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The Clock (Blu-ray Review)

For the month of June, Warner Archive Collection is clearly celebrating the centennial of the birthday of film icon Judy Garland. With three of her films making their debut on the format, there’s no doubt that was the idea. One of which is the 1945 film, The Clock, that co-stars Robert Walker and is directed by her future husband (And Liza’s dad), Vincente Minnelli. The disc will come with a nice handful of extras that either relate to the film or the era when it was released. It was released on June 14th and you can order yourself a copy by using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the reviews.

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Film

While on a two day leave in New York City, soldier Joe Allen (Robert Walker) meets secretary Alice Mayberry (Judy Garland) when she trips over him. They hit it off, and Alice decides to show Joe around. As they tour the sights of New York, they begin to fall in love. After inadvertently meeting a milk deliveryman (James Gleason), they befriend him and help him finish his route. The next morning, they decide they should get married before Joe must return to duty.

The Clock is a sweet romantic drama that feels like a prototype for a type of romantic comedy kind of film that later movies like Roman Holiday would go on to break through an perfect. Its that film about a couple sort of sneaking around (not really) but having a meet-cute and then following it with some hijinks in a short window of time and falling for each other in absolute. You know, something mean to be super fun, kill time, realize its JUST A MOVIE an move ahead with life that would only lead to someone in modern times writing a think piece about how this fun little fluff is “harmful, actually”.

Its a different turn for Judy Garland here as the film is not a musical. And she’s pretty great here in the role, able to extend her dramatics even when its not pre-empting or following up a big number. She’s at work with her future husband Vincente Minnelli who is able to swing around and carry this picture with lots of fun. Robert Walker is fine here, even if he always feels he has an edge to him that feels like there’s something dark lurking beneath the surface.

1945’s The Clock is a piece of fun, escapist cinema that picks up and runs with it from the jump. There’s excellent pacing, fun character work and nice little set pieces within a larger picture. The film is able to play at the strengths of its performers and has some rather terrific staging and framing of some scenes. This is definitely one for the film history enthusiast to go back and check out to see the roots of things that would come later on.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The Clock makes its debut on Blu-ray with a new 2022 master from a 4k scan of the best surviving protection elements. It looks quite lovely, clean and fresh with this image that is pretty crisp and clear. There’s plenty of detail here and the depth and dynamics onscreen boast a wonderful restoration. Another impressive effort by the folks over at Warner Archive Collection.

Depth:  Depth of filed is pretty on point here with some nice push back and multi-dimensional appearance in the frames. Motion is filmic and smooth with no digital distortions coming from rapid character or camera movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and rich to almost natural degrees. They really become somewhat of their own character with excellent shading and nighttime sequences. Contrast is good in that it really brings out more detail and texture in the frame. No crushing witnessed during this viewing.

Color Reproduction: N/A

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are consistent from start to finish of the film with a white/gray looking appearance. Facial features and textures are plenty discernible in close-ups and most medium shots.

Noise/Artifacts: None

Audio

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: The Clock comes with a pretty terrific mono track that sounds a lot younger than the film is. Its with a soft analog hiss with its base and features great clarity and space between the vocals, effects and music. The score which is referred to as “haunting” sounds very lovely through your speakers.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extra

Pete Smith Specialty Short: Hollywood Scout (SD, 7:42)

Classic Tex Avery Cartoon: The Screwy Truant (HD, 7:02)

Audio-Only Lux Radio Theater Adaptation with John Hodiak and Judy Garland (HD, 47:21)

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:11)

Summary

The Clock is a fun, wonderfully paced little romantic jaunt that I’ve now checked out for the first time. Warner Archive Collection delivers it on Blu-ray for the very first time with a magnificent 4K restoration that is accompanied by an impressive audio restoration. There are actually a nice allotment of extras to go with this disc, which is really cool. Definitely a nice pickup for those who like their libraries to include plenty of Hollywood’s yesteryear!

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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