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Category:    Home > Reviews > Film Noir > Drama > Murder > Crime > Scheme > Sex > Cover Up > Spain > Prison > Spies > Step By Step (1946/RKO/*all Warner Archive Blu-rays)

I Wouldn't Be In Your Shoes! (1948/Monogram*)/A Life At Stake (1955/Film Detective Blu-ray)/No One Heard Her Scream (1973/MVD/Severin Blu-ray)/Shawshank Redemption 4K (1994/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Step By Step (1946/RKO/*all Warner Archive Blu-rays)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B/B-/B/B-/B Sound: B-/B-/B-/B/B- Extras: C/B-/C/B-/C Films: C+/B-/C+/B-/B-

PLEASE NOTE: I Wouldn't Want To Be In Your Shoes and Step By Step are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Next up are three authentic Film Noir films you should know about and two films influenced by their realism...

William Nigh's I Wouldn't Be In Your Shoes! (1948) was a small hit Monogram Pictures film produced by future Hollywood mega-producer Walter Mirisch that is enough of a Film Noir to be a Noir, but gets way too melodramatic unnecessarily for its own good as an unemployed dancer (Don Castle) throws his tap shoes accidentally out the window to shut a cat up, only to find them mysteriously at his door the next morning after not finding them below... and they are connected to a murder!

This the title, it is based on a story by writer Cornell Woolrich, who had many of his works turned into films, including a few classics. This might not be one of them, but it has its moments if you can sit through the down parts. Elyse Knox is fine as his girlfriend and Regis Toomey rounds out a decent supporting cast. Also, it looks, plays and has aged remarkably well considering it low budget.

Paul Guilfoyle's A Life At Stake (1955) is a Noir trying to be a sort of take-off of Double Indemnity, but not a total ripoff with Angela Lansbury (free from MGM) gets a down on his luck home builder (Keith Andes) to come in on some housing developments with her husband, but she wants something much more personal to develop between them: sex and murder!

Actor Russ Bender actually wrote the decent, tight screenplay for this, one of his rare writing jobs for the longtime actor who had an on-screen career that lasted decades and the supporting cast of unknowns are not bad here, but Lansbury is in rare form, playing someone who is bad. However, she is not simply that and the performance is a little more complex thanks to her work here. Some moments are unintentionally funny, but others work and it is definitely worth a look, even when the film slows in parts.

The other 'star' is the remarkable, big white convertible Lansbury drives at one point in the film, a Kaiser Darrin. Moving into the 6-figure range for the best examples as this posts, only 435 of this U.S. gem were made (a six-cylinder engine made it an early sports car) and you would see such cars in later Noirs until the original cycle ended in 1958 (think the convertible in Touch Of Evil or early Corvette in Kiss Me Deadly) so it adds to the fun and she has some other great cars here too.

Eloy de la Iglesia's No One Heard Her Scream (1973) is one of the thrillers from the director fo Cannibal Man and Murder In A Blue World, this time involving apartment neighbors and murder. A lady who lives alone (Carmen Sevilla) is puzzled by a fight she hears from married neighbors next door to her, but then goes into huge shock when she sees the introverted, creepy, odd husband (Vincent Parra, most unlikable here) dumping her freshly dead corpse down a broken elevator's shaft in the building next to them. The lady sees this, but he sees her!

At first, he threatens and stalks her, then oddly, she decides to capitulate and join him in helping get rid of the body! Then it gets wilder. Unfortunately, even with its Noir turns, I was never convinced she would go with him, more twists and turns increasingly break up any suspension of disbelief, then it concludes with another wacky twist of sorts. The film tries too hard and never adds up, but it is an interesting failure and worth a look for the most curious. Its not very memorable when all is said and done either, but maybe if you like thrillers, you might like it more.

Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's prison melodrama The Shawshank Redemption 4K (1994) is a film that had moderate success when it first arrived, but critics (and the Academy) did not immediately embrace it like they could have. Better than The Green Mile, another Warner/Stephen King drama made a few years later, the sometimes more-graphic-than-you-might-remember drama has gained a larger audience over the years. A great cast led by Tim Robins and Morgan Freeman are one of the reasons why, though cheers to Darabont for also pulling it off.

This is the third time we are reviewing the film and to understand more of the plot, you can read this earliest review that reflects the biggest fans of the film.


Set in the days of sex symbol, international big screen sensation and Noir icon Rita Hayworth, the film is able to get as dark and gritty as prison films of the time, I think people identify with its realism that is never overdone and done smartly. There are still parts of the film that never worked for me, but the film has aged even better than I expected and can be considered at least a minor classic of some sort. It is also easily one of the best adaptions of any King novel to date, so fans should be pleased enough with this upgrade.

Finally, a true gem and remarkable for its short length, Phil Rosen's Step By Step (1946) is a real gem of Hollywood narrative economy, fine low-budget filmmaking, Noir and smart writing as Lawrence Tierney (back together with the always capable Rosen after their success on Dillinger) is back as a former military guy just trying to go for a swim on the beach when he meets a sexy blonde (the always fun Anne Jeffreys) complete with his pet dog. Then, she disappears,

Writing transcripts for a new employer she lied to to get the job, he has some very secret information that falls under national security to obtain, but the person offering it is being careful about getting together with him. Then a trio of former Nazis are out to stop the U.S. Government from getting any info as well, going out of their way to frame the veteran!

Adding to the fun and energetic pace is the supporting cast includes Jason Robards, Ray Walker, George Cleveland and uncredited turns by Tommy Noonan and the great John Hamilton. To say this one has aged well is an understatement, embarrassing so many movies of its kind, especially of late, with way more money to work with. This should be shown in all directing and writing schools, it is so good. If you want a pleasant surprise, catch this one!

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HECV/H.265, 1.85 X 1, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on this film was lensed by the amazing Roger Deakins, B.S.C., A.S.C., and this 4K version is much better than the older Blu-ray, which I was never as much a fan of as my fellow writers. Still, there are some shots here that are not as impressive as I expected and since this is not a Dolby Vision disc, I will hypothesize that this is an older HD master from a few years ago. That's still fine, but I saw this on 35mm film and can tell you that like Goodfellas 4K, this could be a little better. The old Blu-ray has aged poorly and is only good for the extras. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on both disc versions sound just fine for their age, but you can heard some of the recording and sound effects are older and since this is a dialogue-heavy drama, no need to upgrade to 7.1 or 11.1 sound.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Scream has a pretty good color range and looks good for its age with the print only having a few flaws and was apparently shot on Kodak 35mm film, while the Spanish DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix has obvious dubbing in parts and sonic limits from its budget and the time it was made. Still, music and sound effects are not bad and dialogue is about as good as this film will ever sound.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfers on all three films are remarkable just because these smaller film managed to somehow survive, but all look the best I have ever seen them (I have seen all three before a long time ago) and though they can all sometimes show the age of the materials used, all are far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film on video before in the rare times they got any such treatment. Unfortunately, there is occasional shimmer and some missing frames on Stake, but it is fine otherwise.

All three also sport DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes of their original theatrical monophonic sound and though maybe Stake will turn up in a somewhat better, clearer copy down the line, these also sound as good as they ever will.

Extras surprisingly include no trailers for any fo the films, but Shoes has the live-action short The Symphony Murder Mystery and Technicolor animated cartoon Holiday For Shoestrings, Stake has an illustrated booklet with a fine essay on the film and Angela Lansbury by Jason A. Ney and its disc adds a feature-length audio commentary by Ney and featurette Hollywood Hitch-Hikers about the indie company Ida Lupino co-founded that was way ahead of its time, Scream adds Eloy de la Iglesia and the Spanish Giallo on-camera interview with Film Scholar Dr. Andy Willis, Shawshank 4K has Digital Copy, while both discs have Frank Darabont's feature length audio commentary track and most of the old Blu-ray retains Photo Galleries, two sets of storyboards and two documentary featurettes: Hope Springs Eternal: A Look Back At The Shawshank Redemption and Shawshank: The Redeeming and Step offers the live-action short The Trans-Atlantic Mystery and Technicolor animated cartoon The Great Piggy Bank Robbery.

To order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, I Wouldn't Want To Be In Your Shoes and/or Step By Step, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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