THE DARK CORNER FILM NOIR 10 Studio: 20th Century Fox Film Year: 1946 Film Length: 99 minutes Genre: Crime/Film Noir/Drama Aspect Ratio:[*] 1.33:1 Colour/B&W: B&W Audio:[*] English 2.0 mono [*] English 2.0 stereo Subtitles: English & Spanish Film Rating: Not Rated SLP US: $14.98 SLP CDN: $16.98 Release Date: December 6, 2005. Film Rating: / Starring: Mark Stevens (Brad Galt), Lucille Ball (Kathleen), Kurt Kreuger (Tony Jardine), Clifton Webb (Hardy Cathcart) and William Bendix (Fred Foss) Written by: Jay Dratler, Leo Rosten and Bernard C. Schoenfeld Directed by: Henry Hathaway Save your lipstick, girls, he plays for keeps.[/i] Private Investigator Brad Galt is running from someone, only he doesn’t know who. He’s recently moved from San Francisco to New York in attempts to start anew. He’s set-up his business in a new office and hired a beautiful secretary named Kathleen (Lucille Ball), with whom he spends as much time out of the office as he does in the office. We are not quite sure what happened in San Francisco, but we know that Brad has a secret. While on a date, Brad and Kathleen notice they are being followed – a man in a white suit. Being the tough guy that he is, Brad confronts his assailant. He learns that his ex-business partner from San Francisco, Tony Jardine, hired a P.I. to keep tabs on him. As Brad walks Kathleen back to her apartment, a car comes screeching down the street in attempts to run down Brad. Escaping with only minor injuries, Brad sets out to locate Jardine and make some sense of the whole ordeal. It is at this point that we are introduced to Jardine, a handsome young barrister who is in love with his best friend’s wife. One late evening, Brad sneaks into Jardine’s apartment but is clobbered over the head before he can ask any questions. When he wakes up, Brad finds a knife in his hand and Jardine’s body next to him. It’s then that Brad realizes that someone is trying to frame him for the murder of Tony Jardine. Who else would know that Brad could have reason for murdering Jardine? Who else could know about their history in San Francisco? Feeling as though he’s being pushed into a dark corner, Brad asks Kathleen, “How can I fight back when I don’t know who I’m fighting?” Henry Hathaway’s The Dark Corner moves at a deliberately slow pace in the beginning. We are introduced to several characters but the connection between them remains a mystery for some time. After about 50 minutes into the film, the pace begins to picks up. As the drama unfolds, I was as eager as Brad Galt to piece together the puzzle. Be patient; the final scenes are well worth the wait! Another aspect of the film that I enjoyed was watching Lucille Ball in one of her dramatic roles, prior to her comedic “I Love Lucy” fame. Although The Dark Corner is by no means a noir masterpiece (when measured against films like Double Indemnity or The Maltese Falcon), it’s entertaining enough for an afternoon treat. (DS) VIDEO QUALITY / The video quality is better than a few noir titles Fox has come out with, but does not measure up to the better ones also available. I’m going to be a little tougher with my scoring now that more titles available and they can be ranked up to each other. While the images on the screen are clear on this 1.33:1 film, this title does lack the better resolution available elsewhere. The image also has a little more film grain than what I’m becoming used to and there are artefacts that frequently mar the image from being “meticulously restored.” There is a mild jitteriness in the picture and both extremes of white and black are undefined. Viewing it at the colour temperature of 5400K, the image isn’t as warm as I expected it to be. I understand that the overall image is restricted to the film quality of the era, but I’m just reporting what I see. Do understand that this is the best this film has ever looked and I am very proud of Fox for spending time on restoring these classics so they don’t rot away in history. (MO) AUDIO QUALITY / The sound is o.k. but not as good as Kiss of Death, a noir title also appearing in the same wave of releases as The Dark Corner. Background his is noticeably high and the sound, even in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, is strident and not very warm feeling. Dialogue is always intelligible among the sound effects used for this film. Bass is limited. The 2.0 stereo soundtrack is fake stereo. It has no imaging as all sounds are dispersed everywhere across the soundstage. Stick with the focussed 2.0 mono soundtrack. (MO) SPECIAL FEATURES / Once again, we can welcome a film commentary from historians Alain Silver and James Ursini. They always provide a wonderful amount of information on the history of films and The Dark Corner being no exception. The theatrical trailer for this film, as well as noir trailers for Call Northside 777, Laura, Nightmare Alley, Panic in the Streets, and [/i]The Street with No Name[/i]. (MO) IN THE END… While not one of the better noir titles in terms of the feature, content, and audio and video quality, those who love film noir will find some value in this title. Michael Osadciw & Debrah Scarfone January 07, 2006.