PicturePanic in the Streets is over fifty years old, if you take that into consideration then this is probably the best transfer I have ever seen. By today's standards, it is practically video quality - presented with a non-anamorphic full-screen 1.33:1 aspect ratio transfer. But as 50-year old full-screen transfers go, it is beautiful. The detail is fairly good throughout - obviously there is a marginal softness to the whole production, but the monochrome presentation lends itself towards detail, especially on facial expressions. Thankfully, given the importance of shadows and blacks in this format, the grain is kept to an absolute minimum and the movie was a absolute pleasure to watch. It would be great news if every black and white movie from this era was presented this well, with none of the usual defects (dirt, dust and scratches) that you would expect, given the age.
SoundSimilarly to the expectedly limited presentation, the original soundtrack is the absolute bare minimum standard - but exactly what you would expect - a Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track with absolutely no bells and whistles. It is difficult to comment on the effects and bass because, frankly, there are none, but the track is none the less capable of sustaining your interest and maintaining tension throughout the feature. Dialogue is always crystal clear - and that is the most important thing. I suspect it would have taken a great deal of effort to remix this into full 5.1, and even then true aficionados would have probably complains, so this original soundtrack is perfectly acceptable.
ExtrasIn the way of extras, releases like this are normally vanilla, so it is nice to see at least a little effort being made - here we get two galleries: Original Poster Art and Original Cast Stills, only amounting to about 10 pictures, but still better than nothing.
VerdictIf you like your old black and white movies, and are a fan of any of the main participants (and it's not hard to appreciate the talent of Palance or Widmark) then this will be a thoroughly entertaining watch. The video presentation reflects the film's age, but is not bad in any way that would impinge upon your enjoyment of the movie itself. Ditto for the simple soundtrack and minimal extras, but none of this should put you off adding this timeless old detective thriller to your collection if you feel so inclined.
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