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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Crime > Murder > French New Wave > Thriller > Spy > Espionage > Reporter > Film Noir > 3D > Revenge > Ma > Breathless (1959/Criterion Blu-ray w/DVD Set)/Cold Comes The Night (2013/Sony Blu-ray)/Foreign Correspondent (1940/Hitchcock/Criterion Blu-ray w/DVD Set)/Man In The Dark 3D (1953/Columbia/Sony/Twiligh

Breathless (1959/Criterion Blu-ray w/DVD Set)/Cold Comes The Night (2013/Sony Blu-ray)/Foreign Correspondent (1940/Hitchcock/Criterion Blu-ray w/DVD Set)/Man In The Dark 3D (1953/Columbia/Sony/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray 3D w/2D)/Oldboy (2013 Remake/Film District/Sony Blu-ray)

3D Picture: B Picture: B+ & C+/B-/B & B-/B/B Sound: B- & C+/B/B- & C+/B-/B- Extras: B+/C-/B/C/C Films: B+/C+/B/C+/B-

PLEASE NOTE: The Man In The Dark 3D Blu-ray 3D (which includes Blu-ray 2D) is from our friends at Twilight Time limited to a 3,000 copies pressing and is now only available from Screen Archives and can be ordered from the link below.

Here are a group of darker dramas with Noir orientation as well as other aspects you should know about coming your way on Blu-ray...

Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless (1959) is making the rounds on Blu-ray worldwide and we just covered its debut in Australia, but now, we get the new Criterion Blu-ray edition (w/DVDs) and it is even more loaded than the import. We reviewed it as part of a great set of foreign films at this link:


Finding the room between a documentary style and breaking down of the narrative form (via Film Noir in this case), it is always interesting to see it again, even within weeks of two different Blu-ray versions. The film that helped launch The French New Wave gets more expanded extras here. It shares the 80-minutes-long Hotel De Suede film (here called Chambre 12, Hotel De Suede, on the Umbrella Blu-ray called Room 12, Hotel De Suede) and Original French Trailer, but does not include two other clips that Blu-ray had. Criterion adds a DVD set with all the same extras as their Blu-ray, a terrific booklet (all inside a slipcase that has the discs) with cast/crew text info., vintage interviews, two essays and stills, while the discs add Godard's 1959 short film Charlotte et son Jules starring Jean-Paul Belmondo from Breathless, 2007 interviews with Director of Photography Raoul Coutard (who approved the transfer here), Assistant Director Pierre Rissient & filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker, archival interviews with Godard, Jean Seberg, Belmondo & Jean-Pierre Melville and two video essays on the film and Godard: Mark Rappaport's Jean Seberg and Jonathan Rosenbaum's Breathless As Criticism. A great set of extras for a key work in all of world film history.

Tze Chun's Cold Comes The Night (2013) has Alice Eve (ATM) as a single mother working at a motel trying to raise her daughter while protecting her from the sometimes sleazy happenings there. She seems a good mom, but a mysterious man (Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad) and an assistant have checked into separate rooms and when the younger helper gets into unexpected trouble, he approaches the mother as a quick replacement to deliver a valuable package of some sort. Things are not going as planned and that trend continues throughout.

This may not be a great thriller, but it has some suspense and when that does not work, something unintentionally funny seems to come in and save the script's limits from itself. Cranston is doing some kind of Russian accent and the cast is always interesting. A few scenes are just over the top, yet I would recommend anyone who likes thrillers or needs a good laugh ought to give this one a look.

Deleted Scenes that should have stayed in the final cut are the only extras.

Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1940) was a thriller with a difference as the Master of Suspense teamed up with the visual genius William Cameron Menzies to create a thriller that also served as anti-Axis Powers propaganda while being sly about it. This meant that Hitch surrendered some aspects of his signature look and feel to make other points in this tale of a reporter (Joel McCrea) going to Europe to get a story and uncovering something much more ugly and evil than he could have imagined.

The propaganda aspect also gives it a pace that is slowed unlike any other Hitchcock film, but the special circumstances cannot hold back what does work here and it does become a sort of active time capsule as much as anything. McCrea gives a decent performance with Laraine Day, George Sanders, Herbert Marshall and Edmund Gwenn also in fine form. No, this is not one of Hitchcock's outright murder thrillers nor is it meant to be, but it is enough of one of his own films that it becomes a one-of-a-kind that can be more appreciated in this new transfer than ever before.

Extras include a booklet that offers technical information, cast/crew text info., stills and film scholar James Naremore's fine essay The Windmills Of War, while the Blu-ray and DVDs both add a Trailer, Hitchcock interviewed on a 1972 episode of The Dick Cavett Show, a 1946 radio version with Joseph Cotten, 1942 Life Magazine piece Have You Heard? The Story Of Wartime Rumors, Mark Harris on Hollywood Propaganda & World War II and Craig Barron with a brand new featurette on the visual effects for the film.

Lew Lander's Man In The Dark 3D (1953) was Columbia Pictures getting the first name studio 3D film out of the gate after United Artists (both were considered smaller little sisters to the major studios) in a short 70-minutes of a Film Noir that is unintentionally funny too often and adding the 3D effects (even obvious in 2D), even more funny. The serious side cast aside too soon is a criminal Steve (Edmond O'Brien) having brain surgery to get rid of his evil, criminal side, but this makes him forget where he hid $130,000 in stolen money (that is $1.9 Million adjusted as of this posting upon this disc's release) though his criminal friends do not believe it at first. They grab him from the most poorly protected asylum hospital in any major film I can remember.

The supporting cast is also a riot without trying including Audrey Totter as Steve's girlfriend trying to make him remember the money and more, plus those other crooks (including perennial baddie actor Ted de Corsia) and we get setting that range from an old post office to a carnival. We are only seeing classic 3D films finally hitting the Blu-ray 3D format, but this little gem out of the Sony catalog is the first time any major 3D film has been produced as a Limited Edition. However, Twilight Time has it and if you like this kind of film, you should get it while you can.

Extras include an isolated music score track and a trailer that served as a semi-trailer since this was one of the first 3D movies.

Last but not least is an English-language remake of Chan-woo Park's 2003 worldwide hit Oldboy, which we reviewed the original version of at this link:


Remade 10 years later by Spike Lee with a very strong Josh Brolin in the title role of a well-off man suddenly in a surreal situation that seems to have revenge tied into it. Here clocking in at 104 minutes, production company Film District had a falling out with Spike Lee and lead star Josh Brolin, cutting an our out of this remake film. As a result, it bombed and both Lee & Brolin announced publicly how unhappy they were. It is serious subject matter, but the company knew that when they greenlit and funded it. Brolin is really good here, Lee goes all out behind the camera and the supporting cast (including Sharto Copley and a surprisingly good Elizabeth Olsen) make what seemed like an impossible remake almost possible. For the version we get here, it has some good moments, but watching it feels truncated as any scenes or ideas that start to build up feel like they have been cut off in odd ways. It is still worth a look just to see what does work in this cut (I was not as big a fan of the original as some), but Lee proves as he had on Inside Man that he can do solid commercially sound work without selling out.

Extras include the Transformation and Making Of featurettes, but the Blu-ray exclusives added include the actual Workout Video we see in the film, Talking Heads and Alternate & Extended Scenes from the film that begins to give us an idea of how much was really cut out and should have been left alone.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black and white MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image on Man is fun, has some hilarious moments and is a must-own for serious 3D fans, but even the 2D version looks really good, well shot, with nice detail and depth that even offers a few demo shots. The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black and white 2D digital High Definition image on Correspondent is an older film, but also shocks with its share of demo shots and is remarkably sharp and clear for its age (a 2K scan from the original camera negative), though some shots are soft here too. The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black and white 2D digital High Definition image on Breathless might be from the same HD transfer as the Australian Blu-ray we just covered, but as DP Coutard approved of this one, the differences are in line with how the film should look. This is a little warmer, richer & slightly darker, but sometimes detail is a little affected in ways I was not happy with despite being the best transfer on the list. Still, this is not as severe as the color differences between the Coutard/Criterion Pierrot Le Fou (now out of print!) and other HD transfers worldwide, but even the differences here will be debated. The 1.33 X 1 Correspondent and Breathless DVDs are not bad for standard definition, but no match for their Blu-ray versions by any means.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Night is a digital shoot and has limits as a result, but for what the makers go for as a look, this is visually consistent and composition is always good. That leaves the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the Oldboy remake, which is an impressive enough presentation that is an all-film shoot. Primarily a 35mm shoot using 2 versions of Super 35mm (two perf/Techniscope and three-perf for special shots) with Super 16mm and some Super 8mm filming that mesh very well. Color is consistent and there is a style here that is always here and works.

As for sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on both Night and Oldboy should be in a tie for first place, but it is Night that turns out to be the sonic champ here with a consistent soundfield, consistent recording and good sound editing. Since Spike Lee did not get his cut of the film, who knows how that may have affected the mix in this shortened version, but there are spots that seem flat, compressed and too monophonic in the dialogue for their own good. When the mix works, it is just fine.

The rest of the releases are monophonic optical theatrical releases, led by DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 lossless mix on Dark well recorded and pretty clean and clear for its age, tied with the PCM 2.0 Mono on Breathless (which was DTS-MA Mono on the Australian/Umbrella Blu-ray) sounding as good as the other Blu-ray of the film we covered.

That leaves the PCM 2.0 Mono on Correspondent also sounding as good as it can, but showing its age a bit more than the rest while still surprising in what we can now hear. The DVD versions of that and Breathless sport lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono mixes that are passable, but not as good as their Blu-ray counterparts.

You can order the Man In The Dark 3D limited edition Blu-ray 3D edition while supplies last at this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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