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Columbia Noir # 5 Humphrey Bogart

by Glenn Erickson Jun 21, 2022

This grouping of Bogart’s Columbia output has one bona fide noir, a pair of exotic ‘romantic intrigue’ thrillers and three social issue pictures. It’s a good set, with films directed by John Cromwell, Nicholas Ray and Mark Robson, and with leading ladies Lizabeth Scott, Florence Marley, Marta Toren, Jody Lawrance and Jan Sterling. And the Powerhouse Indicator extras are especially well curated. Watch out — it’s Region B only.


Columbia Noir #5 Humphrey Bogart
Region B Blu-ray
Dead Reckoning, Knock on Any Door, Tokyo Joe,
Sirocco, The Family Secret, The Harder They Fall

Powerhouse Indicator
1947-1956 / B&W / 1:37 Academy & 1:85 widescreen
Street Date June 27, 2022 / available from Powerhouse Films UK / £49.99
Starring or Executive Produced by
Humphrey Bogart

For an established actor who really didn’t break through as a starring leading man until age 41, Humphrey Bogart sure gave us a legacy of prominent movies. As movie stars go he worked hard to delivering what his audience wanted; his romance & marriage with Lauren Bacall is a positive chapter in Hollywood lore. Even his supposed bad manners on Sabrina have to be taken with a grain of salt — Billy Wilder rubbed a number of associates the wrong way. Once Bogart was free of his Warners indentured servitude he pursued big pictures and a few efforts from his own production company — named after his boat, Santana. He returned to directors he liked and trusted. He’d have done almost anything for John Huston, who wanted Bogart to star with Clark Gable in a proposed film of The Man Who Would Be King.

This Columbia Noir #5 Humphrey Bogart collection gathers Bogart’s pictures that carried the Torch Lady logo, minus The Caine Mutiny, Beat the Devil and In a Lonely Place. One special title is a drama produced by Bogart in which he didn’t star, a first on Blu-ray. As with most Powerhouse Indicator releases, the label’s carefully husbanded extras are a big draw, with quality commentaries and visual essays, and well chosen short films.

 


 

Dead Reckoning
1947 / 1:37 Academy / 100 min. /
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Lizabeth Scott, Morris Carnovsky, Charles Cane, William Prince, Marvin Miller, Wallace Ford, James Bell, George Chandler.
Cinematography: Leo Tover
Production Designer: Art Directors: Stephen Goosson, Rudolph Sternad
Film Editor: Gene Havelick
Original Music: Marlin Skiles
Screenplay by Oliver H.P. Garrett, Steve Fisher adaptation by Allen Rivkin story by Gerald Adams, Sidney Biddell
Produced by Sidney Biddell
Directed by
John Cromwell

Dead Reckoning is a bona-fide first wave film noir, which is more than can be said for the adventure thrillers and social problem films filling out the rest of this collection. The slick murder-crime mystery ffeatures a screenplay co-written by Steve Fisher, a specialist in twisted plots and hardboiled dialogue. Director John Cromwell reportedly left co-star Lisabeth Scott drifting without aid, but gives the somewhat self-consciously clever script a very good spin. The show looks and feels sharp, even if it ends up a bit un-nourishing, lightweight.

Returning paratrooper Rip Murdock (Bogart) is angered when his best buddy Johnny Drake (William Prince), who has been nominated for a Medal of Honor, instead disappears at a railroad station. Thinking that perhaps Johnny is hiding from publicity due to being wanted for a previous crime, Rip travels to a Southern City to find him. He lands in the middle of a criminal conspiracy and coverup: hoodlums Martinelli and Krause (Morris Carnovsky & Marvin Miller) frame Rip for murder. While dodging the cops Rip becomes involved with Coral Chandler (Lizabeth Scott of Pitfall), the widow of a man Johnny may have murdered. The ‘pretzel plot’ (thank you Alan) goes through more twists before Rip uncovers the real villains and restores Johnny’s good name.

Is this the first noir that seems wholly aware that it’s copying conventions?  Bogart’s Rip Murdock neatly fools both cops and hoods while speaking in smart quips and pretending his life isn’t in immediate danger. Possession of an incriminating letter leads to the murder of one character. Rip’s final burst of action employs fire grenades, weapons a paratrooper might be familiar with. Bogie remains his tough-guy self, while Lizabeth Scott keeps us guessing about her true loyalties.

 


Alan K. Rode paces his rapid-fire commentary so quickly we wonder why he doesn’t collapse for lack of air. His bio information on the principals has depth and breadth and is augmented with illuminating opinion. Video essayist Tony Rayns’ 16-minute talk about Dead Reckoning begins with the info that Harry Cohn wanted to co-star Rita Hayworth with Humphrey Bogart. Columbia ended up borrowing its leading lady from another studio.

The short subjects in the set show Bogart’s collaborators busy promoting social issues. The film on this disc is Watchtower over Tomorrow, a sober 1945 piece making the case for a United Nations, starting with attempts at such a world-wide Peace-maintaining body earlier in the century. It’s an all-star effort; the credited director John Cromwell was reportedly abetted by Alfred Hitchcock and Elia Kazan. To express the threat of nuclear annihilation, the opening reprises a scene from, of all things, Things to Come. Familiar faces include Dorothy Adams, Martin Kosleck, Grant Mitchell, Lionel Stander & George Zucco. The way old film clips are edited into the piece, Morris Ankrum appears as both a grieving father and a diplomat at a large meeting. Robert Riskin was one of the producers; we wonder if the talents making this pro-United Nations picture were singled out as ‘One Worlders,’ potential subversives.

 


 

Knock on Any Door
1949 / 1:37 Academy / 100 min. /
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, George Macready, Allene Roberts, Candy Toxton, Mickey Knox, Barry Kelley, John Derek, Florence Auer, Vince Barnett, Argentina Brunetti, Roberta Haynes, Sid Melton, Houseley Stevenson, Sid Tomack, Cara Williams, Dooley Wilson, Harry Wilson.
Cinematography: Burnett Guffey
Art Director: Robert Peterson
Film Editor: Viola Lawrence
Original Music: George Antheil
Written by Daniel Taradash, John Monks Jr. from the novel by Willard Motley
Executive Producer Humphrey Bogart
Produced by Robert Lord
Directed by
Nicholas Ray

The first film produced by Humphrey Bogart’s new Santana Productions company, Knock on Any Door comes from a novel by a black author who was soon to be blacklisted. Director Nicholas Ray was borrowed from RKO before either of his first films had been released; They Live by Night was still known as Your Red Wagon. A socially conscious apology that identifies youth crime as a symptom of modern problems, it ends with the expected plea that ‘this isn’t poor Nick Romano’s problem, it’s OUR problem.’ Naturally, the highlight of the show is Bogart’s big courtroom appeal. I say lock the kid up and leave him there.

The story is told mostly from a courtroom, through flashbacks showing the development of bad egg Nick Romano (John Derek) a punk in ’30s Chicago who abuses people, falls in with a bad crowd and simply won’t take responsibility for himself. In the opening he’s arrested for killing a policeman. Defense attorney Andrew Morton (Bogart) becomes an obvious father figure, rescuing Nick from the harsh D.A., played by an actor firmly established as a screen villain, George Macready. Nicholas Ray reportedy had a hand in choosing some of the actors, as with Allene Roberts of The Red House, and young Mickey Knox. This was a breakout picture for John Derek, a 22 year-old whose acting talent never measured up to his phenomenal good looks.

Bogart decided that Nicholas Ray was creative and open-minded and hired him again to direct the classic In a Lonely Place. The creative personnel core of Santana Pictures stayed with Bogart, especially his partner, ex-writer Robert Lord. Author Willard Motley only other film credit is on a film made from his sequel to Knock entitled Let No Man Write my Epitaph, from 1960. Directed by the interesting Philip Leacock, it starred James Darren and Jean Seberg.

 


The commentary for Knock is by the clear-spoken Pamela Hutchinson, a critic who has served as a production editor at The Guardian. She gives a close reading of the show, starting with its book source; she calls immediate attention to Nicholas Ray’s sharp, nervous directing style. Geoff Andrews’ video piece discusses the show through its director. These video lectures cover much the same content as the commentaries, just not in as much detail.

The short subject found here was directed by John Berry, another major blacklist victim. Nicholas Ray served as his assistant. Tuesday in November celebrates our free elections and the trusted, respected voting process.

 


 

Tokyo Joe
1949 / 1:37 Academy / 88 min. /
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Alexander Knox, Florence Marly, Sessue Hayakawa, Jerome Courtland, Gordon Jones, Teru Shimada, Hideo Mori, Charles Meredith, Rhys Williams, Lora Lee Michel, Hugh Beaumont, Whit Bissell, Tetsu Komai, Fred F. Sears.
Cinematography: Charles Lawton Jr.
Art Director: Robert Peterson
Film Editor: Viola Lawrence
Original Music: George Antheil
Screenplay by Cyril Hume, Bertram Millhauser adaptation by Walter Doniger story Steve Fisher
Executive Producer Humphrey Bogart
Produced by Robert Lord
Directed by
Stuart Heisler

The show in the collection with the most humble reputation is Tokyo Joe, a quasi- Casablanca retread with the novelty of a Japanese location shoot, at least for second-unit scenes using doubles. (Samuel Fuller’s House of Bamboo (1955) claimed the same status, but brought some actual stars to Tokyo as well.)

The far-fetched storyline is tangled up in Occupation politics: around 1948 (?) ex-GI Joe Barrett (Humphrey Bogart) comes to Tokyo on a 60-day pass hoping to start a new business. He was nightclub owner before the war. His partner Ito (Teru Shimada of You Only Live Twice) still runs the club, but Occupation law prohibits Americans from running entertainment businesses. Joe instead goes into air freight with Baron Kimura (Sessue Hayakawa), concerned that Kimura can only be interested in illegal smuggling.

A Casablanca– like love triangle sees Joe on the wrong end of a romantic triangle. He’s shocked to discover that his supposedly dead wife Trina (Florence Marley) is alive — but she’s divorced him and remarried Mark Landis (Alexander Knox), a lawyer for the top echelon of the Allied Occupation. Joe even finds out that he has a daughter, 7 year-old Anya (Lora Lee Michael). After Joe left just before Pearl Harbor, Trina was imprisoned and then forced to broadcast Japanese propaganda, to keep her baby daughter safe. Kimura has discovered this fact, and uses it to force Joe’s cooperation.

A number of simply corny scenes crop up, with Bogart’s Joe coming on too strong while delivering weak speeches about his love for Trina, his determination to take her away, etc.. An especially weak dramatic link is actress Florence Marly, an icy beauty likely best known for her role in the Czech film Krakatit (1948), a parable about atomic power. She had been imported from Europe to perform with Ray Milland in Paramount’s Sealed Verdict (1949). Her Trina is unsympathetic and has zero chemistry with Bogie, negating the film’s romantic possibilities. If Ms. Marly is still remembered, it’s for two roles as ‘evil’ characters — a fugitive Nazi in René Clément’s superb Les maudits, and much later, as a vampiric alien in Curtis Harrington’s Queen of Blood.

The Japanese cast is quite good; Santana somehow found an actor for a villainous role who looks just like a Japanese Marvin Miller. The too-pat screenplay deflects attention from real Occupation woes by insinuating that Communist agitators and fugitive Japanese war criminals are trying to destabilize the Allied peace in Japan. Sam Fuller’s House of Bamboo was just as much a fantasy, with the idea that American gangsters could operate in Tokyo — a city then overrun with home-turf Yakuza gangs.

 


Commentator Nora Fiore’s track begins with some humor but quickly digs into a wealth of information on Tokyo Joe. She shares good biographical information on many of the Japanese actors, including the child actor Lora Lee Michael, who in 1950 was ten years old, looked five, and played a girl aged eight.

Bertrand Tavernier begins his 2017 talk telling us that Tokyo Joe is second rate; his remarks explain that director Stuart Heisler’s diminished reputation is only because of his status as a second-tier director forced to taked films other directors didn’t want, etc.. Tom Vincent does a film-by-film rundown on Sessue Hayakawa’s career. He doesn’t clear up the oft-told story of how David Lean supposedly cast the actor for The Bridge on the River Kwai unclear as to his English language skills.

A short subject directed by Stuart Heisler is the WW2 docu The Negro Soldier; an audio piece gives us Jim Pines discussing the story of its making, by the Frank Capra film unit.

Perhaps taken from a Columbia stock footage library are ten or so minutes of background and second unit footage filmed in Japan, where we get to see how the doubles used to show Humphrey Bogart in taxis, exiting, a bus etc., without ever going to Japan.

 


 

Sirocco
1951 / 1:37 Academy / 98 min. /
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Marta Toren, Lee J. Cobb, Everett Sloane, Gerald Mohr, Zero Mostel, Nick Dennis, Onslow Stevens, Ludwig Donath, Peter Brocco, Argentina Brunetti, Jeff Corey, Harry Guardino, Peter Mamakos, Neyle Morrow, Jay Novello, Dan Seymour.
Cinematography: Burnett Guffey
Art Director: Robert Peterson
Film Editor: Viola Lawrence
Original Music: George Antheil
Written by A.I. Bezzerides, Hans Jacoby from the novel by Joseph Kessel
Executive Producer Humphrey Bogart
Produced by Robert Lord
Directed by
Curtis Bernhardt

If Tokyo Joe tries to update Casablanca in postwar Japan and fails to convince, the too-serious Sirocco tries for relevance in an anti-Colonial uprising. The writing pedigree is simply too rich for a humble Bogart ‘foreign intrigue’ vehicle. Working from a book by Joseph Kessel (The Night of the Generals, Army of Shadows, Belle de Jour), acclaimed screenwriter A.I. Bezzerides (Thieves’ Highway, Kiss Me Deadly) gives us a thriller without a real romance. Stuffy Lee J. Cobb is a noble hero and Humphrey Bogart an opportunist gun-runner with few redeeming qualities. The story might be a classic if loaded with on-location realism and more historical detail, but Damascus in 1925 is created with backlot sets and matte paintings. What with the state of Syria today, we probably identify with the story more than did the audiences of 1951.

As one expects from writer Bezzerides, there’s no moral center to Sirocco. Faced with a Druze rebellion, the French General (Everett Sloane) wants to start shooting random hostages, but the honorable Colonel Feroud (Lee J. Cobb) thinks he can broker peace with the rebel leader Emir Hassan (Onslow Stevens). Meanwhile, cafés are being blown up with terror bombs, and the French are forced to declare martial law. In the middle of this, the shifty American Harry Smith (Bogart) and his boisterous local pal Nasir (Nick Dennis) are smuggling arms to the rebels and making a mint.

Feroud is keeping a girlfriend, Violette (Marta Toren), but Harry uses the gift of an expensive bracelet to make a big play for her. The bored, vain Violette just wants to go to Cairo. Harry suddenly agrees to take her when another local (Zero Mostel) tells the General about Harry’s smuggling operation. When captured, Harry expects to be shot — but the suicidally-daring Feroud instead bargains for Harry to get him an audience with Emir Hassan.

Sirocco’s Harry Smith is no Rick Blaine, a cynic hiding a secret reserve of nobility. Harry does accept a growing sense of friendship with the brooding, ineffectually idealistic Feroud. The movie is really Feroud’s story. Lee J. Cobb was trying to be a leading man around this time, as in the odd noir The Man Who Cheated Himself.

Marta Toren (or Märta Torén) is one of the hottest of the Swedish hot numbers imported in the late 1940s to compete with or substitute for Ingrid Bergman. She doesn’t make the best impression in her Universal films, not even Casbah, but she’s simply a knockout in Technicolor in the English The Man Who Watched Trains Go By. Sirocco doesn’t even give Toren a kissing scene with Bogart. Deprived of the tawdry sexual context of the novel, the show can only pretend to be adult, serious. The ending is tragic, but not particularly resonant.

Nick Dennis has some good moments shouting and dancing. We keep expecting him to yell out loud, ‘Va va voom! 3-D Pow!’  Other notables like Ludwig Donath and the soon-to-be-blacklisted Jeff Corey and Zero Mostel emote under swarthy middle-Eastern makeup. The biggest shock is seeing a 26 year-old Harry Guardino as a French officer — he’s as skinny as a rail, barely recognizable.

 


Sirocco is given an animated audio commentary with Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson, who convince us that the source novel was a serious item. They also recap some of the tragic history of Syria in the 20th century and beyond. The longform video item on the disc is a full career documentary on Humphrey Bogart.

 


 

The Family Secret
1951 / 1:37 Academy / 85 min. /
Starring: John Derek, Lee J. Cobb, Jody Lawrance, Erin O’Brien-Moore, Santos Ortega, Henry O’Neill, Carl Benton Reid, Peggy Converse, Jean Alexander, Dorothy Tree, Whit Bissell, Raymond Greenleaf, Onslow Stevens, Amanda Blake, Paul Dubov, Percy Helton, Jean Willes.
Cinematography: Burnett Guffey
Art Director: George Brooks
Film Editor: Al Clark
Original Music: George Duning
Written by James Cavanagh, Francis Cockrell, Andrew Solt story Marie Baumer
Executive Producer Humphrey Bogart
Produced by Robert Lord
Directed by
Henry Levin

The now fairly obscure The Family Secret is the odd film out in the set and may be the most interesting. It’s one of two Santana productions not starring Bogart; both were directed by Henry Levin. It’s another social conscience movie like Knock on Any Door, only this time John Derek plays the spoiled son of a well-to-do attorney. It’s smoothly written and directed, with some very good acting; Lee J. Cobb is unusually restrained. But it also plays like the template for a thousand ’50s TV dramas about family conflicts.

The weird thing is that the lesson it teaches is all wrong, morally unsound.

Law student and part-time law clerk David Clark (John Derek) flees the scene of a murder. The victim is a friend of the family. David soon admits to his father Howard, an attorney (Lee J. Cobb) that he was the one to kill the young man, but only in self-defense. Mrs. Clark (Erin O’Brien-Moore) wants everyone to pretend nothing happened. But David agrees to go to the D.A. and admit his part in the killing. Howard wants the decision to be David’s decision alone, and says nothing when David lets pass the opportunity to confess. The tension in the family escalates. Howard knows that David is doing wrong, but does nothing. Howard eventually defends another man accused of the crime, a bookie named Joe Elsner (Whit Bissell). David assists in what ought to be viewed as an outrageous breach of ethics.

The somewhat arrogant David has a number of girls calling him for dates, but he gravitates to his secretary Lee Pearson (Jody Lawrance). She holds him to a higher measure of honesty. David wishes he could tell Lee the truth. Will he do the right thing?  When it doesn’t look as if Elsner will be acquitted, David begins to crack up.

Can an upscale American household withstand the stress of such fundamental hypocrisy?  Slick and self-involved, David doesn’t seem a likely candidate to grow up and face responsibility. The overly familiar conflicts are nicely orchestrated among some excellent actors; we’re willing to believe that John Derek’s acting is improved by the influence of the excellent Jody Lawrance. Bogart may have engaged Erin O’Brien Moore because she played his wife in a ‘social conscience’ film from an earlier era, 1937’s Black Legion.

The story is narrated by the David Clark character, which comes off as a weakness. John Derek is not the man to be given a Walter Neff-style confessional voiceover.

 


Jason A. Ney’s fine commentary tries to make sense of the film’s morally questionable resolution: David Clark and both of his parents are wholly complict in an unnecessary death, yet the show ends with a cozy ‘all will be okay somehow’ fadeout, apparently without father and son being banned from the legal profession. It’s as if the original script wanted to be a tragedy about bourgeois privilege, and somewhere along the line somebody decreed that the conflict must be solved with a ‘Father Knows Best’ affirmation of middle class good intentions.

A wartime short subject directed by Henry Levin is present, starring Joel Fluellen and Bill Walker. Another short subject about refugees, directed by Nathan Juran, stars Donna Reed, Robert Young, Thomas Mitchell & John Derek.

 


 

The Harder They Fall
1956 / B&W / 1:85 widescreen / 109 min. /
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger, Jan Sterling, Mike Lane, Max Baer, Jersey Joe Walcott, Edward Andrews, Harold J. Stone, Carlos Montalban, Nehemiah Persoff, Felice Orlandi, Herbie Faye, Rusty Lane, Jack Albertson, Marian Carr, Tina Carver, Elaine Edwards, Paul Frees, Robert Fuller, Charles Horvath, Roy Jenson, Angela Stevens, Stafford Repp, Mort Mills.
Cinematography: Burnett Guffey
Art Director: William Flannery
Film Editor: Jerome Thoms
Original Music: Hugo Friedhofer
Screenplay by Philip Yordan from the novel by Budd Schulberg
Executive Producer Jerry Wald
Produced by Philip Yordan
Directed by
Mark Robson

Humphrey Bogart’s final movie shows him putting across a superior script in fine style, using the morally-compromised side of his screen persona to good advantage. A late entry in the ‘social issue’ movement, The Harder They Fall is from the pen of Budd Schulberg, and rewritten by mysterious Hollywood writer/front/wheeler-dealer Philip Yordan. It’s competently directed by the often dull Mark Robson. The measure of its success is makes the shocking revelation that big-time boxing is a corrupt racket (what, no!) seem like important news.

Unemployed newswriter Eddie Willis (Humphrey Bogart) sells out by taking a press agent position with boxing kingpin Nick Benko (Rod Steiger), a crude gangster eager to promote the Panamanian boxer, Toro Moreno (Mike Lane of Frankenstein 1970). The musclebound Toro can neither punch nor withstand blows, so Eddie reluctantly runs interference while Benko fixes fights to make Toro look good. Eddie soon feels the disapproval of his wife Beth (Jan Sterling) and an old friend, ethical journalist Art Leavitt (Harold J. Stone). Venal managers and the callous promoter Jim Weyerhause (Edward Andrews) callously exploit their stables of fighters while robbing them of their winnings.

As Toro climbs the crooked path to the championship Eddie finds it harder to play along. The deluded fighter trusts Eddie, and believes the nonsense written about him. Eddie knows that Benko is setting up Toro for a potentially deadly fall.

The Harder They Fall is first and foremost a Humphrey Bogart vehicle yet it transcends the boxing movie formula by selling itself as an important exposé of an American evil. Bogart convinces us that his seasoned journalist Eddie, who has known Nick Benko for years, is surprised to see the hoodlum cheat and lie so openly; perhaps Eddie expected just a little corruption. Giveaway dialogue right up front suggests that Eddie is selling his soul, plain and simple. Eddie Willis is neck deep in Benko’s crimes, yet because he’s Bogart we know he’s at heart an okay guy. We’re expected to rally behind Eddie when he turns angel at the end, sitting down to type out the Story of the Century. When the indictments come down, Eddie had better make sure he’s got immunity.

The various hoods and fight promoters are as colorful as the crooks in ’30s gangster films. Bogart was reportedly already aware of his deteriorating health. He handles his role effortlessly, and seems more committed than in some of his recent pictures. Rod Steiger is his standard nasty blowhard, performing at least one dastardly deed in every scene. He’s very convincing. Jan Sterling had played the hardest hardboiled dame in film noir and brings her incomparably sad, I-Just-Cried eyes to her good-wife role. She and good buddy Harold J. Stone wear haloes while waiting for the ethically-challenged Eddie Eddie to return to the straight and narrow.

Toro Moreno and his manager are easily-manipulated fools, and Bogart’s Eddie is a major part of the swindle perpetrated on them. The sentimental ending with Bogie sending the lunk home with all the cash, etc., now seems a little patronizing. The prizefighting on view is just as questionable, ludicrous from a real boxing standpoint, but good theater. Burnett Guffey’s luminous photography gives Toro’s final battle a real charge.

 


The Harder They Fall is touted as a new 4K restoration; unlike the earlier films it’s a widescreen presentation in 1:85. Farran Smith Nehme and Glenn Kenny do commentary duties, digging deep into the actors, the politics and the interesting characters that made the show. We learn of some of the authentic boxing lore shown in the picture. Bogart was in real pain during some of the shooting.

Commenting in separate video lectures are Christina Newland, the lead film critic for @theipaper, and another 2017 piece by Bertrand Tavernier. Newland’s piece serves as an introduction and literal recap of the film’s setup. When Tavernier highlights writers and actors he likes, we’re compelled to listen. His French speech digs deep into the work of Mark Robson — he’s right when he calls Plus dure sera la chute one of Robson’s best.

A pair of silent 8mm Castle films of Max Baer’s bouts are of a quality we’d expect. That Justice Be Done, a film commissioned by the O.S.S., is a scathing ten minutes accusing and condemning Nazi war criminals, and anticipating harsh Crimes Against Humanity verdicts. George Stevens directed, Ray Kellogg produced, Robert Parrish edited and The Harder They Fall’s Budd Schulberg scripted. The tone of the narration demands a harsh revenge. Antifascist films like this one would soon disappear; I’ve only seen this broadcast once, on TCM.

 


 

Powerhouse Indicator’s Region B Blu-ray of the Columbia Noir #5 Humphrey Bogart collection is six excellent encodings of pictures, four of which were produced by Humphrey Bogart’s own company. The Harder They Fall is the only one with a new 4K restoration but the others look immaculate as well. The strong audio tracks point up the contrast in music between the titles — some have original music scores and at least one is spotted with stock music. When Tokyo Joe’s torch lady is accompanied by a sing-song ‘oriental’ tune, we know we’re not going to be leaving Hollywood.

The extras detailed above and listed below are accessed through clear menus. The vintage short subjects are from good video masters, not whatever was available on the web. But be warned yet again, this is a locked Region B disc. Yankee fans will need to use a player or disc drive with all-region capability.

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson


Columbia Noir #5 Humphrey Bogart
Region B Blu-ray rates:
Movies: Dead Reckoning, The Harder They Fall
Excellent, Knock on Any Door, Tokyo Joe, Sirocco, The Family Secret Good
Video: Excellent
Sound: Excellent
Supplements:
Audio commentaries, all 2022:
Alan K. Rode on Dead Reckoning
Pamela Hutchinson on Knock on Any Door
Nora Fiore on Tokyo Joe
Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson on Sirocco
Jason A. Ney on The Family Secret
Glenn Kenny and Farran Smith Nehme on The Harder They Fall
The South Bank Show: Bogart: Here’s Looking at You, Kid (1997): episode of the British arts television series
Tony Rayns on Dead Reckoning (2022)
Geoff Andrew on Knock on Any Door (2022)
Bertrand Tavernier on Tokyo Joe and The Harder They Fall (2017)
Tom Vincent on Sessue Hayakawa (2022)
Christina Newland on The Harder They Fall (2022)
The Negro Soldier (1944): WWII documentary film directed by Stuart Heisler
Jim Pines on The Negro Soldier (2010), recorded following a screening of the film at London’s BFI Southbank
The Negro Sailor (1945): documentary short directed by Henry Levin
Watchtower Over Tomorrow (1945): short film about the formation of the United Nations, directed by John Cromwell
Tuesday in November (1945): documentary short on the 1944 U.S. presidential campaign, assistant director Nicholas Ray.
That Justice Be Done (1945): documentary short on the Nuremberg Trials, written by Budd Schulberg
The Big Moment (1954): short film produced by the United Jewish Appeal starring John Derek
Max Baer on Super 8: boxing matches including his bout with Primo Carnera
Theatrical trailer for Knock on Any Door
Image galleries: publicity and promotional materials.
Deaf and Hearing-impaired Friendly? YES; Subtitles: English (feature AND extras)
Packaging: One Blu-ray in Keep case
Reviewed:
June 20, 2022
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About Glenn Erickson

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Glenn Erickson left a small town for UCLA film school, where his spooky student movie about a haunted window landed him a job on the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS effects crew. He’s a writer and a film editor experienced in features, TV commercials, Cannon movie trailers, special montages and disc docus. But he’s most proud of finding the lost ending for a famous film noir, that few people knew was missing. Glenn is grateful for Trailers From Hell’s generous offer of a guest reviewing haven for CineSavant.