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Cry of the City
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.37:1 Standard
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Audio commentary by Adrian Martin
  • Adrian Wootton on Cry of the City
  • Theatrical trailer

Cry of the City

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Robert Siodmak
1948 | 96 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: £19.99 | Series: BFI
BFI Video

Release Date: August 22, 2016
Review Date: August 21, 2016

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SYNOPSIS

A masterpiece of law and disorder, Robert Siodmakís film noir classic depicts a timeless struggle between good and evil on the streets of New York. Charismatic criminal, Martin Rome (Richard Conte) is on the run from Lieutenant Candella (Victor Mature), a dogged cop and onetime friend. The two nemeses go head-to-head in a tense game of cat and mouse, leading to a dramatic showdown. Cry of the City boasts a glorious gallery of shady figures, from a lawyer oozing corruption to a memorably sadistic masseuse, whilst the filmís steely realism is enhanced by flourishes of noir stylisation, anticipating the films of Martin Scorsese.


PICTURE

Robert Siodmakís Cry of the City receives a Blu-ray edition from BFI, who present the film in its original aspect ratio of about 1.37:1. The 1080p/24hz high-definition presentation comes on a dual-layer disc. This title is region B locked and North American viewers will require a Blu-ray player that can play back region B content.

What we get looks okay but doesnít look like a fresh new scan or at least comes from a less than stellar print. The notes state that Fox provided BFI with the transfer but they donít state what it was scanned from. The image is clear enough but really looks a bit soft around the edges. Definition is lacking and the fine details rarely pop, with depth coming off a bit limited. Film grain is there but isnít rendered as sharply as I would have liked and it does come off a bit blotchy. Contrast also seems a bit off, with the blacks crushing out details in the shadows.

The source materials otherwise look to be in okay shape, with a few blemishes remaining, but nothing really heavy ever pops up; the clean-up job at least looks to have been thorough. Despite this the image just doesnít pop and it simply comes down to just being ďokay,Ē either hampered by the source materials or what might be an older transfer.

7/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The lossless 2-channel PCM mono presentation is about as good as one can probably expect: itís a bit flat and strains with the higher ends of the score, but dialogue is clear and the restoration work has been decent enough, with a slight hiss at times being noticeable. Itís fine but limitations come down to age.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

BFI provides a small selection of supplements, though I found them strong. Adrian Martin first provides an audio commentary where he hopes to elevate the film (which he considers to be underrated) and its standing for the viewer. He breaks down sequences in terms of framing and pacing, concentrates on the directorís rather economic way of telling the story, and admires how the story unfolds. He makes note of the filmís look and style (comparing a lot of the imagery to Fritz Lang) and the themes found within it, particularly that of ďobsession.Ē Martin usually provides solid and engaging tracks and this one is no different, making it a worthwhile listen for fans of the film or noir.

BFI also records a new interview with critic Adrian Wootton, another admirer of the film. Here he talks about the original novel it is based on (by an otherwise obscure author, Henry Edward Helseth) and then about the characters and performances, calling Richard Conte here the ďuber anti-hero.Ē He actually spends quite a bit of time here on the acting careers of both Conte and Victor Mature but points out what he likes most about their performances here. Itís a decent bit of analysis that adds on nicely to the commentary.

BFI also includes the filmís theatrical trailer while also providing a booklet featuring a rather in-depth essay by Frank Krutnik, who offers not only offers his own analysis of the film but also gives the backstory of the production and talks a little about how the film was viewed at the time.

Itís not a stupendously jam-packed edition but BFI offers a couple of good scholarly pieces that will probably help in elevating oneís appreciation for the film.

6/10

CLOSING

The presentation is limited either by materials or an older master (canít really say which) but I rather enjoyed the supplementary material.




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