711 Ocean Drive Blu-ray Review


Oceanside Gamblin’

With the final seconds of 711 Ocean Drive, a man makes “an innocent $2 bet,” this before a booming voice turns that bet into part of an $8 billion dollar criminal enterprise. The final on-screen text then thanks the government for support in making this movie. It’s a bit dramatic.

Purely part of the production code era, 711 Ocean Drive spins a crime yarn about an innocent man who chooses the easy way out. Mal Granger (Edmond O’Brien) struggles to make ends meet in the private sector, so he works his way up in the gambling racket using new tech (like miniature voice recorders). It’s snazzy. Even though clear cut and never challenging, Granger’s ascension from techie to crime lord is enthralling.

That makes the moral stance impossible to miss. Granger finds the initial lure of $150 a week working under a Los Angeles bookie a goldmine; soon he’s in for millions. Then blood. Granger’s transformation happens in a calculated way, empathy a slow leak as he takes over for monetary gain.

Part of 711 Ocean Drive sounds pulled from the late ‘30s. The police rig up a “Gangster Squad” to trace the gambling rackets, a name more akin to tearing down Chicago mobsters for firing tommy guns. Sedentary cinematography looks older than 1950 too.

This isn’t a film afraid to make its point through sweaty close-ups and face-to-face tensions

This story though isn’t out of place, a call to the post-WWII audience to behave. The government is watching, after all. By censorship rule, Granger cannot get away. He ends up part of a lavish finale at the Hoover dam, wandering its guts with only the sounds of footsteps and droning generators filling the soundtrack. It’s eerie and lonesome, portraying Granger’s slow isolation from friends and confidants in a clever, effective way. In terms of filmmaking, this is 711 Ocean Drive’s at its most theatrical – well above the routine, workmanlike effort prior – with viewpoint images of extensive stairways and uncomfortable height.

Not to say 711 Ocean Drive is narrative tedium. It’s fixated on underworld personalities, making this west coast location look positively seedy. This isn’t a film afraid to make its point (the ludicrous final seconds aside) through sweaty close-ups and face-to-face tensions. Drama works here, turning audiences away from supporting the every man working stiff to a detestable protagonist. That’s gutsy. With that comes enough zest, style, and pacing, even a femme fatale too. 711 Ocean Drive hits the needed story beats before scolding everyone who drops a few bucks on the Super Bowl every year.

Video

When 711 Ocean Drive is at its visual peak, it ranks among some of the elite in terms of vintage transfers. A little compressed by way of including two other films on the same disc, but acceptably so with little hindrance to detail. Definition and sharpness rate extensively high, with natural, high-resolution images behind a precise grain. Fidelity pulls out the smallest textural details on leisure suits, environments, and faces.

Unfortunately, this transfer looks pulled from different sources. A few sections show significant degradation of fidelity, and that’s not optical dissolves. Those can’t be changed. Rather, this is long-running sequences that show occasionally hefty damage with DVD-esque levels of fidelity. It’s such a shame. It’s possible this comes from best available elements, but this is so close to perfect.

Gray scale displays a wide gamut, with exceptional brights and darks. Blacks hit their marks, giving shadows the power needed in this genre. Highlights stick out naturally.

Audio

Presented in mono from an uncompressed DTS-HD source, the dialog keeps up with clarity and no discernible age defects. Strong dynamics in the score keep both ends clean.

Routine, but pleasingly rendered.

Extras

Nothing, although do note Mill Creek swapped 711 Ocean Drive with The Killer That Stalked New York on the disc art. This one resides on disc three.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

711 Ocean Drive
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

While winding down into an anti-gambling PSA, the rest of 711 Ocean Drive is a capable thriller about the lure of greed and crime.

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