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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Revenge > Racism > Murder > Action > Drama > Mystery > Detective > Film Noir > Chato's Land (1972/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Stranger On The Third Floor (1940/RKO/Warner Archive DVD)/Too Late For Tears (1949/Republic)/Woman On The Run (1950/Fidelit

Chato's Land (1972/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Stranger On The Third Floor (1940/RKO/Warner Archive DVD)/Too Late For Tears (1949/Republic)/Woman On The Run (1950/Fidelity/Flicker Alley Blu-rays w/DVD Sets)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Chato's Land Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last, while the Stranger On The Third Floor DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

Up next is an underrated Revenge Western and three lesser-known Noir films...

Michael Winner's Chato's Land (1972) is a Revenge Western with a twist, Charles Bronson is the title character, a Native American facing racism and hate everywhere, which gets to a boiling point when he has to shoot a white racist who goes too far. The shock slowly builds into a lynch mob determined to get back at the 'redskin' led by an old school fighter (Jack Palance) and a like-minded group, some of whom are friends (James Whitmore, Richard Basehart and the underrated Simon Oakland in a particularly nasty, dark turn) go after him. However, they underestimate him from the start and when they get involved in the gang rape of a Native American woman, Chato has new plans for his hunters... turn them into the hunted.

This is one of Bronson's best performances, rarely speaking English when he talks at all, with the rest being in Native American language(s) and he is totally convincing in the role as he rarely has been in his long career. The supporting actors don;t back off the thankless sides of their rotten characters and except for a few false notes, this is a tight 100 minutes that is also one of the best serious Westerns of the 1970s. Even if you don;t like Westerns, you should see this one at least once.

Extras include a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray disc adds an Isolated Music Score track of Jerry Fielding's classic music (some pieces of which he repurposed for episodes of Kolchak: The Night Stalker a few years later) and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Boris Ingster's Stranger On The Third Floor (1940) has Peter Lorre in the title role, though he is not always in this mystery tale that features elements that would turn up in more serious forms in the Film Noir era that would arrive the following year. Some of the moments are uncanny here, though to say this is a Noir is pushing it, yet it should be said that the Mystery genre (including some movie series with lead detectives like Charlie Chan and The Saint) was already showing visual signs of what we now consider Noir due to the darkness used on purpose to establish their mystery plots.

Technically, the limited speed of black and white films stocks (whether from Kodak, Ansco, Agfa, DuPont and other companies) also established that look until the late 1950s, when monochrome stocks started to get faster. Still, they would be as dark, even in a sometimes-comedy like this where a reporter (John McGuire) swears he saw a man (Elisha Cook, Jr.) commit a murder and his testimony sends the man away, but was he wrong? A similar murder happens while the jailed man is waiting for execution, but now the reporter is a new suspect. Who is doing the killing?

The humor, insistence on mystery and ending disqualify the film as a Noir, but it is at least proof that something more complex and darker was on the way and Lorre's interesting turn is a good sign. Everyone should see this one once, as its not bad.

There are no extras.

Byron Haskin's Too Late For Tears (1949) is the genre director's underrated Noir originally issued by Republic Pictures, but landed up an orphan film until it became one of two Noirs recently saved and restored by UCLA and Flicker Alley. Lizabeth Scott and Arthur Kennedy are a married couple driving along one night when a mysterious driver going the opposite direction, throws something into the back seats of their car. Is it a bomb or hate message? No, it's a briefcase with $60,000 cash! She wants to keep it and spend it all, but he's more cautious, which shows a split in their relationship right there. Of course, someone always shows up when that kind of money is involved, but she is not going to let it go, no matter the cost to her or anyone else.

Dan Duryea co-stars in this gem with twists and turns that will surprise you and impress seven decades later and counting. Some moments are real howlers and the parts about the dark side of human nature are as relevant as ever. This is definitely worth going out of your way for.

Extras include a feature length audio commentary track by writer, historian, and film programmer Alan K. Rode, Chance Of A Lifetime: The Making of Too Late For Tears featurette featuring Eddie Muller, Kim Morgan, and Julie Kirgo examines the behind-the-scenes story of the film's original production, Tiger Hunt: Restoring Too Late For Tears chronicles the multi-year mission to rescue this 'lost' noir classic and the disc case includes a 24-Page Souvenir Booklet with rare photographs, poster art, original lobby cards, and an essay by writer and noir-expert Brian Light.

Norman Foster's Woman On The Run (1950) is an also excellent tale of what happens when a man (Ross Elliot) takes his dog for a walk and witnesses a murder, which includes getting shot at. The police show up to investigate, but he's run away, so they go to his wife (Ann Sheridan) to figure out where he is. She's on the outs with him, practically separated, making the lead detective (Robert Keith) unhappy, especially as she is uninterested in cooperating. An annoying reporter (Dennis O'Keefe) is also trying to get her to help, but she doesn't trust him either.

Then, she starts to see something else is going on, looks into her hunches herself and and starts to get more involved than she ever expected. From here, Foster really lets the action kick in, making it another must-see Noir and Sheridan in rare form. Go out of your way for this one too!

Extras include a feature length audio commentary track by author, cinema historian, and ''noirchaelogist'' Eddie Muller, Love is a Rollercoaster: Woman on the Run Revisited making of featurette on the film from script to noir classic, A Wild Ride: Restoring Woman on the Run is about the difficult & sometimes unreal restoration of the film, Woman on the Run: Locations Then and Now is a 'virtual tour' around San Francisco hunting down the many locations used during the production of the film including what did and did not survive, NOIR CITY is a short documentary directed by Joe Talbot about the annual NOIR CITY film festival presented by by the Film Noir Foundation at San Francisco's historic Castro Theatre and the disc case includes a 24-Page Souvenir Booklet with rare photographs, poster art, original lobby cards, and an essay by the one and only Eddie Muller.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Land has print issues here and there, but looks pretty good for the most part despite not being a brand new restoration, capturing the nature of the outdoors very nicely. Color is consistent for the most part.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfers of Tears and Run Blu-rays come from surviving materials, so despite some very hard work in fixing and saving both films, there are more than a few places where you can tell you are seeing second-generation footage. This is what we expect from orphan films, so we're lucky we have them at all. With that said, I have never seen the films looking better. The 1.33 x 1 DVD versions are passable and on the soft side, but then so is the 1.33 X 1 black & white on the Floor DVD, so even non-orphan films (Noir or not) can have flawed prints and transfers.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mix on Land is not perfect, but what we expected for a theatrical mono film its age and it is the best sonic presentation on the list, followed by the PCM 2.0 Mono on the Tears and Run Blu-rays, older by a fee decades and luck to survive. The DVD versions and Floor DVD tie for last place with lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono presentations that are on the weak side.

To order the Chato's Land limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other collectible releases while supplies last at these links:




and to order the Stranger On The Third Floor Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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