Family Secret (The) AKA The Secret (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Powerhouse Films
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (7th July 2022).
The Film

A fifth foray into the film noir output of Columbia Pictures, but, this time, with a twist. Not only does this volume bring together six more gems from the studio’s archives, but it also serves as a showcase for the great Humphrey Bogart.

Having established his stardom in the gangster pictures of the 1930s, Bogart fit easily into the world of film noir, where he was equally at home playing troubled servicemen, slick-talking lawyers, black marketeers, gambling den owners, or hard-up journalists.

Columbia Noir #5: Humphrey Bogart brings together five of the iconic actor’s starring vehicles: John Cromwell’s Dead Reckoning, Nicholas Ray’s Knock on Any Door, Stuart Heisler’s Tokyo Joe, Curtis Bernhardt’s Sirocco, and Mark Robson’s The Harder They Fall, plus Henry Levin’s The Family Secret, a rarity starring Lee J Cobb and John Derek that was produced by Bogart’s Santana Pictures, an outfit that regularly delved into the seedy, shadowy world of noir.

Featuring a stunning 4K restoration of The Harder They Fall, and with Sirocco and The Family Secret appearing on Blu-ray for the first time anywhere in the world, this stunning collection includes newly recorded commentaries and critical appreciations, archival documentaries and short films, and a 120-page book. Strictly limited to 6,000 numbered units.


An oddball entry in this Humphrey Bogart-themed set because The Family Secret (1951) is a film made by Bogie's production company and not one he features in.

My comments for Dead Reckoning (disc one) apply to discs two (Knock on Any Door, 1949) three (Tokyo Joe, 1949), four (Sirocco, 1951) and five (The Family Secret, 1951) as they're all shot using the same format: Academy 1.37:1 monochrome by the same studio. Only disc six (The Harder They Fall, 1956) is presented in a matted widescreen circular lens format so that will have a different overall feel and will be dealt with separately.

Gamma is perfectly balanced with no colour bias creeping in. Black levels are suitably dark and deep with plenty of shadow detail. Contrast allows detail to show through on all focal planes with only optical transitions showing detail loss but that's par for the course for productions made in the photochemical era. Grain is ever present, sometimes course but mostly fine. Coarseness increases during those optical transitions and in some sequences with low light.

I could see no signs of age-related wear and tear, the image is pristine which, frankly, is pretty typical for these Sony masters. The encode is superb and no digital tinkering has been used. Once again, the image is as good as can be short an UHD BD ('A').

1080p24 / AVC MPEG-4 / BD50 / 1.37:1 / 84:54


English LPCM 1.0 (48kHz)
Subtitles: English HoH

All of the discs in this set sound very solid despite lacking the range and depth we expect from modern mixes with their multichannel directionality. Everything is front and centre, unless the viewer pumps it through all channels at once. I heard no distortions beyond the usual slight variations caused by the limited range of sound equipment at the time and due to ADR wortk in post production. It's always clear and a strong track of era ('B').

The usual excellent hard of hearing subtitles are provided.


Audio commentary with Jason A. Ney (2022)

Ney starts off discussing how he got the gig doing this commentary before talking about how this film is "an interesting misfire" made by Bogie's Santana Pictures. After that interesting opener a fine track by someone who knows his subject well and covers all the bases one would expect: Cast, crew, analysis of themes, behind the scenes trivia and anecdotes, pros and cons etc. I don't know if I've encountered Ney in any other tracks or interviewed in any documentaries or featurettes but here's hoping we get more from him. A topnotch track presented in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

The Family Secret Image Gallery: Original Promotional Material (31 images)

Yet another solid HD gallery of promo pics.

"The Negro Sailor" 1945 short film (26:49)
"The Big Moment" 1954 short film (25:23)

Two more American short films both presented in 1080p24 1.37:1 with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 (The Negro Soldier) and 1.0 sound (The Big Moment). The first is a very famous little film in it's own right, or at least I'd heard of it down the years. The transfer is a little soft with some heavy grain and is taken from a fine grain master. There's plenty of signs of damage but overall it's a decent presentation. An interesting social piece that could've done with being expanded into feature. The second film is a little less interesting, a cheesy portmanteau short about the big moments in the lives of three people. It's one of those moral lesson pieces. Image is soft and I'm not sure of the source, the booklet just says it was provided in HD. Framing looks a tad tight as though it's been slightly cropped on all four sides. The image is generally good and with no damage that I noticed. Sound on both is limited, very slightly muffled

120-page liner notes book with a new essay by Imogen Sara Smith, extensive archival articles and interviews, new writing on the various short films, and film credits

The Family Secret gets seven pages devoted to it amongst the other films in the set and some articles on Bogart and Bogart at Columbia.


Unspecified at the time of writing.


Disc five in the Columbia Noir #5 set themed around Humphrey Bogart contains The Family Secret (1951). This film is the odd one out in the set being a film made by Bogie's production compny and not starring the great mn himself. As with the others in the range, image and sound is excellent and the extras are well done.

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


Rewind DVDCompare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,,,,, and . As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.