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The Scar
The Scar
Actors: Charles Arnt, Joan Bennett, Ray Bennett, Robert Bice, Henry Brandon
Genres: Mystery & Suspense
NR     2003     1hr 22min


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Movie Details

Actors: Charles Arnt, Joan Bennett, Ray Bennett, Robert Bice, Henry Brandon
Genres: Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 10/21/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 22min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Director of Photography the real star of this film
Iconophoric | 03/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The great John Alton's cinematography is dimmed but not nearly destroyed by Alpha's contrasty and weathered-looking transfer. But as this isn't an easy film to get hold of in any shape, I can put my qualms about Alpha's typical technical quality aside in this case.

John Alton was born in Austria-Hungary in 1901, and after working his way through the ranks in allied studio positions (film labs, etc) he eventually photographed many of the films that define the noir style for us today. In most every case, these films are worth watching more for the atmosphere his brilliant eye hewed out of the dark for them than for their story content. As DP he had a major impact on the visual style of such noir essentials and cult favorites as T-Men, Raw Deal, He Walked By Night, The People Against O'Hara, I, The Jury, The Big Combo and others. He was better than most anyone at taking the location shooting that was often necessitated by budget on noir films (which were not the "prestige" productions of their time) and making it work, investing it with a poetry and capturing the gritty atmosphere.

You realize in its first couple of minutes, from a simple scene of a man walking down a hallway, that The Scar is going to be a film of visual distinction. Without Alton, The Scar would still be a neat film because of the plot, the nifty twist and the memorable finish. But Alton lifts it to another level of visual eloquence and feeling. It remains rivetingly watchable. I give this copy of The Scar 5 stars and recommend this DVD -- one of the few Alpha DVD's that I would recco-- without reservation."
"I hate everything I know! I hate everything in me! I hate
Dymon Enlow | 11/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The highest ranked film noir in the massive "Film Noir Bible" is Steve Sekely's THE SCAR a.k.a. HOLLOW TRIUMPH.

Fresh out of prison John Muller is disgusted to find out that the members of his old crew have all gotten jobs. He pressures them into helping him rob a gambling hall that's run by the toughest boss in town. The heist is a bust and only John and one other guy get out alive, they split the dough and John goes into hiding in Los Angeles.

On the lam, John gets a normal 9 to 5 job then one day while out running errands a guy (John Qualen from THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE and THE SEARCHERS!) mistakes John for a local psychiatrist. This gives John an idea. He starts romancing the doctor's secretary and learns everything he can about the doctor. Finally he's trained himself to a perfect double except for the huge scar on the doctor's cheek. John better hurry and make the switch soon cause the goon squad is closing in. There's much more to the story but I can't say anymore without giving it all away.

For a low budget picture THE SCAR looks great (wish I could say the same for the fuzzy Alpha Video DVD) with dark, brooding shadows and imaginative camerawork. There's one shot towards the end that tripped me out. I rewound it four times because I liked it so much.

A definite must see for noir fans.

Hey Criterion how about a lesser known noir box set with THE SCAR, DETOUR, ARMORED CAR ROBBERY, THE HITCH-HIKER, PRIVATE HELL 36 and ACT OF VIOLENCE.
The next time you cut a scar into your cheek, make sure you
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 06/05/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

""If you think I'm going to get myself mixed up with you, you're crazy. You're pretty good and you've got style, but first comes you, second comes you, third comes you. You're one of those egotistical smart alecks with big ideas. You think you've got a right to get away with murder, and I imagine you often do, but not with me."

That's Evelyn Hahn (Joan Bennett) speaking. She's standing under an awning while the rain buckets down. She's just had an evening out with John Muller (Paul Henreid), a man she met when he came to the office of Dr. Victor Bartok because he'd heard he looks just like Bartok. Bartok is a psychologist and Evelyn Hahn manages things for him. And Evelyn Hahn, unknowingly, has Muller pegged. He's a smart, me first, anti-social criminal who thinks he should have the best. Now he's on the run because a gambler he tried to rob is after him. After seeing Bartok, Muller realizes he's got an escape hatch handy. The two are as identical as twins, except that Bartok has a scar on his cheek. A little boning up on psychology, a little practice mastering Bartok's handwriting, a little self-inflicted scar-making with a scalpel, and a little murder...and Muller becomes Bartok.

Getting to this point has been interesting, but now we have the rest of the movie to get through. Some of it holds up. Muller begins to learn that Dr. Bartok has some secrets of his own, including high stakes gambling. The Doctor was anything but a sympathetic man, and was unreasonable enough to have his scar on the other cheek than the one Muller gave himself. (A mirror and a flipped negative for a photo caused the problem.) Evelyn notices but stays quiet, which makes us wonder.

But then suddenly we learn Evelyn, a woman we like, has had a rough time of it with past relationships. She says she doesn't feel sorry for herself, but, of course, she feels sorry for herself. "What's the use," she says, "because you can never go back and start again, because the older you grow the worse everything turns out. You don't see it happen to you, it just happens. You wake up one morning and anything goes and that's alright, too." Huh? This comes to us out of the blue. Like the coincidences in the plot and the journeyman storyline (Meeting an identical-looking stranger? Faking psychology counseling? Fooling the real doc's office manager?), the change in Evelyn becomes nothing more than slack story telling. With this development we're hip deep in soap opera noir, made even more irritating because it wastes Joan Bennett. With no idea Evelyn Hahn was going to become Stella Dallas, we have no emotional commitment to her fate, along with no illusions as to what fate has in store for Muller. Although the movie ends with what is supposed to be ironic justice laced with tragedy, Evelyn's teary eyes just make us shrug.

The Scar (aka Hollow Triumph) features great John Alton cinematography. The movie is always a pleasure to watch. Alton often was able to make a B movie look like it might have A movie potential. Paul Henreid, who produced the film, wanted to shed his image of being nothing but a sympathetic nice guy. He does a fine, assured job as Muller, a self-centered, manipulating egoist for whom murder is just another solution to a problem. Briefly seen is Leslie Brooks, a scheming fixture of low budget films, as gorgeous arm candy with Muller/Bartok. To see a real noir mellerdramer, watch her as the star of Blonde Ice, made the same year.

Joan Bennett, however, has almost nothing to do. One can't help wondering why she took the role unless possibly as a favor to Henreid. To see just how good she was, watch her in Jean Renoir's The Woman on the Beach [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - Spain ], made the year before with Robert Ryan, and Max Ophul's The Reckless Moment (The Blank Wall) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - Great Britain ], made the year after with James Mason.

The Scar is worth watching for noir fans, but buy it only if the price is low enough. The movie is in the public domain. My version has a poor transfer from an obviously damaged master."