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Joe Collins (Burt Lancaster) is one of a number of convicts squeezed into cell R17 intent on staging a prison break. Not only does he need to return to the side of his cancer-ridden wife (Ann Blyth), he also wants to escape the clutches of sadistic warden Captain Munsey (Hume Cronyn) who enjoys a reign of terror over the inmates.


The black and white image here is gritty and full of solid textures and a lot of good detail that reaches out well beyond the film’s late forties routes. Blacks aren't particularly deep all the time but it doesn't stop the black and white image from looking pretty striking at times. There’s the occasional bit of flicker and wobble to the frame but it’s minimal and the age of the film isn’t all that apparent beyond a fairly frequent bits of damage and dirt popping up here and there.

The strong sharp edges here really do impress. The textures in uniforms and rain soaked clothing looks fantastic at times, wrinkles and stubble also look very good and beyond the odd portions of softness, which seems mostly down to age or cuts between scenes, this is a great HD overhaul  that enhances mostly everything.


With a big in your face brooding score like what’s on offer in Brute Force, it’s good news that there’s a strong audio presentation. The uncompressed Original mono 1.0 audio track has a smallness to it and it holds everything back from fully encompassing but it still comes with a fair bit of whack and even manages to layer the sound of rain with a good bit of subtle depth in the opening scenes. Dialogue is consistently clear and never hissy, as is sometimes the case with these older films and even in the louder moments it manages to hold up and keeps a fairly layered audio effect without getting muffled or lost in the crowd.


‘Burt Lancaster The Film Noir Years’ (38:36 HD) starts in the early years of the Hollywood legend and formative years as a circus performer. It goes through his social awareness and outspokenness towards government policies as well his attitude towards Hollywood and his star power and career choices.

Next up is a trailer and a gallery and that’s where the extras on this release stop.


Brute Force is a great prison drama. Lancaster is broody and quite frankly, cool and a young Hume Cronyn does the corrupt prison warden thing to great effect, offering up a great bad guy to the piece. The Blu-ray proves to be a great HD split and polish with noticeable enhancements in the video and audio presentation and the one really meaty extra is an easy watch and really delivers a nice coverage of Lancaster’s life and career.
 Brute Force
 Brute Force
 Brute Force
 Brute Force
 Brute Force
 Brute Force