If you’re new to my monthly film noir releases post, welcome! My goal is to cover all the first-time releases to Blu-ray and DVD, usually passing over reissues unless there’s a good reason to include them. Unless otherwise noted, these are all North American Region A Blu-ray discs. I often use the terms “film noir” and “neo-noir” rather loosely, so while you may quibble with some of my choices, I hope these are films you’ll at least consider. As always, if you know of any film noir or neo-noir films I’ve left out, please let me know in the comments below. And thanks for reading!
It should come as no surprise that October is ruled by horror releases, but there are still some nice noir titles to be had including a motherlode box set that will excite most any noir fan provided they can speak and understand French (and own a region-free Blu-ray player). Let’s see what October holds…
July turns out to be a pretty good month for film noir, especially neo-noir. You’ll find some updates from last month and plenty of new temptations as well. Unless indicated otherwise, all releases are U.S. Region A Blu-ray discs. For the UK Region B discs, you will need a region-free Blu-ray player, which – if you love movies – you should invest in.
I’m taking a brief break from Noirvember to talk a bit about which version of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Dekalog to buy. I saw two of the ten episodes years ago and have wanted to watch the entire set ever since. We have two choices (actually there are more than two, but these are no doubt the two best choices): The Criterion Collection release and the Arrow release.
DVD Beaver has a comparison of all the available editions, but again, the Criterion and Arrow Blu-ray releases are the main ones I’m interested in. I’ll get into some of the more obvious differences, but the primary question for most viewers will no doubt be which version is the most true to the original films as they were originally broadcast on Polish television?
I usually wait until the end of the month to tell you about the next month’s film noir releases on Blu-ray, but I thought I’d get this out a couple of weeks early to better prepare you financially. Hang on: there’s a lot to cover. (All releases are Blu-ray and U.S. Region A discs unless otherwise noted.)
While July seems a pretty light month, this might be a good time to catch your breath and recover from June, which is turning out to be quite a month for film noir. Unless indicated otherwise, the following releases are Blu-ray, Region A.
Just a quick word or two about these new releases. I hope you find these monthly lists helpful. If you’ve been following these posts for awhile, you know that some months are pretty slim and others are exploding (like this month). Although I could include releases from many other countries, I’m going to limit myself primarily to those released in the U.S., UK, and France. I know the European discs will (usually) only work for those with a region-free player, but I hope some of these releases will cause you to consider a region-free device. If you know of any releases of interest outside of these three countries, please feel free to add them in the comments section. Thanks, and thanks for reading.
Now, gear yourself up for an amazing June:
Brute Force (1947) Jules Dassin
Arrow Blu-ray (UK)
(Also available as a Criterion Collection DVD)
The plot of Jules Dassin’s Brute Force is about as simple as it gets: Joe Collins (Burt Lancaster, above right) and a group of his fellow prisoners seek to escape from Westgate Prison, and especially from the sadistic head of security Captain Munsey (Hume Cronyn, above left), who uses inmates as stool pigeons, enabling him to have eyes everywhere. Although a very effective prison story, Dassin swims in the noir pool by engaging us with flashbacks from several of the characters, showing us not only how they wound up in prison, but also the women they long to return to. And of course there’s revenge, deceit, a chance for redemption… all the things that make film noir film noir.