T-Men: Special Edition Blu-ray Review

Superb noir docudrama looks great on Blu-ray. 4.5 Stars

A noir docudrama that’s long on suspense and a brilliant exercise in taut direction and evocative cinematography, Anthony Mann’s T-Men is a film that deserves to be far better known.

T-Men (1947)
Released: 29 Apr 1948
Rated: APPROVED
Runtime: 92 min
Director: Anthony Mann
Genre: Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller
Cast: Dennis O'Keefe, Mary Meade, Alfred Ryder, Wallace Ford
Writer(s): John C. Higgins, Virginia Kellogg (story)
Plot: Two US Treasury agents hunt a successful counterfeiting ring.
IMDB rating: 7.0
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Other
Distributed By: ClassicFlix
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Audio: English PCM 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 32 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: keep case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 10/10/2017
MSRP: $39.99

The Production: 4.5/5

A noir docudrama that’s long on suspense and a brilliant exercise in taut direction and evocative cinematography, Anthony Mann’s T-Men is a film that deserves to be far better known. Combining aspects of the police procedural with an inside look on how treasury agents work to bring down counterfeiters, T-Men catches one’s attention early on and never lets go. The excellent, unshowy performances likewise give the movie a power and grace that bigger studio productions with all-star casts of the era could only envy.

Getting word that counterfeiters out of Los Angeles possessed a quantity of high-quality paper to make superb phony money, the Treasury Department conscripts two of its lesser known agents to head the undercover operation: Dennis O’Brien (Dennis O’Keefe) will masquerade as Vannie Harrigan and Tony Genaro (Alfred Ryder) will be Tony Galvani, both playing young, hungry con men willing to start at the bottom of the mob operation in Detroit before transferring to the big time in Los Angeles. With a great pair of counterfeit engraving plates, O’Brien finally gets introduced to the counterfeit syndicate through the weasel-like connections of The Schemer (Wallace Ford), but the duo must watch their every step since the mob is not reckless nor naïve when it comes to dealing with shady characters, and the slightest slip by either O’Brien or Galvani could spell their doom and the end of the operation.

The screenplay by John C. Higgins takes its time delivering the exposition necessary to help audiences understand the meticulous preparation necessary for the treasury agents (“T-Men” of the title) to be able to succeed in fooling experienced gangsters who must always be on the lookout for police and governmental operatives. The stentorian narration by Reed Hadley takes us step-by-step through the agents’ motivations, preparations, and reactions to their daily experiences which shape their next moves while never merely describing on-screen activity, and it certainly gives an authentic feel to the storytelling of this notorious “Shanghai Paper Case.” Then, the superbly thoughtful and meticulous direction of Anthony Mann with its fascinating John Alton camera placement choices (many shots taken from low angles with bodies hurling toward the camera or focusing on multiple figures sometimes in both foreground and background in the same shot and occasionally shocking us with murders from behind where the shooter is blocked by the body of his soon-to-be victim) brings us home with such a variety of set-ups that the movie is continually inventive both visually (several montages work beautifully including one in a succession of steam baths which has a great payoff later in the movie) and aurally (the sound recording earned an Oscar nomination). The tension becomes tauter and more excruciating as the movie runs as our two protagonists run into unanticipated problems trying to keep their true identities a secret while inching closer and ever closer to learning the identity of Mr. Big.

Known for light comedies and musicals, Dennis O’Keefe emerges here as a more than competent tough leading man. There is a fairly ridiculous climactic showdown with tough cookie Moxie played with great sneering relish by Charles McGraw where O’Keefe’s “Harrigan” walks straight into a hail of bullets without even thinking of cover for himself, but elsewhere in the film, he’s a thinking man’s agent weighing his decisions before taking action. Alfred Ryder has less to do as the other half of the undercover team, but he has a memorable moment late in the film when he’s surprisingly confronted on the street by his wife (fresh-faced June Lockhart) but has to deny his true identity to keep up his subterfuge. Wallace Ford makes a memorably sleazy impression as The Schemer, once a big shot with the mob and now reduced to worrying about his place on the team on a daily basis. Art Smith is the low-key head of the treasury investigative team with Jim Bannon as a helpful fellow agent. Also in small but key roles in the movie are familiar faces like Tito Vuolo as the manager of a seedy hotel and John Newland as a lab technician. Aside from June Lockhart, the only other women’s roles of substance are Jane Randolph as Diana Simpson, executive assistant to Mr. Big (who winds up being played by Oscar Gaffney), and Mary Meade as a nightclub photographer who inadvertently provides the first real lead O’Brien gets in Los Angeles to uncovering the identity of the counterfeit gang.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

The film’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.37:1 has been faithfully rendered in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Would that all black and white noirs from the 1940s were blessed with such pristine and spectacular transfers! The grayscale is so extraordinary that words can’t really do it justice, but the blacks are really deep, and details in the shadows will test the very best televisions and projectors with reproducing all of the detail that is present. Contrast has been majestically rendered in this transfer while the images are sparkling clean and free from age-related artifacts of all kinds. The movie has been divided into 27 chapters.

Audio: 5/5

The PCM 2.0 mono sound (2.3 Mbps) is remarkably crisp and responsive, expertly blending the well-recorded dialogue and narration, the driving Paul Sawtell background score, and the atmospheric effects together into a very impressive track. There are no problems with age-related audio artifacts like hiss, crackle, thumps, and flutter.

Special Features: 4/5

Audio Commentary: film historian Alan K. Rode provides a very informative and entertaining commentary on the film providing background information on the stars and supporting players and pointing out memorable aspects of the direction, cinematography, writing, and performances.

Into the Darkness: Mann, Alton and T-Men (10:38, HD): the film’s claims to greatness are expounded by a number of film historians and industry professionals, among them cinematographer Richard Crudo, critic Todd McCarthy, historian Julie Kirgo, director Courtney Joyner, and biographer Alan K. Rode.

A Director’s Daughter: Nina Mann Remembers (9:18, HD): director Anthony Mann’s daughter Nina offers insight into her father’s passions and drives.

Twenty-Four Page Booklet: contains a wealth of stills and posters, original poster art on the back cover, and film historian Max Alvarez’s outstanding essay on the movie’s production and subsequent history.

Overall: 4.5/5

One of the outstanding noir docudramas of the 1940s, T-Men is a taut and tense thriller worthy of multiple views. The Classic Flix special edition Blu-ray boasts a superlative audio and video transfer of the movie and offers an abundance of bonus material that makes it a highly recommended addition to your video collection.

Published by

Matt Hough

author,editor

62 Comments

  1. Thanks, Matt. I am not familiar with this movie, but am intrigued based on your review. This will go on my wish list for potential future order after my bank account builds back up (I just placed an order for three TT titles plus several Warner Archive titles and Old Dark House from Amazon).

  2. bigshot

    Get it down near $15 and I'll consider it.

    It is expensive but please remember that the people releasing it have invested much money into making certain it is available to us in the very best quality possible and many hours have been spent in doing just that ……….the previous releases of this film were awful and were a total waste of money…….this new release is outstanding in every way possible and if you are a fan of Film Noir then you will be thrilled upon its release…….

  3. commander richardson

    It is expensive but please remember that the people releasing it have invested much money into making certain it is available to us in the very best quality possible and many hours have been spent in doing just that ……….the previous releases of this film were awful and were a total waste of money…….this new release is outstanding in every way possible and if you are a fan of Film Noir then you will be thrilled upon its release…….

    You couldn't be more right Commander. This is not just a re-issue of an old transfer, A LOT of money has gone into this release to make it Criterion-esque.

    Something else I hope classic film fans will consider, we are a small company (much smaller than Criterion, Kino, Cohen & even Olive), and we don't have a pile of money to invest in licensing other films. Support of our releases prior to or just around the street date means we can go out and license other films to be restored and presented on Blu-ray. Lack of support means less money toward licensing and fewer titles coming out.

    Additionally, with the exception of ANOTHER MAN'S POISON (a restoration we licensed from Cohen), all of our releases are fresh scans and we make sure the restorations meet a VERY HIGH STANDARD by removing instability, warping, dirt and anything else that will distract from the presentation (and it shows in all the positive reviews we've received). I am also intimately involved in the entire process of the releases from start to finish to make sure packaging, sound and bonus features also meet the same high standard.

    For over 10 years in the retail business I've heard it lamented as to why "This doesn't come out on DVD" or "That doesn't come out on DVD"? Well, we're trying to do something about it and not just in a slap-dash way. And while we are considering a separate "Archive" type line that will present re-issues or lesser-known films that we budget very little money for (and thus charge less for), the release of T-MEN and the entire ClassicFlix label as it stands now is for HIGH QUALITY, HIGH BUDGETED releases and we have to charge accordingly.

    Thanks for listening.

    – David

  4. ClassicFlix

    You couldn't be more right Commander. This is not just a re-issue of an old transfer, A LOT of money has gone into this release to make it Criterion-esque.

    Something else I hope classic film fans will consider, we are a small company (much smaller than Criterion, Kino, Cohen & even Olive), and we don't have a pile of money to invest in licensing other films. Support of our releases prior to or just around the street date means we can go out and license other films to be restored and presented on Blu-ray. Lack of support means less money toward licensing and fewer titles coming out.

    Additionally, with the exception of ANOTHER MAN'S POISON (a restoration we licensed from Cohen), all of our releases are fresh scans and we make sure the restorations meet a VERY HIGH STANDARD by removing instability, warping, dirt and anything else that will distract from the presentation (and it shows in all the positive reviews we've received). I am also intimately involved in the entire process of the releases from start to finish to make sure packaging, sound and bonus features also meet the same high standard.

    For over 10 years in the retail business I've heard it lamented as to why "This doesn't come out on DVD" or "That doesn't come out on DVD"? Well, we're trying to do something about it and not just in a slap-dash way. And while we are considering a separate "Archive" type line that will present re-issues or lesser-known films that we budget very little money for (and thus charge less for), the release of T-MEN and the entire ClassicFlix label as it stands now is for HIGH QUALITY, HIGH BUDGETED releases and we have to charge accordingly.

    Thanks for listening.

    – David

    Thank you for your comments. I can't wait until my disc gets to me. I liked this film a lot and consider it an essential Anthony Mann directed film. I watched TCM's Noir Alley presentation of it with Eddie Muller a few months ago and it looked mediocre at best so I'm looking forward to seeing what improvements you made with the video and audio of this fine film.

  5. Robert Crawford

    Thank you for your comments. I can't wait until my disc gets to me. I liked this film a lot and consider it an essential Anthony Mann directed film. I watched TCM's Noir Alley presentation of it with Eddie Muller a few months ago and it looked mediocre at best so I'm looking forward to seeing what improvements you made with the video and audio of this fine film.

    Thanks for your support Robert. We're hoping to really blow people away with this one and if Matt's review is any indication we're off to a good start.

    – David

  6. Thanks for the in-depth review Matt. They are always appreciated, especially for films that I haven't seen before. I'm definitely going to pick this one up.

    Thanks also to Mr. Kawas for participating on these boards. Insider information is most welcome!

  7. The funny thing about the folks who always say "if this comes down to fifteen dollars" I'll grab it – they never grab it – that's the joke. I see that all that time and the usual response is, "Well, it came down to fifteen, I'll wait till it's ten" and on it goes. This is a great film with amazing John Alton photography and is worth every penny.

  8. I grab a lot of classic movies when they hit the $15 range. I have hundreds and hundreds of them on blu-ray that fit in that price point. I tend to get better deals at Amazon UK, even factoring in the cost of shipping. I don't care about supplements or packaging. All I want is the film in a decent transfer. Sometimes I'll go up to $20, but it has to be very special for that. There are too many great films in the $15 range to choose from… https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_…53011&ie=UTF8&qid=1507583393&rnid=10346811011

  9. bigshot

    I grab a lot of classic movies when they hit the $15 range. I have hundreds and hundreds of them on blu-ray that fit in that price point. I tend to get better deals at Amazon UK, even factoring in the cost of shipping. I don't care about supplements or packaging. All I want is the film in a decent transfer. Sometimes I'll go up to $20, but it has to be very special for that. There are too many great films in the $15 range to choose from… https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_p_n_price_fma_1?fst=as:off&rh=n:2625373011,n:!2644981011,n:!2644982011,n:2901953011,p_n_feature_three_browse-bin:2651261011,p_n_price_fma:10346817011&bbn=2901953011&ie=UTF8&qid=1507583393&rnid=10346811011

    Our target customer for this release and all our special editions is not the $15 range and nor should it be with a title like T-Men as all we could do at that price is re-issue the same lousy transfer that's been out there for 20 years.

    Also, the Amazon link to those films ins't comparable to what we're doing as:

    1. Most of the titles in the first couple of pages on Amazon are studio releases and they don't have to pay licenses fees, etc. to themselves which makes costs significantly lower
    2. Most of the non-studio releases are bare bones titles or don't boast major restorations
    3. Virtually all titles are "catalog" and not new releases.

    My guess is this and other special editions will end up in the mid-$20's like most Criterion titles do, but they will never be $15.

    – David

  10. bigshot

    I grab a lot of classic movies when they hit the $15 range. I have hundreds and hundreds of them on blu-ray that fit in that price point. I tend to get better deals at Amazon UK, even factoring in the cost of shipping. I don't care about supplements or packaging. All I want is the film in a decent transfer. Sometimes I'll go up to $20, but it has to be very special for that. There are too many great films in the $15 range to choose from… https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_p_n_price_fma_1?fst=as:off&rh=n:2625373011,n:!2644981011,n:!2644982011,n:2901953011,p_n_feature_three_browse-bin:2651261011,p_n_price_fma:10346817011&bbn=2901953011&ie=UTF8&qid=1507583393&rnid=10346811011

    Okay, we got that established so can we get back to discussing this Blu-ray release instead of your buying habits/strategies.

    My disc will arrive tomorrow so I'm hoping to have this title along with The Sea Wolf for a double feature viewing. It's going to be a great day!

  11. I look forward to supporting this release in the next few weeks. The way I figure it, all the money I save picking up studio releases, catalog re-releases, and bare bones titles leaves me with the extra funds needed to support titles like this from small enterprises where extra care is taken to provide what most of us are looking for in this hobby.

  12. haineshisway

    Wherever this ends up, price-wise, it is important to support this company, IMO – they're trying to do these things in the right way.

    I'm doing my part!

    In less than a month, we have another Anthony Mann classic coming from ClassicFlix, He Walked By Night. I have that one on pre-order. These early Mann films are essential viewing for me as I like them as much as his westerns with Jimmy Stewart. I'm also looking forward to that audio commentary with Alan Rode and Julie Kirgo.:)

  13. haineshisway

    Wherever this ends up, price-wise, it is important to support this company, IMO – they're trying to do these things in the right way.

    Agreed, which is why I purchased this and He Walked by Night directly from them, so they can see as much revenue as possible on these releases. While I understand Stephen's viewpoint and his personal price point for films, mine is higher and I really want to see ClassicFlix succeed and bring out more great products.

  14. Robert Crawford

    Matt,

    How would you compare this audio commentary by Alan Rode to commentaries done for other films by Eddie Muller?

    Definitely comparable. I really enjoyed it and appreciated that the actors even in smaller roles got identified and spoken well of.

  15. Just wow! It was only in July when Turner Classic Movies Noir Alley showed this film. The video and audio presentations of this Blu-ray is as different as that TCM showing as it is night and day. It was like watching this film for the first time again. The outstanding camera work John Alton and direction of Anthony Mann is on full display with this Blu-ray. This is one of those films that you watch and study for its photography and direction. Without a doubt, many great directors and cinematographers have made note of this film. The shot selection in this film is just legendary. Some greaf location shots in and around Los Angeles and Detroit in 1947. I can do without the Treasury Department stuff, but the rest of the film makes up for it. Also, really good acting performances by Dennis O'Keefe, Alfred Ryder, Wallace Ford, Charles McGraw and a small part for June Lockhart daughter of Gene Lockhart many years before Lost in Space hit our TV screens.

    The audio commentary was very good and I really enjoyed Into the Darkness: Mann, Alton and T-Men featurette. Looking forward to watching He Walked by Night coming out in less than a month.

  16. Amazon dropped the pricing to $27.99!

    Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link.

    [parsehtml]
    <iframe style="width:120px;height:240px;" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=ronspressrelease-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B074R57XMR&asins=B074R57XMR&linkId=0508f938405c069e26f7bbd6d705100e&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true"></iframe>
    [/parsehtml]

  17. Robert Crawford

    Just wow! It was only in July when Turner Classic Movies Noir Alley showed this film. The video and audio presentations of this Blu-ray is as different as that TCM showing as it is night and day. It was like watching this film for the first time again. The outstanding camera work John Alton and direction of Anthony Mann is on full display with this Blu-ray. This is one of those films that you watch and study for its photography and direction. Without a doubt, many great directors and cinematographers have made note of this film. The shot selection in this film is just legendary. Some greaf location shots in and around Los Angeles and Detroit in 1947. I can do without the Treasury Department stuff, but the rest of the film makes up for it. Also, really good acting performances by Dennis O'Keefe, Alfred Ryder, Wallace Ford, Charles McGraw and a small part for June Lockhart daughter of Gene Lockhart many years before Lost in Space hit our TV screens.

    The audio commentary was very good and I really enjoyed Into the Darkness: Mann, Alton and T-Men featurette. Looking forward to watching He Walked by Night coming out in less than a month.

    Thanks for the glowing post Robert! We worked hard on this and gave it the big budget we think it deserves so I'm gratified to know that you and so many others are pleased with it.

    – David

  18. Robert Crawford

    Amazon dropped the pricing to $27.99!

    Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link.

    [parsehtml]
    <iframe style="width:120px;height:240px;" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=ronspressrelease-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B074R57XMR&asins=B074R57XMR&linkId=0508f938405c069e26f7bbd6d705100e&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true"></iframe>
    [/parsehtml]

    Pricing has dropped to $25.99!

  19. I watched it last night. Absolutely beautiful to watch on my OLED. In my humble opinion, it's the 2nd best blu-ray of the year behind Flicker Alley's The Lost World (1925). Round of applause to all of those involved.

  20. revgen

    I watched it last night. Absolutely beautiful to watch on my OLED. In my humble opinion, it's the 2nd best blu-ray of the year behind Flicker Alley's The Lost World (1925). Round of applause to all of those involved.

    Thanks Revgen. Your support is very much appreciated!

    – David

  21. Many years ago circa around 1977 I happened to get 16mm prints of T-Men and Raw Deal – they were recommended to me, the price was reasonable, but I'd never seen either film and knew nothing of Anthony Mann other than El Cid. Thus began my love affair with the films of Anthony Mann – both prints were extraordinary for 16mm – I then proceeded to get every Mann film I could lay my hands on and I got most of them, including an IB Tech El Cid (even though it wasn't called letter boxing then, that's what his print was, rather than scope), Tech Naked Spur, well, all the the Stewart/Mann movies, including a Tech Glenn Miller Story, a Tech/Scope Man from Laramie, a decent Eastman/Scope of Man from the West, and on and on.

    And way back then, before anyone had ever done such a thing, I programmed a film festival in my house – every Saturday night a double bill of Mann films, which I called Mann Made Movies. People were blown away by these films, but none of them astonished more than T-Men and Raw Deal, which were the favorites. I have seen just about every video incarnation of T-Men and Raw Deal since – some were okay, some were much less than okay, but none even approached what they should look like.

    And now, thanks to this release, we finally have T-Men looking like it should – with deep, rich blacks and great contrast, showing off Alton's brilliant photography. And the most astonishing thing is, though I doubt many here take notice, is the humungous number of opticals there are and how good they look – in the first eleven minutes of the film there is exactly ONE shot that isn't an optical. And so it goes. When we're finally out of an optical the detail is incredible, but it's also pretty amazing in the opticals, too. So, many thanks to Classic Flix for doing this the right way. Pricey? Who cares? Anyone who loves great noir moviemaking or just plain great moviemaking owes it to themselves to order this immediately. What a movie.

  22. haineshisway

    Many years ago circa around 1977 I happened to get 16mm prints of T-Men and Raw Deal – they were recommended to me, the price was reasonable, but I'd never seen either film and knew nothing of Anthony Mann other than El Cid. Thus began my love affair with the films of Anthony Mann – both prints were extraordinary for 16mm – I then proceeded to get every Mann film I could lay my hands on and I got most of them, including an IB Tech El Cid (even though it wasn't called letter boxing then, that's what his print was, rather than scope), Tech Naked Spur, well, all the the Stewart/Mann movies, including a Tech Glenn Miller Story, a Tech/Scope Man from Laramie, a decent Eastman/Scope of Man from the West, and on and on.

    And way back then, before anyone had ever done such a thing, I programmed a film festival in my house – every Saturday night a double bill of Mann films, which I called Mann Made Movies. People were blown away by these films, but none of them astonished more than T-Men and Raw Deal, which were the favorites. I have seen just about every video incarnation of T-Men and Raw Deal since – some were okay, some were much less than okay, but none even approached what they should look like.

    And now, thanks to this release, we finally have T-Men looking like it should – with deep, rich blacks and great contrast, showing off Alton's brilliant photography. And the most astonishing thing is, though I doubt many here take notice, is the humungous number of opticals there are and how good they look – in the first eleven minutes of the film there is exactly ONE shot that isn't an optical. And so it goes. When we're finally out of an optical the detail is incredible, but it's also pretty amazing in the opticals, too. So, many thanks to Classic Flix for doing this the right way. Pricey? Who cares? Anyone who loves great noir moviemaking or just plain great moviemaking owes it to themselves to order this immediately. What a movie.

    TBH, for the most part, I enjoy Mann's early film noirs more than his westerns. I'm not saying his westerns weren't good as they certainly were, but the Alton camera work, the characters and dialogue really appeal to me. Now, it looks like I'm going to be able to enjoy some of these early film noirs with better audio and video presentations than I previously experienced.

  23. haineshisway

    I prefer Raw Deal to T-Men and if it looks this good I will be very happy.

    I prefer He Walked by Night to both of those titles. I can't wait until November 7th to see that one in 1080p. Mann is uncredited as the director, but it has his fingerprints all over it.

  24. Robert Crawford

    I prefer He Walked by Night to both of those titles. I can't wait until November 7th to see that one in 1080p. Mann is uncredited as the director, but it has his fingerprints all over it.

    Right there with you, Crawdaddy! This is my favorite Mann film, though I enjoy all his work. I think he was the second director (after Capra) that I really went out of my way to find when I was a kid, which was tough to do since you needed to either scour TV Guide each week to see what movies were coming on or hope a repertory theatre was showing one.

  25. haineshisway

    And now, thanks to this release, we finally have T-Men looking like it should – with deep, rich blacks and great contrast, showing off Alton's brilliant photography. And the most astonishing thing is, though I doubt many here take notice, is the humungous number of opticals there are and how good they look – in the first eleven minutes of the film there is exactly ONE shot that isn't an optical. And so it goes. When we're finally out of an optical the detail is incredible, but it's also pretty amazing in the opticals, too. So, many thanks to Classic Flix for doing this the right way. Pricey? Who cares? Anyone who loves great noir moviemaking or just plain great moviemaking owes it to themselves to order this immediately. What a movie.

    I watched my copy last night and agree 100%. I haven't watched this for quite a while so it was great to see it looking so fresh. Passing this one up because it might be a little pricier than usual would be a big mistake, IMO. Well done ClassicFlix and can't wait for Raw Deal.

  26. Peter Apruzzese

    I watched my copy last night and agree 100%. I haven't watched this for quite a while so it was great to see it looking so fresh. Passing this one up because it might be a little pricier than usual would be a big mistake, IMO. Well done ClassicFlix and can't wait for Raw Deal.

    Amazon is now selling this release for $24.99 while we buy Twilight Time releases for $29.95!

  27. ClassicFlix

    Our target customer for this release and all our special editions is not the $15 range and nor should it be with a title like T-Men as all we could do at that price is re-issue the same lousy transfer that's been out there for 20 years.

    My guess is this and other special editions will end up in the mid-$20's like most Criterion titles do, but they will never be $15. – David

    Lo and behold… They've got a three movie set with T-Men, Raw Deal and He Walked By night for $34 at Amazon. That price hits my sweet spot and beats it by a ten spot. I guess "never" isn't that long of a time after all! I am VERY glad I waited for the right price.

  28. bigshot

    Lo and behold… They've got a three movie set with T-Men, Raw Deal and He Walked By night for $34 at Amazon. That price hits my sweet spot and beats it by a ten spot. I guess "never" isn't that long of a time after all! I am VERY glad I waited for the right price.

    Keep in mind the JOHN ALTON COLLECTION are the films only. No bonus content or booklets.

    – David

  29. I don't need the bonus content or booklets. I just want great old movies and lots of them. $70 for three movies, commentaries and booklets vs $30 for just the three movies? No brainer!

    Packaged like this, I'll take all the classic movies you can dish up.

  30. I purchased the 7-film noir collection during Classic Flix's sale at the beginning of the month. I'm really enjoying these films. We watched 'T-Men' last night and it's the best one so far. We plan to watch 'He Walked By Night' today.

    The 7-film deal includes the Special Edition versions of 'T-Men', 'Raw Deal', and 'He Walked By Night'. I don't usually watch bonus material but I did watch one of the bonus videos on 'T-Men', the interview with Nina Mann, Anthony Mann's daughter. I learned he was abondoned by his parents from age 3 to 13. They left him here in San Diego (Point Loma) at the Theosophical Society. The grounds are now the home of Point Loma Nazarene University. The video gave me a glimpse of some San Diego history I was unaware of.

    HIGHLY recommended!

    Mark

  31. Mark Booth

    I purchased the 7-film noir collection during Classic Flix's sale at the beginning of the month. I'm really enjoying these films. We watched 'T-Men' last night and it's the best one so far. We plan to watch 'He Walked By Night' today.

    The 7-film deal includes the Special Edition versions of 'T-Men', 'Raw Deal', and 'He Walked By Night'. I don't usually watch bonus material but I did watch one of the bonus videos on 'T-Men', the interview with Nina Mann, Anthony Mann's daughter. I learned he was abondoned by his parents from age 3 to 13. They left him here in San Diego (Point Loma) at the Theosophical Society. The grounds are now the home of Point Loma Nazarene University. The video gave me a glimpse of some San Diego history I was unaware of.

    HIGHLY recommended!

    Mark

    Thanks for the HIGH recommendation Mark! T-MEN is not only entertaining but is a clinic on cinematography by John Alton. It should be recommended viewing for every film 101 class.

    Glad you like the Nina Mann interview too. Hope you get around to the commentary and the featurette about the making of T-MEN too!

    – David

  32. ClassicFlix

    Thanks for the HIGH recommendation Mark! T-MEN is not only entertaining but is a clinic on cinematography by John Alton. It should be recommended viewing for every film 101 class.

    Glad you like the Nina Mann interview too. Hope you get around to the commentary and the featurette about the making of T-MEN too!

    – David

    Thanks, David.

    I watched 'He Walked by Night' this morning. Another excellent film. I also watched the Below the Surface: He Walked by Night bonus material. Also very entertaining!

    Thanks to your sale I got the three Special Edition noir titles, plus four additional noir titles for about $12.85 each. A heck of a deal!

    Thanks for offering the deal!

    Mark

  33. PatrickDA

    Can Nina Mann and Mia Farrow meet or talk? That really needs to happen. She clearly wants to talk to Mia about her father's death.

    I know. Hopefully it comes to fruition. That was a wonderful interview Ms. Mann gave.

    – David

  34. ClassicFlix

    Keep in mind the JOHN ALTON COLLECTION are the films only. No bonus content or booklets.

    – David

    Ugh. Wish I'd know that before pre-ordering the set. I wanted the commentaries, too. Oh well, I'm certainly not double-dipping. And it's too late to cancel the order on the set.

    Not sure why you couldn't leave the commentaries on the discs for the set.

    Have to say, this is the first time I've been disappointed with ClassicFlix, but I consider it a big disappointment.

    P.S. – I've just found out the "John Alton Collection" is all three films crammed on one disc. WTF?

    P.P.S. – Luckily I was just able to cancel my order. I would have been mighty pissed to receive a bare bones release of three films crammed on one DVD. Is ClassicFlix the new Millcreek?

    Definitely be reconsidering purchasing any more of their releases.

  35. Detour (1945)

    Ugh. Wish I'd know that before pre-ordering the set. I wanted the commentaries, too. Oh well, I'm certainly not double-dipping. And it's too late to cancel the order on the set.

    Not sure why you couldn't leave the commentaries on the discs for the set.

    Have to say, this is the first time I've been disappointed with ClassicFlix, but I consider it a big disappointment.

    P.S. – I've just found out the "John Alton Collection" is all three films crammed on one disc. WTF?

    Thank you for your purchase and sorry that it wasn't what you were expecting. To address your issues specifically, a little insight:

    The Special Editions are exactly that: Special Editions. We spent A LOT OF MONEY restoring and putting together the supplemental materials for all three films. These are "premium" releases in every sense of the word.

    We originally had no intent of releasing "bare bones" versions, but since we heard from many who only wanted the films, we put out the John Alton Film Noir Collection, at a very affordable price, so that "film only" fans could buy them.

    Helping to make the film affordable is the fact that it is produced on a single Blu-ray disc. The image quality did not suffer at all as they are relatively short films. In fact, two of the three are the exact same encoding as on the special editions with only HE WALKED BY NIGHT having the bit rate brought down from over 30 to around a still very high 23.

    If you are willing, PM me and we'll be glad to set up a refund (even if it's opened) whether or not you decide to buy the special editions.

    – David

  36. ClassicFlix

    Thank you for your purchase and sorry that it wasn't what you were expecting.

    If you are willing, PM me and we'll be glad to set up a refund (even if it's opened) whether or not you decide to buy the special editions.

    – David

    Thanks, David. I am sorry if I came across a little harsh, but I was taken off guard when I realized the triple release was "bare bones". I am a big fan of commentaries and always look forward to releases that have them.

    The other extras, interviews and booklets, aren't essential to me, but I thought the 3-film release would at least have the commentaries. And I certainly didn't realize they had all been put on one disc.

    I think you guys should make that much more clear in the future, if you do this type of thing again.

    As for a refund, not necessary. I was able to cancel my order for the set. But I do appreciate the offer.

    Unfortunately, up here in Canada, each of the individual releases is going for about $42, which is too much for one film, commentary or not. And to get all three releases would set me back more than 3 times the price of the combined set.

    It looks like, at this point, I will have to pass on them. A shame, they all look interesting.

  37. Mark-P

    I’m one of those who appreciated the single-disc price break as it was a bargain and I don’t care about extras!

    I'm happy for those that just want the films, but I'm a fan of commentaries, and they also give you a second reason to view a film, added value in my book, even for a bad film.

  38. Detour (1945)

    Thanks, David. I am sorry if I came across a little harsh, but I was taken off guard when I realized the triple release was "bare bones". I am a big fan of commentaries and always look forward to releases that have them.

    The other extras, interviews and booklets, aren't essential to me, but I thought the 3-film release would at least have the commentaries. And I certainly didn't realize they had all been put on one disc.

    I think you guys should make that much more clear in the future, if you do this type of thing again.

    As for a refund, not necessary. I was able to cancel my order for the set. But I do appreciate the offer.

    Unfortunately, up here in Canada, each of the individual releases is going for about $42, which is too much for one film, commentary or not. And to get all three releases would set me back more than 3 times the price of the combined set.

    It looks like, at this point, I will have to pass on them. A shame, they all look interesting.

    Glad you were able to cancel it and thanks for the suggestions.

    – David

  39. David, I think what you and your team has done with these films is magnificent and deserves nothing but the highest praise. Though the individual titles may appear expensive to some, I'm certain those people are being unrealistic about the actual unit and distribution cost of producing editions to this standard.

    In case anyone's in any doubt, no one ever goes into the niche home video label business with the intention of becoming rich. Quite the opposite is often the reality and if they didn't do it for love, most wouldn't do it at all. It takes an untold amount of time, energy and expense to bring projects like this to fruition. And then, when they've finally welcomed their babies into the world, they have to stand silently by while the keyboard warriors, armchair experts and chattering classes in general get to it, gleefully attempting to destroy all their hard work. So much effort expended in trying to find something – anything – to complain about. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth.

    Personally, I can't fault the way the individual Alton releases have been handled and combining all three films onto one budget priced disc is an incredibly generous gesture. For those of us who don't live in the states and don't anticipate them being released elsewhere anytime soon, it makes acquiring them actually affordable.

    We are truly spoiled. If a tiny minority don't recognise that fact or simply refuse to, pay them no heed. For myself and many others I'm sure, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and look forward to many more years of ClassicFlix.

  40. Detour (1945)

    I am sure I am not the only one who will be surprised/disappointed that the budget release has no extras and all three films are on one disc.

    As for the pricing, I only mentioned that the prices for the special editions are a little high in Canada, mostly due to the exchange rate and not Classicflix's fault. We're not all millionaires. Some of us have to budget our entertainment spending.

    I can totally understand the pricing issue when purchasing from Canada. I would also have difficulty justifying $42 per movie when I could easily get two others in the same genre for that price. That said, I do like to support smaller companies trying to fill a niche area, while also going out of their way to produce a high quality product, so for around $25 each US, I will continue to show my support for the special editions with purchases.

    However, I do think you sell short the budget release concept they appear to be trying out. Whether it be a booklet, special packaging, interviews, or commentaries, they are all equally considered extras with each having their own following. The fact you would prefer commentaries over the rest shows their value to you. It shouldn't be surprising they would cut all of the extras when charging 1/3 the price per movie. Especially, given that the cost of restoration is their biggest expense. If they did it any other way they would jeopardize marketability of their special editions, which needs to foot the bill for the restoration work.

    Also, the comment of fitting all three movies on one disk is deceptive. It implies each movie suffered a 67% degradation in quality to fit on one disk. However, as stated by ClassicFlix two of the movies suffered absolutely no loss in quality, and only one took a 23% degradation in bitrate (the benefit of moving up to a 50G disk), which actually aligned it with the original bitrate of the other two. You might be surprised at how many movies are released on one disk at a similar bitrate as HE WALKED BY NIGHT, but it doesn't get much attention because it is still a single disk. While bitrate gets tossed around a lot as a method of judging quality, what really makes these releases standout is the restoration performed, not the bitrate.

    I don't think anyone going the budget route is going to be disappointed once they see the results.

  41. Amongst other discs, I received Down Three Dark Streets and The Maze blu-rays in the mail today. Difficult to know which to watch first. I would never have expected either to be released, so very grateful.

    Have I previously mentioned that Slightly Scarlet (John Alton 1956) is my most wanted title!

  42. Brent Reid

    David, I think what you and your team has done with these films is magnificent and deserves nothing but the highest praise. Though the individual titles may appear expensive to some, I'm certain those people are being unrealistic about the actual unit and distribution cost of producing editions to this standard.

    In case anyone's in any doubt, no one ever goes into the niche home video label business with the intention of becoming rich. Quite the opposite is often the reality and if they didn't do it for love, most wouldn't do it at all. It takes an untold amount of time, energy and expense to bring projects like this to fruition. And then, when they've finally welcomed their babies into the world, they have to stand silently by while the keyboard warriors, armchair experts and chattering classes in general get to it, gleefully attempting to destroy all their hard work. So much effort expended in trying to find something – anything – to complain about. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth.

    Personally, I can't fault the way the individual Alton releases have been handled and combining all three films onto one budget priced disc is an incredibly generous gesture. For those of us who don't live in the states and don't anticipate them being released elsewhere anytime soon, it makes acquiring them actually affordable.

    We are truly spoiled. If a tiny minority don't recognise that fact or simply refuse to, pay them no heed. For myself and many others I'm sure, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and look forward to many more years of ClassicFlix.

    Thanks for the kind words Brent.

    You 100% nailed the niche label profile. We do it for the love of film. No deep pockets, no huge corporate infrastructure and our survival really does depend on how our brand is accepted and received by our fellow cinephiles.

    Regarding Steve, he apologized and I have no desire for this to get personal. I stated the reasons there were no commentaries and his skepticism about "cramming" is justified given what some labels will do to save money. We don't sacrifice quality and I hope that is the message that comes across in this whole conversation.

    – David

  43. One post was deleted for quoting a member and then posting a personal insult in response to that quoted post. We do not allow such personal attacks on this forum. Any further such activity will be met with stronger disciplinary action including possible suspensions. Just stop it! Furthermore, this posted warning isn't up for debate. Now, back on topic.

  44. smithbrad

    I can totally understand the pricing issue when purchasing from Canada. I would also have difficulty justifying $42 per movie when I could easily get two others in the same genre for that price. That said, I do like to support smaller companies trying to fill a niche area, while also going out of their way to produce a high quality product, so for around $25 each US, I will continue to show my support for the special editions with purchases.

    However, I do think you sell short the budget release concept they appear to be trying out. Whether it be a booklet, special packaging, interviews, or commentaries, they are all equally considered extras with each having their own following. The fact you would prefer commentaries over the rest shows their value to you. It shouldn't be surprising they would cut all of the extras when charging 1/3 the price per movie. Especially, given that the cost of restoration is their biggest expense. If they did it any other way they would jeopardize marketability of their special editions, which needs to foot the bill for the restoration work.

    Also, the comment of fitting all three movies on one disk is deceptive. It implies each movie suffered a 67% degradation in quality to fit on one disk. However, as stated by ClassicFlix two of the movies suffered absolutely no loss in quality, and only one took a 23% degradation in bitrate (the benefit of moving up to a 50G disk), which actually aligned it with the original bitrate of the other two. You might be surprised at how many movies are released on one disk at a similar bitrate as HE WALKED BY NIGHT, but it doesn't get much attention because it is still a single disk. While bitrate gets tossed around a lot as a method of judging quality, what really makes these releases standout is the restoration performed, not the bitrate.

    I don't think anyone going the budget route is going to be disappointed once they see the results.

    Thank you, Smithbrad. Hopefully others see your post and realize it is possible to answer and debate, without being rude.

    All your points are valid.

    And if it matters to anyone, I support all the niche companies (Flicker Alley, 3-D Archive, Kino, etc), plus I am a frequent contributor to Kickstarter projects for silent film restorations and release. I don't need to justify my spending habits to anyone.

    Hopefully the Mods here see that and delete the unsolicited, offensive post that started all this.

  45. For me personally, I couldn’t be happier with the single versions, with all the extras (I also love commentaries). I do live in the US, but i would pay whatever price (almost) to get these fine editions

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