Murder in Greenwich Village is an odd little film from Columbia Pictures, circa 1937. Starring Fay Wray (post King Kong), Richard Arlen (Wings) and Raymond Walburn (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town), both the poster and the title would have you believe this is a murder mystery thriller. It is most certainly not.
The Production: 3/5
A society girl, Kay Cabot (Fay Wray), sneaks out of a studio in the middle of the night and stumbles into another photographer’s studio owned and operated by Steve Havens Jackson Jr. (Richard Arlen). They strike up a love -hate relationship as she agrees to pose for a photo in exchange for a better outfit to wear home. The next morning, the first photographer is found dead in his studio, and Kay is one of the suspects. Although innocent of the murder, Kay cons Steve into a phony alibi, hoping to keep the investigation away from her father’s business. But the photographer’s brother, mobster Rusty Morgan (Marc Lawrence), wants to solve the murder before the police do to avenge his brother’s death.
The cover art for this Blu-ray release replicates the movie’s original poster, and both that and the title, Murder in Greenwich Village, would have one believe it is a film noir or murder mystery with some thrills. Screenwriter Michael L. Simmons and director Albert S. Rogell (a veteran of the silent era) have instead concocted a screwball romantic comedy that works in fits and starts, especially when Steve is with his cast of models that includes The Senator (Raymond Walburn), who is always looking for his next alcoholic beverage, and when Steve and Kay are arguing. It’s a tightrope that the movie all too often almost falls off of.
3D Rating: NA
It seems like no one knows how to handle deep, deep catalog titles but Sony, and that is definitely the case here with Murder in Greenwich Village. This is a very organic, film-like image virtually free of any debris or scratches (there are a few stray hairs in the gate that are barely noticeable). Detail is very good, from the pinstriped suits to the pock marks in Marc Lawrence’s face. Contrast is also very good, revealing a nice black and white image with a very wide grayscale range. Film grain is left intact but is never intrusive.
The DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono track has incredibly good fidelity. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout. There is no noticeable distortion in music or sound effects, either. Hiss has been reduced to a minimum. This is probably the best this movie has ever sounded.
Special Features: 0/5
Nothing, not even a trailer or menu. Unlike other Sony MOD titles that lacked a menu, pressing the Pop-Up or Top Menu buttons did not cause my player (Sony UBD-X800M2) to behave abnormally, other than Top Menu taking me back to the beginning of the movie.
Seeing a movie like Murder in Greenwich Village actually receive a Blu-ray release in this day and age is cause for celebration. Sony, as usual, has put out a first rate presentation of the film and nothing more.
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