CRISS CROSS BLU RAY REVIEW

Money. Money, money, money. Thats what I want. Or so the song goes. At the heart of all evil is money. That shiny coinage, paper note crinkling thing. You have it, you get things. You don’t have it, then you are bereft. But beneath that is a more connective driving force. Greed to be more specific. CRISS CROSS takes this emotion and another, desire, to underpin this film noir classic. Armoured car driver Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster in a morose role) returns to the town and the job he left. He left it because of his unrequited love of a bad woman.

Said bad woman is his ex wife Anna (Yvonne DeCarlo). She now has the eyes and arms of a hood Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea, who is slim but not from Dundee). Steve’s pinning gets him in hot water with Slim but its not a one way street. Anne has the lustful want for Steve but Slim has the muscle and so Steve suggest a robbery. He will be the inside man. The classic case of caught in a moment you cant get out of. We know that this will not end well…

CRISS CROSS has a visual gravity that makes it something of a dream for film makers who love strong cinematography. Robert Siodmak (said director of THE KILLERS and THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE) fuses his instinctive use of visuals with a clear skill of guiding performance. The narrative is a simple affair. Those who know Film Noir, know its convention and direction. But wrapped in such a rich set of textures, its a feat to behold.

DISC

The 4K restoration is a lovely thing. Crisp, clear and a little bit lovely, you might be rewinding scenes to re watch and reabsorb. My favourite scene is the beach house at the end. On the DVD its a bit flat. Framed like a nightmare and the depth and hue of the image now reveals how the slight light of the car, encroaching into this hell..

EXTRAS

Two things I loved.

Lee Gambin, and actress Rutanya Alda commentary is a bit fun, a bit factful and a lot of goodness in a small box. Gambin is an Australian film historian with so much to give. Give us more please!

Screen Director’s Playhouse radio adaptation from 1949 shows how you can have performance, rehearsal and bite on a radio play for a work that has already hit the mark.

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • New 4K digital restoration from the original camera negetive
  • Uncompressed LPCM monaural audio
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature
  • New audio commentary by film author Lee Gambin, and actress Rutanya Alda
  • New audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin
  • Screen Director’s Playhouse radio adaptation from 1949, featuring Burt Lancaster
  • Isolated music & effects track
  • Theatrical trailer
  • A collector’s booklet featuring new writing by film historian Kat Ellinger; an essay by Adam Batty; archival writing and imagery

 

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