7.2 C
New York
Saturday, December 5, 2020
Advertisement

Ministry of Fear [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray Review

ministry-of-fear-criterionpblu-ray-cover

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 1.0  
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: None
  • Running Time: 87 minutes
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 12, 2013
  • List Price: $29.95

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

 

 

 

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

Title

Director Fritz Lang was a film noir pioneer, straddling the divide between the silent (Metropolis) and talking (M) motion pictures. Once Lang moved from Germany to the United States in the early 1930’s, he directed a long line of thrillers. Lang’s Ministry of Fear is based on a novel by noted British author, Graham Greene, a number of whose books were subsequently turned into films (The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana).

Stephen Neale (Ray Milland) is released from a two-year stint in an asylum, as we discover later, for assisting the death of his sick wife. On Neale’s return to a London under siege from German bombers, he wins a cake at a church bazaar that is more than just flour and icing. Thus begins a tale of mystery and intrigue with numerous plot twists. After narrowly escaping a bomb attack, Neale sets out to solve the cake riddle. He meets Austrian sister and brother, Carla Hilfe (Marjorie Reynolds) and Willi Hilfe (Carl Esmond) who are ostensibly running a charitable organization. At a séance with the wealthy Mrs. Bellaine (Hillary Brooke), a mysterious Mr. Cost (Dan Duryea) is murdered, leaving Neale as the prime suspect. On the lam, our hero runs into Carla again when they duck into a bomb shelter during an air raid.  Suspicions of spy rings, involving the Hilfe’s charity, begin to crowd Neale’s thoughts and he takes it upon himself to resolve the situation.  Eventually all paths lead to the Ministry of Home Security and its suspect advisor Dr. Forrester (Alan Napier). But Neale must wage a personal campaign to prove his innocence to the relentless Inspector Prentice (Percy Waram) who now believes him to be guilty of other murders. In a rather brisk race to the finish, Neale starts putting the pieces together, and makes some startling discoveries before the mystery is solved.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

bomb

The Criterion Collection usually gets the best extant prints and subjects them, in this case, to 2K resolution on a Lasergraphics scanner. The 35 mm master also underwent artifact and dirt removal, using MIT’s DRS, Pixel Farms PFClean, and Image System’s Phoenix software. This film definitely shows its age with occasional blurring of detail, grain, and washout. These issues aside, there is some pretty good image presentation throughout with some excellent close-ups.

Audio Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

seance

The soundtrack is a remastered in 24-bits from an optical track. Noise is pretty successfully removed by Pro Tools HD and crackle was attenuated on an AudioCube integrated workstation. What results is an LPCM monaural soundtrack that is typical of its era, being rather boxy with constricted dynamics but clear dialogue.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

fight

There is a modest offering of supplemental material:

  • A slim fold-out booklet with Glenn Kenny’s critical appraisal of director Lang and the film itself.
  • An insightful commentary feature with Joe McElhaney, a Lang scholar.
  • Trailer

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

cake

Ministry of Fear is a product of its times, having been released in 1944 when there was pressure on the Hollywood film industry to crank out anti-Nazi propaganda movies. Director Lang, being a German émigré, had a particularly personal take on the war and offers a more balanced view of the good and the evil characters of this film. There is often some blurring of distinction between the Hilfes, the British police and Neale.  In contrast with Greene’s original novel, there I more emphasis is on chase and pursuit than on the inner conflicts of the protagonists. Perhaps the reduction of this film to more of a formulaic than insightful work is what keeps it from rising to the top of the noir genre. This film that will keep viewers engaged up to its end credits, but it ultimately lacks the deft touch of a Hitchcock thriller like North by Northwest or The Wrong Man.

 Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B00AQ6J536[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Ministry of Fear - B&W - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Ministry of Fear [Criterion Collection]  on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

fortune

rennit

kiss

map

Free

bellaire

[amazon-product]B00AQ6J536[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Ministry of Fear - B&W - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Ministry of Fear [Criterion Collection]  on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Facebooktwitter

 

Advertisement

Related Articles

Netflix Original: Hillbilly Elegy (Movie Review)

A young man's cross-generational journey from poor to successful lawyer in a world that his grandparents and parents had never known is successfully realized by a strong cast and deft direction.

Blade (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

Vampire actioner with Wesley Snipes in his prime as a day-walking half-vampire/half-human self-appointed protector of humanity gets a stunning 4K Ultra HD release from Warner Bros.

HBO Original: The Undoing (TV Series Review)

David E. Kelley gives us an open-and-shut murder case that will be unlikely to fool most of its viewers with The Undoing.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

301FansLike
0FollowersFollow
723FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment “screeners” and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

Netflix Original: Hillbilly Elegy (Movie Review)

A young man's cross-generational journey from poor to successful lawyer in a world that his grandparents and parents had never known is successfully realized by a strong cast and deft direction.

Blade (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

Vampire actioner with Wesley Snipes in his prime as a day-walking half-vampire/half-human self-appointed protector of humanity gets a stunning 4K Ultra HD release from Warner Bros.

HBO Original: The Undoing (TV Series Review)

David E. Kelley gives us an open-and-shut murder case that will be unlikely to fool most of its viewers with The Undoing.

FX Original Black Narcissus (TV Series Review)

A buttoned-up remake of the classic 'Black Narcissus' in the form of a 3-episode series that portrays the physical and emotional struggle of English nuns to establish a school in a remote palace in the Himalayas.

Perry Mason: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Review)

A complex neo-noir origin story for the famous criminal defense attorney gets a gorgeous Blu-ray release from Warner Bros.
%d bloggers like this: