The Big Clock appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not a poor image, the transfer came with issues.
Sharpness mainly came across well, with images that largely appeared accurate and well-defined. A few slightly ill-defined elements materialized, but most of the movie showed nice accuracy.
Clock lacked moiré effects or jagged edges, and edge haloes also remained absent. The presence of grain implied that the image didn’t suffer from notable digital noise reduction.
Blacks looked taut and dense, while low-light shots demonstrated appropriate smoothness and clarity. Contrast also appeared well-developed, as the black and white photography showed the expected silvery sheen.
Clock lost nearly all its points from the condition of the print. Throughout the film, we got quite a few lines, specks and nicks.
The rest of the image worked fine, but the presence of so many source defects dropped my rating to a “C-”. A cleaned-up Clock would’ve earned high marks, but this one simply came with too many issues.
I thought the movie’s PCM monaural soundtrack seemed dated but adequate. In terms of dialogue, the lines remained intelligible and offered reasonable clarity.
Neither music nor effects boasted much range or dimensionality, but both appeared clean and accurate enough, without distortion or problems. The track came with some light background noise. This mix felt acceptable for its vintage.
A few extras appear here, and these start with an audio commentary from film scholar Adrian Martin. He presents a running, screen-specific look at the source novel and its adaptation, story/character areas, director John Farrow's style and production choices, cast and crew, music, and related areas.
Martin covers the film in a largely satisfying manner, especially in regard to interpretation and changes from the novel. He mixes that side of the discussion with enough nuts and bolts to make this a winning piece.
From 1948, a Lux Radio Theatre version of Clock runs 59 minutes, 28 seconds. It brings back Ray Milland and Maureen O’Sullivan in their movie roles, and it uses future TV star William Conrad in the Charles Laughton part.
The radio Clock seems entertaining enough, though the acting varies. Milland emotes too much, but Conrad fills in well for Laughton. This becomes a fun addition to the disc.
Two featurettes follow, and Turning Back the Clock fills 23 minutes, one second and provides analysis from film critic Adrian Wootton. He covers the book’s move to the screen, story and characters, the movie’s tone and related elements. Though he repeats some of Martin’s material, this still becomes a fairly good piece of introspection.
A Difficult Actor goes for 17 minutes, 31 seconds and features actor/writer/director Simon Callow. He discusses actor Charles Laughton, with an emphasis on his work in Clock. Callow delivers a mix of useful notes.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get an Image Gallery. It presents two areas: “Posters and Press” (21 frames) and “Production Stills” (113). Both offer useful elements.
A thoroughly entertaining film noir, The Big Clock fires on all cylinder. With a clever story, fun twists and a great cast, this one becomes a total pleasure. The Blu-ray comes with mediocre picture and audio as well as a nice collection of bonus materials. While the presentation of the film comes with some issues, I still recommend Clock just because the movie itself offers such fine entertainment.