Bullet is Waiting (A) (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Powerhouse Films
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (8th September 2021).
The Film

Indicator’s ongoing series of Columbia Noir box sets returns with its fourth instalment, once again delving into the studio’s archives to select six films which plunge the viewer into a dark world of crime. Featuring Kim Novak, Fred MacMurray, Jean Simmons, Rory Calhoun, Abbe Lane, Louis Hayward, and Richard Conte – not to mention gangsters, G-men, foreign spies, criminals on the run, and corrupt cops – Columbia Noir #4 continues the series in fine style.

Presenting all six films on Blu-ray for the first time anywhere in the world, this stunning collection includes newly recorded commentaries and critical appreciations, archival documentaries, six Three Stooges comedy shorts which lampoon the tropes and themes of the titles in the set, and a 120-page book.

Strictly limited to 6,000 numbered units.

Video

Disc four contains the only film in this set that's in colour and it's glorious Technicolor at that! Sadly, the film itself is a tad queasy, dated relic of an era with seriously dodgy romance at it's core although the last third is excellent and almost makes up for thie first two thirds of meandering.

But, the disc is superb.

First off, there are no registration issues where by the three strips of monochrome film run together with one bine red, another green and the final one blue. When run together we get luscious colour. But, with age the three strips can warp and thence we get colour registration issues. A Bullet is Waiting has been lovingly restored so none of those issues are in evidence in Sony's superb master.

Flesh tones are warm but naturalistic, primaries are string and healthy with lovely reds and perfect delineation. Blacks are deep and rich with no signs of crush intended or unintended, at least that I could see. Contrast is supportive allowing for plenty of detail on all focal planes and as usual the encode is superb. No damage, no digital tinkering. The strongest transfer in the set.

1080;24p / AVC MPEG-4 / BD50 / 1.37:1 / 81:55

Audio

English LPCM 1.0 (48 kHz)
Subtitles: English HoH

The mono track is robust without any issues that you wouldn't expect. Dialogue is to the fore and music never interrupts; mind you, score is used very sparingly. Being a track from the '50s it's reasonably dynamic with no distortions. Florid, forceful and generally very satisfying with a decent range considering the technology of the period and the restoration team have done a bang up job in ensuring their clarity.

Hard of hearing subtitles have been provided and as is usual are superb with all dialogue being accounted for; at least for the various sections I tested. I must clarify: Most studio subtitle streams tend to streamline the dialogue which means much of the nuance can be lost, but with a curated release as we have here from a small independent like Powerhouse Films you can tell that those responsible for these subtitles love what they do and take great care.

Extras

Audio commentary with Barry Forshaw and Kim Newman (2021)

Another cracking commentary from two old hands, both of whom have done plenty of sterling work on DVD and BD releases going back to the dawn of the formats. Presented in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

"From Cricklewood to Hollywood: Josephine Botting on Jean Simmons" 2021 featurette (20:35)

Excellent career overview by the estimable Botting who's been turning up on DVD and BD releases for years. Presented in 1080/24p 1.79:1 with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo.

"The Yoke's on Me" 1944 short film (16:14)

Another wonderful Three Stooges short with excellent image and sound. Presented in 1080/24p 1.37:1 with lossy Dolby Digital 1.0 sound.

Theatrical Trailer (1:58)

Vintage promo presented in 1080/24p 1.37:1 with LPCM 1.0 sound.

A Bullet is Waiting Image Gallery: Original Promotional Material (34 images)

The usual excellent HD gallery.

120-page liner notes book by Beth Ann Gallagher, Bob Herzberg, Sophie Monks Kaufman, Omar Ahmed, Jen Johans, Monica Castillo, and Jeff Billington, archival articles and interviews and film credits

14-pages are dedicated to A Bullet is Waiting in this superb book; "And After the Kiss ... A Bullet is Waiting" by Omar Ahmed and a vintage piece "A Bullet is Waiting on Location" by Harrison Carroll.

Packaging

Six small single-disc digipacks in a hard card box with a outer slip.

Overall

A colour noir, even if it's a dated relic that only really comes alive in a treat final third. Unusual for this series of releases from Powerhouse Films and it looks a leach with equally impressive mono sound. Extras are a knockout as usual. Highly recommended, a stunner!

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

 


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