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Blu-ray Review Fate Is the Hunter Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, May 24, 2014.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director

    Apr 24, 2006
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    Charlotte, NC
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    Matt Hough
    XenForo Template Fate Is the Hunter Blu-ray Review

    Ralph Nelson’s Fate Is the Hunter isn’t really a whodunit but rather a howdunit. In struggling to learn the truth behind a horrific airplane crash, the film’s protagonist researches every possible lead he possibly can in order to learn the truth about the real cause of the accident. It’s an intriguing scenario even if the resultant execution sometimes trundles in its narrative focus and momentum. The core mystery is a very good one indeed, but the characters involved could be a bit more fascinating or at least more captivatingly presented than they are here.

    Posted Image

    Studio: Fox

    Distributed By: Twilight Time

    Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

    Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono)

    Subtitles: English SDH

    Rating: Not Rated

    Run Time: 1 Hr. 46 Min.

    Package Includes: Blu-ray

    keep case

    Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

    Region: All

    Release Date: 05/13/2014

    MSRP: $29.95

    The Production Rating: 3.5/5

    Ten minutes after taking off, Consolidated Flight 22 crash lands on a beach killing all but one of its fifty-four occupants, head stewardess Martha Webster (Suzanne Pleshette). The airline, quick to place the blame on the handiest available scapegoat, lays the guilt on the passenger jet’s pilot Captain Jack Savage (Rod Taylor). Savage had the reputation as a hard-drinking, womanizing party boy, but his old friend Sam McBane (Glenn Ford), who had flown with Jack in World War II and knew he’d take his passengers’ lives too responsibly to drink before a flight, takes it upon himself to investigate his friend’s movements leading up to the fateful flight. Along the way, he must track down two mysterious persons who were known to be close to Savage: a Chinese girl (Nancy Kwan) and some man named “Mickey” (Mark Stevens) as well as former flight navigator Ralph Bundy (Wally Cox), and Jack’s former fiancé (Dorothy Malone), all the while dealing with his own memories of Jack which weren’t always positive ones.Harold Medford’s screenplay hits all of the pertinent points, and he uses an able mix of flashbacks and present-day encounters which keeps a nice balance to the storytelling. But Nancy Kwan’s story and Wally Cox’s flashback aren’t especially illuminating in solving the mystery, and while at 106 minutes the film could hardly be said to be overlong, the length of their stories does slow up the narrative’s pace quite a bit. Another flashback scene set during World War II finds guest star Jane Russell performing “No Love, No Nothin’” (good singing but very poor lip-synching to her vocal track) as a USO entertainer, another intrusion that sets Jack’s personality and tendencies up for later scrutiny but ultimately proves rather pointless. The climactic flight to recreate the crash and hopefully arrive at a solution to the mystery is among the film’s best sequences, just as tension-filled as the initial crash which is pictured beautifully in the shocking pre-credit sequence. Nelson’s direction starts and stops (he worked more comfortably in television rather than in feature films), but the solution is a satisfying one, and one feels the journey was worth it once the end is reached. Also to screenwriter Medford’s credit, no artificial romance is cooked up with Ford’s McBane and any of the women in Savage’s life once he’s gone. There must have been tremendous pressure to add such an audience-pleasing facet to the story, but thankfully the filmmakers didn’t go there.Glenn Ford is sober and solemn as McBane in one of his better performances (the film’s only stumble with him is not disguising his age in the World War II sequences; though almost twenty years earlier, he looks the same in both past and present). Rod Taylor has the happy-go-lucky pilot down pat, and by offering us other layers of his personality in the flashbacks, we come to have a more rounded picture of him. Mark Stevens gives a great performance as the tippling Mickey, lost long ago to booze but faithful to his friend. Wally Cox plays his usual milquetoast with authority while Nehemiah Persoff as the chief rival to Ford’s McBane at the airline also acquits himself well. Of the ladies, the best performance is by Mary Wickes as Savage’s nosy, unpleasant landlady, quick to judge and quicker to jump to (wrong) conclusions. Suzanne Pleshette also delivers a strong performance as the rattled flight attendant trying to piece back together what actually happened as she comes out of a state of shock. Nancy Kwan is rather stiff and uninteresting as the oceanographer/ichthyologist mystery woman in Savage’s life, and Dorothy Malone is a bit obvious as the snooty society girl glad not to be slumming any longer.

    Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA

    The Cinemascope theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is faithfully rendered in this very good 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Grayscale registers beautifully with superb and consistent contrast and solid white and black levels (though the blacks are a bit variable). Sharpness is good with graphic detail easily noticeable in faces, the grain of the leather jackets, the fabrics of the ladies’ gowns, and even the plane’s upholstery registering cleanly. There are more numerous than usual dust specks and bits of debris which is the transfer’s most glaring fault. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.

    Audio Rating: 3.5/5

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 track is variable in quality. As is so often the case for films of this era, sound is rather moderate in impact with not a lot of bass in the mix, the sound effects, or the Jerry Goldsmith’s score, all placed together with the decently recorded dialogue for the mix in the same track. Volume levels for the dialogue vary a bit in different parts of the film, and ADR is noticeable in a couple of spots.

    Special Features Rating: 3.5/5

    Audio Commentary/Isolated Score Track: Jerry Goldsmith’s lovely score for the film is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo. In between music cues, producer Nick Redman and co-star Nancy Kwan talk about her (sometimes fleeting or spotty) recollections about making the movie and her life and career.Theatrical Trailer (2:20, SD)To Whom It May Concern: Ka Shen’s Journey (1:46:31, 1080i, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0) Brian Jamieson’s 2010 documentary on the life of Nancy Kwan proves an illuminating look at the actress and, more importantly, the woman who became the first true Chinese movie star in American cinema. His heartfelt tribute to the actress in To Whom It May Concern: Ka Shen’s Journey offers some insider information and is an occasionally moving account of the life and career of the actress in a compactly produced and directed documentary.Six-Page Booklet: contains stills (some in color, a nice inclusion), the original poster art on the back cover, and film historian Julie Kirgo’s illuminating essay on the movie.

    Overall Rating: 3.5/5

    As part of Twilight Time’s limited availability program, only 3,000 copies of the Blu-ray edition of Fate Is the Hunter are available. For those who already have the DVD release, this new Blu-ray offers the interesting and involving documentary on Nancy Kwan To Whom It May Concern: Ka Shen’s Journey as an added incentive for purchasing this new set. Those interested in experiencing this underheralded mystery with a superb cast should visit www.screenarchives.com to see if copies are still available. Twilight Time is also available via Facebook at www.facebook.com/twilighttimemovies.

    Reviewed By: Matt Hough

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  2. Message #2 of 3 Dec 21, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017

    PMF Producer

    May 6, 2015
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    I feel fortunate in my capture of Fate is the Hunter; to which I came within a hair of missing.

    As a cinematography buff, DP Milton Krasner's works have recently caught my levels of awareness. In pursuit of my collecting all of the Oscar winners for this category, I still await his "Three Coins in the Fountain" (1954); but have tuned into the vast selections available of his and other DP's nominations that are available on BD.
    With Fate is the Hunter, Mr. Krasner received his 7th and final nomination; which came on the heels of his double nominations for "Love With the Proper Stranger" and "How The West Was Won" from the prior year. I have always been intrigued by those cinematographers who have been recognized by their peers for working in both Color and Black & White. This is the DP who also gave us "An Affair to Remember" and "All About Eve"; so being able to experience today's less overtly known Fate was a real treat.
    It is a handsome looking work.

    Now, the film itself. Maybe time; and the decades of films that followed and borrowed; have led us to take this kind of film for granted. Some might even say that it moves slowly; but, then again, the research of all good detectives has no choice but to take its time. Time, in these matters, is what places us in their shoes; or gumshoes, have you. In fact, the conclusion reached within the film may seem benign; but in real life, it is far from benign. Indeed, when dealing with Fate one must also understand that the devil is definitely in the details.

    Well, the deadline of holiday shopping prevents me at this brief juncture in time to write about the lovely Nancy Kwan and the documentary that was so generously inclusive of this Twilght Time offering. But fear not, I shall soon return with my summations; to which I have many...except to say up front, that I hope to see Mr. Brian Jamieson continue on with further documentaries.

    BOTTOM LINE: Fate is the Hunter and To Whom it May Conern is now sold-out; and so it surprises me to note that out of these 3,000 copies there were no posts or discussions about this Twilight Time offering. I found both the feature and the documentary to be exceptionally thoughtful works.
  3. Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

    Dec 13, 2006
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    I'm also under time pressure because of Christmas, so just a few random thoughts:

    Milton Krasner had a long and distinguished career. He worked on those two seminal classics Woman In The Window and Scarlet Street and I assume producer Walter Wanger was the reason for this. He moved to Fox and did excellent work there on several major films and later worked regularly with Vincent Minnelli. It's hard to think of two visually more different directors than Fritz Lang and Vincent Minnelli, but Mr. Krasner served them both extremely well.

    I'm also surprised this Blu-ray disc has not evoked more comments. It's a truly superb disc of a film I've always enjoyed. The only part which drags for me is the central idea about fate which seems to me to be silly.

    I lost interest in the Nancy Kwan documentary after about 45 minutes. I'm sure others will respond differently.

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