Blu News – The Big Heat

It’s just been brought to my attention that March will see the release in the UK of Fritz Lang’s stripped down, mean and moody film noir The Big Heat. The movie is coming via boutique label Indicator:

• Audio commentary by film historians Lem Dobbs, Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman
• New filmed appreciation by film historian Tony Rayns
• Martin Scorsese on The Big Heat
• Michael Mann on The Big Heat
• Isolated score
• Original theatrical trailer
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by critic Glenn Kenny
• Limited Dual Format Edition of 3,000 copies
• UK Blu-ray premiere

I wrote a piece on the movie here about a year ago and since it’s a  title I like very much I’m pleased to pass along this welcome news.

44 thoughts on “Blu News – The Big Heat

  1. G’day Colin! As a fellow Lang Lubber I already have the Twilight Time Big Heat and it’s awesome.

    Just a quick note on Lady From Shanghai, if I may. There are several blu-rays already on the market in different territories – I think two in the US – It all gets very confusing. Anyway, I imported the US Mill Creek and found the PQ not much improved over my old DVD. Not long after, Australian label Madman released it locally here, and it knocks the Mill to spots. I’d highly recommend it.

    Both it and the Aussie blu-ray of Gilda are fantastic transfers, if unfortunately bare boned – but very reasonably priced. If you’re interested, google up JB Hifi Australia, I’ve ordered stuff online off them previously and they are very trustworthy.


    • Hi, Chris, I may look into that Australian release, but I’m going to hold fire till I see what the upcoming UK version promises. I have a Euro release of Gilda, probably the same as transfer as that one you’ve got, and it’s certainly a good looking disc.


  2. Thanks for the “heads up” Colin. Indicator are a very exciting new UK imprint-I understand that they have licensed about 80 titles from Sony/Columbia to be drip fed over several years.

    What’s interesting is that Sony seem to have virtually given up on releasing classic films. We did have the Sony MOD imprint which used to issue about a dozen titles on the first Tuesday of every month. Now the series seems to have hit the buffers.

    In all honesty I think both you and your readers would rather have a Blu Ray than an MOD. Sony are also leasing films to Sidonis (wretched Forced subs,sadly) Germany’s Explosive and Eureka so there is a good chance many classic Columbia titles will finally see the light of day or receive a spiffing upgrade.
    I understand Germany’s Koch Media have also entered into a deal with Sony.

    Indicator are a very “pro active” company and welcome suggestions from vintage film fans.


    • I was slow to warm to the MOD model, though i did come to see its advantages for increasingly niche titles and I think there is still scope for more releases via that format.
      Such programs aside tho9ugh, I think the big studios have lost interest in catalogue, and particularly what can be termed deep catalogue, titles – the money to be made just doesn’t appear to be enough for them. So, for fans, the rise of the licensing arrangements and consequent flowering of the boutique label has to be seen as a good thing.


  3. Warner Bros are the only major studio that care about classic films; Universal do to an extent but their promised Blu Ray edition of WINCHESTER ’73 is way overdue. The rest are just not interested any more.


  4. RTHC readers might be interested to hear of a new
    German imprint Black Hill Pictures.
    Black Hill are offering Blu Ray’s at very competitive prices
    which is great in these days of the post Brexit falling pound.
    I have just purchased Black Hill’s LAWMAN and it’s a very nice
    transfer-in fact I would go as far as to say that it’s better than
    Twilight Times’ CHATO’S LAND Winner’s other Western.
    The Black Hill cover notes that the film is licensed from Park Circus so
    it’s an official release.
    Park Circus have taken over from Hollywood Classics who used to
    license films from the majors to everywhere except the USA
    I might note that many boutique labels are now dealing with the majors
    Interestingly Park Circus have many impressive Columbia titles on their
    books-previously Hollywood Classics had very few Columbia titles to lease.
    In fact LAWMAN can be picked up on Amazon UK for little over a fiver.

    LAWMAN is pretty good although for me it pales beside NO NAME ON THE
    BULLET which I revisited recently on the new Koch Blu Ray which is
    excellent.Audie Murphy’s mysterious killer is far more chilling than Lancaster-
    it brings to mind why John Huston called Murphy “a charming little killer”
    LAWMAN at that price certainly gets my recommendation.

    Black Hill have also released on Blu Ray Tom Gries’ 100 RIFLES-I’ve never
    seen that one…any good?
    Another film that I have never seen is Henry Hathaway’s CALL NORTHSIDE 777
    which is soon to make it’s Worldwide Blu Ray debut on Germany’s Pidax.
    Don’t know too much about Pidax except their Blu Ray of THE SHOOTIST
    was spiffing so that bodes well.

    These German imprints (especially Koch and Explosive) are generally
    very good-however I have heard very bad reports about White Pearl Classics
    which seem to be a bootleg outfit and therefore should be avoided.


    • All useful stuff to be aware of, John, thanks as always.
      I wrote a very brief piece on 100 Rifles way back when. It’s fun but nothing special overall, although there is a scene with Raquel Welch that is worth the price all by itself.
      Call Northside 777 is one of those docu-noirs that came out at that time, solid work by Hathaway, Conte and Stewart. If you like, say The House on 92nd Street, then you should enjoy this.


  5. Just as an add-on to the above I note that Park Circus
    have quiet a few of those Sam Katzman/William Castle
    Westerns on their books. These films are not everyone’s cup of tea
    but for me they have a certain cheesy appeal.
    I’d love to see fare like JESSE JAMES VS THE DALTONS,
    THE LAW VS BILLY THE KID and FORT TI on Blu Ray especially
    at around a fiver a hit.
    Speaking of recent Blu Ray releases I recently got Explosive’s
    BREAKOUT for me one of Bronson’s top pictures.
    The transfer is excellent and well recommended-some great comic
    touches among the mayhem and surprise- surprise Charlie does not
    shoot anyone this time around.
    I can also recommend the aforementioned THE NEW CENTURIONS
    a great 70’s cop thriller. Very downbeat and with many themes that
    seem torn from today’s headlines. I got the Carlotta France version
    and it’s a super transfer and am sure the Indicator release will be
    from the same high def master.


  6. I just back tracked onto your (2016) LAWMAN debate which
    had a record number of responses.
    At that time I had not seen the film since it’s initial release,
    and it has more or less stood the test of time now having viewed the
    Black Hill Blu Ray.
    It’s interesting that you,in your essay, mention Winner’s over use of zoom,which
    in some ways dates the movie;in fact it annoyed Brit critic Phil Hardy
    so much that he dubbed Winner “the king of zoom”
    I spoke to Nick Beal recently and he mentioned that Lancaster in the
    film,was of course, a Puritan-but I added would a Puritan have bedded Sheree
    North? Nick added even Puritans have their limits especially when it comes
    to Sheree North.-I agreed.
    Which got me thinking to how good Sheree was as a character actress in the 70’s
    especially. .Siegel used Sheree lots of times to good advantage.
    In the aforementioned reference to NO NAME ON THE BULLET
    it’s interesting that both Murphy and Lancaster sit calmly drinking coffee
    while the townsfolk get increasingly paranoid.
    Another 70’s Western that I revisited recently was Signal One’s
    Again this film has stood the test of time and again it’s another one
    that I have not seen since it’s initial release. The Signal One transfer
    is excellent and well recommended.


    • Yes, that post on Lawman proved to be quite popular, didn’t it?
      I’m pleased you added your thoughts on The Culpepper Cattle Company as I was curious about it, but 70s westerns can be a very hit and miss affair.


  7. More ‘miss’ than ‘hit’ from my own experience back in the day. I have felt the need to revisit very few of them personally. There are exceptions of course and I think ‘LAWMAN’ is one of them.

    Gotta admit I somehow missed going to see ‘THE CULPEPPER CC’.

    Add my name to the list that would appreciate a Katzman reissue series.


    • This why it’s good to have a variety of voices chipping in with opinions and so on – there’s always material that manages to fly under someone’s radar. 🙂


  8. Colin-I feel you are going to be really impressed with “Culpepper” The Signal One transfer is excellent-for further proof please refer to the DVD Beaver review. Sure there is violence and mean spiritedness-RED RIVER and RAWHIDE it ain’t. The gore and violence is brilliantly juxtaposed in the final chapters when the cowboys have to confront an enemy who is even more psychotic than they are-their final camaraderie, is in fact quiet moving. Great bit for the always wonderful Royal Dano which is in fact
    a nod to the 50’s perhaps. Culpepper has a brilliant roster of 70’s character actors. The production design of those frontier shanty towns is inspired to say the least.

    I feel, possibly wrongly, that the 70’s was the last great “classical” era. There were many great Westerns made during the decade. Sure, there were some dreadful stinkers especially Euro drek like CAPTAIN APACHE and A TOWN CALLED BASTARD. For shame, both had American directors. The domestic output was generally of a very high standard. Misfires like THE DEADLY TRACKERS and THE HUNTING PARTY had potential but were undone by excessive violence and bad casting. The then fashionable re-emergence of the pro Native American cycle produced some fine films like TELL THEM WILLIE BOY IS
    HERE and LITTLE BIG MAN and to a certain extent CHATO’S LAND.
    Then again films like THE DESERTER flew in the face of all this, (THE DESERTER has never even had a DVD release and is worth a look for the cast alone.)
    Eastwood gave us three excellent films:JOE KIDD,HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER and the classic OUTLAW JOSEY WALES. Siegel gave us THE SHOOTIST and there were other very fine entries like THE GREAT NORTHFIELD MINNESOTA RAID, CATTLE ANNIE & LITTLE BRITCHES,ULZANA’S RAID the flawed but interesting VALDEZ IS COMING. Wayne’s CHISUM is an excellent “old fashioned” Western. I need to revisit PAT GARRET & BILLY THE KID which I have not seen since 1973-I’m sure a Blu Ray edition will be forthcoming soon-the same goes for Kirk Douglas’ POSSE another I have not seen since it’s initial release. There are sure to be 70’s Westerns that I have overlooked and certainly the genre was nowhere as active as in the Fifties but I for one would not write off many outstanding 70’s entries.


    • I’ve seen nearly all of those, John, and I think you’re right to rate them as you do. I’ve written up a few of them in the past – Garrett, Northfield and Chisum for sure. I would have to differ on Northfield though as that one really didn’t work for me.


  9. Just thought I’d note that the artwork for Explosive Media’s forthcoming Blu Ray’s of PONY SOLDIER,THE BRAVADOS and RIO CONCHOS is up on Amazon de. and very nice it looks too. I’m told that RIO CONCHOS is from a brand new 4K restoration and looks sensational.
    For me,RIO CONCHOS was one of the very best 60’s Westerns.


  10. Without sounding like a twit, is Blu-ray that big a dif over dvd? I have never seen a blue-ray myself. No laughter please. Just never bothered as I a have hundreds of dvd-r discs with old 50’s tv episodes. I bought a collection off a man in Texas who worked for 40 years at the same tv station. He kept everything the station threw out. His son put it on dvdr and I scored a big bundle of the stuff.


    • Actually, I think that’s a very good question, Gordon, and one which it’s hard to find a definitive answer for.
      I feel you have to take a number of factors into account.
      Firstly, you have to think of the condition of the elements you’re working with. If these are pristine, or been restored to such a state, then the potential is there to produce something which will look very attractive. With proper authoring and encoding the results can be even more stunning, and this is most noticeable where a film which has only ever been seen in severely compromised form is involved. For example, the difference in how The Quiet Man looked in its earliest incarnations on DVD and how it looks now on the UK Blu-ray is huge.

      Secondly, the way you display or watch your material is going to play a big part in how much improvement you perceive. In short, size matters. The bigger the display (projecting films would be the real deal breaker), the more you’ll see the difference. And of course the opposite is also true – a smaller setup will not make the difference so apparent.

      And then there’s the audio aspect. If you’re an audiophile (I’m not) the lossless reproduction on Blu-ray will be something else to consider.

      Ultimately though, I feel it all boils down to the individual. How each one of us enjoys our movies or shows is down to us. Some want to project big and benefit from the best available presentation, others are satisfied with lower resolutions as suits their circumstances or maybe just gives them what they want from the medium. Still others will be somewhere in the middle, and probably vacillate a little between the two positions.
      I suppose that for me there is no “right answer” here – all that really matters is whether you feel satisfied with what you’re seeing. In the end, it comes down to enjoying the movies and shows and the only thing to concern ourselves with is how much pleasure we’re getting from them. For some Blu-ray will enhance that pleasure and for others it won’t – either way, it’s all good.


      • Thanks Colin
        The old tv stuff is in that off vhs put of dvd type area. Picture quality is lacking in some but watchable for me. I love the old stuff nobody else seems to have. Even the old adverts are on most. I’ll hold off till I need a blu ray before spending any cash.



        • A lot of the stuff you’re talking about here is very much niche material, and Blu-ray is far more expensive to produce than DVD ever was so the market has to be there for it to be worthwhile. I’m not one to think everything has to be on Blu – some material deserves to be and has the potential to be worth it financially and be in a form that is viable to transfer to high definition. But there are plenty of things that do not need to be on Blu-ray and I’m fine with that.


  11. Just as an add on to the above two recent films reviewed on
    DVD Beaver demonstrate the difference.
    The screen grabs from the forthcoming 23 PACES TO BAKER STREET
    demonstrate not only the superior image on the Blu Ray but also the
    information lost on the 4×3 version.
    Another example is the recent Blu Ray of BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK
    which I do have.
    I can back up DVD Beaver’s review the Blu Ray is an exceptional
    DVD Beaver is a good source on deciding if it’s worth going for the upgrade.


  12. Pingback: The 2017 Selection Pt.4 – the ghost of 82

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.