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Stuart Heisler
Ginger Rogers, Ronald Reagan, Doris Day
Writing Credits:
Daniel Fuchs, Richard Brooks

Traveling model Marsha Mitchell stops in a southern town to see her sister who has married a Ku Klux Klansman. Marsha sees the KKK commit a murder and helps District Attorney Burt Rainey in bringing the criminals to justice.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 4/25/2023

One Who Came Back Short
Bunny Hugged Short
• Trailer


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Storm Warning [Blu-Ray] (1951)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 21, 2023)

No actor ever enjoyed a more successful post-Hollywood life than Ronald Reagan. For a look at Reagan in his prime as an actor, we go to 1951’s Storm Warning.

While she travels for work, dress model Marsha Mitchell (Ginger Rogers) stops in the small southern town of Rock Point. She goes there to visit her sister Lucy Rice (Doris Day) and meet her brother-in-law Hank (Steve Cochran) for the first time.

While in Rock Point, Marsha witnesses an incident in which members of the Ku Klux Klan murder Walter Adams (Dale Van Sickel), a reporter who planned an exposé on the hate group. This leads to complications that could threaten Marsha’s safety as well.

If that synopsis leaves open the possibility Warning might feature Reagan as one of the murderous KKK members, I’ll dispose of that concept immediately. Reagan remains on the side of good here, as he plays Burt Rainey, a district attorney who goes after the killers.

Too bad. It would’ve been interesting to see Reagan play against type as a nasty bigot.

Warning came out during a period where “social commentary” films seemed in vogue. These tended to be well-meaning but pedantic and not especially compelling.

To some degree, I feel the same way about Warning, though not to an extreme. Yes, at times it feels like an “exposé” intended to reveal corruption and bigotry, and these moments can come across as semi-lectures at times.

Still, Warning usually remembers that it exists as a thriller, one in which we see the life of the heroine placed in danger – sort of. The film also becomes muddled in that regard, mainly as it pursues two connected but not totally attached narratives.

Much of Warning deals with the fallout Marsha deals with, but we also spend a lot of time with Burt’s investigation. Though these do link, they proceed along such different paths so much of the time that they don’t connect especially well.

Honestly, I wish Warning concentrated either on Marsha or on Burt but not both to the degree it does. While Marsha remains the main focal point, we get too many digressions for the story to dig into her issues as well as it should.

Despite these issues, Warning manages some intrigue, and it occasionally comes with surprises. In particular, Marsha’s decision can take a more complicated path than expected.

These offer some complexity, mainly via the way the movie shows how difficult it can be to do the right thing. Rogers offers a reasonably rich turn as the conflicted Marsha.

Nonetheless, Warning doesn’t fully work due to its inconsistent narrative and its semi-pedantic nature. While better than a lot of the era’s “social commentary” flicks – and I appreciate its surprisingly grim finale - it doesn’t quite excel.

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

Storm Warning appears in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a dated but more than adequate presentation.

Sharpness became the weakest link, as the image could feel tentative at times, partly because the photography wanted to obscure then-40-year-old Ginger Roger’s age. Overall, I couldn’t call the result razor-sharp, but it seemed perfectly watchable.

Jagged edges and moiré effects remained absent, and I saw no signs of edge haloes or artifacting. A little grain reduction might’ve occurred, but we still got a decent layer, and source flaws weren’t a factor. No print defects materialized.

Blacks were fairly deep and dark, and contrast appeared positive. The movie didn’t boast the most dynamic silver sheen, but that side of things still looked fine.

Shadows offered good clarity. No one will use this transfer as a showpiece but it was fine for its age and sources.

As for the DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack of Storm, it seemed acceptable for its age. Speech could be a little brittle, but the lines were always intelligible and reasonably warm.

Music showed decent to good range and clarity. The score displayed more than adequate vivacity.

Effects sounded decent. Outside of a couple violent sequences, this wasn’t a movie that presented much more than general ambience, so the track didn’t have much to do, but these elements were reasonably clean and distinctive.

Source problems weren’t a concern, as the mix lacked distractions. Given the limitations of the original material, I felt this was a more than adequate soundtrack.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find two vintage shorts from 1951. We get One Who Came Back (21:05) and Bunny Hugged (7:14).

Created with the cooperation of the Department of Defense, One looks at the experiences of injured military personnel in Korea. It seems surprisingly gritty and without the expected sugarcoating, even if it never becomes truly grim.

Hugged offers a Bugs Bunny cartoon in which our lead attempts pro wrestling. While not a true classic, it nonetheless works pretty well.

A mix of thriller and social commentary, Storm Warning lacks a strong, clear narrative. Nonetheless, it offers a moderately interesting view of controversial topics and fares better than a lot of its genre peers. The Blu-ray comes with generally positive picture and audio as well as minor bonus materials. Nothing here excels, but the movie comes with enough strengths to make it worth a look.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
2 3:
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