+++ Opinion +++
Whether you agree that Citizen Kane is the greatest movie of all time, or have another favorite. One thing should be clear: Orson Welles’ classic is breathtakingly well filmed. So when a renowned film scholar like David N. Meyer concedes to a production that its camera work can be compared to “Citizen Kane”, you should prick up your ears!
What’s more: Legendary director Martin Scorsese counts said film in the documentary “Journey through American Film” among his most formative viewing experiences! We’re talking about “escape without a way out”, a gem of a gangster thriller, which only celebrated its German cinema premiere 71 years ago in an abridged form. Since then, the representative of the film noir genre has unfortunately been forgotten in this country. But now he’s finally celebrating his much-delayed DVD premiere!
» “Escape with no way out” on DVD at Amazon*
The release date of “Flight Without Way Out” is May 27, 2022 – and best of all: The DVD presents the visually impressive gem in full length with an FSK release from 16 years.
Joe Sullivan (Dennis O’Keefe) has finally made it: thanks to the energetic support of his girlfriend Pat (Claire Trevor), he was able to break out of prison! Now he wants to settle an old score with his dubious friend Rick (Raymond Burr), but the law is on Joe’s heels. When the social worker Ann (Marsha Hunt) uses her charms and a devious killer gets on his trail, Joe finally doesn’t know where his head is anymore. There is one test of trust and one after the other…
“Escape without a way out” is a straightforward, tight story, which director Anthony Mann (“El Cid”) handles memorably in under 80 minutes. The filmmaker consistently demonstrates a keen sense of rough drama and never allows artificial sentimentality to develop. So the hopelessness of the characters suggested in “Flight without a way out” increases incessantly. Nevertheless, man always finds space to let off steam artistically on a visual level.
He and his cinematographer John Alton (“City of the Damned”) film the no-nonsense, tough story with a somber elegance: The camera gives rooms an unfathomable depth, which literally threatens to swallow the characters. But there is a counterbalance: the dynamic arrangement of the light sources, the backdrops and the shadows they cast develops an exorbitant, strange fascinationwhich guides the characters (and the eyes of the audience) as if by magic.
In this way, Mann and Alton simultaneously express the desolate emotional state of the precisely cast characters, as well as their hectic pace and panic, while the air literally gets thinner and thinner for them. David N. Meyer’s claim that the visual power of “Escape Without Way Out” is surpassed in the noir segment by “Citizen Kane” alone is a massive compliment – but it’s no coincidence…
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