Wednesday, September 8, 2010

NEW YORK CONFIDENTIAL

Never before released on home video, NEW YORK CONFIDENTIAL (1955) has generally been considered something of a "lost" film noir. Earlier this summer, VCI Entertainment brought this gritty mob "expose" to DVD, giving it a notably high-quality presentation.

Charlie Lupo (veteran screen tough guy Broderick Crawford) is a New York City crimelord who sees murder as the answer to every problem or threat that comes along. And it doesn't matter who gets in his way - they're all targets, from members of his own syndicate, to a Washington lobbyist, to even his own hatchet men!

This blunt expose of 50s organized crime from the Oscar-nominated writing team of Russell Rouse (who also directed) and Clarence Greene was pretty shocking stuff in its day, and while it's no GODFATHER or SOPRANOS, it's still a damned entertaining gangster melodrama, with a great cast of familiar Fifties TV and film faces, including Richard Conte as a cold-blooded hitman, J. Carroll Naish, Mike Mazurki and an incredibly sexy and stunning young Anne Bancroft (GORILLA AT LARGE) as Crawford's rebellious daughter. The dialogue is sharp and well-written, and director Rouse does a fair job of keeping everything moving at a good clip, even managing a couple of suspenseful action sequences.

VCI's DVD sports a 1.85:1, anamorphic widescreen transfer, digitally remastered & restored from the original negative. It looks astoundingly good, with solid blacks, good detail, and virtually no evident damage or dirt. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. Extras include an informative audio commentary by film historian & author Alan K. Rode and film writer, Kim Morgan, an advertising still gallery, and "before and after" restoration examples.

For fans of vintage crime films, NEW YORK CONFIDENTIAL is a strong entry in the mob genre, and while I'm not sure I would call it a noir film, it is a gritty gangster melodrama well worth checking out.

Recommended.

BUY: New York Confidential