"Across the Bridge" (1957) DVD. Don't let this one slip by you!

Discussion in 'DVD' started by William Miller, Apr 24, 2004.

  1. William Miller

    William Miller Stunt Coordinator

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    Without much fanfare, Shanachie has released the rarely seen 1957 British film "Across the Bridge". Shanachie has always been basically an independent record label and most of their DVD's have been music oriented. But they have recently released some British films through an arrangement with Carlton Films of England. These have included the rare Boris Karloff "The Man Who Changed His Mind" and the hilarious Peter Sellers comedy "The Wrong Arm of the Law".

    "Across the Bridge" is based on a novella by Graham Greene. Rod Steiger plays a wealthy and famous British businessman, of German descent, who at the beginning of the movie is in the United States on a business trip. But while he is in New York, Scotland Yard walks into his British headquarters with an arrest warrant for Steiger after it is discovered that he has committed some business crimes that are never fully explained in detail but it really doesn't matter what the particulars are. Steiger decides that he has to take it on the lam and devises a plan to quickly take a train to Mexico where he can escape extradition back to England. That sets off a series of improbable but compelling events which will keep you in suspense all the way.

    This movie was directed by Ken Annakin, who basically had a long but mostly undistinguished career as a British film director. But he did an outstanding job with this one! It is a taut, very unusual film which definitely belongs in the category of "film noir". This movie is filled with some very unseemly and greedy characters and our protagonist more than meets his match in the Crime department.

    The entire movie was basically filmed in England but if you didn't know this fact, you would never realize that. Almost all of the film is set in the U.S. and Mexico. One thing that might have given away it's British origins is that some of the British performers do not do the greatest job of adopting American and Mexican accents. But the supporting cast is top notch including a well trained dog named "Dolores" who plays a very important role in the unfolding of events. Steiger gives one of his typical "over the top" Method performances but it is quite effective at times.

    The film is nicely letterboxed at around 1.70 to 1.80. I guess it is supposed to be 1.66 like most British films of that period but it might not be exactly that but it looks fine. The image is sharp and clear with very little distractions. The sound does have some problems with a few stretches where a hum and/or a buzz is very noticeable but most of the time it is good. There also is a 24 minute, recently produced "making of" documentary which is basically director Annakin giving his memories of the filming. But please watch the movie first because he gives away much of the plot during his talk. (The back of the DVD cover says this documentary is 30 minutes long but that is incorrect.)

    I would highly recommend this film to Crime or film noir lovers or any other film buff who enjoys discovering "buried treasures" of the past. I hope that Shanachie continues to release more British movies that have slipped through the cracks here in the U.S.
     
  2. Ken New

    Ken New Agent

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    You're right, it is a good film. Saw it on TV many years ago.

    I think you'll find that many of the 'Mexican' exteriors were filmed in Spain.
     
  3. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Also to be released in R2, apparently without the documentary but with a Hayley Mills commentary.

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    So many films, so little time...
     
  4. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    What's Hayley Mills' connection with this film?
     
  5. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Now you come to mention it, I haven't got a clue (aside from the fact that Annakin also directed Swiss Family Robinson starring John Mills, but that's a little tenuous to say the least [​IMG] )

    Still according to play.com, those are the specs - here - unless they have them mixed up with Whistle Down The Wind released around the same time...

    ---
    So many films, so little time...
     
  6. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    I think play.com have certainly mixed up the specs from the other Carlton film. HMV list the R2 ACROSS THE BRIDGE as only having a trailer as an extra. If so I'll get the R1 version.
     
  7. Randy A Salas

    Randy A Salas Screenwriter

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    I recently interviewed Ken Annakin about Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines and The Longest Day--his two most-well-known films--and he made special mention of the release of this DVD.

    "I'll always regard that as the best film I ever made," he
    said. "Rod Steiger gave an amazing performance."
     

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