Passion (1954) - DVD Apr 3, 2011 2:06:48 GMT -5
Post by Erik Rupp on Apr 3, 2011 2:06:48 GMT -5
In the mid 50's Westerns were big business in Hollywood. Some actors like Randolph Scott and Joel McCrea even spent the entire decade making nothing but Westerns.
So this 1954 Western released by RKO and produced by Benedict Bogeaus came out at the height of the Western phenomenon (a phenomenon which lasted a good 15 years or more from the late 40's until the early 60's). As such once it left the big screens it was largely forgotten in the flood of Western titles released around that time. And that's a shame.
Passion is a little different from the typical Western produced in Hollywood at the time. First, there is a more distinct SouthWest flavor of the movie with several Mexican characters (and a few genuine hispanic actors in small supporting roles, to boot). Second, the photography is well above average for a movie of this budget. That can be attributed in large part to cinematographer John Alton, who became famous for making low, low budget Films Noir look great on the big screen.
The story is actually pretty good, and the acting is more than good enough to tell the story well. Allan Dwan's direction is solid (as usual - the guy was a machine) and the pacing of the movie is just right.
This would be a great purchase for fans of the Western genre who might be looking for a lesser known, but entertaining title - if not for one thing. The DVD stinks.
VCI Entertainment is more often than not reliable for putting out some solid DVD's of lesser known titles, but some of their earlier DVD releases were not progressively encoded which leads to interlacing scan lines being visible when there is motion on screen. Often with non-progressive DVD's the interlacing (or combing) is only noticeable when there is fast motion, but sometimes it is very, very noticeable. This is one of those cases. The movie is just barely watchable on this DVD release. The interlacing is so heavily prevalent that it becomes very distracting. It would be nice if VCI went back and progressively remastered all of their early releases, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
Watching this movie on an older tube TV does take care of much of the interlacing issue, but if you've got an HDTV it looks pretty bad. (Although the picture quality other than the interlacing is fairly solid for a movie of that age.)
Passion is a good movie, but the DVD is poor at best.
Movie - 3.5/5
DVD - 1.5/5