Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Harry Bronson, Pat Obrien
Genres: Action & Adventure
Studio: Gotham (dba Alpha) Release Date: 05/25/2004
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Painfully flawed, but still an interesting film noir
K. Bunker | Boston, MA USA | 02/04/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The first thing I did after watching this movie was log onto Amazon and buy a copy of Guys and Dolls: The Stories of Damon Runyon. The plot to this flick (based on a Runyon short story of the same name) is an absolute killer: An ex-hood, long since "gone respectable," is set up by his former partner to take the rap for a killing he was involved in many years ago. Mortally wounded in a shootout but still bent on revenge, he hides out in an abandoned building. There he meets and befriends an injured dog whom he names Johnny One-Eye. Don'cha just love it already?
Made in 1950, this is a next-to-no-budget film noir starring Pat O'Brien and Wayne Morris. It's such an "unknown" that it didn't even make it into the book "Death on the Cheap: The Lost B Movies of Film Noir". In addition to the terrific story, it has some striking, classically noir visuals, especially in the final scenes.
Unfortunately, those plusses are accompanied by some powerful negatives. The DVD comes from Alpha Video, known for releasing low-budget public domain films on low-budget DVDs. With no enhancements or restoration to the video or audio, the quality of Alpha Video releases is often in the "barely-watchable" range. This transfer comes from a pretty terrible film print, with a constant hiss in the soundtrack, multiple splices, a mystifying profusion of "flashes" at the end of each film reel, and a severe fuzziness throughout. Even the digitization process went badly in some places, resulting in blocky artifacts appearing now and then. The film also shows the constraints of its original budget. It was obviously shot quickly and with little attention to detail. Far too much screen time is given to an 8 year old girl whose acting abilities are -- well -- let's just say not much worse than those of the average 8 year old girl.
On balance, it's an interesting piece, and well worth checking out for any fan of film noir. I say "well worth" considering that it can be bought for a pittance, especially if you get one of the "used & new" copies. You won't find MY copy for sale though; I'm hanging onto it."