A first rate print of a fine melodrama which combines outstanding performances with a moving and sophisticated plot that must have been quite daring in its day. At 95 minutes the film never out stays its welcome and Gary Cooper in a lead role (which he personally thought didn't suit him) actually gives one of the best performances of his career. He is ably supported by Geraldine Fitzgerald and Diane (Peyton Place) Varsi who suffered a nervous breakdown during the filming of this, one of the few movies she made before "retiring" to enjoy family life. The transfer preserves the ratio of the original and there is both good definition and black levels. Interestingly the DVD retains the original stereophonic soundtrack of the CinemaScope print and is impressive without being flamboyant or intrusive. A thoroughly recommended rarity!
This story of a good man brought down by his political enemies and an ambitious wife is very intelligently handled. Gary Cooper is just right as the central character, who is able to briefly escape his troubles with the beautiful Suzy Parker, playing a woman young enough to be his daughter. The whole cast are wonderful, and the film is very involving. The only reason I haven't given it five stars is that there is no sense of period at all. The story is set during the Second World War, but the clothes (very stylish indeed) are pure late-Fifties. The 'aspect' of the film is 'letterbox', but that was fine on my screen, and I didn't have to use the expand button to make it watchable. As a sad footnote to the movie, Gary Cooper died a few years after making the film.
on 13 May 2014
Would some kind source (Simply Media or the first actual DVD Reviewer) please advise the ratio of the DVD as well as the quality?
The rating is for the actual film.
Eric GLASBY Australia
UPDATE: 29TH MAY, 2014
TEN NORTH FREDERICK arrived today from AMAZON, and the excellent quality of the officially sanctioned FOX DVD release is certainly a very long overdue and welcome presentation in 16x9 Anamorphic CinemaScope, with original Stereophonic sound, which highlights the beauty of the original Joe MacDONALD Black and White photography, as well as the Leigh HARLINE music score.
The top-quality acting performance of the entire cast is significant to the dramatics of the story, which was taken from John O'HARA' own novel which is credited by many as being the best of his written output.
Philip DUNNE, the Screenplay writer and Director of the film discusses the production in his excellent Autobiography of 1980, TAKE TWO - A LIFE IN MOVIES AND POLITICS - which was updated with several further chapters during 1992 - wherein he advises that the original idea was that the production was to be photographed in color in order to showcase the architecture, costumes and extravagances of the period of the original story. This was vetoed by the then Production Head, Buddy ADLER, who ruled that Black and White film had to be used, as well as the cancellation of several pertinent location areas for photography.
Furthermore, due to the "timidity" of the Production Head, several key dialogue cuts were also ordered, tho the high quality of all concerned in the final release print, is obvious.
Spencer TRACY was originally signed to play the lead but withdrew because he refused to work with Suzy PARKER, who thankfully, did appear in the film with Gary COOPER, who replaced Mr Tracy. Their screen rapport together in the film is both very natural and moving, and adds greatly to the later sequences of the film.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for viewers, noting that Diane VARSI, Geraldine FITZGERALD, Ray STRICKLYN and Tom TULLY, among others as stated, are wonderful support to Mr Cooper. Not forgetting the great actor Stuart WHITMAN - Born First February, 1928 - who is presently the only living member of the cast, and who gave a nice performance in the film, particularly "playing" the trumpet to the old standard "Sweet and Lovely", which sadly, is not included on the American INTRADA CD Soundtrack, recently released.
As also mentioned, this is an "official" Studio release "DISTRIBUTED BY HOLLYWOOD CLASSICS LTD ON BEHALF OF TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT LLC AND MADE AVAILABLE IN THE UK EXCLUSIVELY THROUGH SIMPLY-MEDIA LTD".
And I would like to thank the kind reviewer who led me back to one of my all-time favourite films, now available in its correct presentation.
It is sad that the home Studio, 20th Century Fox, cannot lavish the same stellar treatment on more of its Fifties and Sixties Widescreen library catalogue, instead of releasing the dreadful American ARCHIVE COLLECTION DVD-R's many of which appear to be economically produced from Video-Age 4v3 "Formatted" print-downs, which Collectors and other do not appreciate.
on 26 June 2014
I first enjoyed this in the cinema in 1958 and Channel 4 has screened it but that was many years ago so I'm so glad this enjoyable drama has finally appeared on DVD. It's a nice clear CinemaScope, anamorphic black and white print so thank you Simply Media for that. It has an interesting storyline about an honest man who considers himself a failure but....... With many attractive actors giving good performances. Nice to see Diane Varsi, Ray Stricklyn and Suzy Parker (providing the romantic interest for Gary Cooper.) A strong performance from Geraldine Fitzgerald and it's always good to see Stuart Whitman. One of Gary Cooper's last appearances. I can recommend it wholeheartedly.