. Some of the best cheap movies ever made. Some of William Castle’s finest work. And now one of the greatest DVD sets to come out in a long, long time.

Castle’s second film as director, The Whistler (1944) is a tight little mini-noir that put him on the B-movie map. It was a hit for Columbia Pictures and spawned an eight-picture series that’s been on collectors’ Want Lists for decades. They were available through Sony’s on-demand program, but $20 each was pretty steep.

The Whistler (1944)
Directed by William Castle
Starring Richard Dix, J. Carrol Naish, Gloria Stuart

The Power Of The Whistler (1945)
Directed by Lew Landers
Starring Richard Dix, Janis Carter

Voice Of The Whistler (1945)
Directed by William Castle
Starring Richard Dix, Lynn Merrick

Mysterious Intruder (1946)
Directed by William Castle
Starring Richard Dix, Nina Vale

Secret Of The Whistler (1946)
Directed by George Sherman
Starring Richard Dix, Leslie Brooks

The Thirteenth Hour (1947)
Directed by William Clemens
Starring Richard Dix, Karen Morley

The Return Of The Whistler (1948)
Directed by Ross Lederman
Starring Michael Duane, Lenore Aubert, Dick Lane

Based on the popular CBS radio program, each Whistler movie is a stand-alone story, with Richard Dix starring in all but the last one. He’s a different character every time — sometimes a good guy, sometimes a bad guy.

This Critics’ Choice Collection gives you all of the series, except for Mark Of The Whistler (1944), the second picture in the series. Hate this it’s missing, but this is essential, people!

Thanks to Kevin Deany for the news.


Filed under Columbia, Critics' Choice Collection, DVD/Blu-ray News, J. Carrol Naish, Lew Landers, Richard Dix, William Castle

8 responses to “DVD News #313: The Whistler Film Noir Collection (1944-48).

  1. Nick Beal

    Hi Toby. Very mixed feelings about this news, and not just because of the omission of MOW. I believe I’m right in saying Critics Choice release mainly public domain items and the seven titles (at best) are going to be squeezed onto two dual-layer DVDs with all the loss of picture quality that implies. I was happy to fork out for the Sony On-Demand discs and wonder if this release will be an improvement (other than in terms of cost). I have to also confess that when I first saw your announcement I thought it might be for a properly remastered Blu-Ray set!


    • Yeah, a Blu-Ray set would be terrific, but I don’t see that happening. I’ve been impressed with how these lots-of-movies-on-a-couple discs have been looking recently, and I’m going to go with the assumption that these will fare as well.

      Lately, I’ve been thinking about the economics of these things. Not the economics on our end — a $15 set vs. seven $20 DVDs, but on the other end. These films are probably not considered worth the effort and expense of putting together a Blu-Ray set — especially as the market for physical media shrinks to collectors like us.

      Also, I’m glad to see another company licensing this Columbia stuff. It’ll help get more of it into our hands,. even if the presentation isn’t as stellar as we’d like it to be.


  2. john k

    I’ve just checked this out on ebay and the Mill Creek logo appears on this
    set so thats good. At present the sole UK seller is asking more for the postage
    than the films themselves. I guess they will be from the same masters as
    the Sony MOD discs. Too bad also the missing title is also the best of the
    bunch,still it’s great to have them all in one place.
    As much as I’d love a Blu Ray collection,I have to agree that it’s not
    going to happen.
    I really wish Mill Creek would give us more of those wonderful Blu Ray
    double bills they released recently the William Castle double was most
    welcome and superb picture quality too.


  3. Mike Richards

    Critics Choice have been around for years. I have a number of their DVDs. They put out some good titles, but none of my purchases were top notch picture quality. I can’t understand why they are involved with a Millcreek Sony/Columbia release.


    • Mike Richards

      Quick follow up. I couldn’t find The Whistler set on Mill Creek site, but it’s on Critics Choice site at bargain price of $15 for American buyers. I didn’t realise it is a Critics Choice release. Thankfully it does say Sony Columbia on back of case, and as John K says, the Mill Creek logo is also there.


  4. Mike Richards

    Quick follow up, l couldn’t find The Whistler Set on Mill Creek site, it’s listed on Critics Choice site, at a good value $15 for our American readers. Thankfully it does say Sony Columbia on back of pack.


  5. Joseph Milner

    New to the conversation, Just found out about this and the Jungle Jim sets. Very excited. Hopefully the Boston Blackie films will be done in the future if this set sells enough. Another fun set by Mill Creek is the William Castle Western set.
    By the way Deep Discount.com has the sets for under $14. Too good a deal to pass up.


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