Immersed in Blu-ray: Odd Man Out, Pink Horse

Criterion brings two post-war noir gems of anxiety from 1947: Carol Reed’s Odd Man Out and Robert Montgomery’s Ride the Pink Horse.

Odd Man Out (The Criterion Collection)

The first of the great trilogy from director Reed and cinematographer Robert Krasker (followed up by The Fallen Idol and The Third Man), Odd Man Out  concerns dying Irish rebel Johnny (James Mason at his best) hiding out in his own Belfast home, lost among loved ones, friends, and strangers. He’s a freedom fighter trapped like an animal and becomes an object of their own desires and an almost Christ-like figure. And in his last wintry night, he grasps humanity in a final spiritual ascendance, coming into contact with an assortment of street people who fear or adore him (my favorite if Robert Newton’s mad painter). Reed combines a British brand of neo-realism with a more poetic expressionism and creates a surreal netherworld between life and death.

    • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
    • New interview with British cinema scholar John Hill, author of Cinema and Northern Ireland: Film, Culture and Politics
    • Postwar Poetry, a new short documentary about the film
    • New interview with music scholar Jeff Smith about composer William Alwyn and his score
    • Home, James, a 1972 documentary featuring actor James Mason revisiting his hometown
    • Radio adaptation of the film from 1952, starring Mason and Dan O’Herlihy
    • PLUS: An essay by critic Imogen Sara Smith

Ride the Pink Horse (The Criterion Collection)

Actor-director Montgomery is best known for his experimental Lady in the Lake first person POV as Philip Marlowe, but Ride the Pink Horse is a far superior crime drama. Based on Dorothy B. Hughes’ novel and cleverly scripted by Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer, Montgomery plays a tough-talking former GI who travels to a New Mexico town to blackmail the gangster who killed his buddy. The “ugly American” theme gives way to a sensitive portrayal of class and race and reawakening with the always reliable Thomas Gomez becoming the first Hispanic actor to receive a best supporting Oscar nom for his role as the proprietor of the eponymous carousel. The moody cinematography is provided by Russell Metty.

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring film noir historians Alain Silver and James Ursini
  • New interview with Imogen Sara Smith, author of In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City
  • Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film from 1947, featuring Robert Montgomery, Wanda Hendrix, and Thomas Gomez
  • PLUS: An essay by filmmaker and writer Michael Almereyda
Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, Crafts, Movies, Tech

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