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Cry of the City – BFI (BluRay) 
Written by: on August 22nd, 2016

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1948
Director: Robert Siodmak
Writer: Richard Murphy
Cast: Victor Mature, Richard Conte, Fred Clark, Shelley Winters, Debra Paget, Hope Emerson, Roland Winters

BluRay released: August 22nd, 2016
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 12 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: BFI
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £12.99 (UK)

Synopsis: A bedridden cop killer escapes his police guarded hospital room and while on the run he silences anyone who gets in his way.

Cry of the City was directed by Robert Siodmak whose other notable films include, Phantom Lady, The Suspect, The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The Killers, The Spiral Staircase and The Dark Mirror. Key collaborators on Cry of the City include, screenwriter Richard Murphy (Boomerang!, Panic in the Streets) and composer Alfred Newman (The Grapes of Wrath, Thieves’ Highway).

Cry of the City has one of the more unique premises to ever appear in a Film Noir. The films’ starts off with the main suspect named Martin Rome is already in custody and once he regains just enough of depleted heath. He then escapes a hospital ward where he was being watched by an armed guard. From there here films eases back into familiar Film Noir territory as Martin Rome tries to stay one step ahead of the law while he ties up loose ends and tries to raise the money he needs to flee the country.

Structurally the film’s well-constructed narrative is straight forward and pacing is never an issues. Another strength of this film’s narrative is how is gives each new revelation just the right amount of time to fully resonate. Also all the main characters are well defined and there is no grey area as this film clearly establishes who the bad and good guys are.

Visually this film has all the ingredients one would expect and want from a Film Noir. Another strength of the visuals is the way it helps to reinforce the mood of the film and maintain the mounting tension. Standout moments include, the scene where Martin Rome visits a shady lawyer who earlier in the film threatened him when he was bed ridden. Another standout moment visually is this film finale which features a superbly realized showdown between the protagonist and the law.

Performance wise the entire cast are very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance being Richard Conte (The Blue Gardenia, The Godfather) in the role of Martin Rome. Another standout out performance is Victor Mature (My Darling Clementine, Kiss of Death) in the role of Lt. Candella, the man responsible for bringing Rome to justice. Conte and Mature have tremendous amount of chemistry and the scenes they share are easily the most compelling. Other performances of note include, Debra Paget (The Haunted Palace) in the role of Rome’s girlfriend, Shelley Winters (Night of the Hunter) in the role of the other lady in Rome’s life and Hope Emerson (Caged), in the role of the Femme Fatale.

The BluRay:

Cry of the City comes on a 50 GB dual layer (30.7 GB) BluRay. This release has been flagged for progressive playback and the film is presented in its intended 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The source used for this transfer is in excellent shape. The image looks crisp, contrast and black levels remain solid throughout. Also grain look natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.

The release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English and also included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds clean, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too.

Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 29 seconds), an appreciation by Adrian Wootton, a film critic and chief executive of Film London (26 minutes and 17 seconds) and an audio commentary track with Adrian Martin.

Topics discussed in the interview with Adrian Wootton include, the source novel that Cry of the City was adapted from, director Robert Siodmak his contributions to the film and the Film Noir genre, recurring themes that Robert Siodmak explores in his films, the cast, their performances and other films they worked on, how the characters greatly assist the film’s narrative, the look of the film and his thoughts about Cry of the City.

Topics discussed in the audio commentary track include, Alfred Newman’s score for the film, Robert Siodmak and the look of the film, the cast, screenwriter Richard Murphy and Ben Hecht uncredited contributions to the screenplay, key moments in the film are discussed in depth and his thoughts about the film.

Rounding out the extras is a sixteen-page booklet with an essay about the film titled Revisiting Cry of the City written by Frank Krutnik, cast & crew information and information about the transfer. Overall another solid release from BFI, highly recommended.

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