Release Date(s)1956 (July 10, 2018)
Studio(s)Republic Pictures (Kino Lorber Studio Classics)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: C
In the past few years, Kino Lorber Studio Classics has been releasing a lot of obscure, lesser known film noir and crime drama films on Blu-ray from major studios, many of which had not been released on home video before, at least domestically. Fans of these genres have been treated to some stunning high definition releases from the MGM vaults, including Hidden Fear, He Ran All the Way, Cover Up, Witness to Murder, Shield for Murder, and Storm Fear. A Strange Adventure, originally released by Republic Pictures, is a similar film that has finally been given the light of day on Blu-ray.
A Strange Adventure (aka White Nightmare) is the story of three thieves that take refuge after robbing an armored car. With the help of hot rod driver Harold (Ben Cooper), the three criminals, Al (Jan Merlin), Phil (Nick Adams), and Carl Johnson (Paul Smith), plan a getaway by hiding out in a snowed-in mountain cabin that was thought to be abandoned. When they reach the cabin, they quickly realize, to their chagrin, that they are not alone. Confronted by Luther (Peter Miller) and his sister Terry (Joan Evans), they are taken hostage for the winter.
While more of a thriller and not 100% film noir, A Strange Adventure is (for being low budget) a good, gritty movie. It has solid performances, including talented cult actor Nick Adams (in his pre-Godzilla days) and Marla English (The She-Creature herself!). Jan Merlin is incredibly brutal as the main heavy with his shoot first, ask later mentality. The film is also well-paced, which should come as no surprise as director William Whitney is no stranger to action or suspense, having co-directed some of the better, more action-packed serials Daredevils of the Red Circle and The Adventures of Captain Marvel. During its 70-minute running time, A Strange Adventure has some suspenseful moments, but there’s nothing “strange” about it at all.
Kino Lorber has done a fine job of bringing the film to Blu-ray for the first time. Presented in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio via a 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative, it looks remarkably good, with excellent contrast and balanced grayscale. It’s clear and textured all the way through, with obvious film grain and minimal print damage. Both the scenery and the characters have deep textures and excellent detail. A few scenes are a bit blurry, but nothing that would ruin the viewing experience. In regards to the audio, the English 2.0 DTS-HD track is more than serviceable. Dialogue is rich, with action sounds, such as gun shots and car chases, sounding a bit more aggressive. Unfortunately, there are no subtitle options.
For the supplements, there’s an audio commentary by film historians Toby Roan and Jay Dee Whitney, discussing the film, the cast, and stories about the making of the film. Other supplements include a selection of trailers for other Kino Lorber Studio Classic releases: The Woman in the Window, A Bullet for Joey, Daisy Kenyon, 99 River Street, and Cry of the City.
A Strange Adventure is still an entertaining movie and this Blu-ray release offers up a nice package with good image quality and an entertaining audio commentary track. Recommended!
- David Steigman