BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
With funding provided by the Packard Humanities Institute, the members of the UCLA Film & Television Archive have worked tirelessly to restore a small black-and-white crime potboiler that was thought long lost due to the unforgiving ravages of time. The edgy film is a prophetic one as it marked the end of the whole film noir movement and predicted the rise of another crime tale – one that is more sexually charged – within the film community. It is a movie that deals with monsters – real monsters – and their affect as they savage the defenseless.
To be clear, these “monsters” are two homicidal drifters at odds with the social order around them. They emerge from the depths of the Pacific Ocean. We see two sets of footprints on the beach behind them as they climb up the cliff and cross the Pacific Coast Highway. There’s little in the way of explanation of where they came from. We don’t need it. We already know these people exist. They, in fact, appear out of nowhere.
This is the territory of Private Property. Written & directed by The Outer Limits creator Leslie Stevens, his forward-thinking movie finally sees the light of day in a brand new 1080p release – in 4K – from Cinelicious. Starring the absolutely peerless Warren Oates (Two-Lane Blacktop) and the criminally underrated Corey Allen (Rebel Without a Cause), these two hoodrats are deliciously evil as they claw their way into the unfulfilled capris of the steamy Kate Manx, a bored housewife in Beverly Hills. Her husband might be gay. There, too, is a lot of sexual tension between the two criminals at the center of this domestic thriller.
From the highway to her swimming pool, these two drifters redefine the break-in and set up camp in the vacant house next to hers. That’s how badly they want to worm their way into her life. She doesn’t help matters either. She flirts. She skinny-dips. She dances. She’s a stone cold fox about her intentions, too. And then the unthinkable happens. With an unflinching eye and a lens that voyeuristically catches everything, Stevens and cameraman Ted McCord (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) work together to create a masterpiece of b-noir terror.
Stevens was a protégé of Orson Welles. While more sexual than his teacher, the lessons he learned from Welles are certainly on display throughout Private Property. Everything is pregnant with meaning. From the opening shot of the two men crossing the PCH 101 to the epic finale around Manx’s pool, there are shades of Welles’ influence scattered everywhere in its soft-spoken approach to psychosexual subject matter. Private Property was originally shot over 10 days. You can’t tell; that’s how remarkable of a spell that it holds upon its audience.
A major rediscovery for noir and crime fans, Private Property was completely lost until UCLA Film & TV Archive recently located the only known 35mm elements, which have been restored in 4k by Cinelicious for this re-release. With this important blu-ray release, Private Property can now be shared by everyone
MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime: 98 mins
Director: Leslie Stevens
Writer: Leslie Stevens
Cast: Kate Manx, Corey Allen, Warren Oates
Genre: Crime | Drama
Tagline: And the Man Who Owned Her Didn't Even Know She Was a "TWITCH"!
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'm saving myself for when I get married."
Theatrical Distributor: Citation Films Inc.
Release Date: April 24, 1960
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: October 25, 2016
Synopsis: Duke and Boots, two young thugs, hold up a California gas-station owner. Duke, viral and savage, taunts the slower and psychologically-confused Boots because he has never made a sexual conquest. Duke offers to seduce a woman for Boots and the pair force a passing motorist to pursue a sports car driven by Ann Carlyle, the lustful wife of a insurance-company executive who has some desires of her own not being met by her husband.
Home Video Distributor: Cinelicious Pics
Available on Blu-ray - October 25, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.66:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD-25, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region A
Released by Cinelicious and restored by UCLA Film & TV Archive, Private Property’s NEW 4k scan is impeccable. The black-and-white photography is crisp and feels newly minted. Black AND gray levels are strong throughout. This is important when you consider the film’s climax is shot at night. The shadows – which also play heavily in this b-noir tale – are sharp and dynamic. They certainly add a lot of patterns and diffusion to the look of the movie. The sound – featured here in a front-loaded mono track – is appropriate for the movie.
There are not a lot, but fans will want to listen to the detailed NEW interview with Alex Singer, who was the still photographer behind the scenes and the technical consultant. There is also an essay by Don Malcom about the movie, the filmmakers, and its history. A theatrical trailer rounds out the collection.
- Interview with Still Photographer and Technical Consultant Alex Singer
- U.S. Theatrical Trailer