Good Poverty Row Movie - Bad DVD
Erik Rupp | Southern California | 02/04/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Crime, Inc. was a higher budget effort from PRC, one of Hollywood's famous "Poverty Row" studios of the 1940's. It featured a solid cast, and a fairly tight script. The direction, while fairly nondescript, was solid enough, and the sets and music were good as well. A solid organized crime movie of that era, Crime Inc. may have been one of PRC's best efforts, and it certainly merits release on DVD.
Unfortunately, the Alpha DVD is a huge disappointment. The picture looks stretched horizontally, and is then cropped so that the sides are cut off. The very top and bottom of the original frame is cut off as well, giving the movie a cramped, claustrophobic feel - not to mention the "stretching" makes the actors all look short and stocky. The picture is soft, but if that had been the only major flaw it would have been acceptable, however, when you add a soft picture to a distorted (horizontally stretched) and cropped frame it makes for a very poor viewing experience. To add insult to injury the mastering/authoring of the DVD is poor as well - with most movements onscreen looking jittery and/or blurred. Those responsible for this DVD at Alpha should be deeply embarassed by the poor quality all around on this release. The only upside to the release (besides the quality of the movie) is the decent audio - no major hiss or distortion is present on the audio track.
The movie itself earns a 4 star rating (graded on a curve - this WAS a "poverty row" film, after all), but the DVD gets 1 1/2 (and would only earn a 1 rating, but the decent audio makes it worth an extra half star rating). Buy this version of the DVD ONLY if you've really got to see the movie - otherwise, wait and hope that Roan, VCI, Image, or Kino releases a better version."