BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume II: The Price of Fear (1956) - Blu-ray Review

  • Movie Review

  • Blu-ray Review

  • Art

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume II: The Price of Fear (1956)

This what happens when someone sticks a knife in your alibi.  There’s no escaping the cynicism threaded throughout this forgotten chiller.  Oh, you can try to beat it out in a race around the clock, but you will lose.  That’s how powerfully chilling The Price of Fear is.

"It’s well-acted, tight in its tension, and delivers an ending that is both surprising and satisfactory as coincidences determine fates"


 

The victim’s watch stopped at 12:31am.  That’s when all hell breaks loose in this film noir flick as three different storylines merge together to create The Price of Fear.  This vehicular manslaughter is a hit-and-run, but the woman, Jessica Warren (Merle Oberon), who actually ran the stranger over, finds herself in a moral crisis as, later on down the highway, she stops to call the cops . . . unfortunately, she doesn’t know what to say.

And it is during her silence that David Barrett (Lex Barker) hops in her car and goes for a midnight cruise in it as he is fleeing the gangsters that now took over the dog racing track he co-owned alongside Lou Belden (Tim Sullivan).

And it is all narrated by Pete Carroll (Charles Drake), a city detective, who finds himself trying to solve the hit-and-run, a gangland drive-by shooting, and the stolen car.  And, in spite of Carroll’s claim at the top of the movie, these events are all connected to the dog track.

Directed by Abner Biberman (The Night Runner) with crisp cinematography overseen by Irving Glassberg (Cry Tough), the movie opens with excitement and settles into tense situations, twisted allegiances, femme fatales, tough guys, awesome cars, and great night shoots involving Los Angeles.  Everybody is out for themselves and somewhere in between all the manipulation, Dave finds himself falling in love with the last person he should have ever crossed paths with, Jessica.  She’s guilty and is only using him!  Damn it!Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume II: The Price of Fear (1956)

This is a crime noir thriller where what should have been a delivery of fresh roses turns out to be a shotgun.  It’s well-acted, tight in its tension, and delivers an ending that is both surprising and satisfactory as coincidences determine fates and Oberon, playing against type, blinds them all to her spell.  In Hollywood, that’s a very rare thing as darkness descends upon every single character in this often ignored film noir caper.

Written by Robert Tallman (Hawaiian Eye), The Price of Fear is now on blu-ray - newly remastered in HD - as a part of Kino Lorber’s Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume II, a three movie set which includes Thunder on the Hill and The Female Animal.

4/5 beers

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume II: The Price of Fear (1956)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- May 12, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.37
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; three-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Elegant, exotic beauty Merle Oberon plays against type in the unpredictable mystery/thriller The Price of Fear. A woman guilty of a hit-and-run accident frames another man for the crime but is soon implicated in a far worse situation with a gangster who uses blackmail to lure her into a murder plot. Featuring a supporting cast that includes Lex Barker, Gia Scala and Warren Stevens, this classic thriller will leave you guessing until the end. Directed by Abner Biberman, it is now on blu-ray thanks a remastered HD scan by Kino Lorber Studio Classics as part of their Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume II release.

Video:

With a crisp black-and-white transfer, The Price of Fear  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 2.00:1, 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.  And the city shots look insanely detailed.  Beads of sweat are visible on faces, wet city streets, trains, 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:

  • None

Special Features:

  • Original theatrical trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

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

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3/5 stars

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume II: The Price of Fear (1956)

Movie Reviews

Our Tweets

 

You are here: Home Home Video BADass B-Movies Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema, Volume II: The Price of Fear (1956) - Blu-ray Review
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Google+
Letterboxd
Find us on Rotten Tomatoes