Classic Racial Aggression.
The Masters of Cinema bring us release #191 in their series of classic cinema and what a film No Way Out is, filmed when racial tension was at its height in the USA. Writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (A Letter to Three Wives, The Barefoot Contessa, Cleopatra) takes the raw emotions and puts them on the silver screen and lays it all bare to see. A true classic film that shows the skills of the stars of this film. The dialogue in this film was offensive and racist then, never mind nowadays, so please be advised.
7:58 a call comes into the County hospital, two people have been shot by police during a gas station robbery. The ambulance races off just as new Dr Luther Brookes (Sidney Poitier, The Defiant Ones, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, They Call Me Mister Tibbs!) comes on duty. His mentor Dr. Dan Wharton (Stephen McNally, Winchester ’73) is full of admiration for the young doctor as he has just passed a test by his peers and when the prison ward on the top floor says they are an intern down, he is happy for Brookes to take the shift.
On his way up to the ward he talks to the elevator attendant Lefty Jones (Dots Johnson, The Joe Louis Story) who thinks that the examination board would have laid it on thick for the black doctor. Brookes tells lefty that it is all anonymous and that they all had numbers.
The prisoners arrive and they have both sustained gunshots to the leg, they are the Biddle brothers, small time hoods from Beaver Canal. Ray (Richard Widmark, The Alamo, The Last Wagon) is a mouthy one and when he realises that Brookes is the attendant doctor he immediately sets about the racial slurs. His brother Johny (Dick Paxton, Sky Commando) is silent and confused, which is not a symptom of a leg wound. The arresting policeman tells Brookes that he was like that before he was shot, he even ran straight into one of the gas pumps.
Ray tries to get Brookes to leave his brother alone but Brookes believes he needs to do it. With Ray shouting at him he continues, but then he finds that Johny has passed away.
Dr Wharton believes that Johny did the right thing, buy Ray is adamant that Brookes deliberately killed his brother. With a 50/50 chance of proving his theory that Johny died from a brain tumour, he needs an autopsy but the state does not automatically do an autopsy, he needs permission and he isn’t going to get it from Ray.
Watch the drama play out in this masterpiece of writing, directing and acting as we see tensions rise and accusations fly, what will a man do to prove his innocence and what will a brother do to avenge the death of his sibling?
DUAL FORMAT SPECIAL FEATURES:
• 1080p presentation of the film on Blu-ray, with a progressive encode on the DVD
• LPCM mono soundtrack (Uncompressed on the Blu-ray)
• Optional English subtitles
• Audio Commentary by film noir historian Eddie Muller
• All About Mankiewicz (103 mins) – a two part documentary on the legendary director, originally broadcast on French television in 1983
• Archival Fox Movietone Newsreels
• Original theatrical trailer
• A collector’s booklet featuring a new essay by Glenn Kenny
• Reversible Sleeve
DUAL FORMAT SPECIAL FEATURES
– 1080p presentation of the film on Blu-ray, with a progressive encode on the DVD
– LPCM mono soundtrack (Uncompressed on the Blu-ray)
– Optional English subtitles
– Audio Commentary by film noir historian Eddie Muller
– Archival Fox Movietone Newsreels
All About Mankiewicz (103 mins) a two part documentary on the legendary director, originally broadcast on French television in 1983
– Original theatrical trailer
– A collector s booklet featuring a new essay by Glenn Kenny
– Reversible Sleeve