Long in the public domain, the superb noir The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946, HD Cinema, unrated, $16) finally gets the Blu-ray remaster it deserves.
At 112 minutes, it's a little too drawn-out, but the first-rate cast keeps the plot popping with plenty of action, eroticism and flashes of humor.
Van Heflin stars as a drifter who rolls back into his hometown, where he meets and falls for an ex-con (Scranton's Lizabeth Scott). Before he can hit the road again, he's ensnared by two old friends (Barbara Stanwyck, Kirk Douglas) who are bound together by a decades-old murder.
Stanwyck is unhappy with Douglas and does everything to lure Heflin back to her side. When that doesn't work, she imagines he might be out to blackmail her.
Gunplay, beatings and fatal tumbles down staircases are plentiful. In short, it's noir at its gritty best.
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers was only Scott's second film, but it's easy to see why the Central High School and Marywood College grad went on to appear in many more hard-boiled epics, including Dead Reckoning with Humphrey Bogart.
With her Lauren Bacall-esque looks and smoky voice, she brings gravitas and sizzle to the role of Toni Marachek. Not for nothing was Scott called The Threat.
A near-recluse, Scott, now 90, lives in Los Angeles. One of the last photos of the actress was taken in 2007 as she posed next to a poster of The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers, which remains one of the best of her two dozen or so crime thrillers .
Amy Longsdorf writes about DVD and Blu-Ray releases with local connections.