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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Blood Alley & The Sea Chase -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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Nestled neatly, between The High and the Mighty (1954), and his ne plus ultra performance in the 1956 The Searchers (I try not to think about The Conquerer) are two Warner Bros. studio projects that will be of interest to Wayne completists and those who have an interest in early-ish CinemaScope productions.

Neither is of real import, but in typical Warner Archive fashion, both have been brought to Blu-ray with the finest possible quality.

The Sea Chase, released in June of 1955, and Blood Alley, released five months hence, are both WarnerColor productions, and readers of HTF will know in advance that those words don't bode well for archival elements.

Both however, have been taken from quality IPs, with color (especially for that process, and its dupes) is quite good. Audio has been recovered via the Warner Bros. archival program from 35mm magnetic prints, presumably at the LoC.

At the time of the track recovery, decisions were made to produce elements via Dolby's two-track encoded process, as opposed to a discreet x-copy, but so be it. The difference, especially when it comes to home theater is minimal, although if we had our druthers...

Fortunately, the stereo tracks survive, and have been encoded to the Blu-ray disc.

Image - 4.25

Audio - 4.25

4k Up-rez - 4.5

Pass / Fail - Pass

RAH
 

Robert Crawford

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So no recommendations just a Pass.:) Neither film is a favorite on mine, but I'll buy them anyhow because Wayne is my favorite actor of all-time. Plus, seeing Mike Mazurki playing a Chinese character reminds me how badly such cast decisions were back then.:thumbsdown: Don't get my wrong, I loved Mazurki, he was my father's favorite character actor, but not in that role.
 

Robert Harris

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So no recommendations just a Pass.:) Neither film is a favorite on mine, but I'll buy them anyhow because Wayne is my favorite actor of all-time. Plus, seeing Mike Mazurki playing a Chinese character reminds me how badly such cast decisions were back then.:thumbsdown: Don't get my wrong, I loved Mazurki, he was my father's favorite character actor, but not in that role.

Soooo....

Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's? Not a favorite?
 

Robert Crawford

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Soooo....

Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's? Not a favorite?
Not particularly, when I first viewed that film when I was a kid back in the 60's I thought it was funny. I'm talking about Rooney's performance. Today, not so much. I have the same problem with Westerns, but I try not to think about it too much. Otherwise, I couldn't enjoy many Westerns made prior to Dances with Wolves era.
 

John Hermes

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Not particularly, when I first viewed that film when I was a kid back in the 60's I thought it was funny. I'm talking about Rooney's performance. Today, not so much. I have the same problem with Westerns, but I try not to think about it too much. Otherwise, I couldn't enjoy many Westerns made prior to Dances with Wolves era.
You mean Lex Barker and Rock Hudson weren't a real Indians? :)
 

jim_falconer

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Hah, I love The Conqueror! I could never understand how it's considered such a turkey (with the exception of John Wayne being miscast). Incredible stunts and one of Victor Young's finest scores. I once read to think of it as an "eastern western", and that is the perfect way to approach the film.
 

jim_falconer

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So no recommendations just a Pass.:) Neither film is a favorite on mine, but I'll buy them anyhow because Wayne is my favorite actor of all-time. Plus, seeing Mike Mazurki playing a Chinese character reminds me how badly such cast decisions were back then.:thumbsdown: Don't get my wrong, I loved Mazurki, he was my father's favorite character actor, but not in that role.

Let's not forget Paul Fix as the wise old leader of the village :)
 

Richard Gallagher

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So no recommendations just a Pass.:) Neither film is a favorite on mine, but I'll buy them anyhow because Wayne is my favorite actor of all-time. Plus, seeing Mike Mazurki playing a Chinese character reminds me how badly such cast decisions were back then.:thumbsdown: Don't get my wrong, I loved Mazurki, he was my father's favorite character actor, but not in that role.

Speaking of Mike Mazurki, last night I watched Cheyenne Autumn, which I DVR'd from TCM HD a couple of days ago. I have to believe that a Warner Archive BD is on the horizon - it looked really, really good with spectacular shots of Monument Valley.
 
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Thomas T

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Plus, seeing Mike Mazurki playing a Chinese character reminds me how badly such cast decisions were back then.:thumbsdown: Don't get my wrong, I loved Mazurki, he was my father's favorite character actor, but not in that role.

I found Mazurki much more believable as an Asian in Blood Alley than the Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg.
 

Thomas T

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Hah, I love The Conqueror! I could never understand how it's considered such a turkey (with the exception of John Wayne being miscast). Incredible stunts and one of Victor Young's finest scores. I once read to think of it as an "eastern western", and that is the perfect way to approach the film.

I agree. There are far worse movies and its reputation as one of the worst movies of all time is unfair. People forget the film was not a bomb, it was a big success at the box office. It's the miscasting of Wayne and Susan Hayward that cemented its reputation. If the film had starred Anthony Quinn and Sophia Loren instead of Wayne and Hayward, it wouldn't have the reputation it has today.
 

jim_falconer

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Received and watched "Blood Alley" yesterday. While the transfer of "The Sea Chase" was a very nice improvement over the DVD, "Blood Alley" is a massive improvement over the DVD. The image and sound are just remarkable. I never realized the opening score was so glorious, until it came flowing beautifully out of my JBLs. I also never before noticed that the bottom of the letters on the title card for "Blood Alley" are touched with red. I had a smile on my face from beginning to end. Wonderful job Warner Archive!!!
 

jim_falconer

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Also I have to say...seeing Duke and Lauren together in this film, makes me so sad that their truly great collaboration (hint-hint, it came out 20 years later) IS STILL NOT OUT ON BLURAY!!!
 

Josh Steinberg

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Unfortunately my understanding is the German release is heavily DNR'd.

The DNR isn't even the big problem, in my view - the compression on the whole is just terrible. It very well may look better on a TV set, but on a 100" projection screen, it looked like a glitchy, over-compressed cable signal. When I watch broadcast or cable TV on my projector, it generally looks better than that disc did.
 

Matt Hough

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I watched Blood Alley last night. I'd never owned the DVD and had only seen the movie once on television many years ago, so this was like seeing it for the first time in some ways. It's not one of Wayne's best action films, but it had its moments. I know Warners did what they could with the elements, but I found the picture quality erratic, alternately soft and sharp and the color variable, too. But I guess this is typical of WarnerColor and the film stock of the era. But the Blu-rays of Bad Day at Black Rock and Love Me or Leave Me from the same era (different color processing, of course) leaves Blood Alley in the dust.
 

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