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Ruthless


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Editorial Reviews

Multi-millionaire Horace Woodruff Vendig (Zachary Scott) shows himself to the world as an ambitious philanthropist, but that's far from the case. Even as a young man he starts to exhibit an obsessive and selfish urge to make more and more money, loving and leaving women at will to further this end. Vendig steps on and rolls over anyone who stands in his way, including his lifelong friend Vic Lambdin (Louis Hayward), utilities executive Buck Mansfield (Sydney Greenstreet) and various women, among them his first and only love, Martha Burnside (Diana Lynn), socialite Susan Duane (Martha Vickers) and Buck's wife, Christa Mansfield (Lucille Bremer). It is a tribute to the acting skills of Scott that he makes his despicable character somehow likeable and sympathetic. The stellar cast includes Raymond Burr, Edith Barrett, Dennis Hoey and Joyce Arling. One of the few big-budgeted projects helmed by cult director Edgar G. Ulmer (Detour).

Product Details

  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: OLIVE FILMS
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00B27WQ6G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,933 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

RUTHLESS is a well-constructed morality play, showing the emptiness of blind greed.
Bindy Sue Frønkünschtein
Thankfully, I have the full version on VHS...and it looks amazing when compared to this garbage.
Noir Man
I just saw a lovely transfer on instant Netflix...good prints exist...just NOT this one.
mdp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. Michael Click on April 10, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Cult director Edgar G. Ulmer's magnificently perverse "Ruthless" finally arrives on DVD and blu-ray, courtesy of Olive Films. It's been a long time coming. For years, the only prints available for home viewing were bootleg copies, most of them missing several minutes of footage, apparently spliced together from broadcast showings that had been taped on VHS cassettes. Olive Films has rectified that situation with a satisfactory (but hardly spectacular) transfer of a complete print.

An independent production released in 1948 through Eagle-Lion, "Ruthless" tells the story of young man from a hardscrabble background whose lack of parental love and affection creates a fatal emotional flaw in his character. We watch him climb his way up the financial ladder, callously ruining every life he touches - betraying the people who have helped him along the way and destroying every woman who is unfortunate enough to fall in love with him. The movie, in some ways evocative of "Citizen Kane" in theme and style, is nonetheless replete with distinctive Ulmer flourishes including unusual camera angles, deep shadows, razor sharp and artfully lit close-ups, and a fatalistic tone. Bert Glennon's cinematography is outstanding, as are the art direction by Frank Sylos, the musical score by Werner Janssen, and the costumes by Don Loper.

Ulmer was fortunate to be able to assemble a remarkable cast, some of whom give the best performances of their careers in "Ruthless". Zachary Scott is brilliant in the leading role of Horace Vendig. He doesn't flinch from the character's amoral core, and yet he manages to convey an undertone of wounded misunderstanding even in his most sadistic and manipulative scenes. Scott's portrayal is reinforced by the performance of Bob Anderson as the youthful Vendig.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Phil Muse on July 2, 2008
Verified Purchase
RUTHLESS (1948) was a product of Eagle-Lion Films, an Anglo-American joint venture that was the child of British magnate J Arthur Rank. Along with THE STRANGE WOMAN (1946) starring Hedy Lamarr, a Hunt Stromberg production that was released by United Artists, it marks the only opportunity filmmaker Edgar G Ulmer ever had to direct a picture with a real budget (He made good on both). The product description above lists a run time of 104 minutes. That is incorrect. What we have in this Terra home video release is the 86 minute version that was trimmed to make the picture more marketable - a sad concession to the realities of a Hollywood distribution system in which Eagle-Lion was an outsider.

With the loss of 18 minutes, problems in continuity abound. In one scene, the youthful Horace Vendig has just been taken in by the kindly Burnside family after he has lost his home. In the very next, Vendig (Zachary Scott) has come of age, started a career in the banking industry, and is contemplating marriage with the Burnsides' daughter Martha (Diana Lynn) whom he later forsakes in the interest of social climbing. Later, when he has an illicit affair with another man's wife (Lucille Bremer), it again comes as a shock when they have a clandestine meeting in a New York speakeasy because there's been no build-up. When he welcomes his childhood friend Vic Lambdin (Louis Hayward) back from South America, we haven't even known he's been away. A great actor (Raymond Burr, as Horace's profligate father) is wasted with only one sceen. Later, when Horace attempts to make a conquest of Mallory Flagg, a young concert pianist (Lynn again, in a dual role), we've had no preparation so it comes as a surprise. And we never hear her play a note of music.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Timothy A. Wells on August 18, 2009
This very good film is given shabby treatment by Terra Entertainment. Perhaps the worst transfer of anything I have ever seen, it is watchable only by persons who are either inhumanly patient or so drunk that they no longer care about anything. To charge $15.00 for this worthless piece of plastic is outrageous; it's not worth a plugged nickel.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brian on December 16, 2011
This is not a review of the Terra Entertainment release of Edgar Ulmer's 'Ruthless'-- which apparently contains a badly worn, abbreviated print of the original film-- but rather to suggest to those who are interested in seeing the uncut version of this impressively realized, noirish morality tale/melodrama (3 1/2 stars; think 'Citizen Kane, Jr.') that they seek it out on Netflix streaming. The picture and audio are clear and the feature runs 104 minutes (don't be thrown: NF shows the same cover art as Terra's and incorrectly indicates a running time of 87 mins.). So, presumably, there are old VHS or Laserdisc copies of this title, intact, floating around, giving us hope for a proper DVD treatment some day.

Update 1/31/13: 'Ruthless' is scheduled to be released, purportedly in its full form, by Olive Films on DVD and Blu-ray March 26 of this year.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By jimi on February 25, 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
ONE OF EDGAR ULMER BETTER FILM AND HIS FILM DISCUSSING THE POWER OF GREED AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. GOOD WORK BY SCOTT AND LOUIS HAYWARD AND A WELL DONE STORY WITHOUT STEPPING ON THE TOES OF CHARLES FOSTER KANE...BRAVO EDGAR
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Lovins HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 2, 2011
Eagle-Lion Films presents "RUTHLESS" (1948) (104 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Starring Zachary Scott, Louis Hayward, Diana Lynn, Sydney Greenstreet & Lucille Bremer

Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer

Told in flashback, this is the story of the rise and fall of unscrupulous financier Horace Vendig. Hiding behind a veneer of respectability, Vendig steps on and rolls over anyone who stands in his way, including his lifelong friend Vic Lambdin, utilities executive Buck Mansfield and various and sundry women, among them Susan Duane and Christine Mansfield. Poor Diana Lynn is subjected to Vendig's cruelties twice, in the dual role of Martha Burnside and Mallory Flagg.

It is a tribute to the acting skills of Zachary Scott that he makes his despicable character somehow likable and, in the end, rather pathetic. Based on a novel by Dayton Stoddart, Ruthless, like many Eagle-Lion films of its period, was top-heavy with loaned-out Warner Bros. contract players. It was also one of the few big-budgeted projects helmed by "cult" director Edgar G. Ulmer

BIOS:
1. Edgar G. Ulmer [Director]
Date of Birth: 17 September 1904 - Olmütz, Moravia, Austria-Hungary [now Olomouc, Czech Republic]
Date of Death: 30 September 1972 - Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California

2. Zachary Scott
Date of Birth: 21 February 1914 - Austin, Texas
Date of Death: 3 October 1965 - Austin, Texas

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 3 Stars
Performance: 4 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 4 Stars
Overall: 3 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 104 min on DVD ~ Eagle-Lion Films ~ (10/16/2007)
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