Noir Archive Volume 1: 1944-1954 9 Movie Collection

3 Stars

I’m curious about this collection. I wonder what the quality would be. Some of these titles are pretty good. Escape in the Fog is a fun B-Noir. I also wonder about a volume 2.

https://www.amazon.com/Noir-Archive-Volume-1-1944-1954-Blu-ray/dp/B07KZ4MW2C?SubscriptionId=AKIAIY4YSQJMFDJATNBA&tag=bluray-010-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B07KZ4MW2C&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER

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38 Comments

  1. They've all been issued by Sony via either their MOD DVD-r series (variously know as "Collector's Choice," "Screen Classic" etc.) and in one case (The Killer that Stalked New York) in Bad Girls of Film Noir Vol. 1. DVD Beaver has screen shots of all of them. If these are licensed (by Kit Parker, going by the Amazon listing) HD versions of the same Sony/Columbia transfers I'd say this would be most welcome and a great bargain.

  2. Paul Penna

    They've all been issued by Sony via either their MOD DVD-r series (variously know as "Collector's Choice," "Screen Classic" etc.) and in one case (The Killer that Stalked New York) in Bad Girls of Film Noir Vol. 1. DVD Beaver has screen shots of all of them. If these are licensed (by Kit Parker, going by the Amazon listing) HD versions of the same Sony/Columbia transfers I'd say this would be most welcome and a great bargain.

    The Bummer is I paid a premium for some of these titles through the MOD program, Escape from the Fog, 711, but if the transfers are better I'm okay with that

  3. Trancas

    […]
    Hmm……….9 movies on three discs………. that's kind of tight.

    These movies are relatively short, black and white and most if not all of them will have black bars over ca. 25% of the picture area so if done properly they should do fine with an average bitrate of about 22 to 24 Mbps when BD50 space gets maxed out. This may not be perfect for grain reproduction but it would still be a bit more than what was available for Lawrence of Arabia and I cannot remember many complaints about bitrate for LoA.

  4. Robert Crawford

    Seven of the nine movies are less than 85 minutes each. Another one is 89 minutes with the ninth one being 102 minutes. Three discs should be just fine.

    I wouldn't get my hopes up.
    The only blu-rays that I see from Kit Parker Films are " The French Way" (1945) with Josephine Baker and “Boss” (1975) written, produced by (and starring) Fred Williamson.

    https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-French-Way-Blu-ray/203900/#Review
    http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film6/dvd_reviews_67/the_french_way_blu-ray.htm
    http://doblu.com/2018/08/15/boss-1975-blu-ray-review/

    Reviews about both films seem to say about the same thing: “waxy and possibly digitized with blown-out whites and a fuzzy kind of grain” or “Sharpness is low and resolution struggles to reach an acceptable tier.”

    Both blu-rays were released this year.

  5. Trancas

    I wouldn't get my hopes up.
    The only blu-rays that I see from Kit Parker Films are " The French Way" (1945) with Josephine Baker and “Boss” (1975) written, produced by (and starring) Fred Williamson.

    https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-French-Way-Blu-ray/203900/#Review
    http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film6/dvd_reviews_67/the_french_way_blu-ray.htm
    http://doblu.com/2018/08/15/boss-1975-blu-ray-review/

    Reviews about both films seem to say about the same thing: “waxy and possibly digitized with blown-out whites and a fuzzy kind of grain” or “Sharpness is low and resolution struggles to reach an acceptable tier.”

    Both blu-rays were released this year.

    I was only saying that three discs should be fine for these particular nine movies. I'm not buying this BD release until I see some reviews or read some comments from others on this forum. I've learned my lessons from dealing with companies like Film Detective.

  6. Trancas

    Hmm……….9 movies on three discs………. that's kind of tight.

    Not really: These are all B&W, with mono audio and all but one in Academy ratio. The shortest is 65 minutes long and most are around 80 minutes. At this price point I'm sure they'll come with few or no extras; at most, just a booklet would be fine by me. Heck, at a stretch I'd even be ok with lossy audio, as most are B-movies and won't have the most dynamic soundtracks anyway.

    I've always wanted to see old films released on BD like this. Naming no names, but there are an inordinate number of releases based on just one similarly-specced film but padded out with a bunch of extras that in reality, few buyers are ever going to bother with. There's at least one premium-priced BD featuring a single sub-one hour film! In such cases there should be at least one extra 'cheaper' film (in terms of cost of transfer, licensing, etc) included on the disc. I think such releases are a waste of BD's capacity and remind me of the early days of CD. They promised the high price would be offset by CD's 80-minute capacity and allow for many added extras – then proceeded to release countless barebone albums anyway, with many as short as 30-odd minutes!

    ClassicFlix releasing a vanilla version of their three-disc John Alton Film Noir Collection, with all three films on one disc, was a fantastic move, and definitely the way forward.

  7. Trancas

    I wouldn't get my hopes up.
    The only blu-rays that I see from Kit Parker Films are " The French Way" (1945) with Josephine Baker and “Boss” (1975) written, produced by (and starring) Fred Williamson.

    https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-French-Way-Blu-ray/203900/#Review
    http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film6/dvd_reviews_67/the_french_way_blu-ray.htm
    http://doblu.com/2018/08/15/boss-1975-blu-ray-review/

    Reviews about both films seem to say about the same thing: “waxy and possibly digitized with blown-out whites and a fuzzy kind of grain” or “Sharpness is low and resolution struggles to reach an acceptable tier.”

    Both blu-rays were released this year.

    Looks as if it was painted in watercolors:
    https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/screenshot.php?movieid=203900&position=3

  8. I contacted Kit Parker by e-mail. I encouraged him strongly but politely not to use DNR or video processing on the Sony/Columbia noirs like what happened on The French Way.

    Here is his response back to me.

    Many thanks for taking the time to write. We are using the Sony masters as-is, and I agree with you about the overuse of DNR. The French Way came to us “waxy,” but I was forgiving because it was restored from a beat up old print; the final result is surprisingly good.

    So the masters from Sony won't be processed in any way.

  9. revgen

    I contacted Kit Parker by e-mail. I encouraged him strongly but politely not to use DNR or video processing on the Sony/Columbia noirs like what happened on The French Way.

    Here is his response back to me.

    So the masters from Sony won't be processed in any way.

    Thanks for writing, that is very good news and the answer that I would have hoped for.
    This could be older HD masters from Sony that still should look good enough to make a difference when released on Blu-ray, I guess we will see soon enough.

    I see on his website that he is very easy to reach so it will probably not hurt if more of us write to him pointing out that we will be happy to buy if these turn out well and not smoothed over.

    And while I think that a BD50 is just enough for three movies it also means that encoding has to be done with more care than if only two movies were put on each disc so it may help to point that out, too.

  10. revgen

    I contacted Kit Parker by e-mail. I encouraged him strongly but politely not to use DNR or video processing on the Sony/Columbia noirs like what happened on The French Way.

    Here is his response back to me.

    So the masters from Sony won't be processed in any way.

    I'm encouraged, but I'm still waiting on reviews before I buy this boxset.

  11. Sounds like a Twilight TIme kind of thing where they just distribute the films and the master comes from Sony. Ill wait for reviews but Ill probably get it anyway as the set would have to be really awful for me to pass on it 🙂

  12. Robert Crawford

    I was only saying that three discs should be fine for these particular nine movies. I'm not buying this BD release until I see some reviews or read some comments from others on this forum. I've learned my lessons from dealing with companies like Film Detective.

    I bought this from Amazon for $34.99 and used some bonus points to get the final shipped cost below $30 as the reviews seem pretty positive. None of them are pristine, but they appear to be much better than Film Detective releases.

    I think my shipment should arrive by tomorrow as I plan on watching some of these titles next week.

  13. Robert Crawford

    I bought this from Amazon for $34.99 and used some bonus points to get the final shipped cost below $30 as the reviews seem pretty positive. None of them are pristine, but they appear to be much better than Film Detective releases.

    I think my shipment should arrive by tomorrow as I plan on watching some of these titles next week.

    I did the same when it hit $34.99 last week. I've watched 3 of them so far (The Black Book is a terrific movie that I'd never seen) and am pleased with the quality. Not perfect, but certainly better than a DVD release and these aren't titles that are likely to ever get a 2K/4K restoration.

  14. Peter Apruzzese

    I did the same when it hit $34.99 last week. I've watched 3 of them so far (The Black Book is a terrific movie that I'd never seen) and am pleased with the quality. Not perfect, but certainly better than a DVD release and these aren't titles that are likely to ever get a 2K/4K restoration.

    Yeah, I forgot to purchase it at that time and pricing bumped up to $39.99, but dropped back down to $34.99 yesterday so I jumped on it.

  15. The Black Book is the standout film in the set, the French Revolution as film noir. This is John Alton at his best and it occurred to me whilst watching this excellent presentation that it would have worked well in 3-D.

  16. I was lucky that I got to see The Black Book in 35mm before the film slipped into PD hell. I just could not believe my eyes: the light coming out of those deep black areas! A master of lighting, Mr. Alton.

  17. PatrickDA

    "The Black Book" has never looked better on home video. All other titles look very good except for "The Miami Story" which shows some age here and there.

    Thanks, that is nice to hear.

    For people who like to have a look at screencaps they also look pretty good over at DVDBeaver, even The Miami Story looks decent:
    http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/dvd_reviews_59/the_miami_story.htm

    For people who have had doubts about bitrate these movies are short enough to allow for an average bitrate that is well above 20 mbps so Kit Parker made good use of the available space and there is not exactly Lawrence of Arabia level of detail and color at work here so given the content one can see how they got the idea to put three movies on a single disc.

  18. OliverK

    Thanks, that is nice to hear.

    For people who like to have a look at screencaps they also look pretty good over at DVDBeaver, even The Miami Story looks decent:
    http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/dvd_reviews_59/the_miami_story.htm

    For people who have had doubts about bitrate these movies are short enough to allow for an average bitrate that is well above 20 mbps so Kit Parker made good use of the available space and ther eis not exactly Lawrence of Arabia level of detail and color at work here so given the content one can see how they got the idea to put three movies on a single disc.

    I received my Blu-ray yesterday. I plan on watching some of these titles this week. I had 2 of those 9 titles on DVD which were "Ocean 711" and "The Killer that Stalked New York". Truth be told, I've only watched the former film on DVD so I'm looking forward to revisiting it along with some new titles that I've never seen.

  19. Keith Cobby

    Watched another three: Escape in the Fog, Johnny Allegro, Assignment Paris. Always been a fan of George Raft and Nina Foch. The image quality was very good, this is a great set!

    Nina Foch. Hubba, hubba!:)

  20. Robert Crawford

    I received my Blu-ray yesterday. I plan on watching some of these titles this week. I had 2 of those 9 titles on DVD which were "Ocean 711" and "The Killer that Stalked New York". Truth be told, I've only watched the former film on DVD so I'm looking forward to revisiting it along with some new titles that I've never seen.

    I only had the Black Book on DVD, did not watch it so far and now I never will as I am getting the set 🙂

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