Plot: What’s it about?
Nick Condon (James Cagney) works in Tokyo as a newspaper reporter, but it seems like of late, the news has been under strict control. The Japanese Imperialist government has become very pushy when it comes to their wishes, including the news and other public information sources. If they can control the information flow, then they can control people’s thoughts and that is just what they want to achieve. But Condon is sick and tired of this kind of behavior and soon enough, he refuses to print false news and reports, often laced with intense anti-democratic sentiment. He has some good contacts and as such, can get very useful information and this scares the government, more than a little to be sure. He is soon taken hostage by agents to be questions, but they also plan to make sure he never disagrees with them, if you know what I mean…
This film has seen a few other releases on DVD, but rest assured, this edition from Image Entertainment is the one to own. The image offers a slight improvement over the others, while audio is cleaner as well, but more on the disc later. The film is an obvious propaganda flick, but it is well made and has some great moments, so it has remained acclaimed over the years. Of course, some folks might find the whole anti-Japanese sentiment offensive in modern times, but this was made in a different era, so no one should be upset by any means. The finger points toward Japan’s system of rule also, as opposed to their race or creed, which keeps it all well in perspective, I think. James Cagney gives a good tough guy turn and is backed up by such names as Porter Hall, Sylvia Sidney, and John Emery, who are solid as well. In the end, Blood on the Sun is a well made drama that withstood time quite well and as such, I am giving it a strong recommendation.
As he often did, James Cagney plays a tough guy in Blood on the Sun and as usual, he fills the shoes very well. I don’t think much of his acting in the traditional sense, but he does turn in a good performance here, to be sure. His skills were limited to certain roles if you ask me, but since this role fell into that section, it all worked out well enough. He scowls, growls, intimidates, and of course, he even decides to kick a little butt in the process. As I said, this isn’t high art by any means, but Cagney was good at this kind of character, so he was a wise choice indeed. You can also see Cagney in such films as Angels with Dirty Faces, The Gallant Hours, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and The Strawberry Blonde. The cast also includes Sylvia Sidney (Madame Butterfly, Sabotage), John Emery (Kronos, Spellbound), and Porter Hall (Vice Squad, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington).
Video: How does it look?
Blood on the Sun is presented in a full frame transfer, as intended. The image shows some marks and wear signs, but is much cleaner than you might expect. The print looks clean and while grain and some debris are present, it amounts to very little, given the film’s age. The black & white image is sharp also, which means a lot of visible detail and well balanced contrast throughout. This is the best I’ve seen the film look on home video, so fans will want to make sure this is the edition they pick up, as it looks fantastic.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio elements have some age signs present, but on the whole, this is a more than adequate presentation. I did hear some harsh moments, a tad bit of distortion, and a little hiss at times, but not much and given the film’s age, this is expected, to a degree. The dialogue remains clean and never hard to understand, which is about all I was expecting here. I suppose some restoration work would be welcome, but fans should be pleased with this treatment, I think.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.