Thursday, October 9, 2008

Three Classic Noir's



While I've already highlighted several public domain television shows, tons of public domain 78' recordings, and the early radio career  of Jack Webb, I've not presented any public domain movies for your viewing pleasure. 


Today I have 3 classic film noir's, all public domain and available for download.



But first a word about video quality and downloading.


The Internet Archive has more than 1,000 public domain feature films (some are pretty obscure) available for you to watch online, or download to your computer.  


The video quality of these movies vary widely, and while many look pretty decent in the `postage-stamp' sized viewer on their web page, when viewed full screen on your computer, or worse, on a big screen television . . . well, the results can be extremely pixilated and eyestrain inducing.


Most movies are offered in more than one video format/resolution.  As a general rule, the bigger the file (in megabytes) the better the quality.  


While it may take longer to download the larger file formats, if you intend to burn these films to DVD, then you will be much happier selecting the better quality formats.


That doesn't mean you have to go with the absolute highest quality.   Below is a typical download selection for a movie on the Internet Archive.   This one is for Kansas City Confidential (1952).  





In this case, there are 4 different movie formats to choose from.  Some movies may offer only 2 or 3 formats, and some just one.   But most have several options.


The move runs 99 minutes.  My personal rule of thumb for B&W films is that you need a minimum of 100 megabytes for every 30 minutes of runtime.  


Anything less, when blown up to full screen size, will be disappointing.  I would only opt for a lower resolution if nothing better were available. 


In this case, the minimum file size would be about 330mb.  While the 256kb version is close, I'd opt for the MPEG1 download at 635mb.   


Unless you have a really fast connection, and bandwidth to burn, the 2gb format is probably a little overkill.


I use NERO to burn these movies to DVD, and since I'm not a purist, I find the extended-play format works well enough.  I can generally put 3 or 4 movies on a single disc.  



You should know in advance that many of these films do show their age.  Sometimes there are missing frames or other blemishes.   



As for today's film noir selections,  here are three dandy examples of the genre.  The second movie, Quicksand,  stars Mickey Rooney in one of his best performances.




Kansas City Confidential - Edward Small
Four robbers hold up an armored truck getting away with over a million dollars in cash. Joe Rolfe (John Payne), a down-on-his-luck flower delivery truck driver is accused of being involved and is beaten up by the local police. Released due to lack of evidence, Joe, following the clues to a Mexican resort, decides to look for the men who set him up and get revenge.
Average rating: 4.89 stars (9 reviews)

Quicksand - Mort Briskin, Samuel H. Stiefel
After borrowing $20 from his employer's cash register, an auto mechanic is plunged into a series of increasingly disastrous circumstances which rapidly spiral out of his control.
Average rating: 3.8 stars (5 reviews)


Panic In The Streets - Elia Kazan
Not to be confused with the later (1972) version, which is copyrighted, this one is PD One night in the New Orleans slums, vicious hoodlum Blackie (Jack Palance) and his friends kill an illegal immigrant who won too much in a card game. Next morning, Dr. Clint Reed (Richard Widmark-this time not seen pushing little old ladies in wheelchairs down the stairs) of the Public Health Service confirms the dead man had pneumonic plague...
Downloads: 30,051
Average rating: 4.25 stars (6 reviews)

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