Cry Danger (Blu-ray Review)

Cry-DangerCry Freedom was the film directorial debut of child star Robert Parrish.  He shot the movie over just twenty two days back in 1950-51.  As anyone can tell you, that’s an incredibly short amount of time.  However, when you see how concise and focused the film is, you can tell Parrish set out and knew exactly what he was doing and precisely what he was wanting.  In 2011, the film received a newly restored print from two 35 mm negatives courtesy of the Film Noir Foundation (in cooperation with Paramount and Warner Brothers.  The film then premiered on March 14, 2011 at the UCLA Festival Of Preservation.  This well reviewed piece of classic film noir is coming to Blu-ray courtesy of our friends over at Olive Films.

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Rocky has just been released early from prison while serving a life sentence.  He was fingered as a part of a robbery netting $100K.  A marine gave alibi that checked out.  But the police are still certain Rocky has the money which was never found, so they put a tail or two on him.  Rocky then learns the marine, a disabled drunk by the name of Delong, lied about his alibi figuring his military background would grant him credibility.  Delong wants in on the money that he believes Rocky knows the location of.  Rocky agrees to let him hang around.  But Rocky is bound and determined to discover the money and prove he and his friend’s (still in jail) innocence.

Cry Danger is a classic and shining example of old time film noir.  Its deals with a seedy underbelly in the paradise of Los Angeles.  One thing I really enjoyed in this particular noir entry is its pace.  It really books.  The film doesn’t sit and dick around, we move from places to place, discovery to discovery putting the puzzle together at a very satisfying rate.  What makes this one is that its a very tight and focused noir tale.  What might be to its detriment is that its the directorial debut of longtime editor Robert Parrish.  A fun fact, Parrish also served as one of the many directors on the 1967 rendition of Casino Royale.

The performances are all very much of the era.  But, that’s part of the enjoyment and charm of the film noir genre.  Dick Powell leads the way and gives a rather terrific performance.  He kind of feels head and shoulders above everyone else.  He brings a great sense of intensity to the performance of an ex-con turned into investigator.  You also get to see him let his guard down and become completely bemused by Nancy (Rhonda Fleming) when they share scenes together.  The remainder of the cast is pretty good as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed Cry Danger.  Its not a long film, and it really moves.  There are also some great moments that I’ll take with me forever as well.  During his investigation, Rocky throws crime boss Louie Castro onto a table, points his gun at his head and begins playing Russian roulette with him, spinning the chamber after every click.  The scene is rather awesome.  I had never seen this film prior to this review, but it has instantly become one of my absolute favorites in this genre.  I’m glad Olive has brought it to Blu.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1:37.1

Clarity/Detail: The picture features solid detail, but nothing really stunning.  This print is pretty old and probably could use some more restoration.  But, what we have here is no slouch and gets the job done pretty well given the circumstances.

Depth: This is a rather flat image, but sometimes there’s some good depth in particular scenes with a rear projection background look good and a lot of the trailer park sequences.

Black Levels: Most of the picture is black, but it does provide some good shade and enhancement of images.  Stuff of course will disappear into the darkness, but that’s as intended.

Color Reproduction: N/A

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: There’s plenty of grain, film scratches and dirt.

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Audio Format(s): English 1.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics: This is a mono track where everything is essentially blended together, but there is a distinction between voice, effect and score.  There is a slight analog hiss present throughout but that’s the nature of the beast.

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is clean and clear.  The only problematic areas would be source related ones that come when characters raise their voices too loud.

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Not a thing, chicken wing!

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Olive Films brings Cry Danger to Blu-ray with a solid, good enough, presentation and not an extra in sight.  I think the film is rather terrific, but the price is kind of steep for not being more of a collector’s edition of such an old film.  This release is worth owning and adding to your collection, but I would wait and see if the price comes down a little.  If that’s no matter or you’re a huge fan, pull the trigger and enjoy this new presentation.



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