Category Archives: ClassicFlix

Blu-Ray News #149: Crime Of Passion (1957).

Directed by Gerd Oswald
Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Sterling Hayden, Raymond Burr, Fay Wray, Virginia Grey, Royal Dano

ClassicFlix has Gerd Oswald’s Crime Of Passion (1957) on the way, both Blu-Ray and DVD. This was an early direction gig for Oswald, but he did some great stuff right out of the gate, such as A Kiss Before Dying (1956) and Fury At Showdown (1957, a personal favorite). He had a real knack for getting the most out of a tiny budget and tinier schedule — and the results are always stylish. This made him perfect for later TV work like The Outer Limits and Star Trek.

Of course, with a cast like this one — Stanwyck, Hayden, Burr, etc., how could he miss? Crime Of Passion was dismissed as just another B noir back in the day, and it certainly deserves the reappraisal it’s received over the years. It’ll be great to have it spiffed up on Blu-Ray, where Joseph LaShelle’s camerawork can really shine. Highly recommended.

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Filed under 1957, Barbara Stanwyck, ClassicFlix, DVD/Blu-ray News, Gerd Oswald, Sterling Hayden

Blu-Ray News #144: T-Men (1947).

Directed by Anthony Mann
Starring Dennis O’Keefe, Mary Meade, Alfred Ryder, Wallace Ford, June Lockhart, Charles McGraw, Frank Ferguson

I’m so glad Classicflix is spiffing up Anthony Mann’s T-Men (1947) for Blu-Ray. It’s one of the most visually striking pictures of the 40s, thanks to the great John Alton. I can’t wait to see his shadows in high definition.

Dennis O’Keefe and Alfred Ryder are treasury agents trying to bust up a counterfeit ring, and they end up trying to infiltrate the Detroit mob. Mann gets things to a full boil almost immediately, and we spend the rest of the hour and a half wondering when it’s all gonna blow apart — and how little of the cast will still be alive.

Anthony Mann: “This is what I really call my first film. I was responsible for its story, for its structure, its characters and for actually making it.  This was my first real break towards being able to make films the way I wanted.”

Mann and Alton’s use of LA and Detroit locations and their overall documentary-style treatment really add to the realism and tension of the whole thing. Oh, and did I mention it’s got Charles McGraw, Wallace Ford and Frank Ferguson in it? This movie’s absolutely essential.

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Filed under Anthony Mann, Charles McGraw, ClassicFlix, Dennis O'Keefe, DVD/Blu-ray News, Eagle Lion, Frank Ferguson

Blu-Ray News #136: The Noose Hangs High (1948).

Directed by Charles Barton
Starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Joseph Calleia, Leon Errol, Cathy Downs, Mike Mazurki, Fritz Feld

I’ve always felt that The Noose Hangs High (1948) was one of Abbott & Costello’s funniest movies. The team was on a real roll at this time — this one came out a couple months before the immortal Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). Africa Screams (1949) would soon follow.

The Noose Hangs High is coming to Blu-Ray from ClassicFlix. It was their first independent production, and when on their own, they tended to just write a picture around their old tried-and-true  routines. Maybe that’s why they tend to be some of their best films. This one contains “Mudder And Fodder,” which alone is worth the price of the Blu-Ray. High recommended.

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Filed under Abbott & Costello, ClassicFlix, DVD/Blu-ray News, Eagle Lion

Blu-Ray Review: The Killer Is Loose (1956).


Directed by Budd Boetticher
Screenplay by Harold Medford
From a story by John Hawkins and Ward Hawkins
Cinematography: Lucien Ballard
Music by Lionel Newman
Film Editor: George Gittens

Cast: Joseph Cotten (Det. Sam Wagner), Rhonda Fleming (Lila Wagner), Wendell Corey (Leon Poole), Alan Hale (Denny), Michael Pate (Det. Chris Gillespie), John Larch (Otto Flanders), Dee J. Thompson (Grace Flanders)

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To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than a little movie that pays off big. And Budd Boetticher’s The Killer Is Loose (1956) is that in spades.

Detective Joseph Cotton accidentally shoots Wendell Corey’s wife while arresting him for bank robbery. On his way to prison, Corey swears he’ll get his revenge. And when he escapes, his only thought is to put Cotton through the same pain he suffered: the loss of his wife.

Where do you begin with this thing? From Lucien Ballard’s cinematography to Budd Boetticher’s crisp direction to the editing by George Gittens to the terrific cast, this movie knocks everything out of the park. Wendell Corey was never better than he is here as the milquetoast banker turned robber and murderer. You somehow feel sorry for him, even as you wish they’d hurry up and blow him away. Rhonda Fleming is quite good as Cotton’s wife, Corey’s target. It’s a part that’s pretty unlikable — she hates her husband being a cop, forcing Cotton to not only search for Corey, but conceal the fact that Fleming is who he’s after. Then there’s the great use of LA locations and the decision to set some of the film’s tensest scenes in the most mundane of places (kitchens, suburban neighborhoods, lettuce fields, etc.).

1956 was a great year for movies, and many of the folks behind The Killer Is Loose were on a roll. Boetticher was about to begin his superb Ranown Cycle with Randolph Scott — Seven Men From Now would arrive in a few short months. Rhonda Fleming’s next picture was Allan Dwan’s Slightly Scarlet (1956). And Lucien Ballard would continue working with Boetticher on the Ranown pictures and shoot The Killing (1956) for Stanley Kubrick.

Ballard (beside camera with scarf) and Boetticher (in front of Ballard) shooting on an LA bus.

Ballard’s camerawork not only sets this movie apart, it allows the new Blu-Ray from ClassicFlix to really shine. This is exactly how a black and white film should look in high definition. Film grain is present throughout, in a good way. Contrast levels are near-perfect, the blacks are very true and the proper 1.85 aspect ratio is preserved (the full-frame DVD looks awful clunky in comparison). And the lossless audio is rock solid.

The Killer Is Loose is a picture I’ve been lifting up for years, and this Blu-Ray is just as easy to recommend. Trust me, you need this.

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Filed under 1956, Allan Dwan, Budd Boetticher, ClassicFlix, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Joseph Cotton, Rhonda Fleming, Stanley Kubrick, United Artists, Wendell Corey