Customer Review

77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview of public domain Film Noir!, May 7, 2005
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This review is from: Classic Film Noir (The Man Who Cheated Himself / The Hitchhiker / Detour / D.O.A / Too Late for Tears / The Stranger / Strange Love of Martha Ivers / Quicksand / The Scar) (DVD)
Other reviews will break these DVDs down film-by-film, and no reviewer can honestly compete with the fine job done bt ace reviewer Forehand in that regard. What I want to impress upon you is that despite these films' public domain status, relative obscurity, and (almost always)B-movie budgets you could not ask for a better way to obtain 13 hours' worth of gritty film noir entertainment. For, unlike most genres, film noir was a style that didn't need expensive sets, costumes, music, or special effects. It's the writing and the direction that make film noir work - and the 9 films contained on these DVDs have excellent writing and direction. You may not recognise the names of many of the lead actors, but you will remember all nine of these movies upon seeing them.

Audio and video quality are acceptable. These are most likely TV prints intended for your local "Late Late Movie" and as such, contain scratches and a sometimes harsh mono soundtrack. St. Clair Entertainment are more honest about this than are other public domain providers. There are useful chapter stops in all the movies,and each DVD features a slightly different, customized menu. As a bonus (and bonuses on public domain discs like these are rare), we have a Film Noir Poster Gallery, a collection of movie trailers, and a mini-documentary overview of the genre. The only debit is a lack of subtitles. I imagine many of the people buying this DVD set may be older, and having subtitles is a courtesy that is always welcome.

If these films were restored, and contained subtitles, this would be a 5-star set and could easily command three times the price it's getting now. As it is, "Classic Film Noir" is an amazing bargain. Anyone interested in moody crime melodrama would be well-advised to seek out this collection. If you've recently seen "Sin City" and would like to check out classic film noir, start here!
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