Knock on Any Door

Part of a multi-title set | Columbia Noir #5: Humphrey Bogart

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Synopsis

A fifth foray into the film noir output of Columbia Pictures, but, this time, with a twist. Not only does this volume bring together six more gems from the studio’s archives, but it also serves as a showcase for the great Humphrey Bogart.

Having established his stardom in the gangster pictures of the 1930s, Bogart fit easily into the world of film noir, where he was equally at home playing troubled servicemen, slick-talking lawyers, black marketeers, gambling den owners, or hard-up journalists.

Columbia Noir #5: Humphrey Bogart brings together five of the iconic actor’s starring vehicles: John Cromwell’s Dead Reckoning, Nicholas Ray’s Knock on Any Door, Stuart Heisler’s Tokyo Joe, Curtis Bernhardt’s Sirocco, and Mark Robson’s The Harder They Fall, plus Henry Levin’s The Family Secret, a rarity starring Lee J Cobb and John Derek that was produced by Bogart’s Santana Pictures, an outfit that regularly delved into the seedy, shadowy world of noir.

Featuring a stunning 4K restoration of The Harder They Fall, and with Sirocco and The Family Secret appearing on Blu-ray for the first time anywhere in the world, this stunning collection includes newly recorded commentaries and critical appreciations, archival documentaries and short films, and a 120-page book. Strictly limited to 6,000 numbered units.

Picture 8/10

The second title in Indicator’s Bogart focused Columbia Noir #5 box set, Nicholas Ray’s Knock on Any Door, is presented on a single-layer disc in the aspect ratio of 1.37:1 with a 1080p/24hz high-definition encode. Indicator hasn’t supplied any notes around the restoration or the master outside of the fact it was supplied to them by Sony. The disc is locked to region B.

Compared to the previous film in the set, Dead Reckoning, Knock on Any Door appears to have had more restoration work done on it, the film looking substantially cleaner in comparison. Sure, there are still some scratches and other marks popping up, but it’s nowhere near as heavy as what the previous film showed. The image is also incredibly sharp, delivering an incredible amount of detail throughout, while rendering grain cleanly enough to give it a nice film texture. The excellent encode also appears to help

Contrast is good and range in the shadows is fairly wide, allowing the finer details to pop, and I don’t recall any digital artifacts. Grayscale also looks clean. I’m admittedly unsure on the age of the master, but if it is older it’s an incredibly sharp looking one.

Audio 6/10

The film’s monaural soundtrack is presented in lossless single-channel PCM. Like the previous film it gets the job done, showing modest range and fidelity. It doesn’t sound like any excessive filtering has been done and I don’t recall any pops or cracks at any point.

Extras 7/10

Supplements start off with a new audio commentary featuring writer and film historian Pamela Hutchinson. She addresses that the film is seen as a minor work from Ray, the director being brought in on loan from RKO by Bogart, but Hutchinson still finds it a worthwhile film, focusing on the film’s social commentary and its visual strengths, from conveying as much information as possible in a single sequence (even if it’s a bit heavy-handed, like the sequence where Bogart’s defense lawyer sums up the jury) to the photography and the shadows present. She also talks about the novel on which it's based, a big seller at the time and structured differently from how the film is, and she even brings up the sequel, Let No Man Write My Epitaph and its eventual film adaptation. She also takes the time to admire the construction of sequences and point out random references to this film that are found in other films, like Wim Wender’s The American Friend, in which Nicholas Ray appears. She of course also talks about the film’s most famous line, where the protagonist explains its best to “live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse.” There are times where she can fall into the trap of simply reiterating what’s happening on screen, but its rare. Overall, it’s a well put together track that works to single out the film’s strengths.

Geoff Andrew then pops up for 19-minutes to talk about the film, a project set-up in Bogart’s new production company, and how Ray came to be involved despite his previous film, A Woman’s Secret, being considered a failure. Andrew then takes the time to look at some aspects of the film that he fines unique, from having a protagonist that was not easily likeable to how it tried to circumvent courtroom cliches. It’s a fine appreciation.

The disc then closes with a gallery and the film’s trailer. Indicator then includes the 1945 short documentary, Tuesday in November, directed by John Berry with Ray acting as assistant director. The 17-minute film is a civics lesson, not only going over U.S. elections but also going over the three branches of government and their purpose. It also seems to suggest that there are places where people did get election day off, though I’m not sure if that holds up today. It’s an interesting little flashback.

The supplements end up being a decent step up from the supplements found on the previous disc, covering the film in a more thorough manner.

Closing

A good step up over the previous disc in Indicator’s fifth Columbia Noir set, delivering a cleaner picture with more engaging supplements.

Part of a multi-title set | Columbia Noir #5: Humphrey Bogart

BUY AT: Amazon.co.uk

 
 
Directed by: Nicholas Ray
Year: 1949
Time: 100 min.
 
Series: Indicator
Edition #: 325
Licensor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: June 27 2022
MSRP: £49.99  (Box set exclusive)
 
Blu-ray
1 Disc | BD-50
1.37:1 ratio
English 1.0 PCM Mono
Subtitles: English
Region B
 
 Audio commentary with writer and film historian Pamela Hutchinson on Knock on Any Door (2022)   Geoff Andrew on ‘Knock on Any Door’ (2022): the critic and programmer discusses Bogart and Nicholas Ray   Tuesday in November (1945): documentary short on the US presidential campaign of 1944, on which Nicholas Ray served as assistant director   Theatrical trailer   Image gallery