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Panic in the Streets Blu-ray Review

panic-in-the-streets-blu-ray-cover

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0  
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: None
  • Running Time: 96 minutes
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 26, 2013
  • List Price: $24.99

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

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:3.5/5]

title

Crime film noirs were among the original feeders for much of the ‘40s and  ‘50s movie industry. Panic in the Streets, shot on location in the Big Easy and directed by Hollywood legend Elia Kazan with a jazzy score by Alfred Newman, takes on the uneasy subject of contagious disease.  An obviously sick two-bit gambler cleans out Blackie (“Walter” Jack Palance) and Raymond Fitch (Zero Mostel) who then track him down and shoot him. Dr. Clinton Reed (Richard Widmark), a public health officer, is enjoying a rare day off with his wife Nancy (Barbara Bel Geddes). Dr. Reed is abruptly called in to the morgue to examine the dead gambler and discovers that the victim was infected with pneumonic plague (the same microorganism caused the “black death”).  Police Captain Tom Warren (Paul Douglas) reluctantly organizes a search to find the killers whose contact with the dead man could spark a major epidemic. Working against a 48-hour limit, due to microbe’s incubation period, we get a pulse-pounding race against time.

Director Kazan weaves cast, script, and cinematography seamlessly into a film that builds its tension at a white-knuckle pace. Panic in the Streets received awards at the 1951 Venice Film Festival (Directing) and Academy Awards (Writing).

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

bel

20th Century Fox has steadily been releasing its vast archive of important older movies. This film has a very clean, well-defined appearance with a minimum of noise, streaking or grain. Details are actually better than good (note the hole in the screen door of the Reed’s home). Like many films of this era, there is a very intimate use of the cameras, highlighting the actors’ faces and expressions.  We are also given some strikingly good images of New Orleans’ tourist attractions as well as its seamier side.

Audio Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

shot

The soundtrack is DTS-HD Master Audio mono. Dialogue and music is reasonably well presented, but still suffers from inevitable boxy and constricted sound.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

body

20th Century Fox gives us some good extras:

  • Audio commentary by film historians Alain Silver and James Ursini
  • A featurette: Jack Palance: From Grit to Grace.
  • A featurette: Richard Widmark: Strength of Characters.
  • Original theatrical trailer

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

palance

Panic in the Streets is a very good example of the film noir thrillers that were cranked out in the 1940s and 1950s by the major Hollywood studios. This particular picture is graced by superb performances from actors who went on to have major film careers such as Ford, Widmark, Mostel, Bel Geddes, and Palance. The script is surprisingly unhackneyed for its genre and there is a sense of earnest emotion and stress, given the potential seriousness of its subject matter. There have been a number of subsequent plague-like disaster films such as Outbreak, 28 Days Later, and Contagion. While these pictures rely heavily on special effects, blood, gore, and the like, the threat implicit in Panic in the Streets is powerfully conveyed by what viewers do not see rather than what they do see.  This is one that is definitely worthy of your attention.

 Additional Screen Captures

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BestBuy.com:
Panic in the Streets - Fullscreen Subtitle Dts - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Panic in the Streets on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

table

widmark

zero

douglas

stairs

boy

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BestBuy.com:
Panic in the Streets - Fullscreen Subtitle Dts - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Panic in the Streets on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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

 

 

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