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NOTE: THIS SPECIAL EDITION IS LIMITED TO THE FIRST 5,000 UNITS.
Beautifully restored in this special edition.
All Joe Sullivan wants is "a breath of fresh air." But when you're serving time in stir for robbery, fresh air is a rare commodity. That's about to change though as mob boss Rick Coyle has greased the skids inside the prison walls, so Joe can make it outside where girlfriend Pat will be waiting.
But things don't exactly go as planned for the duo as car trouble during their getaway forces them to get help from the only person nearby -- strait-laced legal assistant Ann Martin, whom they kidnap and use to evade capture. Things aren't going as planned for Rick either who set up the escape fully expecting the fugitive to get "cut down" so he could keep the $50,000 he owes Joe for taking the rap for him.
Now past the dragnet, the trio each find themselves increasingly conflicted in their loyalties and core beliefs as Joe is torn between the two women, who both care for him, while Pat and Ann each make decisions that prove they're not as bad, or as good, as they're supposed to be.
Raw Deal presents the moviemaking team of director Anthony Mann and cinematographer John Alton at the peak of their success (fresh off their box office smash T-Men), offering dark, moody atmosphere filled with fog-shrouded landscapes and characters who are no strangers to the "left-handed endeavor" of crime. Scenarist John C. Higgins (He Walked by Night) and co-writer Leopold Atlas offer a taut, suspenseful tale of one man s desperate bid for freedom and the two women who love him.
Dennis O'Keefe, star of the earlier T-Men, contributes a first-rate performance as the determined Joe, with Marsha Hunt (Pride and Prejudice) as Ann and Oscar winning actress Claire Trevor (Key Largo) as the fiercely loyal Pat. Raw Deal also features a suitably slimy Raymond Burr as Rick, John Ireland as Burr's sadistic henchman Fantail, and noir standbys Regis Toomey and Whit Bissell. Raw Deal is film noir at its finest!
BONUS FEATURES (Blu-ray Only):
- Feature length audio commentary by author and film historian Jeremy Arnold Deadly is the Male: The Making of Raw Deal - A Featurette with writer and film historian Julie Kirgo, film historian and director Courtney Joyner and biographer and producer Alan K. Rode
- Dennis O'Keefe: An Extraordinary Ordinary Guy - A featurette with Jim O'Keefe (son of Dennis O'Keefe) and biographer and producer Alan K. Rode & film historian & director Courtney Joyner
- An image gallery with rare stills, posters and other promotional material
- Restoration Comparison
- PLUS: A 24 page booklet with an essay by author Max Alvarez (The Crime Films of Anthony Mann) featuring stills, posters and other production material
- The mono soundtrack has been restored is uncompressed on this release
Top customer reviews
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I have the VCI: Decent picture and sound + a 6 minute video essay by Max Anthony Collins.
(I've never seen the Sony DVD so I can't comment.)
The new Blu-Ray from Classic Flix is a significant improvement over my old DVD.
Clearer picture and sound + these extras:
-- Audio commentary by film historian Jeremy Arnold
-- Video essay: "Deadly is the Male: The Making of "Raw Deal" (9 minutes)
-- Video essay on actor Dennis O'Keefe (6 minutes)
-- Image gallery with stills and movie posters from 1948
-- English SDH subtitles.
-- 24 page illustrated booklet (see sample pages below)
More expensive than the DVD, but this really is a "special edition" as advertised.
"Raw Deal" reunites the director (Anthony Mann), star (Dennis O'Keefe) and cinematographer (John Alton) from the previous year's hit film noir "T-Men", also available from Classic Flix: T-Men (Special Edition) - Blu-ray.
To this formula, "Raw Deal" adds not one, but two female leads (conspicuously absent from T-Men):
legendary "bad girl" Claire Trevor, plus "good girl" Marsha Hunt (though, by the end of the film, their roles are no longer so clear-cut).
Plus perennial film noir heavy Raymond Burr.
Between 1944 and 1950 Anthony Mann directed seven (maybe eleven) films noir.
Four with cinematographer John Alton.
All are on DVD.
Three are on deluxe Blu-Rays from Classic Flix (T-Men, He Walked by Night, and Raw Deal)
1944 Strangers in the Night DVD [Blu-ray] (sort of noir)
1945 The Great Flamarion DVD or Amazon Video (sort of noir)
1945 Two O'Clock Courage DVD (sort of noir)
1946 Strange Impersonation DVD (sort of noir)
1947 T-Men (Special Edition) - Blu-ray * (first real noir)
1947 Railroaded DVD or Amazon Video
1947 Desperate - in a four DVD box: Film Noir Classic Collection: Volume Five
1948 He Walked by Night (Special Edition) - Blu-ray * (Alfred Werker is listed as director, but Mann finished the film for an indisposed Werker)
1948 Raw Deal (Blu-ray) - Special Edition *
1949 Border Incident * - in a six DVD box: Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 3 (Border Incident / His Kind of Woman / Lady in the Lake / On Dangerous Ground / The Racket)
1950 Side Street - in a five DVD box: Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 (Act of Violence / Mystery Street / Crime Wave / Decoy / Illegal / The Big Steal / They Live By Night / Side Street / Where Danger Lives / Tension)
* Cinematography by John Alton
Wikipedia also credits Mann as co-directing ‘Follow Me Quietly’ (1949), but that is an error.
He wrote the first draft of the screenplay, but left RKO before filming began.
So if you're like me, and are on the fence about purchasing this Blu-Ray because Classic Flix isn't as well known as say, Criterion Collection, I can assure you that you won't be disappointed. Great movie, great direction by Anthony Mann, gorgeously photographed by John Alton, and some nice bonus features to boot. Couldn't be happier with this purchase.
For this genre, one of the finest directors was Anthony Mann, and one of the most interesting actors was Dennis O'Keefe. Their pairing in T-MEN and RAW DEAL delivers two of the best examples of Film Noir, though not nearly as well known as films like The Big Sleep and Double Indemnity. Mann was a top-notch director who went on to direct Jimmy Stewart in such westerns as Winchester '73, Bend of the River, The Far Country, and The Man From Laramie; as well as sand and sandal epics, like El Cid and Fall of the Roman Empire.
O'Keefe was a top-notch actor who did a decade of extra work at the beginning of the sound era, before he was discovered and recommended as a leading man by Clark Gable. After that he starred in a variety of comedies and dramas in the 40's and 50's. He also worked for the fledgling medium of television, making guest appearances on such shows as Robert Montgomery Presents, Studio One, and Lux Video Theatre; as well as starring in his own TV show in 1959. He's a very likable actor, even when he plays a convict.
In T-MEN, O'Keefe and a fellow treasury detective go undercover and risk their lives to break up a counterfeiting ring. In RAW DEAL, O'Keefe plays a wrongly convicted felon who escapes from prison looking for revenge, kidnaps his lawyer's secretary who has been visiting him in prison, and is ultimately redeemed by her from his course of self-destruction. There is actually a double-redemption in RAW DEAL that gives it a nice twist.
About the cinematography: John Alton gives a visual look to these two films that can only be described as powerful. In RAW DEAL, the scene on the boat with the clock in the background will never be forgotten by anyone who has seen it. The scenes in the steam baths in T-MEN, and the fight scene in the backroom of the beachside shop in RAW DEAL are also memorable.