13 Rue Madeleine (1947)
|Year Of Production||1947|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Henry Hathaway|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.37:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This is a documentary style film from Henry Hathaway, who also made the similarly themed and styled The House on 92nd Street two years before. In this film set during World War II, James Cagney plays Bob Sharkey, an academic and spy. At the Operation 77 training centre, he is advised by his superior that the trainees include a German spy. The spy is quickly identified but not exposed, so that they can find out what the spy is after and use him/her to send disinformation about the upcoming Allied invasion of Europe to the Nazis. When a mission into occupied France goes awry, Sharkey himself parachutes in to complete the mission.
This is a low key but intelligently made film that benefits from the restrained performance of Cagney in an unusual role. His last appearance in the film is quite memorable. There is good support from Annabella, Richard Conte, Walter Abel and Sam Jaffe in various roles. Karl Malden appears briefly as a pilot, and E. G. Marshall has a larger but uncredited role as Emile. This is not one of the great films of its genre, but is an entertaining ninety minute diversion.
Of note is the violence in the film. While nothing compared to what can be seen nowadays, it is somewhat more graphic than other films of the era, and the fight in the hotel lobby includes some activity that might usually have been cut by the censor.
The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, close to the original 1.37:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced.
The image is a little soft, looking like it was not from first generation materials. The clarity is reasonable though, and is slightly better than you would expect from a broadcast or VHS source. The image is also a little dark at times, resulting in some poor shadow detail. The number of scenes where this is an issue is small, so this is not a concern.
Add to the soft aspect to the image the fact that the contrast seems a little less than would be ideal, and the video looks a little flat and uninspiring. Black levels are reasonable but the film lacks the sparkle that other transfers of this era have.
There is some mild shimmer due to aliasing, but apart from that the transfer seems to have been done well. The film elements used were in very good condition, with few film artefacts. There are some white spots, but the frequency of these is low. The stock footage looks slightly worse.
The film is presented on a single layered disc, with optional subtitles that are close to the dialogue. The subtitles are in italicised white lettering with black borders and are quite readable.
The default audio track is English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, with alternative Italian and Spanish tracks. There is no surround encoding.
This is a standard mono soundtrack with no distinguishing features. Dialogue is clear, and the sound generally has a reasonable range of frequencies and dynamics without being outstanding. There is no audible hiss or distortion, although the higher frequencies sound a little thin.
The music score is by David Buttolph. This is a standard blend of patriotic and military style music. A lot of the film has no music at all.
|Surround Channel Use|
No extras are provided.
The Region 1 release appears to be identical to the Region 4.
An above average wartime spy thriller, this is not a classic but is still quite enjoyable. It does seem a little over-priced though.
The video is a little soft.
The audio is satisfactory.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Main: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175|