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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Phil Rosen
Cast:
Lawrence Tierney, Anne Jeffreys, Lowell Gilmore
Writing Credits:
Stuart Palmer

Synopsis:
An ex-Marine named Johnny and a chance acquaintance named Evelyn find themselves caught up in a plot involving Nazi spies in California.

MPAA:
Rated NR.



DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 62 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 7/20/2021

Bonus:
Great Piggy Bank Robbery Animated Short
Trans-Atlantic Mystery Live-Action Short


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RELATED REVIEWS


Step By Step [Blu-Ray] (1946)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 6, 2021)

For people of my generation, Step By Step refers to either the 1990 New Kids on the Block song or the 1991 Patrick Duffy/Suzanne Somers sitcom. In 1946, however, that became the title of a noir thriller.

Evelyn Smith (Anne Jeffreys) serves as an aide to Senator Remmy (Harry Harvey). They work on a national security case out of the Senatorís Malibu beach house.

Matters take a dark turn when German spies come to the abode and perpetrate terror on Evelyn, Senator Remmy and the Senatorís colleague James Blackton (Addison Richards). When former Marine Johnny Christopher (Lawrence Tierney) rescues Anne, he becomes involved with her and complications ensue.

In 1945, Tierney and Jeffreys co-starred in Dillinger, a gangster flick based on the notorious criminal. At a mere 70 minutes, it went for slam-bang punch and lacked room for subtlety or character/narrative nuance.

Dillinger worked pretty well nonetheless, and that gave me hope Step would entertain, too. This one clocks in at an even shorter 62 minutes, so it sounds like a flick with all meat and no fluff.

Alas, Step seems like mostly fluff, as even with its abbreviated running time, it lacks much narrative heft. The film offers more of a plot concept than a real story.

We get the rudiments of a thriller, but Step doesnít fill out the plot in a meaningful way. Instead, it tends to amble from one scene of menace to another without a lot of purpose.

It doesnít help that Step lacks a real sense of tension. While we know that Johnny and Evelyn deal with constant threats, none of them feel especially impactful.

While Tierney and Jeffreys do fine as our leads, they donít connect in a meaningful manner, and we never really bond with them. We find two perfunctory roles stuck in perfunctory situations.

We do get occasional charming moments, most of which revolve around Johnnyís dog Bazooka. The pooch creates easily the most engaging character found in the film and he steals the show.

The movieís sporadic stabs at comedy work surprisingly well, too. In particular, Evelynís reaction to the need to share a motel room with Johnny amuses.

As a helpful inn owner, George Cleveland also adds life to the proceedings. His role exists to do little more than motivate some plot points, but Cleveland gives the part enough wit and likability to bring zing to the proceedings.

Unfortunately, too much of Step seems semi-aimless. Despite a promising plot and a few lively moments, the movie seems slow and dull.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C

Step By Step appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a highly satisfying presentation.

Overall sharpness worked well, with only a smidgen of softness in a couple of wider shots. Most of the film boasted fine delineation and accuracy.

Neither jaggies nor moirť effects impacted the proceedings, and the presence of light grain meant it seemed unlikely that digital noise reduction came into play. Edge haloes remained absent and I saw no print flaws.

Blacks seemed deep and rich, while contrast gave the movie a fine silvery sheen. Low-light shots brought us nice smoothness and clarity. This turned into a more than satisfactory image.

I felt the same about the high-quality DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack, as it held up nicely for its age. Music and effects didnít boast great range or punch, but both came across accurate enough and they lacked distortion or problems.

As usual for older recordings, speech came across as a little tinny, but the lines remained fairly concise and only a few spots of edginess occurred. The mix lacked hiss, noise or other problems. This turned into a more than acceptable mix for its era.

Two shorts appear on the disc. A Looney Tunes affair from 1946, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery runs seven minutes, 33 seconds.

After a head injury, Daffy imagines himself as crime fighter Duck Twacy. I tend to prefer manic Daffy over this semi-cerebral one, but we still get some decent comedy here

A live-action affair, 1932ís The Trans-Atlantic Mystery spans 21 minutes, 40 seconds and tells of murderous crooks who try to smuggle diamonds across the ocean. Iím not sure why Mystery appears here, as I canít find an obvious connection to Step and it didnít come out the same year. Still, it provides a passable little thriller.

At a mere 62 minutes, one would think Step By Step packs non-stop action. Unfortunately, it tends to sputter too much of the time, as the narrative never really kicks into gear. The Blu-ray comes with appealing picture and audio as well as minor bonus materials. Its brief running time means it doesnít ever truly lose the viewer, but Step nonetheless canít find a compelling path.

Viewer Film Ratings: -- Stars Number of Votes: 0
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