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Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema III: Abandoned (1949) - Blu-ray Review

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Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume III: Adandoned

Because, sometimes, even babies need the support of the police!

Pushing a hard-hitting social commentary, Abandoned - with a colorful set of character names - takes aim at selling unwanted babies as the City of Angels becomes ground zero for black market babies.  The shadows are heavy here and so too are the themes as our only moral guidance comes from the narration provided by Jeff Chandler as Police Chief MacRae, who gets top billing here thanks to his role in Broken Arrow.

"Rich in zingers and musclemen, Abandoned is classic film noir"


 

That’s right, blackmail and larceny are traded as this film, directed by Joseph Newman (711 Ocean Drive, Dangerous Crossing, I’ll Get You for This, and Flight to Hong Kong), targets unwed mothers as one young lady goes looking for her sister who has just recently had a baby girl and gone missing.  Crackling dialogue follows as heads and egos are thrust together across downtown Los Angeles and through MacArthur Park, proving that no one is safe and nothing is sacred.

Paula (Gale Storm) has little choice in her search for Mary.  Teaming up with local crime reporter and a shady private detective, the truth behind the woman’s disappearance comes to uneasy light, mirroring what was revealed in the Los Angeles "baby adoption ring" case which serves as the basis for this screenplay by Irwin Gielgud. Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume III: Adandoned

As tight as it is, Abandoned would fall flat on its face if it wasn’t for the scene stealing Marjorie Rambeau as Mrs. Donner, who brings everything she has to the screen in order to sell her wit-matching performance against Burr’s world-weary Kerric.  Rich in zingers and musclemen, Abandoned is classic film noir and, thanks to Kino Lorber, it comes to blu-ray with a fine HD transfer.

Break out the double-breasted, pinstripes suits!  Abandoned, starring Gale Storm, Dennis O’Keefe, and Raymond Burr, finds itself on blu-ray thanks to Kino Lorber’s ongoing Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema III, a three-movie set which includes The Lady Gambles and The Sleeping City.

5/5 beers

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume III: Adandoned

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- June 9, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.37
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; three-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Noir great Dennis O’Keefe (T-Men, Raw Deal, Cover Up) and Gale Storm (Between Midnight and Dawn) expose a baby-selling racket in the searing crime drama Abandoned, co-starring Jeff Chandler (Man in the Shadow) and Raymond Burr (Pitfall). When Paula Considine (Storm) arrives in Los Angeles to find her sister Mary, she soon learns the unwed mother is dead and her newborn infant is missing. Teaming up with a cynical reporter named Mark Sitko (O’Keefe), Paula discovers Mary was the victim of a black market adoption ring run by Mrs. Leona Donner (Marjorie Rambeau, Torch Song) and her sleazy assistant Kerric (Burr). Hoping to entrap the pair, Paula and Sitko devise a plan but the sting operation proves to have deadly consequences. This classic film noir was beautifully shot by William H. Daniels (Woman in Hiding) and wonderfully directed by Joseph M. Newman (711 Ocean Drive), with top-notch supporting performances by Jeanette Nolan (Macbeth) and Mike Mazurki (Murder, My Sweet). Abandoned is part of the three films that make up Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema III.

Video:

With a crisp black-and-white transfer, Abandoned  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 thanks to its 1080p handling and its black-and-white cinematography sizzles. 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:

  • Film Historian Sam Deighan provides a rich commentary for Abandoned that will help understand its place in Film Noir history..

Special Features:

There is but a theatrical trailer.

  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 2/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3.5/5 stars

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume II: Abandoned (1949)

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