Blu-Ray Review: Tales From the Urban Jungle

A view of New York

During the 1940s, Jules Dassin was somewhat of an underrated powerhouse within Hollywood. However, like so many he fell foul of the blacklist which decimated the US entertainment industry at the beginning of the Cold War. Barred from fully completing post-production on Night and the City, he had no option but to flee to Europe. That is where he made his most influential film (Rififi) and continued to work, before temporarily returning to his homeland. Arrow bring together two of his best, beautifully restored, in Tales From the Urban Jungle.

Brute Force       

Collins (Burt Lancaster) has got the escape fever and will do anything to make it happen. Whilst fellow inmate Gallagher’s (Charles Bickford) dreams of parole come to a grinding halt thanks to the increasingly malignant actions of Captain Munsey (Hume Cronyn). When they can take no more, they hatch a cunning plan. Brute Force is a powerful and muscular prison drama featuring a raft of great performances.

The Naked City

A woman is killed by a pair of men on a hot New York City night. The experienced Detective Lieutenant Muldoon (Barry Fitzgerald) of the Homicide department is on the case and is joined by the eager young Jimmy Halloran (Don Taylor). As they methodically follow-up all the leads, they’re struggling to make a breakthrough. Until one of the suspects makes a careless mistake. The Naked City is a pulpy and tempestuous crime drama and also a love letter to the Big Apple.  

Limited edition contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of new 4K restorations of both films
  • Original uncompressed mono 1.0 audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for both films
  • Illustrated booklet featuring writing on the films by Alastair Philips, Barry Salt, Sergio Angelini, Andrew Graves, Richard Brooks and Frank Krutnik
  • Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sister Hyde

Disc one: Brute Force

  • Brand new commentary by historian and critic Josh Nelson
  • Nothing’s Okay, a brand new visual essay by film historians David Cairns & Fiona Watson
  • Josh Olson: Brute Force, a personal appreciation by the Academy Award winning screenwriter of A History of Violence
  • Burt Lancaster: The Film Noir Years, an in-depth look at Burt Lancaster’s early career by Kate Buford, author of Burt Lancaster: An American Life
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Image Gallery

Disc two: The Naked City

  • Naked City Radio, a unique new audio commentary by historian and critic David Cairns featuring actors Steven McNicoll and Francesca Dymond
  • The Pulse of the City, a brand new visual essay by historian and critic Eloise Ross
  • New York and The Naked City, a personalised history of NYC on the big screen by critic Amy Taubin
  • The Hollywood Ten, a 1950 documentary short on the ten filmmakers blacklisted from Hollywood for their refusal to name names before the House Un-American Activities Committee, including The Naked City’s screenwriter Albert Maltz
  • Gallery of production stills by photojournalist Weegee
  • Theatrical Trailer 

Tales from the Urban Jungle is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Academy on 12 April.

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