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Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics IV - Available for Preorder

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#1 of 17 OFFLINE   revgen


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Posted May 09 2013 - 10:42 PM

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, The Film Foundation and Turner Classic Movies again partner to present the fourth collection in this series, Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics IV. These five films, all fully restored and remastered and never before released on DVD, showcase the work of directors Joseph H. Lewis, Robert Rossen, Gordon Douglas and Alfred L. Werker—all of them masters at creating taut and atmospheric visions from morally-strained hard-boiled stories. The collection also highlights the genre-defining cinematography of Burnett Guffey and George E. Diskant, and iconic performances by film noir mainstays Dick Powell, Evelyn Keyes, Lee J. Cobb, Dennis O'Keefe and Edmond O'Brien, who excelled at revealing the raw heart that beat beneath noir's tough exteriors

Director Joseph H. Lewis (Gun Crazy, 1950) established his reputation as a talented stylist by wrangling a complicated story—of a Parisian detective (Steven Geray) who falls in love while on vacation, only to see the woman murdered—into a taut and atmospheric film noir. Overcoming the challenges of recreating the French countryside in Canoga Park, California, and working with a cast of virtual unknowns, Lewis and noir cinematographer extraordinaire Burnett Guffey craft one of the great surprise endings in all of noir, which would inspire such films as Possessed (1948) and Memento (2000).

Johnny O'Clock (Dick Powell) is a junior partner in a posh casino with Guido Marchettis (Thomas Gomez), but is senior in the eyes of Nelle (Ellen Drew)—Guido's wife and Johnny's ex. This love triangle leads to a web of complications, leaving Police Inspector Koch (Lee J. Cobb) to unravel the threads of deceit and a murdered casino employee's sister (Evelyn Keyes) to tug on Johnny's heartstrings before it's too late. Applying Raymond Chandler's dictum that a good plot is an excuse for a series of exciting scenes, rookie director Robert Rossen strings together tense vignettes—brought vividly to life by cinematographer Burnett Guffey.

Director Gordon Douglas drew on mounting anti-Communist hysteria to create one of the first Cold War films—the tale of an FBI agent (Dennis O'Keefe) and a Scotland Yard detective (Louis Hayward) who must bust a spy ring led by a ruthless agent (Raymond Burr) working to infiltrate an atomic research facility. Producer Eddie Small stood tall in a battle against FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to produce the film without interference, arguing the Bureau was fair game for fictionalization. But Hoover had the last word, writing The New York Times to say the FBI had not sanctioned the film.

Dan Purvis (Edmund O'Brien) and Rocky Barnes (Mark Stevens) are lifelong pals who survived WWII and continue their armed service as uniformed prowl car boys on the night shift in LA. But their friendship is tested by their ongoing battle with a ruthless racketeer (Donald Buka), the love they share for a beautiful radio announcer (Gale Storm) and Dan's uncompromising and exaggerated sense of justice. Often seen as the first example of the now commonplace buddy cop movie, this film demonstrates that the genre has always been rife with tension.

The Red Scare had reached a fever pitch when director Alfred L. Werker (He Walked by Night) adapted this tale of Communist spies stealing secrets about the Manhattan Project. The source material was a Reader's Digest article by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, and the movie shares Hoover's obsession with surveillance, creating an atypical noir focused on technology rather than obsessed with character psychology. But the film did make abundant use of the mean streets with over 14 weeks of location shooting throughout the northeast, thus providing a rare snapshot of an era in American life—its physical locations and its mental state.




Tentative release date - August 5th, 2013

#2 of 17 OFFLINE   RLane777



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Posted May 10 2013 - 01:34 AM

I only heard of two and they all sound interesting, so I think I'll pick this one up too!

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#3 of 17 OFFLINE   MLamarre


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Posted May 10 2013 - 03:09 AM

Glad they are continuing the series, but disappointed in the title selection. WALK A CROOKED MILE and WALK EAST ON BEACON are not really Noirs. In their place they could have chosen THE RECKLESS MOMENT, THE DARK PAST, I LOVE TROUBLE or SHADOWED...


Still, I'll be glad to get JOHNNY O'CLOCK and SO DARK THE NIGHT.

#4 of 17 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted May 10 2013 - 03:57 AM

Johnny O'Clock is always memorable for me because I noticed a young Jeff Chandler without screen credit and he had a classic line after hearing a gun shot.

#5 of 17 OFFLINE   David Steigman

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Posted May 10 2013 - 04:51 AM

I havent heard of any of them which means time to rent if they had VHS releases before..I like Noirs so they do interest me 

#6 of 17 OFFLINE   Martin_Teller


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Posted May 10 2013 - 07:49 AM

SO DARK THE NIGHT has some great cinematography but a rather blah story and cast.  I'd be willing to give it another shot, though.


JOHNNY O'CLOCK doesn't get cooking until the third act, but it's generally solid


BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN is one I like quite a bit


Haven't seen the other two.  I guess I'll buy the set, but it does seem like the weak selection, especially compared to the stellar first three volumes.

#7 of 17 OFFLINE   JoHud



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Posted May 10 2013 - 08:23 AM

The Glenn Ford collection have some great noir-ish titles, so I don't mind if this volume isn't quite up to the previous ones.


However, having not viewed any of these, they all sound very interesting.  More Edmund O'Brien, Dick Powell, and Joseph H. Lewis is always welcome.

#8 of 17 OFFLINE   Robin9



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Posted May 10 2013 - 09:22 AM

I'm very pleased about this new set which comes out of the blue as far as I'm concerned. (If there has been any fanfare, I missed it).


I'd buy this set just for Johnny O'Clock alone, but all three previous Sony Film Noir sets have been excellent and I'd have ordered this one blind even without Johnny O'Clock.

#9 of 17 OFFLINE   JessicaRabbit



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Posted May 10 2013 - 07:50 PM

Johnny O'Clock is gonna be on TCM on 5/19 at 9 am pacific time. I Had already scheduled it before I heard about the set. Gives me a chance to view that one

#10 of 17 OFFLINE   Mike*HTF


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Posted May 10 2013 - 08:30 PM

Wonderful news - would pick this up just for Walk East on Beacon! alone.

Looking forward to this release.

#11 of 17 OFFLINE   jdee28



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Posted May 10 2013 - 08:52 PM

Nice to see the TCM/Sony sets continue. They have been high-quality from day one, on par with regular retail releases.

#12 of 17 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

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Posted June 11 2013 - 01:47 PM

The release date has been pushed back to 9/16.

Rich Gallagher

#13 of 17 OFFLINE   David Steigman

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Posted June 11 2013 - 02:17 PM

That's good, more time to check out other movies first... :)

#14 of 17 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted June 12 2013 - 10:50 AM

I'm cutting down on the TCM stuff since the last couple sets were a bit hit and miss. I'm too hooked on the noirs though so I 'm in for this as a blind buy and will hope the quality is there.

#15 of 17 OFFLINE   Vic Pardo

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Posted June 13 2013 - 07:17 AM

I've seen two of the five: SO DARK THE NIGHT and BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN. I have JOHNNY O'CLOCK on tape. I'd love to see the other two, esp. since I'm a big fan of Gordon Douglas. The big news with this set, of course, is BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN. My only previous copy is an EP speed VHS recording taped off TNT, which ran it with commercials. Directed by Douglas, t's a superb police drama with great location work and includes a fantastic car chase through the streets of L.A., one of the best of its type for the early postwar era. (It compares well with the chase in Anthony Mann's SIDE STREET.) I'm definitely eager to upgrade. 


For purposes of comparison, check out HIGHWAY 301 from the same year, but produced by Bryan Foy at WB. It's mostly shot in the studio and the car chase in it is all done with studio shots and rear-screen projection. My point is that much better car chases were being done that same year in SIDE STREET and BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN, so there's no excuse for the shoddy work in HIGHWAY 301.


#16 of 17 OFFLINE   RLane777



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Posted June 17 2013 - 07:42 AM

Great news; although, I just spent over $100 for Western Horizons, Dark Crimes and Randolph Scott so I guess I'll have to save up for this.

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#17 of 17 OFFLINE   JoHud



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Posted September 13 2013 - 08:35 PM

Having watched just received and watched all of the films on the set I personally enjoyed them all, though I would consider Walk East On Beacon! to be the most oddball in this set in its categorization as a noir.  Its pretty much and FBI/espionage films with the only noir-like elements being brief peripheral side plots and certain scenes with the elderly scientist.  A bigger stretch compared to the rest, though very interesting in its own way despite George Murphy's role being completely throwaway.


The Gordon Douglas films are my personal surprise standouts as I had never heard of them and both provided very good cinematography along with good plot and characters.  Personally Between Night and Dawn was the better one due to its superb writing, gritty action, and well handled characters.  It also has very good use of on location filming and is one of the more violent films of the era with some truly shocking scenes in contrast with some very lighthearted moments between the two partnered policemen.


Walk a Crooked Mile is takes a bit longer to pick up steam and is saddled with mandatory (though minor) anti-Red messages and the usual glorification of the FBI.  However, the propaganda elements are mercifully kept to a minimum compared to most movies from the same template and is also a cut above from most.  The international angle of the g-man partnership is well-handled, and there are certain moments of grit and peril that separate it from most of the standard FBI fare of the era.  Raymond Burr plays an excellent antagonist and is fleshed out beyond the usual Communist strawman.  The overarching mystery of how the government secrets are leaked is very well written and kept me guessing until the very end.  Dennis O'Keefe's T-Men seems like a spiritual successor to this film.

Edited by JoHud, September 13 2013 - 08:43 PM.

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