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The Big Clock Blu-ray Review


“The Big Clock” is a quality film noir.

Based on the novel by Kenneth Fearing, 1948’s “The Big Clock” is a New York set film noir that primarily revolves around George (an overworked husband-father who runs a crime magazine), a media mogul named Earl Janoth and Janoth’s mistress Pauline. Without going into heavy spoiler territory, I will just say the bulk of the story centers around a murder and a frame-up crime investigation.

Directed by John Farrow, “The Big Clock” is a race against time film noir with a rather unique setting. The setting I’m referring to is a skyscraper housing an elaborate clock and a publishing empire. The news and media world angle truly adds a lot to the story both in terms of originality and theme. Sure, the news and media world is a lot different nowadays, but having it used as a plot device as both as sensationalist story and a means to frame and or prove innocence is rather ingenious and something that does not feel dated. Both Kenneth Fearing and screenwriter Jonathan Latimer deserve much credit for pulling off what could have been a ludicrous and over-the-top storytelling choice.

The cast is aces. Ray Milland brings much depth to the character of George. Again, I won’t get into details, but he has the most developed character to be sure. It should come as no surprise that acting legend Charles Laughton knocks it out of the park here is the egomaniac Earl Janoth. Aside from the main stars in Milland and Laughton, there are numerous stand-out supporting performances here from a pre-Dragnet Henry Morgan as a mute brute named Bill, Elisa Lanchester as the eccentric scene-stealing painter Louise Patterson, George Macready as the slimy editor-in-chief Steve Hagen, and the underrated Rita Johnson as Pauline.


Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? Certainly not the best transfer I’ve seen. It’s frequently overly snowy although some shots/scenes look better than others.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM. How does it sound? A crisp Mono track all-around.

* A booklet featuring pictures, credits, and an essay by journalist Christina Newland.
* Theatrical trailer for “The Big Clock.”
* Image gallery
* The Lux Radio Theatre radio drama for “The Big Clock.”
* “A Difficult Actor”- Actor Simon Callow talks about Charles Laughton and his appreciation of his work.
* “Turning Back The Clock”- An analysis of “The Big Clock” by critic and writer Adrian Wootton.
* An informative solo commentary by Adrian Martin.

May 5, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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