One Way Passage appears in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a pleasing presentation.
For the most part, sharpness seemed fine. Some wider shots tended to be a little soft, but those never created substantial concerns and I felt the film usually exhibited very good delineation.
No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. The movie’s opening felt a bit rough, but otherwise the film lacked print flaws.
Blacks appeared quite nice. Those tones showed solid depth, and shadows also exhibited positive clarity. Contrast gave the movie a nice silver sheen. Overall, this was a perfectly satisfactory – and often surprisingly good – image.
I felt the DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack of Passage largely matched age-related expectations. Speech tended to sound somewhat metallic and sibilant, but only occasional edginess appeared, and the lines remained perfectly intelligible.
Music came without a lot of range, but the score also seemed reasonably concise. Effects veered toward the bright side of the street, but they also remained fine given their age. Given its age, this became a more than satisfactory track.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find two shorts. We get 1933’s Buzzin’ Around (20:18) and 1932’s A Great Big Bunch of You (6:48).
Bunch offers a “Merrie Melodies” cartoon in which objects left at a trash dump come to life. It shows some cleverness but doesn’t really entertain.
More than a decade after his career derailed due to scandals, Fatty Arbuckle attempted a comeback, and Buzzin’ represents part of that effort. It also lacks a lot of comedy value, but it seems intriguing as a historical curiosity.
We also get two separate radio adaptations of Passage. Broadcast March 6, 1939, “Lux Radio Theater” (59:30) allows William Powell and Kay Francis to reprise their lead roles.
All these broadcasts tighten up the movies, usually in a negative way. However, the changes to Passage benefit the story, as they make it more coherent and focused.
Not that this means the “Lux” presentation delivers an engaging story, as the melodramatic flaws remain – and the odd ending becomes even more cloying since the actors spell it out more directly. Still, at least “Lux” adapts the tale better than the movie.
From December 30, 1949, “Screen Director’s Playhouse” (29:58) features Powell but with Peggy Dow in place of Francis. With half as much time as “Lux”, this adaptation cuts to the basics.
This means we lose more characters from the movie and focus almost entirely on the leads. It offers an interesting curiosity and nothing more.
If one expects a stirring romance from One Way Passage, one will encounter disappointment. Slow and dull, the movie lacks real emotion. The Blu-ray comes with pretty good picture and audio as well as a few bonus materials. Chalk up Passage as a boring dud.