Movies from the ‘Film Noir’ Category

Jigsaw (1949)

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

“Jigsaw” is a 1949 film noir directed by Fletcher Markle about a shodowy group called “The Crusaders” who operate as a strange sort of neo-fascist outfit in New York City.

A columnist decides to investigate them and is killed.

Special Prosecutor Howard Malloy is brought in to find out what happened and is drawn into a murky world combining crime with the reactionary beliefs of a priveleged few.

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He Walked By Night (1948)

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

“He Walked By Night” is a gripping 1948 film noir, crediting ALfred L. Werker as director. In facr, most of the film was directed by western/film noir director Anthony Mann. The film is allegedly based on the real life story of Erwin “Machine-Gun” Wallker.

On a Los Angeles Street, Officer Hollis, a patrolman on his way hom from work, stops a man he suspects of burglary and is shot and mortally wounded.

Two police detectives, Sergeants Marty Brennan (Brady) and Chuck Jones (Cardwell) are assigned to catch the killer. He is Roy Morgan (Baseheart,) and is hiding in a Hollywod bungalow, listening to police calls on his radio and accompanied by his dog.

Morgan stays one step ahead of the police by using his knowledge of their procedures and gravitates to armed robbery but the tenacity of his pursuers ensures a suspense ridden story!

Outstanding film from the post war era.

Cast:

Richard Baseheart as Roy Martin/Roy Morgan

Scott Brady as Sgt. Marty Brennan

Roy Roberts as Captain Breen

Whit Bissell as Paul Reeves

James Cardwell as Sgt. Chuck Jones

Jack Webb as Lee

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Scarlet Street (1945)

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

“Scarlet Street” is an outstanding 1945 American Film directed by Fritz Lang, famous for the films “Metropolois” and “M,” made in Germany earlier in his career. It is based on the book “La Chienne” (The Bitch) by Georges de La Fouchardiere which Jean Renoir had previously filmed as “La Chienne” in 1931.

The main actors, Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea had earlier appeared in “The Woman in the Window,” made in 1944 by Fritz Lang.

Dhrostopher Cross (Edward G. Robinson,” a mild banker and amateur painter is at a dinner honouring him for 25 years of service at his bank. On his way home he helps Kitty (Joan Bennett,) thing wife e femme fatale of the story, who is being attacked by a man. He becomes enamoured by her, his domestic life ruled by his bullying wife Adele (Rosalind Ivan,) who still idolises her dead first husband.

From Christopher’s comments about art, Kitty mistakenly believes him to be a wealthy painter. It turns out that the attacker was Johnny, Kitty’s brutish boyfriend who convinces her to continue the relationship with Cross in order to extort money.

Cross starts to spend money on Kitty but has to steal from the bank in order to finance this new life. Johnny tries to sell some of Cross’s paintings but makes Kitty put her name on them. Cross’s wife sees the paintings in a gallery with Kitty’s name on them and then accuses him of copying her work!

Meanwhile, the supposedly dead husband of Cross’s wif suddenly reappears, the intrigue taking another on another dimension.

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Shock (1946)

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Film noir classic from 1946 starring Vincent Price; noted for its dark themes, stark camera angles and high-contrast lighting.

The film tells the story of a psychiatrist, Dr. Cross, (Vincent Price) who is treating a coma-bound young woman, Janet Stewart (Anabel Shaw.) Also starring Lynn Bari as Dr. Cross’s nurse/lover, Elaine Jordan.

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The Red House (1947)

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

The Red House is a 1947 film noir starring Edward G. Robertson and directed by Spencer Selby adapted from the novel “The Red House” by George Agnew Chamberlain.

Handicapped farmer Pete (Robinson) and sister Ellen (Anderson) have raised ward Meg as their own on a reclusive farm. Now a teenager, Meg (Roberts) convinces her friend Nath to come help with chores on the farm. When Nath insists on using a shortcut home through the woods  Pete warns the young man of screams in the night and the terrors associated with the abandoned red house. Curious, Meg and Nath ignore his warnings and begin exploring and troubling secrets are revealed.

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Quicksand

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Quicksand is a 1950 film noir film noir starring Mickey Rooney and Peter Lorre in a story about a garage mechanic who borrows $20 from the till with increasingly disastrous consequences. Directed by Irving Pitchell.

Young auto mechanic Dan Brady (Mickey Rooney) takes $20 from a cash register at work to go on a date with blonde femme fatale Vera Novak (Jeanne Cagney). Brady intends to put the money back before it is missed, but the garage’s bookkeeper shows up earlier than scheduled. As Brady scrambles to cover evidence of his petty theft, he fast finds himself drawn into an ever worsening “quicksand” of crime, each of his misdeeds more serious than the last.

His descent is sped along by his heartless and morally lacking boss Oren Mackay (Art Smith), and the seedy owner of a pinball arcade on Santa Monica Pier, Nick Dramoshag (Peter Lorre.)

Brady and Vera split when Vera purchases a mink coat with money Brady has stolen. Brady’s still-loyal but unappreciated former girlfriend Helen (Barbara Bates) then reenters the scene and tries to woo him back. Later fleeing what he believes will be a murder charge, Brady carjacks a sedan which happens to be driven by a sympathetic lawyer (Taylor Holmes) who offers to help…….

Footnote. Most of the film was shot on location in Santa Monica.

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D.O.A.

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

D.O.A. (1950), a film noir drama film directed by Rudolph Maté, is considered a classic of the genre. The frantically-paced plot revolves around a doomed man’s quest to find out who has poisoned him – and why – before he dies.

The film begins with one of cinema’s most innovative opening sequences. The scene is a long, behind-the-back tracking sequence featuring Frank Bigelow (O’Brien) walking through the hallway of a police station to report his own murder. Oddly, the police almost seem to have been expecting him and already know who he is.
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The Amazing Mr. X

Friday, April 9th, 2010

The Amazing Mr. X, also known as The Spiritualist, is a 1948 thriller film directed by Bernard Vorhaus with cinematography by John Alton. Like the film noir Nightmare Alley  released a year earlier, this film tells the story of a phony spiritualist racket.

The film stars Turhan Bey, Lynn Bari, Cathy O’Donnell, and Richard Carlson. Carole Landis was originally hired to play the part taken by Bari, but Landis committed suicide a few days before shooting began.

Two years after her husband’s death, Christine Faber (Lynn Bari) thinks she hears her late husband (Donald Curtis) calling out of the surf on the beach one night.
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