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The Sea Wolf Blu-ray Review

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“The Sea Wolf” is an underrated gem.

Based on the novel by Jack London, the 1900 set “The Sea Wolf” is about the crew of the vessel known as The Ghost. This is no ordinary ship, however, as it is filled with convicts and is helmed by a hard-ass, cruel Captain named Wolf Larson. The ship’s purpose is also mysterious and is generally a secret to most of the crew (some of whom are actually drugged and brought aboard). The story basically revolves around life on board the hellish ship and how some of the crew (namely a wanted woman named Ruth, a writer named Humphrey, and the gruff George) want to escape the clutches of Wolf.

Story wise, it doesn’t seem like much actually happens in 1941’s “The Sea Wolf.” We don’t see the ship embarking anywhere in particular on its voyage and a good majority of the film is just set on board The Ghost. Despite all of this though, you likely won’t mind the lack of a story as it’s such an engrossing psychological character driven film directed by the ever overlooked Michael Curtiz (“Casablanca,” “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” and so many more). What is really striking about watching the “The Sea Wolf” even now is how dark it really is. The movie is filled with messed up moments involving a character committing suicide, the Captain laughing as he betrays someone, murder, and so on. Additionally, virtually every character is either a criminal, warped, broken, or lost. Yes, there are redeemable characters that are looking to change their ways and start a new life and those are the ones you end up rooting for, but much of the time, you are witnessing despicable human beings. To say the film really explores the dark side of humanity is an understatement.

Performance wise, this is purely Edward G. Robinson’s movie. Yes, there are fine performances by Ida Lupino, John Garfield, Gene Lockhart, and Alexander Knox, but Robinson’s crazed, headache prone Captain is such a fascinating villainous character. He just owns the screen.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? This Blu-ray disc boasts an impressive B&W transfer. Yes, there is grain and so forth, but the clarity of the image is a definite upgrade from past releases.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? For a 2.0 track, this one is surprisingly sharp.

Extras: “The Sea Wolf” theatrical trailer and a half-hour 1950 radio drama of “The Sea Wolf” with Edward G. Robinson.

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October 24, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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