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Raw Deal [1948] [DVD]

4.0 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt
  • Directors: Anthony Mann
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Cornerstone Media
  • DVD Release Date: 30 April 2007
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LSBNN4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,994 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Joe Sullivan is itching to get out of prison. He's taken the rap for Rick, who owes him $50 Grand. Rick sets up an escape for Joe, knowing that Joe will be caught escaping and be shot or locked away forever. But with the help of his love-struck girl Pat and his sympathetic legal caseworker Ann, Joe gets further than he's supposed to, and we are posed with two very important questions: Is Joe really the cold and heartless criminal he appears to be, or is there a heart of gold under that gritty exterior? And does Joe belong with the tough, street-wise Pat, or with the prim, moralizing Ann?

Customer Reviews

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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Joe Sullivan ( Dennis O'Keefe ), with the help of his girlfriend Pat ( Claire Trevor ) breaks out of jail to collect $ 50 , 000 owed to him by gang boss Ricky Coyle ( Raymond Burr ) . Ricky's also the guy who helped put Joe behind bars to save his own skin. A twist on the usual escaped convict on the run film, is that he is accompanied by, not one, but two beautiful women ; one good ( Marsha Hunt ), one bad ( Claire Trevor ). This love triangle shapes his battling conscience ; O'Keefe gives the impression that he is more in love with Hunt's character but cannot contemplate handing himself over to the authorities ( as she would like ) and so sticks with his moll.

The brilliant direction and beautiful John Alton cinematography lifts this neat little film noir above the normal crime thriller. Superbly directed by Anthony Mann, each scene has been intelligently and meticulously planned and framed. There are so many memorable scenes which deserve repeated viewings. The highly atmospheric woodland scene is particularly effective, with the early morning misty light streaming through the trees beautifully.

At first I felt that perhaps Raymond Burr was under-used in his role as the sleazy, sadistic, pyromaniac gangster who has helped in O'Keefe's escape , ( in the hope that he is killed by either the prison guards or the state police before reaching him to claim the money he is owed ). I have now come to the conclusion that Burr's limited time on screen adds to his menacing bulk , his massive frame filling each scene with a claustrophobic brooding evil threat.

This movie is violent, brutal and depressing ; the overall oppressive gloom is made even eerier by Claire Trevor's spacey narration and the haunting sound of the theremin.

A word of warning though, if you do buy this DVD please do not read the blurb on the back cover, as it is basically a blow-by-blow account of the whole story, including the ending !
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The film has a fair bit going for it - a director with flair, a great black and white cameraman, and a solid cast. In the DVD form delivered here by Orbit Media it burns on re-entry. Not that the print from which is was transferred is badly affected by scratches or the sound is bad - it's good - the problem is that the print is dirty and it has been transferred using nasty pan-and-scan, so that the image, especially in wider shots, shows the lines, as if you were watching it through gauze or a fine venetian blind. It is a travesty. If the film were something from the top shelf, you'd feel even angrier. As it is, Anthony Mann was still finding his way as a director and the story is straight 'B' picture stuff. It's just you'd like to be able to enjoy John Alton's moody, memorable camerawork.
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Format: DVD
"We drove all night through the quiet hills," Pat Cameron tells us. "Joe hadn't said a word. I knew or thought I knew what was going on inside him. She was getting under his skin. Once I tried to talk to him but he told me to shut up. Deep down I guess I have no real beef about what I know is happening. Watching him, one thing keeps ringing inside of me. He's never really told me he loved me."

Pat Cameron (Claire Trevor) has just helped Joe Sullivan (Dennis O'Keefe) break out of the California State Penitentiary. They're on the road to the small coastal town of Crescent City where Sullivan will pick up $50,000 from Rick Coyle (Raymond Burr), a gangster who likes hurting people and playing with fire. The 50 grand is Sullivan's cut from a robbery where he took the fall for Coyle. What he doesn't know is that Coyle has no intention of giving Sullivan a dime, only a bullet in the stomach. Along the way and much to Pat's unease, Sullivan grabbed Ann Martin (Marsha Hunt), a young woman who worked on his legal case, from her apartment. As the hours wear on, Sullivan is drawn to Martin. Pat, who has without reservation given her love to Sullivan, can only watch. Sullivan is a hard case, but shows signs of the decent kid he once was. When he discovers that Coyle has sent a henchman, Fantail (John Ireland), to Crescent City to kill him, he resolves to take out Coyle whatever the cost. Unknown to him, however, Coyle has managed to capture Ann. With a phone call intended for Joe and a lie, Pat finds herself in a position to see her and Joe escape on a ship leaving the U.S. She also begins to recognize how much Joe is willing to sacrifice for herself and for Ann.

They're in their ship's cabin, and Joe has said he wants Pat and him to get married.
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Raw Deal is a splendid, tough and inexplicably underrated film noir. I'd never heard of it until it turned up on Amazon but I decided to take a gamble and order it. I'm glad I did. It's a terrific film. I love its unpretentiousness, every scene is crafted beautifully and yet there's no sense of self-indulgence either in the direction or the excellent cinematography. The whole cast is excellent, Dennis O'Keefe makes no attempt to give his character any discernable redeeming features yet manages to keep us interested in his fate. It's especially good to see Raymond Burr in his wild years before he became tamed by TV via Perry Mason and Ironside. I don't understand the criticism of Marsha Hunt made elsewhere in these reviews, for me her performances captures vividly a nice but impressionable young woman's journey from total certainty about the world into a state of confusion all because of a sexual attraction she doesn't even understand. But if that all sounds a bit high-falutin' for a gritty, tough crime movie, don't worry. The psychological aspects don't weigh the story down at all. The film rattles along at such a good pace you can just sit back and enjoy what is a jailbreak/road/revenge/gangster/love triangle movie all rolled up in around 80 mins. Fantastic value. I wish contemporary film makers could be this economical with our time.
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