Reel Classics

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume V: Because of You (1952) - Blu-ray Review

Because of You (1952)

Loretta Young is a wholesome brunette no more!  As a naive blonde bombshell, this one-time gangster’s moll finds herself with a deep, dark secret.  Because of You is the film that launched Tony Bennett's career as the title song became his first Number 1 hit, but it is also progressive for its era, considering the ride it takes Young on.

"the film that launched Tony Bennett's career as the title song became his first Number 1 hit, but it is also progressive for its era, considering the ride it takes Young on"


 

While fascinating for its main star, Because of You, directed by Joseph Pevney (Shakedown, Undercover Girl, The Strange Door) and starring Loretta Young (The Stranger, The Farmer’s Daughter) and Jeff Chandler (Red Ball Express, Man in the Shadow), doesn’t exactly fit so tidily into the whole film noir genre, but that doesn’t keep it from sharing certain elements of that cinematic world.  This is a film which shows off Young’s assets as she, playing Christine Carroll, finds herself holding stolen merchandise slipped into her purse by her gangster fiancé Mike (Alex Nicol) and, thanks to some incredible cinematography from the great Russell Metty (Touch of Evil), is quite the hidden noir flick, making it land just shy of a REEL CLASSIC.

Uh-oh. Framed and sent to prison, it’s only under the kindness of Dr. Breen (Alexander Scourby) that she finally turns her life around.  Unfortunately, when she falls for a wounded air force pilot (Chandler) and attempts to start a life with him, all bets are off for a happy ending.  There’s always someone who can’t let go of the past.  

Because her old flame isn’t about to let her go.  What will it take?  One more job.

The crime.  Her innocence.  The passion.  And now her daughter is caught in the crossfire.  The futility of it all.  It all comes to a head as a dangerous game of consequence as she goes out of her way to not tell her husband the truth of her past and then, when there is a major wreck on the highway, that it is all too late.

She pays the ultimate price.  It will take time and a twist of fate to help heal the rest of her unintended consequences, now that she is forbidden to see her daughter ever again.Because of You (1952)

Film Noir, as a genre in film, stems from the assault of way too many “Happy Endings” in Hollywood.  It’s a natural response full of pessimism and fatalism and, as a result, it butters this reviewer’s bread.  For about a decade, writers and directors could see that audiences weren’t interested in fairy tales anymore.  There was too much poverty; too much death and destruction; too many wars.  And the push to urban life had created an economic disparity that lingered long after any romantic ending did.  

People needed the darkness to be acknowledged and, from 1944 to 1955, it was cinema’s prime celebrity as highly cinematographic films - cheaply made - fell onto the rain-soaked streets of Home Town, USA.  

Because of You, now on blu-ray thanks to Kino Lorber’s Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume V, is merely one offering from that defining era of filmmaking.

3/5 stars

Because of You (1952)

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- December 14, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; three-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Loretta Young (The Stranger, The Farmer’s Daughter) and Jeff Chandler (Red Ball Express, Man in the Shadow) star in the noir romance Because of You. Blonde bombshell Christine Carroll (Young) finds out too late that her fiancé Mike Monroe (Alex Nicol, The Sleeping City) is a gangster—and she’s his unwitting accessory. Emerging from prison with dark hair and an interest in nursing, she becomes a nurse’s aide in a war hospital and soon marries a battle-fatigued patient, Steve Kimberly (Chandler). The happy couple have a daughter, Kim, but Christine’s secret past threatens to tear her family apart when Mike reappears, forcing Christine to help him escape across the Mexican border. Joseph Pevney, the director of Six Bridges to Cross and Female on the Beach, helmed this saga of love and sacrifice, shot by the great cinematographer Russell Metty (Touch of Evil). The title song was Tony Bennett’s first number-one hit and became one of his many signature songs.

Video:

With a crisp black-and-white transfer, Because of You lands on blu-ray thanks to the crackling efforts of Kino Lorber.  Shadows, while not too terribly detailed, are thick and atmospheric throughout. Presented with an aspect ratio of 1.37:1, the film looks marvelous and easily beats the poor appearance on television and on home video DVD that has previously dogged it. The blacks and grays are handled expertly by the transfer.  Beads of sweat are visible, wet city streets, textures in clothing, and even the dirt in the pavement is all visible with fine textures throughout.

Audio:

Bang! Bang! Bang!  Shots are fired on the DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track which accompanies this film noir flick.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is a NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian Samm Deighan

Special Features:

There is a collection of trailers for future releases, including one for this release.

  • Original Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars


Film Details

Because of You (1952)

MPAA Rating: Unrated
Runtime:
95 mins
Director
: Joseph Pevney
Writer:
Ketti Frings
Cast:
Loretta Young; Jeff Chandler; Alex Nicol
Genre
: Noir | Drama
Tagline:
To him...there were just two kinds of women...and now he knew that she had been both!
Memorable Movie Quote:
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
December 4, 1952
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 14, 2021.
Synopsis: Blonde bombshell Christine Carroll finds out too late that her fiancé is a gangster—and she's his unwitting accessory. Emerging from prison with dark hair and an interest in nursing, she becomes a nurse's aide in a war hospital and soon marries a battle-fatigued patient, Steve Kimberly . Directed by Joseph Pevney.

Art

Because of You (1952)

 

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