13 Rue Madeleine (1947)

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Released 23-Aug-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1947
Running Time 91:23
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Henry Hathaway
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring James Cagney
Annabella
Richard Conte
Frank Latimore
Walter Abel
Melville Cooper
Sam Jaffe
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music David Buttolph


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
Finnish
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Swedish
Italian Titling
Spanish Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    No extras are provided.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release appears to be identical to the Region 4.

Summary

    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.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Monday, August 23, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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