James Cagney plays a hard-boiled newspaper editor in pre-WWII Tokyo. He gets wind ofa Japanese baron’s plans for world conquest, and risks his life (with the help of Chinese-American spy Sylvia Sidney) to expose the dastardly plot. We even get some early martial artsaction with Cagney jodo-chopping his way through men twice his (diminuitive) size. Be aware,though, that the film was made in 1945 and shows it, with all but one of the Japanese charactersportrayed as unidimensi…nal, scheming monsters with funny accents. A further note: this editionruns 89 minutes, not the stated 94.
There are two lies on the DVD’s case. The first is the claim that the sound is 2.0 surround.Not that I could detect, it isn’t. All I got from the rear speakers was the sound of silence. The filmwas originally made in mono, however, so a remix isn’t necessary (and is often inadvisable). Thebackground hiss is quite noticeable, however.
The picture is grainy. It is soft. There is some edge enhancement visible. The print suffersfrom some damage (principally a line running vertically down the screen). All of this can beforgiven to a certain degree, given the film’s age. But what is unforgivable is the case’s secondlie. We are told that the film is in black and white. In fact, it is COLOURIZED!!! The result is atotal desecration of the photography, the atmosphere utterly destroyed by a hideous palette whereall backgrounds and skin are yellow, all suits are either blue or brown, and the reds are an uglysmear. Meanwhile, dissolves and backgrounds seen through windows remain black and white.Absolutely appalling.
Colourization was always a nasty thing, but I thought it had been left behind in the dark agesof home video, rarely showing up even on buck-ninety-nine EP tapes remaindered at Wal-Mart.There is simply no reason to be subjected to that process on DVD.