711 Ocean Drive (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Powerhouse Films
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (24th January 2021).
The Film

Our second Columbia Noir box set takes a dive once more into the studio’s archives and the world of film noir – a world of undercover detectives (The Mob) and emotionless hitmen (Murder by Contract), a world where film is inspired by real-life criminal activities (Tight Spot, based loosely on Virginia Hill’s testimony against Bugsy Siegel) and real-life criminal activities are inspired by film (711 Ocean Drive, which attracted the unwanted attention of mobsters), and a world where Glenn Ford finds himself unwittingly embroiled in murder – twice (Framed, Affair in Trinidad).

All six films are presented for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK, with The Mob, Tight Spot and Murder by Contract making their world Blu-ray premieres. This stunning collection includes newly recorded commentaries on each film, assorted bonus materials, including six short films starring the Three Stooges, lampooning the tropes and themes of the features, a 120-page book, and is strictly limited to 6,000 numbered units.

Video

The rise and fall of a gambling syndicate gangster. Smooth, smokey, bluesy noir from the classic noir era; tough-talking, flawed antihero, beautiful femme fatales, organised crime, gambling, shady villains and hard-working flatfoots out to get 'em ... and The Syndicate! Lots of shadows and smoke with a cynical ending.

Beautifully shot in monochrome 35mm in the Academy aspect ratio (1.37:1). Beautiful deep blacks with bags of shadow detail and no crush; the elements have been kept in good nick. No damage, no digital tinkering and contrast is supportive; highlights also contain as much detail as the blacks. And, perfectly balanced gamma with no colour bias creeping in.

As with Framed (disc one in the Noir #2 set) a top notch transfer from a great HD master.

1080/24p / AVC MPEG-4 / 1.37:1 / 101:46

Audio

English LPCM 1.0
Subtitles: English HoH

This is a typical mono track from the period. Sound design is limited as is the range. It's mainly designed to allow the dialogue to come through loud and clear which it does at all times; music is also well adjusted in the mix. Some tracks of this era can be a little muffled or even tinny, but I noticed none of that hear. It's about as good as it can be for 1.0.

Subtitles for the hearing impaired have been provided and re meticulous.

Extras

Audio commentary by Glenn Kenny (2021)

Kenny is name to be reckoned with in film journalism as a pro who writes for The New York Times, Sight and Sound, Roger Ebert.com Cahiers du Cinéma amongst other high profile organisations. What he doesn't know about cinema wouldn't fill a gnat's codpiece! A topnotch track; my first with Kenny in charge. Lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo.

"Diary of a Sergeant" 1945 short film (24:01)

Vintage WWII propaganda short starring real life WWII veteran Harold Russell (1914-2002) who became the first of two non-professional actors to win the Oscar for acting; for The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). This also has General Norman T. Kirk (1888-1960) who was the Surgeon General of the Army (1943-47) giving a speech at the end imploring the public to help disabled veterans. This short about the rehabilitation of injured veterans has plenty of minor age related damage and course grain; very filmic. 1080/24p 1.37:1 with lossy Dolby Digital 1.0.

"Three Sappy People" 1939 short film (17:21)

Typically raucous Three Stooges short, beautifully restored in 1080/24p 1.37:1. Lossy Dolby Digital 1.0.

Theatrical Trailer (2:36)

Vintage promo in 1080/24p with lossy Dolby Digital 1.0.

711 Ocean Drive Image Gallery: Original Promotional Material (18 images)

Small but decent gallery in 1080/24p.

120-page liner notes book

As of writing, the PDF of this hasn't arrived so will update the review when it does. I'm sure it'll be superb as usual for Powerhouse Films' booklets.

Packaging

Single disc card digipack for each film in a hard card box.

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: A+ Audio: A+ Extras: B+ Overall: A

 


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