What's new

A Few Words About A few words about...™ Hell on Frisco Bay -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
18,166
Real Name
Robert Harris
Hell on Frisco Bay is another of those miracle titles, much like The Sea Wolf, and it's appropriate that both should become available in the same time period, courtesy of Warner Archive.

Produced in 1955, at time during when CinemaScope had taken off, it was released by WB, but was an independent production (Jaguar Productions), owned by the Ladd family.

Since it wasn't Warner owned, elements were beyond the studio's control.

It was seen on TV in pan & scan, apparently from a 35 dupe flat conversion, and was rumored to have had an extremely limited home video release -- possibly Beta -- but has never been seen in any real quality in the past six decades, no less in CinemaScope.

Enter the Warner Archive, which somehow found the original camera negative, and did their magic.

The new Blu-ray is a magnificent representation of the film. Audio is monaural, as no quality 4-track archival element is available on the original mix. But that mono track is full-bodied, and plays beautifully.

This is actually the first time that I've seen the film in scope, and it's an interesting experience, as it was shot by John Seitz, whose career behind the camera began in 1916.

As a connection, he photographed This Gun for Hire, which also starred Mr. Ladd. The other connection here is that director Frank Tuttle was also brought in for this Ladd production. Apparently, Mr. Ladd took care of those with whom he had worked.

If you need more reference for Mr. Seitz, go with Sullivan's Travels, The Miracle at Morgan's Creek, Lost Weekend, and that noir wonder, Sunset Boulevard.

While I'm not a huge fan of Mr. Ladd's work in this particular film, Edward G. Robinson shines. You'll find and early appearance from Rod Taylor, and a great small performance from Fay Wray.

Hell on Frisco Bay is literally a production that has been saved from some unknown fate, and is ours to view, discuss and enjoy.

Music by Max Steiner, who did a few other films.

Image - 4.5

Audio - 4.5

4k Up-rez - 4.75

Pass / Fail - Pass

Recommended

RAH
 

Robert Crawford

Crawdaddy
Moderator
Patron
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 9, 1998
Messages
67,149
Location
Michigan
Real Name
Robert
For as long as I've been in home theater which is about 35 years, this film has been on my personal wish list. I've seen this film 2-3 times in my lifetime and like RAH, I never viewed it in its OAR. I'm so happy to read the comments about this release and really looking forward to viewing this disc next week. I'm a big Alan Ladd fan and Edward G. has always been special to me.
 

Robin9

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2006
Messages
7,606
Real Name
Robin
Alan Ladd was clearly a great admirer of John Seitz. They made several films together during Ladd's Paramount period, and when Alan Ladd left Paramount and made his deal with Warners, he took John Seitz with him.

I am, of course, delighted that this disc is so good. I've just received an email that my disc is on its way.
 
Last edited:

old mole

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
75
Real Name
George
Hell on Frisco Bay is another of those miracle titles, much like The Sea Wolf, and it's appropriate that both should become available in the same time period, courtesy of Warner Archive.

Produced in 1955, at time during when CinemaScope had taken off, it was released by WB, but was an independent production (Jaguar Productions), owned by the Ladd family.

Since it wasn't Warner owned, elements were beyond the studio's control.

It was seen on TV in pan & scan, apparently from a 35 dupe flat conversion, and was rumored to have had an extremely limited home video release -- possibly Beta -- but has never been seen in any real quality in the past six decades, no less in CinemaScope.

Enter the Warner Archive, which somehow found the original camera negative, and did their magic.

The new Blu-ray is a magnificent representation of the film. Audio is monaural, as no quality 4-track archival element is available on the original mix. But that mono track is full-bodied, and plays beautifully.

This is actually the first time that I've seen the film in scope, and it's an interesting experience, as it was shot by John Seitz, whose career behind the camera began in 1916.

As a connection, he photographed This Gun for Hire, which also starred Mr. Ladd. The other connection here is that director Frank Tuttle was also brought in for this Ladd production. Apparently, Mr. Ladd took care of those with whom he had worked.

If you need more reference for Mr. Seitz, go with Sullivan's Travels, The Miracle at Morgan's Creek, Lost Weekend, and that noir wonder, Sunset Boulevard.

While I'm not a huge fan of Mr. Ladd's work in this particular film, Edward G. Robinson shines. You'll find and early appearance from Rod Taylor, and a great small performance from Fay Wray.

Hell on Frisco Bay is literally a production that has been saved from some unknown fate, and is ours to view, discuss and enjoy.

Music by Max Steiner, who did a few other films.

Image - 4.5

Audio - 4.5

4k Up-rez - 4.75

Pass / Fail - Pass

Recommended

RAH
 

old mole

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
75
Real Name
George
And how about DOUBLE INDEMNITY for Mr.Seitz, for which he received an Oscar nomination.
 
Joined
May 1, 2014
Messages
23
Location
New Orleans, LA
Real Name
Jeremy
Never seen or heard of this one, but anything with Edward G. Robinson is sure to be worth the time. What's the story behind it being elusive for so long, anything similar to "The High and the Mighty"?
 

Robert Crawford

Crawdaddy
Moderator
Patron
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 9, 1998
Messages
67,149
Location
Michigan
Real Name
Robert
It's been a while since I last seen this film, but I always thought Robinson's performance in this film was terrific and there are parts of it when I laugh out loud at some of his lines. Paul Stewart and Fay Wray were great too. I'm a huge Alan Ladd fan, but I have to agree with RAH that William Holden or Charlton Heston type would have been better served in that lead role. Somebody with a little more physicality to them. Watching a young Perry Lopez playing Robinson's pampered nephew was kind of humorous.

Warner Archive did another great job with the video and audio presentations of this BD release.
 

atfree

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
3,606
Location
Boiling Springs, South Carolina
Real Name
Alex
Received my copy yesterday, will watch this weekend. Always glad to see more Alan Ladd on BD.....wish we'd get The Blue Dahlia and The Glass Key in Region A as both have received releases by Arrow in Region B. And, of course, would love to see This Gun for Hire on BD.
 

Matt Hough

Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
26,109
Location
Charlotte, NC
Real Name
Matt Hough
I watched this today and was thoroughly delighted with the transfer. Even the problematic WarnerColor was handled with care. The movie offers another priceless Edward G. Robinson performance and doesn't wear out its welcome with a lengthy running time. Lots of famous character faces are present in it, too. Very happy to add this to my Blu-ray collection.
 

Spili

Agent
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
41
Real Name
Marco
Are the caps here *actually* what's on the disc? If true, that's incredibly shameful. I've never seen a Warner Archive transfer with DNR applied until now...
 

Robert Crawford

Crawdaddy
Moderator
Patron
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 9, 1998
Messages
67,149
Location
Michigan
Real Name
Robert
Are the caps here *actually* what's on the disc? If true, that's incredibly shameful. I've never seen a Warner Archive transfer with DNR applied until now...
So you're going to ignore those of us that have viewed the actual disc and have stated very positive comments about that disc in this thread.
 

Thomas T

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2001
Messages
10,275
Are the caps here *actually* what's on the disc? If true, that's incredibly shameful. I've never seen a Warner Archive transfer with DNR applied until now...

Screen caps aren't always a reliable indicator of what a blu ray or dvd looks like in motion. Mr. Harris's 4.5 grade for HOFB's images are more reliable than any screen caps as most here will tell you.
 

Robin9

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2006
Messages
7,606
Real Name
Robin
I didn't notice any DNR when I watched the disc a few days ago. Mind you, I'm not a nit-picker who keeps an eagle eye for things to complain about! :)
 

benbess

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2009
Messages
5,631
Real Name
Ben
Finally watched this one. An enjoyable "B" movie with an "A"-level presentation. I thought Alan Ladd was fine in this movie, and Edward G. Robinson really chews up the scenery. Some nice location work in San Francisco. Another good movie from 1955.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum statistics

Threads
356,525
Messages
5,115,155
Members
144,106
Latest member
linda19798888
Recent bookmarks
0
Top