Wednesday, 8 March 2017

On Blu-ray - David Hare praises a new edition of Robert Siodmak's CRISS CROSS

(Click to enlarge)
Burt Lancaster walks out of the shadows and into some of the most glorious studio layered light (shot by Frank Planer) and a sunny prelude to his ultimate chump's demise in one of my favorite shots from all Noir. The movie is also Siodmak's best (IMO) Noir, Criss Cross (1949) which has a surprise debut in Blu-ray on On no frills label Shock, from what I presume to be the meticulous video transfer prepared by Universal years ago for their (then) superb DVD.

Despite the age this is still a great video incarnation, swoon and faint knockout drop dead fabulous for dynamic range, sharpness, stability and rez, as is the now lossless, crystal clear PCM audio track which delivers the killer Esy Morales Rhumba band items with total oomph. Esy's sets were among the first Cuban music to appear in a Hollywood feature back in 1949 and partner stylistically to a tee with another KO score from Siodmak's Noir regular, the great Miklos Rosza. Once again SIodmak's amazing taste in music is one of the best in movies.

Simply a must buy, although the label warns Region B fixed. I can't think this won't make further appearances soon in region free land starting perhaps with France and the UK. The title frankly deserved a no holds barred Criterion treatment years ago but that label seems to be reshaping its demographic these days. Meanwhile suck it up and dive right in with no limits to pleasure here. Best Blu of the year so far and that's in a class of unbelievable contenders, including Elephant's recent Blonde Venus (reviewed earlier if you click on the link).

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