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 Post subject: 383 Brute Force
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:32 pm 
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Brute Force

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As hard-hitting as its title, Brute Force was the first of Jules Dassin's forays into the crime genre, a prison melodrama that takes a critical look at American society as well. Burt Lancaster is the timeworn Joe Collins, who, along with his fellow inmates, lives under the heavy thumb of the sadistic, power-tripping guard Captain Munsey (a riveting Hume Cronyn). Only Collins's dreams of escape keep him going, but how can he possibly bust out of Munsey's chains? Matter-of-fact and ferocious, Brute Force builds to an explosive climax that shows the lengths men will go to when fighting for their freedom.

Special Features

-New, restored high-definition digital transfer
-Audio commentary by film noir specialists Alain Silver and James Ursini
-A new interview with Paul Mason, author of Capturing the Media: Prison Discourse in Popular Culture
-Theatrical trailer
-Stills gallery
-Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
-PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Michael Atkinson, a 1947 profile of producer Mark Hellinger, and rare correspondence between Hellinger and Production Code administrator Joseph Breen over the film’s content

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Last edited by kinjitsu on Sat Feb 10, 2007 7:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 2:55 pm 

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Too fucking right.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 3:27 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:43 am
Shit Yeah! Now I'm gonna have to make my own slipcover with my Film-Dassin artwork.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 5:53 pm 
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kinjitsu wrote:
Brute Force

details coming soon...

I'll be damned. I didn't think that Dassin would be interested. I stand happily corrected.

Not that it matters in the slightest, but surely there will be some spine number shuffling in order to place The Naked City and Brute Force side-by-side. They have matching art and everything.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 4:13 pm 
wax on; wax off
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Maybe it's the Monsters/Madmen discussion but am I the only one looking at these special features and asking what exactly is the CC giving me for $40 that Fox wasn't doing for $15 with their Noir line? Ursini and 'da Brat' Silver? I just wish they would've taken a bucket of Dassins and put it out on Eclipse. Higher tiered? I'm calling 'bullshit' on this one. Bring on the rotten vegetables.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 4:31 pm 
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Not me-- this is one of my favorite noirs (and films) of all tiime. An absolute searing masterpiece that blows the doors off every time I watch it. I wish they'd throw his short THE TELLTALE HEART onto something. True, it's an MGM short but god knows whether or not WB plans to do anything with it. Save RIFIFI this is probably my favorite Dassin of all, and one of the most badass expositions of hardboiled white, middle american, old school convicts you'll ever see, and a crystalization of Dassin's sympathy with the common "bad guy". Maybe the coolest director who ever lived, and here's why.

I knew this was coming but the news is no less exciting. Ursini & Silver better gargle with Xanax & lay off the internancing on this one. Too important to blow. This is one of my greatest reasons to give props to the Beckers-- for trying their damnedest to get all of the best of this guy's catalog in the collection and erect a monument to Dass equal to Kuro & Bergman & Ozu and all the other Introductory Film Class directors. He certainly deserves it and I'm glad he's living to see & experience some of the respect for him. I only wish wish wish they could get him on film talking at length about this one.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 4:37 pm 
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The Tell-Tale Heart is available on Shadow of the Thin Man DVD from Warner.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 5:02 pm 
Big fan of the former president
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HerrSchreck wrote:
I knew this was coming but the news is no less exciting. Ursini & Silver better gargle with Xanax & lay off the internancing on this one. Too important to blow.

Or get James Ellroy to moderate their conversation. He'd keep those muthas in line. :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 5:05 pm 
wax on; wax off
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HerrSchreck wrote:
Save RIFIFI this is probably my favorite Dassin of all, and one of the most badass expositions of hardboiled white, middle american, old school convicts you'll ever see, and a crystalization of Dassin's sympathy with the common "bad guy". Maybe the coolest director who ever lived, and here's why.

Dassin and Brute Force are great; No argument. What's with the forty bucks though? Rights? Restoration? the incredible fees Ursini/Silver charge? On another thread your slamming the CC for charging this kind of money for B-films...well here's a B film with Fox extras for three times the price.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 5:40 pm 
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Thhe only argument I could put against (and it may not be all that convincing, as it may not be in the case of the whole CC line pricepoint) is that this is a settled arthouse masterpiece that may have entered life as a B (as did so many films of the New Wave period.. hell the hallmark of the Art Film has been classically that of limited distribution, limited budget, smaller labels & venues) but is now an accepted part of the "snob" canon and has an existing price point out there in the world which is comparable. It also requires rights acquisition from a major studio. Certainly Fox's noir catalog will be cheaper since they don't have to license from themselves.

Maybe not all that convincing, but it's the best I can come up with. It's not anywhere near a B picture nowadays, whereas CORRIDORS OF BLOOD started life (along with its M&M bretheren) as a B and will remain that way. Nothing in the M&M canon really distinguishes itself from the rest of the midline sci-horror glut, whereas BRUTE FORCE is an absolute masterpiece by all acounts.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 6:07 pm 
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For a reminder of how gorgeous this SHOULD look (If they use the same transfer as the Wildside French DVD) have a look at Kinsayder's caps on the Screencaps sticky.
Not sure I'll double dip though, for 40 bucks!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 7:02 pm 
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skuhn8 wrote:
Dassin and Brute Force are great; No argument. What's with the forty bucks though? Rights? Restoration? the incredible fees Ursini/Silver charge? On another thread your slamming the CC for charging this kind of money for B-films...well here's a B film with Fox extras for three times the price.

Naked City is packed with extras and so I can only assume the "more..." means Brute Force will be similarly packed.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:27 pm 

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I'm wondering where Jules Dassin's new interviews are supposed to be on these releases (or, failing that, the lengthy audio interview with him that appeared on the Brute Force laserdisc). I just hope it doesn't mean he's too ill to be interviewed.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:55 pm 
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Narshty wrote:
I'm wondering where Jules Dassin's new interviews are supposed to be on these releases (or, failing that, the lengthy audio interview with him that appeared on the Brute Force laserdisc). I just hope it doesn't mean he's too ill to be interviewed.

He's 95 years old now so I'd say that's a strong possibility. It's been a couple of years since the last two Dassin Criterion releases and he seemed weaker in those than in the one on the Rififi disc. Of course, it would have been a good idea for Criterion to have asked about these two when they did the last interview with him, but maybe they didn't think of that at the time.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 7:12 pm 

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GringoTex wrote:
Naked City is packed with extras and so I can only assume the "more..." means Brute Force will be similarly packed.

Well, the "more" is gone, but the specs have been slightly updated:

Quote:
PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Michael Atkinson, a 1947 profile of producer Mark Hellinger, and rare correspondence between Hellinger and Production Code administrator Joseph Breen over the film's content


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:21 am 
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DVD Beaver review is up. Looks like image quality is neck and neck with the Wild Side release, though the Criterion is windowboxed.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 4:01 pm 
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An appreciation of the film at the Deep Focus Review site.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 5:06 pm 
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souvenir wrote:
DVD Beaver review is up. Looks like image quality is neck and neck with the Wild Side release, though the Criterion is windowboxed.

For anyone in EU, the Wild Side double feature is absolutely worth considering. The deal breaker in favor of Criterion may of course be the extras (I admit that I have not compared the releases in this respect), but strictly in terms of the image, Wild Side's discs look as good as the best of '40s/'50s that I own on DVD. I believe I paid in the neighborhood of €30 for the Wild Side release, when it came out last year (right before Criterion announced their releases - sigh).


Last edited by Scharphedin2 on Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:09 pm 
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BRUTE FORCE will play on TCM, Wed. April 18, 10pm. I resisted purchasing FORBIDDEN HOLLYWOOD (Baby Face and Waterloo Bridge) since TCM was kind enough to show them both the night before the DVD release; but, of course, BRUTE FORCE has plenty of extras. It still raises the question of whether we are paying too much for a commentary track and bonus features, and whether we have to own every good thing that comes along. I have a wall full of classic DVDs - and there they sit.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:11 am 
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Well this raises an interesting question which has been coming up more and more lately-- here, the NAKED CITY THREAD, the MONSTERS AND MADMEN THREAD-- which is,

as restoration and excellent telecine have become more widespread and near-to-actual-criterion-level in all the major studios and in fact many of the boutique labels, and the addition of well produced original extra features, booklets and commentaries have become the norm

AND

these elements becoming the norm in packages from both boutique labels (read: licensers of films like CC who must absorb that expense and build it into their selling price) as well as all the majors in packages which are half the price (and cheaper) of Criterion product... is the justification for the high criterion price based entirely on imagination/fetishism... sort of a group cooperation in a Finery Concept for a product costing the tiniest fraction of the selling price like, say, women's perfume.. whose selling price is fetched due to the mass cooperation by consumers in the intangible idea of a certain immaterial high end something. Something that, once the public cease believing in the haute concept, will see the perfume relegated to Rite Aid cashier cabinets for 20 bucks a bottle as yesterday's news. Same ingredients, same package, same overhead, same product, dropping from couple hundred bucks an ounce, to 20 bucks.

I'm going to launcha thread on this because like it or not, as CC's benchmarks have become normal international quality standards, this topic is not going to go away.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:49 am 
wax on; wax off
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I detect a turnaround in your opinion regarding Brute Force specifically, HerrShrek. What was it that changed your feeling on the matter?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:19 pm 
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Not to be a Criterion apologist, but I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the booklet was for this title. At 38 pages, it's MoC-esque and significantly thicker than what we got for other upper-tier releases with limited extras like Green for Danger and The Naked City.

I know Jeff touched on this earlier, but I'm crying on the inside that the spines for the two new Dassin titles, such perfect complements to one another, don't correspond in numeric sequence. For a company that thrives on spine-crazy, obsessive compulsives, I'm incredibly disappointed.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:15 am 
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I wouldn't have ever classified The Naked City as having limited special features (after all, not counting the commentary, they last over an hour and a half), but I agree with that sentiment. Fantastic booklet on Brute Force.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:36 am 
You can see that Hume Cronyn got a lot of pleasure out of this role-- his acting wasn't particularly good but was still memorable, somehow he has a way of bringing out that twisted, inferiority complex that seems to go well with the character.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 6:46 pm 
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More to the point I think Hume does a great number as a barely repressed gay Sadist. (Surely the male nude statuary and the Wagner on the phonograph in his office gives the game away.) And Hume's is not the only intimation of gayness in the movie.


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