Thursday, December 19, 2019


RKO Radio Pictures, 71m 13s

Fishing pals Roy Collins (Edmond O'Brien) and Gilbert Bowen (Frank Lovejoy) are on the road from El Centro, California to San Felipe, Baja California. After a stop in Mexicali, the men make a potentially grave error when they incautiously pick up the apparently stranded Emmett Myers (William Talman), an itinerant wanted for murder. With revolver in hand, Myers quickly assumes command of the journey, now destined for the port city Santa Rosalía. Myers offers no grain of hope for the unfortunate roadtrippers. "You guys are gonna die, that's all. It's just a question of when," he promises. In the meantime, there is not a moment without worry for Collins and Bowen. At one road stop, Myers gleefully forces Bowen to shoot at Collins in a cruel target practice session. The outlook for the would-be outdoorsmen seems especially grim when it is revealed Myers never sleeps in the conventional sense.

A compact film noir thriller textured with more than the usual grit, THE HITCH-HIKER plugs along in tight alignment with recurring noir tropes and themes. The far-reaching grip of fatalism that so often informs the noir narrative is pervasive in this instance. Only a truly indifferent universe could funnel a couple of decent guys into a ride share with a callous, sought-after killer like Myers. Another line of analysis might consider a misogynistic explanation for the significant plot points. The recreational trip planned by Collins and Bowen is spoiled after an impromptu detour into the seamier side of Mexican urban life, in memory of "a dame" as Myers puts it. Were it not for a brief look at the night life in Mexicali, perhaps another driver would have had the misfortune to encounter Myers and his outstretched thumb.

The unbalanced noir psychopath's erratic behavior of the late 1940s, best exemplified by the giggling maniac Tommy Udo (Richard Widmark) in KISS OF DEATH (1947), invaded the 1950s in forms as diverse as Chester (Neville Brand) from D.O.A. (1950), the aging has-been Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) clinging to SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950), the temperamental gunslinger Annie Laurie Starr (Peggy Cummins) who goes GUN CRAZY (1950), the coffee-slinging madman Vince Stone (Lee Marvin) who provides THE BIG HEAT (1953) and the disturbed introvert Leon Poole (Wendell Corey) from THE KILLER IS LOOSE (1956). One of the more contemptible villains on cinematic scorecards, Emmett Myers is the embodiment of the '50s noir psychotic, complete with diabolical laugh. From an appearance standpoint his oily skin, greasy hair and upper eyelid paralysis combine to suggest an individual one would be wise to keep at a safe distance. He shares a certain kinship with Elmo "One-Eye" Mobley, AKA Chickamaw (Howard Da Silva) of THEY LIVE BY NIGHT (1948), another disfigured noir character at large in a post-WWII society riddled with wounded men.

Persistently reckless behavior only confirms any judgment made about Myers based solely on his appearance. He not only heartlessly kills humans, but movie sin of sins, defenseless dogs that bark incessantly. His spoken word is unremittingly gruff; seldom is there any calm to his voice. Myers repeatedly employs a xenophobic attitude about Mexican people despite his plan to hide out in Mexico. And like most memorable heels of the cinema, Myers does not see himself as a social problem. He in fact congratulates himself for not participating in a debt-based society that gets people like Collins and Bowen into tough situations. Myers is proud to declare he does not owe anybody anything, and even reminds Collins and Bowen either of them could have escaped had they not felt indebted to each other. At a certain juncture in the story, Collins walks with a pronounced limp, a common noir motif that implies compromised masculinity. Nonetheless, Collins proves himself a better man than Myers, who despite all of his tough talk reveals himself to be a weak person once secured by authorities.

A criminal mug for the ages:  William Talman

In the tradition of ON DANGEROUS GROUND (1951), MOONRISE (1948) and ACE IN THE HOLE (1951), THE HITCH-HIKER is another reminder the noir film need not have primarily urban settings to create a sense of alienation and despair. When Myers, Collins and Bowen continue their journey on foot once their vehicular option has been eliminated, a Mexican desert provides a daunting noir wasteland. In another movie trend of the time, law enforcement entities prove incredibly efficient and effective. California police and Mexican authorities gladly combine their efforts for the benefit of the public. These days such selfless cooperation dates the film more than the black & white cinematography or occasionally stilted dialog ever could.

An independent production of Filmakers Inc., the company created by Ida Lupino and her husband Collier Young to manufacture social-issue programmers, THE HITCH-HIKER was inspired by the murderous exploits of Billy Cook, who went on a 22-day killing spree from Missouri to California in the early 1950s. It was directed by Lupino, who co-wrote the screenplay with producer Collier Young, by then her ex-husband. The script was based upon a story by Daniel Mainwaring, who was blacklisted at the time and thus failed to receive screen credit for his contribution. Lupino also directed two other film noir offerings, OUTRAGE (1950) and THE BIGAMIST (1953), but surely is best remembered by loyal noir fans for her appearances as an actress in HIGH SIERRA (1941), MOONTIDE (1942), ROAD HOUSE (1948), WOMAN IN HIDING (1950) and the undisputed genre classic ON DANGEROUS GROUND. Director of photography Nicholas Musuraca perfected the visual bedrock of the noir film with his mind-bendingly beautiful cinematography that distinguished director Jacques Tourneur's OUT OF THE PAST (1947). His most visually arresting work in this project comes at the concluding sequence at the docks, nicely illuminated to evoke suspense.

The basis for this review is the single-layered Blu-ray edition released by Kino Classics back in 2013, "Preserved by the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation." Framing is at the correct theatrical aspect ratio of 1.37:1, though the packaging falsely indicates a 1.33:1 presentation.

Friday, November 29, 2019

THE SET-UP (1949)

RKO Radio Pictures, 72m 34s

In his recent explanation of why boxing is so different from most other forms of athletic competition, boxing analyst Max Kellerman described the sport as a contest of wills. A bout's outcome is determined not just by the pugilistic capabilities of the participants, but by each fighter's respective will to endure whatever punishment his opponent can deliver. Sometimes an unspectacular but durable fighter with a big heart can outlast the opposition's superior firepower. That possibility makes professional prizefighting exceptionally dangerous activity for the participants, as well as dramatic viewing material.  Everybody likes to root for a likable underdog who just won't quit when faced with serious adversity. Bill “Stoker" Thompson (Robert Ryan) is that battle-scarred fellow in director Robert Wise's THE SET-UP, a vigorous film noir that approximates real time.

The story commences with a timekeeper sounding the bell at ringside. As the narrative progresses we hear the ticking of a hotel room clock, see the hands of the town street clock and witness close-ups of the timekeeper’s clock at ringside between rounds. The uncompromising reality of time stands as the film's most crucial theme, emphasized by the recurrent images of clocks throughout the narrative as well as the stoic persistence of the lead protagonist, a journeyman heavyweight who now pensively recalls his first prizefight took place twenty years ago in Trenton, New Jersey. That is a long spell to ponder for any professional athlete, especially one trying to eke out a living in the fight game. A boxer whose time has passed and thus has become his own worst enemy makes for impactful film noir material, particularly in this case. The 35-year-old Thompson is among the most sympathetic of noir characters, punished severely and unfairly for giving his best effort in a sport that is notoriously brutal.

In what must feel like the supreme insult to a boxer's ego, Thompson's upcoming fight is to take place after the evening's featured event. The opponent in front of him is Tiger Nelson (Hal Baylor, here credited as Hal Fieberling), who is a mere 23 years of age. Despite the enormous age gap that separates Nelson from Thompson, money is exchanged to ensure Thompson hits the deck and stays there. In one of film noir’s most cynical gestures, Thompson's cigar-chomping manager Tiny (George Tobias) is so certain his fighter hasn't a prayer he never informs him his fight’s outcome has been predetermined! Even before that revelation, we sense Tiny does not have his fighter's best interests in mind. The moment we meet the presumably second-rate manager, he dismissively strikes a match across Thompson's name on the arena's poster, leaving a noticeable scratch over the name of the man he supposedly represents. Thompson's trainer Red (Percy Helton) is understandably skittish about the whole set-up, but he keeps quiet. With an internal support structure like that, one would hope the veteran boxer's fan base would be more enthusiastic about his next contest, but spectators are not very kind in their remarks about him, for instance:

"I remember him when I was a kid!"
"Where's your wheelchair?"
"He's an old man!"

In spite of the less than encouraging court of public opinion, Thompson stubbornly clings to the notion that he has the tools to end matters with one mighty punch. But when Gunboat Johnson (David Clarke) is dragged back to the locker room after a demoralizing defeat, the other fighters look on in knowing recognition:  someday this happens to every fighter who competes long enough. That sequence speaks to the true crux of prizefighting, which is unlikely ever to change. How does any practitioner of the sweet science call it quits when he knows he can still punch with power? It has been said for the fighter blessed with punching power that the power is the last thing to go. And when he does retire, one way or the other, to what exactly does he retire? What significant job opportunities exist for ex-prizefighters, especially those who were known to have hung around the ring past their prime? Any sentient observer might conclude there is no obvious exit strategy for the shot fighter. Those questions linger as Thompson soldiers on in boxing's no man's land, forever “one punch away” from a revitalized prizefighting career. In the meantime, he absorbs more punishment. “You’ll always be just one punch away,” declares his wife Julie (Audrey Totter, one of the few actresses I would describe as a possessor of rugged good looks). Though THE SET-UP’s runtime mostly respects actual time, the element of time is manipulated during Thompson’s climactic fight to make the brutality inside the ring even more excruciating. Round 1 clocks in at 3:17, round 2 at 3:37 and round 3 at 4:02!

The film noir of the late 1940s often doubles as a classroom session devoted to the dangerous tensions inside capitalism's underbelly, an overstuffed area bloated with class separation, cutthroat competition and unrealized dreams. The unglamorous urban setting of THE SET-UP percolates with dance halls, liquor stores, competitive newspaper salesmen, ungenerous gambling machines, street pitchmen and a wide variety of people chasing odds. It is an environment in which there are few obvious winners and a lot of average people just trying to get by on a daily basis. "Everybody makes a book on something," Thompson observes. Of primary interest in this noir city are the disturbingly bloodthirsty fight fans, who demand the most violent possible outcome to each match. The diversity of the fan base is given emphasis; one of the ticket holders is a blind man who does not allow his lack of sight to keep him far from the carnage. The montage of humanity captured inside the arena defines the term “urban jungle” better than any assortment of words ever could.

Fittingly, the major plot mechanics are empowered by the underworld business maneuvers of local gangster Little Boy (Alan Baxter), who has a significant investment in a Thompson loss. After Thompson fails to cooperate, the filmmakers make great use of the venue, both from visual and audio perspectives. Presumably the last boxing arena Thompson will navigate through is an empty one; his fighting career symbolically finished. The suddenly on-the-run Thompson attempts to avoid the representatives of the man who hemorrhaged money on Nelson's surprising defeat. As Thompson scurries around the arena in one of film noir's best "nowhere to run" concluding sequences, every sound echoes throughout the place. We recognize his time is up. On an optimistic note for an otherwise pessimistic narrative, THE SET-UP concludes with Thompson free to pursue a new life with Julie. After the moral and physical triumph in the ring, Thompson departs the sport of boxing horribly damaged, but with his life, and the potential for some sort of humble fresh start. Julie tells him “We both won tonight.” Only in a film noir could such a finish be described as an outright victory for the cinematic couple.

THE SET-UP was the first feature film screenplay credited to Art Cohn, who later co-wrote TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY (1951), one of the great couple-on-the-run noir titles. Cohn adapted Joseph Moncure March's long narrative poem THE SET-UP (1928), the story of a past-his-prime black boxer just freed from incarceration. Obviously the racial aspect of the poem was lost in the filmed version when a white actor was cast as the main protagonist. Nonetheless, Robert Ryan really registers as “Stoker" Thompson, one of film noir's most convincing everyman types. Still in admirable physical condition at the time of filming, Ryan was an intercollegiate heavyweight boxing champion while a student at Dartmouth College. Prolific cinematographer Milton R. Krasner worked on two other film noirs in 1949:  William Dieterle's THE ACCUSED for Paramount Pictures and Joseph L. Mankiewicz's HOUSE OF STRANGERS for Twentieth Century Fox.

A single-layered Blu-ray edition of THE SET-UP has been made available through Warner Archive, and the 1080p presentation honors their laudable standards. Based upon well-preserved 35mm source material, this welcome upgrade makes for intense viewing framed at the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.37:1 with DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono. For noir collectors, this is an obvious must-own.

Warner Blu-ray

Warner DVD

Supplemental material is limited to an audio commentary track with Robert Wise and Martin Scorsese, ported from Warner's 2004 DVD release. Wise reveals his belief in test screenings, which allow filmmakers to repair segments that prompt unexpected audience reactions. Scorsese, who graced us with the great Jake LaMotta biopic RAGING BULL (1980), does most of the talking as he relates his obvious passion for the career of Wise. Routinely jumping from one genre to another was never an easy task, Wise just made it look easy. Scorsese applauds some of Wise's previous achievements as a director, including producer Val Lewton's noirish horror productions at RKO THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE (1944) and THE BODY SNATCHER (1945). Later at RKO Wise helmed BORN TO KILL (1947), one of the great tough-guy noirs with a memorable lead thug portrayed by Lawrence Tierney. Also mentioned are ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW (1959), one of the great noir stragglers, and the Rocky Graziano biopic SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME (1956), Wise's return to the boxing film. Naturally the majority of Scorsese's focus is on THE SET-UP, which Wise recalls as his favorite film he made for RKO. From a technical standpoint, Scorsese proves himself to be an especially helpful guide. He believes it was Wise's experience as a film editor that allowed him to emerge as a master of the film medium. Wise understood when to hold the image versus when to cut. To understand the difference between the two, one must have great respect for the visual image. From an analytical perspective, Scorsese sees the boxing ring as an allegory of human life, our daily struggles encapsulated in the squared circle. He views the Penny Arcade & Fun Palace similarly, where the noir force of fate is well dramatized by the stingy crane machine that fails to pay off just when it looks like it will. In this noir city, perhaps everyone is a bit like Thompson, limping toward the end of the road, but still hopeful a big payday is out there somewhere, just “one punch away.”

Saturday, October 19, 2019


Twentieth Century Fox, 97m 17s

Gene Tierney's elegant visage takes on an aura of sadness in this outing, to great cumulative effect. Her psychologically troubled character is one of many featured noir protagonists to be tormented by the past, even if one restricts comparable productions to the common year of 1949. The long-term effect of the past maintains a tight grip on characters in CRISS CROSS, THE CROOKED WAY, IMPACT, THE RECKLESS MOMENT, SIDE STREET, THE THREAT and TRAPPED. But old traumas are just part of the story in WHIRLPOOL, a film very much concerned with how men think of females, from childhood through adulthood, and how patriarchal dominance might impact a woman's hesitance to trust men. At stake is the potential destruction of a moral woman in an immoral world. This feature is among the most progressive of noirs and one of the most compelling to be produced and directed by Otto Preminger, who was well versed in the genre.

For the uninitiated, the story opens in The Wilshire Store in Los Angeles, California, where a store detective (Ian MacDonald) busts socialite Ann Sutton (Tierney) for pocketing a pricey pin. The gotcha moment causes Ann to pass out, conveniently perhaps. When she regains consciousness she faces the wrath of store personnel, but is aided by David Korvo (portrayed with tenacity by José Ferrer), who smoothly gets Ann out of harm's way. The following afternoon he gains her trust, though not nearly to the extent he would prefer. Self-described as both astrologer and hypnotist, David takes her to a party given by Tina Cosgrove (Constance Collier), where he demonstrates an uncanny ability to read others with his eyes. Ann proves herself susceptible to David's hypnotic suggestions, but again she resists his best romantic impulses. While at the party Ann encounters his ex, Theresa Randolph (Barbara O'Neil), who cautions Ann that David is driven only by money. Ann does not want to hear it, and becomes noticeably upset with Theresa, who later is found strangled with Ann's scarf. Naturally Ann is the prime suspect.

WHIRLPOOL shares a kinship with other "woman in peril" noir permutations of the late 1940s and early 1950s, including POSSESSED (1947), THE RECKLESS MOMENT (1949), THE KILLER THAT STALKED NEW YORK (1950) and SUDDEN FEAR (1952). With their textured female protagonists and dark narratives that envelop them, these titles prove the main character of the film noir need not be male. Ann Sutton is another of noir's complex female leads, both strong and vulnerable. Though introduced as an impulsive shoplifter, Ann possesses a bank account large enough to write an unexpected check for $5,000 with little hesitation. She needs to steal accessories like a shark needs sharper teeth. Eventually she reveals that as a young woman she stole to get back at her father, who always thought of his daughter as a child. That is to say her fragile disorder is explained in psychoanalytic terms, ironically hidden from her husband Dr. William "Bill" Sutton, M.D. (Richard Conte), a man with extensive training in psychoanalytic theory.

For years Ann has feigned contentedness in her role as the supportive wife of a highly-regarded doctor. In truth she remains tormented by her childhood. Her turbulent situation as an adult remains much as it was in her past; the only difference now is she steals out of marital frustration. In some ways, her husband treats her as a child, as her father always did. Despite unresolved issues with her upbringing, Ann's sturdy moral character remains as the married woman repeatedly resists the spirited advances of David. He hypnotizes her at Tina's, but even while she is under hypnosis he cannot coerce her hand into his, much to his consternation. In a later scene, David unsuccessfully attempts to meet with her in his hotel room. He becomes noticeably petulant after she sticks to her well-grounded morals. Though many of the best realized sequences highlight the dynamic between Ann and David, the most critical conflict in WHIRLPOOL stands between Ann and Bill. After eight years of marriage, Bill loses trust in his wife, who is devastated to realize her husband does not believe in her innocence and loyalty.

In a nod to the patriarchal culture the movie reflects, Ann's existence is defined more by what men think of her than anything that is within her reasonable control. After having been raised by a father she claims never loved her, Ann attempted to escape to Bill, a reputable psychoanalyst dedicated to the health and wellbeing of his patients. That he is a professional to be taken seriously is suggested by his title affixed to his home's front door. Interestingly, that same door implies a barrier that separates him from his wife when she needs him most. The emotional and intellectual distance between Bill and Ann is emphasized further when Ann expresses an interest in Bill's practice. His reply is telling, "Just stay as you are, as you've always been, healthy and adorable." What strange words to be spoken from a husband to a wife; those might be the thoughts a father thinks but never articulates to his daughter, that impossible hope his child never matures. Later Bill again contextualizes his partner in terms of her physicality when he mentions he likes to see her noticed by others who must recognize, like it or not, she is with him. Clearly the doctor is interested more in an ornamental wife than one who may be his equal on a more meaningful level. The continuation of his marriage depends upon his ability to get his wife to openly discuss her history, as well as her present. Early in the film Bill hints at this need when he discusses a patient who cannot open up to him. At that point in the narrative, he has no idea his wife finds herself in roughly the same circumstances as his patient, at war with herself and the conditions that feed her descent into kleptomania. That husband-wife scene introduces one of the film's major themes:  it is unhealthy to bottle-up feelings, "...locked away in the characterization of a serene and devoted wife," as Ann later describes her sense of alienation. Her marriage parallels her childhood and best explains the film's title treatment. The story is all the more moving considering the well-chronicled mental health issues that plagued the actress Tierney for much of her adult life.

The charlatan David contrasts obviously with the good doctor Bill Sutton, especially in terms of the selfless professionalism we all hope to encounter when in need of care. Though the story's homme fatale David works out of his place of residence, which draws a correlation to Bill, otherwise the two men have little in common. Bill is a distinguished man of principles, David is a shady opportunist, a scoundrel with no altruistic tendencies and no medical diploma. Despite his many less than admirable attributes, David is a man who possesses startling powers over others, including himself when necessary. He shows smooth-talking confidence when he gets Mr. Simms (Larry Keating) to back off from Ann for stealing from his shop. Like Ann, the viewer cannot help but be impressed, even as one may wonder about David's ulterior motive. At lunch with Ann, he states that a healthy marriage has its basis in deception. As he commends her for keeping her shoplifting attempt from her husband, he theorizes, "A successful marriage is usually based on what a husband and wife don't know about each other." Eventually the narrative completely buries this notion, but not before confirming at least some of what David brings to the table regarding Ann. There is no doubt David is a man without honor, but he is spot-on in his diagnosis of Ann, whose unhappiness he detects. In another of the film's several ironies, David is correct in his (admittedly self-serving) theory that Bill is at fault for his wife's disconnect from her supposedly privileged world. Had that not been the case, there would have been no opportunity for David to inject himself into Ann's life. David's unique qualities are on display best at Tina's party, where he labels Feruccio di Ravallo (Fortunio Bonanova) as a manic-depressive, complete with fresh scars on his wrist! Though David later mentions to Ann he had information on Feruccio prior to meeting him, that initial exchange between David and Feruccio ("The Baron") stands as one of the oddest and darkest of noir revelations. David exposes Feruccio's suicide attempt in a party setting, and Feruccio shows only admiration for what most probably would find profoundly humiliating. It is difficult to imagine that scene as plausible in the context of any other genre movie, but hammered into the noir narrative, the on-the-spot evaluation does not strain credibility.

Master filmmaker Otto Preminger reunited with his LAURA (1944) star Gene Tierney and that film's composer David Raksin. Other commonalities between the two productions abound. For instance, an arrangement of masks displayed above David's bed closely recalls the home of Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), the hoity-toity columnist from LAURA. Preminger associates mask collections with deceptive characters. In another homage to LAURA, consider the large portrait of Theresa Randolph above her fireplace, an image linked to a murder riddled with complexities. In more general film noir terms, WHIRLPOOL can claim one of noir's best bad guys in David Korvo, whose carefully constructed plans do not mesh with his expiration date. One of the film's social concerns is the traditional family in jeopardy, a particularly potent theme of the post-WWII noir era. The Suttons look happy on the surface, but risk being destroyed from within. It could be argued the noir force of fate entangles Ann with David, though the spark for his appearance is her lack of fulfillment as a trophy wife. That trait makes her predisposed to his skill set (real-life hypnotist Fred Schneider was brought in as a technical consultant for the hypnosis sequences). The compromised film noir family is defined further by the character Lieutenant James Colton (the always credible Charles Bickford), the cop who wants to bring charges against Ann for the murder of Theresa. Colton's beloved wife died on the operating table due to a botched surgical procedure. The identical procedure protects the cynical mentalist David, whose recovery from gallbladder surgery at the time of Theresa's death ostensibly places him in the clear for her murder. The truth behind his whereabouts energizes the film's distinguished final act, when David unknowingly accelerates his deserved decline. The moribund David embodies one of the genre's "walking dead," similar to those depicted in DETOUR (1945), DECOY (1946), ACT OF VIOLENCE (1948), D.O.A. (1950) and the Billy Wilder masterpiece ACE IN THE HOLE (1951).

The idealized portrait...

...a film noir hallmark

Ben Hecht and Andrew Solt combined on the screenplay, an adaptation of the Guy Endore novel METHINKS THE LADY... (1946). I cannot say enough good things about Hecht, whose many screenwriting credits include essential film noir properties such as KISS OF DEATH (1947), RIDE THE PINK HORSE (1947) and the stellar WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS (1950), Preminger's follow-up to WHIRLPOOL, with Tierney again cast as his female lead. Solt's next credit was even more impressive:  director Nicholas Ray's IN A LONELY PLACE (1950), one of the most consummate of all film noirs and certainly one of the most downbeat. Director of photography Arthur C. Miller is credited with the cinematography of close to 150 productions, his final effort being director Joseph Losey's THE PROWLER (1951), a personal noir favorite of mine.

New to domestic Blu-ray as of last month, this region-free Twilight Time disc produces a richly defined presentation of one of my preferred noirs of the late '40s. The level of film grain adds to the authenticity of the presentation, well accounted for in this review's screen captures. Since this is the usual 3,000-unit Twilight Time build, it is recommended the noir collector press the ‘buy’ button while the disc is readily available. Framing is at 1.33:1, audio options include English 2.0 DTS-HD MA and English 1.0 DTS-HD MA.

Twilight Time Blu-ray


The audio commentary track with film historian Richard Schickel was extracted from the "Fox Film Noir" DVD issued in 2005. As was the case with his track for GILDA (1946), Schickel's commentary is intermittent rather than steady, but his observations are solid. He identifies WHIRLPOOL as typical Preminger material:  someone with a compromised past descends into an obsessive criminal plot. Schickel helpfully observes that Preminger shied away from excessive editing. The filmmaker preferred to let the mise en scène do the talking, a practice that lent a strong sense of objectivity to his work. Another good observation is that despite his well-documented reputation as a tyrant on the set, Preminger nonetheless boasted a healthy stable of recurring collaborators. Schickel admires the film under review, but not to the point he is unable to discuss some of its plot concessions and improbabilities. He also credits screenwriter Hecht as one of the important forces behind the adoption of psychoanalytic themes in film, i.e. the Alfred Hitchcock titles SPELLBOUND (1945) and NOTORIOUS (1946).

Other bonus material includes the isolated music track and original theatrical trailer (2m 39s), also with isolated music track. The usual Twilight Time catalogue is a menu option, and a booklet essay by Mike Finnegan is part of the packaging.