Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 27th, 2016
BluRay released: May 24th, 2016
Approximate running time: 86 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Kino Lorber
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: A down on his luck veteran reluctantly takes a job as a chauffeur for a gangster.
The Chase was directed by Arthur Ripley (Thunder Road) who is most remembered first Professor of Cinema Arts at The University of California at Los Angeles. Key collaborators on The Chase include, screenwriter Phillip Yordan (Houdini, Night Train to Terror) and cinematographer Franz Planer (The Face Behind the Mask). The screenplay for The Chase was adapted from the novel The Black Path of Fear written by Cornell Woolrich (Rear Window, The Bride Wore Black).
Content wise, though this film has all the ingredients that one would want or expect from a film noir! The end result is one of the most unconventional films to emerge from the noir film genre. And in the years since its initial release there is no denying its influence on modern noir cinema, most notable films like Blue Velvet.
Structurally the film can be summed up as a film of two halves. With the opening setup establishing who everyone is and what their motivations are? It is also during the first half that the protagonist an unemployed veteran named Chuck Scott makes that fateful choice that is integral to the noir genre. He falls in love with Lorna Roman his boss’s wife and agrees to help her runaway to Havana Cuba. From there this decision leads to his downfall as he is charged with murdering Lorna. Without giving away to much more about the plot, let’s just say that as his world his closing in on him this film delivers one of the most jaw dropping twists ever to appear in a noir. And this then begins that aforementioned second half of the film.
From a production stand point there is not any area where this film does not deliver or in some instances excel. With its atmospheric visuals being one of its most durable assets. And the scenes where the protagonist in Havana and on the run accused on murder being the most striking moments visually. Also pacing is never an issues as things move along at brisk momentum.
And when it comes to the performances the entire are all great in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance coming from Steve Cochran (White Heat, Storm Warning) in the role of Eddie Roman, the man who hires Chuck Scott to be his driver. Cochran delivers the quintessential bad guy and to top things off throw in some sadism for good measure. Other performances of note include, Robert Cummings (Saboteur, Dial M for Murder) in the role of Chuck Scott and Peter Lorre (M, Mad Love) in the role of Gino, he is Eddie Roman’s main henchmen.
The Chase comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. This release has been flagged for progressive playback and the film is presented in its intended 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The source for this releases transfer is a HD master that was created from original 35mm elements preserved by UCLA Film &Television Archive. When compared to all previous home video releases this new transfer is vastly superior upgrade. Also grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression. It should be noted though there are minor instances of print debris throughout this presentation, these moments of imperfection are never intrusive.
This release comes with a one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English. The audio sounds very good as there are no major issues in regards to distortion, background noise or hiss. Dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Also when it comes to range things tend to sound rather limited.
Extras for this release include, trailers for A Bullet for Joey, He Ran All the Way and Witness to Murder. Other extras include, two radio broadcasts – The Black Path of Fear starring Brian Donnelly original airdate August 3rd, 1944 (29 minutes 21 seconds) and The Black Path of Fear starring Cary Grant original airdate March 7th, 1946 (26 minutes 48 seconds). Rounding out the extras is an audio commentary filmmaker Guy Maddin.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, the differences between the book and what made into the film, the cast and information about them, author Cornell Woolrich, keys sequences in the film, the music in the film and other production related topics.
Overall The Chase gets an excellent release from Kino Lorber, highly recommended.
Note: This film is also being released by Kino Lorber on DVD.