Four Film Noir Classics

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Ribs
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Four Film Noir Classics

#1 Post by Ribs » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:21 am

Four Film Noir Classics: The Dark Mirror, Secret Beyond the Door, Force of Evil, The Big Combo

Film noir has had many influences. Long before the term was even coined, we had atmospheric studio-shot detective thrillers, whose characters gradually became more ambiguous, and whose locations started to take in the world outside (notably New York City). This collection showcases some classic examples.

In The Dark Mirror (1946), directed by Robert Siodmak (The Killers), a man is murdered and there’s an obvious suspect, but she has an identical twin sister (both played by Olivia de Havilland, Gone with the Wind), and one of them has a cast-iron alibi. The perfect crime? A psychologist with a specialist interest in twin psychology delves into the heart of the mystery, at considerable risk to himself. In Secret Beyond the Door (1947), Fritz Lang (The Big Heat) adapts the Bluebeard legend with a dash of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. Shortly after their marriage, Celia (Joan Bennett, Suspiria) begins to suspect her architect husband Mark (Michael Redgrave, Dead of Night) of having a secret past, and wonders about the reason behind multiple rooms in his self-designed home, one of which is kept permanently locked. In Abraham Polonsky’s Force of Evil (1948), an unscrupulous lawyer (John Garfield, The Postman Always Rings Twice) scents a personal fortune when he concocts a plan to merge New York City’s numbers rackets into a single powerful and unbreakable operation, but reckons without his brother, who’d rather stay independent. And in Joseph H. Lewis’ ultra-stylish The Big Combo (1955), Lieutenant Diamond (Cornel Wilde, The Naked Prey) is determined to bring down mob boss Mr Brown (Richard Conte, Thieves’ Highway). But Brown feels the same way, and is far less constrained by the law, leading to some wince-inducing set pieces (some involving a pre-stardom Lee Van Cleef).

This collection showcases many of the genre’s major names on both sides of the camera. In addition to the directing and acting talent mentioned above there are cinematographers Stanley Cortez (The Night of the Hunter) and John Alton (An American in Paris), composers Dmitri Tiomkin (High Noon) and Miklós Rósza (The Killers) and writers Nunnally Johnson (The Woman in the Window) and Philip Yordan (Johnny Guitar). It’s little wonder that directors such as Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino were so struck by them.

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS:

• Limited Edition Dual Format Collection [2000 copies]
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of four film noir classics: The Dark Mirror (Robert Siodmak, 1946), Secret Beyond the Door (Fritz Lang, 1947), Force of Evil (Abraham Polonsky, 1948), and The Big Combo (Joseph H. Lewis, 1955)
• Commentaries on all films by leading scholars and critics Adrian Martin (on The Dark Mirror), Alan K. Rode (on Secret Beyond the Door), Glenn Kenny and Farran Smith Nehme (on Force of Evil), and Eddie Muller (on The Big Combo) • Noah Isenberg on The Dark Mirror, the author and scholar provides a detailed analysis of the film
• Noah Isenberg on The Dark Mirror, the author and scholar provides a detailed analysis of the film
• Barry Keith Grant on Secret Beyond the Door, the author and scholar introduces the film
• The House of Lang: A visual essay on Fritz Lang’s style by filmmaker David Cairns with a focus on his noir work
• Introduction to Force of Evil by Martin Scorsese
• An Autopsy on Capitalism: A visual essay on the production and reception of Force of Evil by Frank Krutnik, author of In a Lonely Street: Film noir, genre, masculinity
• Commentary on selected Force of Evil themes by Krutnik
• Geoff Andrew on The Big Combo, the critic and programmer offers an introduction to and analysis of the film
• Wagon Wheel Joe: A visual essay on director Joseph H. Lewis by filmmaker David Cairns
• The Big Combo original screenplay (BD/DVD-ROM content)
• Four radio plays, starring Olivia de Havilland and John Garfield among others
• Trailers
• Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow for all films
• Hardback book featuring new writing on all the films by noir experts and critics including Michael Brooke, Andrew Spicer, David Cairns and Tony Rayns, production stories, re-prints featuring Fritz Lang, Abraham Polonsky, Cornel Wilde, The Dark Mirror consultant Dr Mary Romm, contemporary reviews, and credits for all films, illustrated with original stills [Limited Edition Exclusive]

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November 20
Last edited by Ribs on Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#2 Post by Apperson » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:29 am

Well this sounds absolutely essential in every way.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#3 Post by Ribs » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:30 am

I'm very surprised this one too makes the cut for only 2,000 units, as this seems like a markedly more commercially appealing set than most of the other Academy sets, though it may be possible there'll be another 2,000 in the US if it's released here too. ETA: It's not.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#4 Post by Apperson » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:36 am

I'm just surprised at how stacked it is with special features as well as it being four very commercial titles being grouped together like this.
Ribs wrote:I'm very surprised this one too makes the cut for only 2,000 units, as this seems like a markedly more commercially appealing set than most of the other Academy sets.
Do you think all Academy sets are limited to this due to their smaller budget range?

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#5 Post by Ribs » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:41 am

It seems like they dipped down to 2,000 for every set (Taisho started this trend) but this set by far seems like the Academy set most likely to sell well in stores with a general public so I'm surprised they didn't make it 3,000 (hey, there's 6,000 copies of the Yoshida set out there). Considering still only the Boro and Fassbinder sets have sold out (and both of them were only 1,000 units) they might just be hedging their bets a little better. (This set, undoubtedly, will be released as separate releases after selling out though)

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#6 Post by domino harvey » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:47 am

Bye Olive

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#7 Post by What A Disgrace » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:49 am

This boxed set trumps Criterion's entire November slate - to say nothing of the rest of Arrow's November releases.

These are all Republic titles, if I'm not mistaken, so this means we can probably expect some more of those to sneak into the Academy.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#8 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:21 am

Despite having most of these, the extras and commentaries make it an essential buy. Also having been in a band called the Big Combo how can I resist?

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#9 Post by Ribs » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:25 am

Gotta love Arrow's copy arbitrarily declaring something an influence on something/someone popular. I get it, but the way they do it's just always so transparently shallow.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#10 Post by domino harvey » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:26 am

This does look to be one of Arrow's greatest releases, even though I only love one of the four films enough to call it a classic. Given the extremely reasonable price, I will join the chorus of expecting this to sell out ASAP

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#11 Post by Ribs » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:29 am

I'd not expect it to be ASAP, but it'd not surprise me if this sells out right before release (and if so, I'd imagine Arrow'd bump it up to 3,000 units). But there's really no reason to not order now if you're able considering there's absolutely no guarantee that an Arrow sale will happen anytime soon considering they're off their usual schedule.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#12 Post by HugoDeVries » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:53 am

The only thing that would make this release better would be 'Volume 1' on the packaging...more noir please Arrow.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#13 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:08 pm

The set is worth it just for Force of Evil alone, but with The Big Combo, a Fritz Lang and a Siodmak its essential!

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Four Film Noir Classics

#14 Post by MichaelB » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:45 pm

Ribs wrote:Gotta love Arrow's copy arbitrarily declaring something an influence on something/someone popular. I get it, but the way they do it's just always so transparently shallow.
If it sells more copies, who cares? The 50th-anniversary revival of Belle de Jour reminds me of working on a 25th-anniversary 35mm reissue where we cheerfully billed it as "the Rolls-Royce of sex films". Crass? Absolutely. Cynical? Undoubtedly. But we reckoned that it wouldn't put off people wanting to see what was then a long-unavailable title while luring in people who might not otherwise have given it a second glance.

It broke the house record at both its opening venues - and two more Buñuels were revived the following month as a direct result.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#15 Post by Finch » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:51 pm

Pity it's not Gun Crazy instead of The Big Combo for the Lewis but I agree this set alone makes Arrow's November slate a lot more exciting than Criterion's.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#16 Post by Banasa » Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:17 pm

Ditto on Gun Crazy. That only has a French blu-ray release, correct? Waiting for whoever has their hands on it to do something special with it.

As for the Arrow's back text promotion, it is a bit of a "uhh sure" moment, but this is by and far away from VHS days where you would see a white model toting a bazooka on what turns out to be a hong kong shaw brothers flick!

So yeah, its easy to turn a blind eye away from Arrow pushing films this way. Viva familiarity.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#17 Post by tenia » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:09 pm

Gun Crazy french BD is OK but nothing spectacular, though.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#18 Post by HJackson » Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:54 am

I'll buy this and it's sure to be a wonderful package (and fresh for UK consumers), but I can't get too excited about it when Olive have already released nice 1080p versions of all of these years ago while ClassixFlix in the States is actually bringing us Blu debuts of major noirs.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#19 Post by cpetrizzi » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:40 am

These are slated for November 20, 2017.

Does anyone know if these will be region-free?

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#20 Post by Drucker » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:43 am

cpetrizzi wrote:These are slated for November 20, 2017.

Does anyone know if these will be region-free?
Considering the Olive blu-rays are still in print, doubtful.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#21 Post by MichaelB » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:31 pm

I'd be astonished if they were region free, as they're major studio licenses.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#22 Post by swo17 » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:33 pm

Have any of their UK-only releases been region free?

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#23 Post by Glowingwabbit » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:21 pm

swo17 wrote:Have any of their UK-only releases been region free?
I don't think so (at least none of the ones in my collection... believe me I've tried). I thought that was the point of them releasing some as UK/US.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#24 Post by Finch » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:34 pm

Would be good to know if these four will be available individually. I watched the Lang and Siodmark last night; neither strong enough for me to want to own them, same with The Big Combo. So that leaves Force of Evil which, to be honest, makes the Olive BD more tempting but I'd like to support Arrow and buy a standalone release of Force if that was planned for 2018.

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Re: Four Film Noir Classics

#25 Post by Ribs » Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:46 pm

I cannot imagine whatsoever a world where these are not individually released soon after selling out if not before

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