Act of Murder (An) (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Powerhouse Films
Review written by and copyright: Rick Curzon (24th September 2023).
The Film

Universal Noir #2 – the second in Indicator’s series of box sets focusing on the celebrated film noir output of Universal Pictures – collects six crime classics from Hollywood’s golden age.

Starring the cream of US and British acting talent – including Deanna Durbin, Ralph Bellamy, Phyllis Calvert, Fred MacMurray, Ava Gardner, Ann Blyth, Jessica Tandy, Cedric Hardwicke, Fredric March, and Barbara Stanwyck – these dark and dangerous dramas feature witnesses to murder (Lady on a Train), family rifts (Time Out of Mind), amnesia and smuggling (Singapore), murderous infidelity (A Woman’s Vengeance), mercy killing (An Act of Murder), and gambling addiction (The Lady Gambles).

This indispensable collection marks the UK Blu-ray premiere of all six films, and also features an array of fascinating contextualising extras, including newly recorded commentaries, critical appreciations, rare archival short films, and a 120-page book. Strictly limited to 6,000 individually numbered units.


Yet another film in this set that just isn't a noir; good film, a treatise on medical and legal ethics, just not a noir. It covers an unusual subject for the era and obviously doesn't consider the ethical implications of a husband being trusted with the news that his wife is dying and not her.

An Act of Murder was sourced from Universal’s 2013 restoration, created from a 2K scan of the 35mm composite finegrain print.

This is a pretty decent transfer overall with some well handled grain, decent contrast and satisfying blacks. Detail is generally good although there is some softness here and there as well as some damage; visible tramline scratches in the scene where Geraldine Brooks talks to Frederic March in jail and through much of the next ten minutes or so. It's probably the only instance of overt damage I can recall seeing in a Powerhouse Films' release. Encoding is as strong as we've come to expect from Fidelity in Motion with no signs of digital tampering. A solid, monochrome 1.37:1 transfer with perfect gamma, but not perfect ('B+').

1080p24 / AVC MPEG-4 / BD25 / 1.37:1 / 90:58


English LPCM 1.0 (48kHz, 24-bit)
Subtitles: English HoH

A strong mono track that gets the hob done. It lacks the range and depth of a modern track but is clean and clear; dialogue is always to the fore, scoring well handled in the mix. Hard of hearing subtitles are excellent ('B+').


Audio commentary with film historians Max Evry and Bryan Reesman (2023)

Two new historians in my experience with couple of guys who're obviously characters in real life and who know each other. Lots of trivia in this packed track that kicks off discussing the Courthouse Square set and it's use here and in other famous films and television programmes. Presented in lossy English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (48kHz, 112Kbps).

"An Act of Marriage: Jill Blake on Fredric March and Florence Eldridge" 2023 video essay (14:09)

Fine essay that covers the personal and professional relationship. Eldridge is a new face and name for me but she's forthright, knowledgeble and to the point. Presented in 1080p24 1.78:1 with lossy English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (48kHz, 192kbps).

An Act of Murder Image Gallery: Original Promotional Material (27 images)

Solid HD gallery.

"Welcome Home" 1945 short film (19:55)

A cording to the booklet:
... scanned in High Definition from 35mm finegrain composite master elements by the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) especially for this Indicator edition.
World War II era short produced about how Americans gave of themselves to the war effort, their difficulties in front line combat and their subsequent return to civilian life. It asks question about whether these men can adjust back into normal life.

120-page liner notes book with new essays by Ellen Wright, Paul Duane, Philip Kemp, Tara Judah, Imogen Sara Smith, and Iris Veysey, extensive archival articles and interviews, new writing on the various short films and film credits

12-pages are devoted to An Act of Murder in this valuable hard copy companion to the six films in this set.


Not sent for review.


Disc #5 offers up not a noir but a drama about a judge on trial for murder, for the mercy killing of his terminally ill wife. Decent image, although there is some print damage, and sound with some fine extras. Not as extensive as some other films in the Powerhouse Films Indicator Series but solid and informative nonetheless. A good disc ('B+').

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


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