Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 4th, 2018
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1954
Director: Nathan Juran
Writers: Herb Meadow, Jerome Odlum, Tom Hubbard, Fred Eggers, U.S. Andersen, Roger Corman
Cast: Richard Conte, Joan Bennett, Wanda Hendrix, Reed Hadley, Mary Beth Hughes
BluRay Release Date: March 20th, 2018
Approximate running time: 71 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Kino Lorber
Region Encoding: Region A
Retail Price: $24.95
Highway Dragnet was directed by Nathan Juran, whose other notable films include, 20 Million Miles to Earth, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, First Men in the Moon and The Boy Who Cried Werewolf. Key collaborators on Highway Dragnet include, screenwriter / producer Roger Corman (House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum) and cinematographer John J. Martin (The Big Tip Off, Betrayed Women).
Though, this film has many of elements that have since become synonymous, with the Film Noir genre. It’s lack of reliance on shadow and light, is one area where this film diverges away from one of this genre main staples.
With that being said, there are many areas where this film perfectly captures the essence of the Film Noir genre. Most notably, the way in which this film conveys claustrophobia as the protagonist’s world constricts.
The premise is well executed and the narrative moves along at a brisk pacing that reinforces that mounting tension. And though there is a predictability to the events that unfold. The film’s very satisfying conclusion more than makes up for any of this film’s short comings.
The characters are fleshed out and the cast are all very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance being Joan Bennett (Scarlet Street, Suspiria) in the role of a photographer named Mrs. Cummings, whose fate becomes intertwined with a fugitive hitchhiker. Other performances of note include, Wanda Hendrix (Ride the Pink Horse, Prince of Foxes) in the role of a model named Susan Willis and Richard Conte (Cry of the City, Thieves’ Highway) in the role of Jim Henry, a Korean war veteran, who has been wrongly accused on murder.
Highway Dragnet comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release was sourced from a brand new 4k master. The used for this transfer is in excellent shape. Details look crisp, grain looks natural, black and contrast levels remain solid throughout.
This release comes with a one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English. The audio sounds, clean, clear and balanced throughout.
Overall Highway Dragnet gets a solid audio / video presentation from Kino Lorber.
Note: This film is also being released by Kino Lorber on DVD.