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*** 1st Annual HTF Noirvember Physical Media Challenge*** (1 Viewer)

dana martin

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*** 1st Annual HTF Noirvember Physical Media Challenge***

after every years Scary Movie Challenge, there is an emptiness before the Holiday Season, maybe this can help fill that void, and the idea is that it be Physical Media specific.

1. Watch 20 Noir/ Western Noir/ Neo-Noir-Themed films, etc. from midnight November 1, 2021 to Noirvember 30, 2021 (the start of the Holiday Season) (use your own time zone to set the ending time).

2. Theatrically released films and short features count as 1 point each. Running times are irrelevant.


3. Two of the 20 films, et. al. must be new discoveries, movies you've never seen before. The point of this is to see those few movies you've always meant to see, but never got around to. Please specify new discoveries in your film list by making them bold, adding asterisks, different colors, etc.

4. Come here and talk about 'em.

5. There is an uber-category, the Heavy Smoker/ Femme Fatale for those who wish to put all of the rest of us to shame. This is the heavyweight division. These people, if they choose to accept the challenge, must view 24 Noir/ Western Noir/ Neo-Noir themed movies before dawn on Nov. 25th. Ten new discoveries are recommended for this one. The rest of us will bow down in awed reverence to these HTF members. The bragging rights will be awesome and long lived. What movies qualify?



Film Critic, Roger Ebert’s A Guide to Film Noir Genre

Film noir is . . .

1. A French term meaning "black film," or film of the night, inspired by the Series Noir, a line of cheap paperbacks that translated hard-boiled American crime authors and found a popular audience in France.

2. A movie which at no time misleads you into thinking there is going to be a happy ending.

3. Locations that reek of the night, of shadows, of alleys, of the back doors of fancy places, of apartment buildings with a high turnover rate, of taxi drivers and bartenders who have seen it all.

4. Cigarettes. Everybody in film noir is always smoking, as if to say, "On top of everything else, I've been assigned to get through three packs today." The best smoking movie of all time is "Out of the Past," in which Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas smoke furiously at each other. At one point, Mitchum enters a room, Douglas extends a pack and says, "Cigarette?" and Mitchum, holding up his hand, says, "Smoking."

5. Women who would just as soon kill you as love you, and vice versa.

6. For women: low necklines, floppy hats, mascara, lipstick, dressing rooms, boudoirs, calling the doorman by his first name, high heels, red dresses, elbowlength gloves, mixing drinks, having gangsters as boyfriends, having soft spots for alcoholic private eyes, wanting a lot of someone else's women, sprawling dead on the floor with every limb meticulously arranged and every hair in place.

7. For men: fedoras, suits and ties, shabby residential hotels with a neon sign blinking through the window, buying yourself a drink out of the office bottle, cars with running boards, all-night diners, protecting kids who shouldn't be playing with the big guys, being on first-name terms with homicide cops, knowing a lot of people whose descriptions end in "ies," such as bookies, newsies, junkies, alkys, jockeys and cabbies.

8. Movies either shot in black and white, or feeling like they were.

9. Relationships in which love is only the final flop card in the poker game of death.

10. The most American film genre, because no society could have created a world so filled with doom, fate, fear and betrayal, unless it were essentially naive and optimistic.



And a link http://www.filmnoirfoundation.org/home.html

For more information
 
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Reggie W

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Oh my...I'll play along and read along don't think I will hit 20. I do have some noir stuff already lined up for this month so I will put those up here.
 

Ruz-El

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I'd love to, but I'm burned out from October and need about 11 months to recover! ;)
This is me! Love the idea, but I just can't do another challenge so soon. I'll follow along to see peoples reviews but most of my noir watching will be via Noir Alley on TCM.
 

dana martin

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I usually don't participate in such challenges because I'm not discipline enough in my viewing habits. However, this challenge is tempting as I'm a huge "film noir" fan.
Acknowledgement to Robert Crawford, and all of his great post on Noir and Westerns which was part of the inspiration for this thread,

that was going to be in my first post, taking some of your recommendations and giving them a spin ;)
 

dana martin

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Day 1: 1 Noirvember 2021



took a while to get to this point, but after reading so many influential members on this forum, I realized just how much of a novice I was in the world of film noir, something I hope to remedy quickly. Cut the cord almost 10 years ago, so this is a Physical Media challenge, it also keeps the dust from settling.

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Todays Feature Presentation (Matinee)

1. Blood on the Moon (Warner Archive Collection) First Time Viewing


RKO Radio Pictures (Release Date: Nov 9, 1948) Director: Robert Wise, Director of Photography: Nicholas Musuraca

Wow, what a great film to start this off, sleepy eyed Robert Mitcham riding in the darkened rain, and setting up camp to nearly getting trampled on by a stampede.

After being taken by the cowboy who was driving the herd back to the camp, he meets Lufton the rancher who has been selling beef to the government for the reservation for the past couple of years. and it appears that there is something of a range war between the rancher and some of the homesteaders. That he is put himself smack dab in through his association with the organizer of the homesteaders.

Mitchum does a great job, As the hapless drifter Jim Gerry, caught in the crossfire between his friend a very slimy Robert Preston’s Tate Riling

Riling, who has worked the homesteaders in to a frenzy to help him swindle Rancher John Lufton (Tom Tully) and his daughters (Barbara Bel Geddes and Phyllis Thaxter) to the point of romancing Thaxters’ Carol to get information on what her father does.

The additional character parts are filled out nicely, with an outstanding turn by Walter Brennan, and an uncredited cameo by Iron Eyes Cody, at a crucial point of the film.

Robert Wise’s direction is perfect at keeping the tension at just the right level, but more importantly knows exactly how to tell a full story with action and dialogue, and picture, provided by one of the best of the unsung artists of cinema at painting with shadows and light Nicholas Musuraca.

After reading differing reviews on this one, I am glad I decide to let it kick off as the inaugural film for me.

For fans of both Noir and Westerns, it’s a damn fine film!
 

dana martin

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Day 1: 1 Noirvember 2021

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Todays Feature Presentation (Evening)

2. Where the Sidewalk Ends (Twilight Time) First Time Viewing


Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. (Release Date: 17 Jul 1950) Director: Otto Preminger, Cinematographer: Joseph LaShelle

Being a fan of Preminger’s Laura, but relatively having very little experience of his other noir films at Fox I was lucky enough to snag a copy of this film. First of all, let me say that the picture is just completely gorgeous, and they do a great job of mixing on location footage with studio shot footage seamlessly.

With this one I did two viewings back-to-back, one where I just watched the film and the other with commentary by Eddie Muller, who had some very insightful words to say about the film as it progressed.

from Muller's perspective, this may have been one of the first of the bad cop or cop in a bad place Noirs, the film starts off with Dana Andrews character who is a little too prone to use physical force at intimidation and rounding up hoodlums, thugs, and crooks. And not only is demoted but gets a new Lieutenant to run the show who's by the book and no nonsense, an outstanding turn by Karl Malden.

While trying to get information to solve a murder to get the bigger fish Scalise (Gary Merrill) he gets into a scuffle with Craig Stevens and in one punch, Stevens character falls to the floor where the plate in his head from a war injury causes instant death. You can see the look of panic on his face as he goes to the phone to do the right thing his partner calls, and instead of doing the right thing he covers his ass. That's what sets this movie in motion.

Gene Tierney is Craig Stevens estrange wife who lives with her father who has an issue with his abusiveness towards her; Is brought in for questioning and wrongfully accused of the wrongful death, with Dana Andrews, Detective Dixon looking on as the proceedings happen. At this point, his goal is to clear her father's name and prove that he didn't commit the murder while redeeming himself at the same time.

There's a great comment by Eddie Muller in this where he discusses how Dana Andrews character seems even more cynical than a similar character that he played in Laura, he also says you can see the wear and tear on Dana Andrews, his face was at that point where cigarettes and alcohol were no fun anymore.

As noted in my postings I try to give an overview but try not to spoil anything for anyone who has not seen the film, this one I would definitely give a recommendation for.

* after viewing this, not to turn this into another thread of complaints, but I would hope that something could be worked out with Disney, for so many of the 20th films that need a proper release, that I fear they will never receive under their current ownership*
 
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ccrawford

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This is perfect timing. After beefing up my Noir collection over the last couple of months (and finally picking up Eddie Muller's DARK CITY) and finishing up a month of nothing but horror films, I'm ready to dive into some Noir. Count me in.
 

dana martin

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Day 2: 2 Noirvember 2021

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Todays Feature Presentation (Early Morning)

3. A Life at Stake (The Film Detective: Special Edition) First Time Viewing


Gibraltar Motion Picture Distributor (Release Date: 6 Apr 1955) Director: Paul Guilfoyle, Director of Photography: Ted Allan

OK so here we go again with another double viewing, first the film straight through, and the second time with the commentary this time provided by Film Noir Foundation Writer/ Professor and Film Scholar Jason A. Ney. Who also provided the written material for the booklet that comes with this package.

Keith Andes and Angela Lansbury star in A Life at Stake, (Murder, She Planned) I'm sorry it was just too easy to tie that into her old TV series. but it is nice to see a young Lansbury, playing at a femme fatale role.

At the time of production with older stars being released from studio contracts, and TV on the rise, Independent producers found a niche way to get films into theaters that might not have happened before. Also, a lot of young talent looking for that one break to make their stardom happen. Not quite the same as the Poverty Row Studios Most of which had been absorbed into other various companies by that point. From the commentary, what I gathered was that this was an 11-day film shoot produced by Hank McCune and it was picked up by Ida Lupino’s “The Filmmakers” as their last release unofficially.

The story is basically a down on his luck, loser noir with (Andes) Edward Shaw as an architect whose former business partner left the company in ruin. As a memento of keeping his head above water he keeps $1000 bill framed. When by happen chance, he's offered a deal to go in with a real estate partner as a possible patsy. Shall seems uneasy at the start and suspects something isn't only up and up, while talking it over with a lawyer at breakfast where the meeting is set up with the individual who's supposed to be his business partner. He shows up at the house and is directed around the back where we meet Angela Lansbury, in a way I've never quite seen her presented before femme fatale swimsuit, playing very coy trying to seduce Shaw for the business and possibly more.

The flirtations continue and Shaw meets up with Doris’ husband Gus Hillman at the attorney’s office to make the arrangements for the deal, which involves him taking out a large life insurance policy, where the Hillman’s are the sole beneficiary as partners for “collateral” in the deal. At this time Shaw meets Doris is college age sister Madge Neilan, who let slip the fact that Doris first husband died in a car accident and was also a business partner with a life insurance policy made out to the Hillman’s.

Along the way there are some trappings that show that the couple plan to collect their money one way or another the brakes seem a little spongy and not working on the car, a cup of coffee might have some sleeping pills in it on a long drive down a windy mountain. Their cabin cottage at Big Bear is missing a patio overlooking a cliff where the door just happens to be open, so a couple of good thrills thrown in for measure. Along the way, shall starts to develop a romantic interest in the younger sister and the younger sister develops a romantic interest in him as well. But at the same time like a fish with a hook in his mouth when Angela Lansbury’s Doris starts reeling in he just follows with the pull, To the point of almost costing him his life.

Worth a watch, for what it is, a low budget noir, that probably would have been the second half of a double bill someplace.

The release from The Film Detective, was really quite impressive, and the fact that a commentary and booklet were also included added to the release.
 

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HIGH SIERRA (1941)

I had seen this NOIR gem before, but it was so long ago that it seemed like a first watch--what a treat!
Though for me, it plays more as a straight crime drama, there are plenty of Noir elements to fit the bill. There isn't a dark, seedy bar or smoke-filled night club to be seen, instead we're treated to rustic, wide-open spaces--and a fantastic chase sequence to end the film.

Adding a wonderful cast, headed by Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino, makes HIGH SIERRA a must-see, especially seen on Criterion's excellent new blu-ray release.
4 out of 5
 

dana martin

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Day 3: 3 Noirvember 2021

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Todays Double Feature Presentations

4. Crashout (Olive Films) First Time Viewing


Filmakers Releasing Organization, Inc. (Release Date: Apr 1955) Director: Lewis R. Foster, Cinematographer: Russell Metty


5. Riot in Cell Block 11( The Criterion Collection) First Time Viewing

Allied Artists Pictures Corp. (Release Date: Feb 28, 1954) Director: Don Siegel, Cinematographer: Russell Harlan


Last night's double feature was diametrically opposites in stories about prison and in some way prisoners.

First off, we have 1955's, Crashout a story about escape convicts trying to get away from the prison and the ruthlessness that these men have not only towards society and the guards, but also towards each other as well in their pursuit to survive and move on after prison life with a solid cast including William Bendix, Arthur Kennedy, William Talman (In the furthest thing from Hamilton Burger).

Personally for me what I find interesting about noir style filmmaking, is that you don't actually need the star to be a leading man say like a Robert Mitchum or Kirk Douglas, but instead can gather an ensemble of great character actors, with a solid script put them together and something just gels correctly. During their prison break William Bendix get shot but still manage is to make it to the hideout area where he told the others that they would hide out until the manhunt was over.
Suffering from fever and blood loss, he makes a deal with them to share his stolen money that landed him in prison with the other five individuals. Now this becomes some of a great escape style film with them trying to work their way to where the money is while not getting caught. While also dealing with the insecurities of each other, leading to the numbers dwindling down. As members are killed off.

Good little action yarn. not too long, well scripted and well-acted.

Bendix's character is a ruthless hateful man, which is only balanced by Arthur Kennedy's more even tempered, thinking thief. Till the ending when there is a showdown between these two how does it end up,

you'll have to watch it, but it's worth it.


OK so this brings us to Don Siegel’s, Riot in Cellblock 11, and once again it's character actors that drive this film. With a great starring turn by Neville Brand. As the cons have had enough of the abusiveness inside the prison system the only thing that they're asking for is the same things that the warden has been asking for the last 5 to 10 years.

Apparently this film came about through producer Walter Wrangler having spent some time in prison and didn't like the way the conditions were. This film was meant to spark off the idea of some social change an rehabilitation for prisons at the same time that other riots were happening which would bring about some social reforms of the prison justice system. It's a powerfully moving piece a film making, Siegel’s direction the lighting, And the great acting from the all-around stupendous list of character actors make this a totally engrossing film. What surprises me the most is after the performance given by Neville Brand that he wasn't given more shots at starring roles.

But the system is always slow to change, and the way the film ends his character Dunn wins and loses at the same time. Because the way the system is set up it takes legislation to exact a change.

Highly Recommended
 
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ccrawford

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Last Night:

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ALIAS NICK BEALE (1949)

I watched this again while listening to Eddie Muller's very informative commentary. He aptly referred to the film as a "Faustian Noir", in which honest district attorney Joseph Foster (Thomas Mitchell), who has aspirations to run for governor, meets frustration at every turn in his attempt to clean up the criminal underworld.

As if on cue, in saunters suave, mysterious Nick Beale (Ray Milland). Ole' Nick promises Foster he can deliver the governorship at his feet--if he'll just sign on the dotted line.

This was a lot of fun and boy, it was atmospheric, with several scenes shot in dense fog adding to the overall creepiness of the film. The cast was excellent, especially Thomas Mitchell and Ray Milland, who is second to none when it comes to delivering a very creepy smirk.
3 1/2 out of 5



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THE BREAKING POINT (1950)

John Garfield stars in this rather bleak noir, as charter boat captain and family man Harry Morgan, who's fallen on hard times. Desperate for money to keep his boat--and his family--afloat, Harry makes some poor choices and finds himself in a heap of trouble. Adding to his woes is a cheeky blonde (Patricia Neal) who is smitten with Harry and just won't go away.

Directed by Michael Curtiz and based on Ernest Hemingway's novel 'TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT', 'THE BREAKING POINT' is a must-see Noir, especially if you like 'em grim and gritty.
4 out of 5
 

dana martin

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Day 4: 4 Noirvember 2021

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Todays Double Feature Presentations

6. Ramrod (Arrow Academy)
First Time Viewing

Enterprise Productions, Inc. (Release Date: May 2, 1947) Director: André De Toth, Cinematographer: Russell Harlan

First up Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake share the screen for a second time in "Ramrod", and this definitely isn't Preston Sturges folks! André De Toth directs, with cinematography by the great Russell Harlan, in a script adapted from a story by Luke Short, the same guy who wrote Blood on the Moon, actually that seemed to be Mr. Short’s specialty, writing western noir novels, and this one is really right up there with the rest of them.

And for your information, this is the Arrow Academy release, it's labeled with region B on the back, but it will play no issues on A region a player, stupid that we still have these restrictions going on in the world. Second of all I know that this has a US release from Olive Films but the bit rate is higher and this releases and it has bonus features, along with subtitles and a few other features that make it a better package for basically the same price. By the way the sound is crisp and clean the score is phenomenal.

Jole McCrea is looking for some form of redemption, and to be justified when he walks in to a place, after hitting the bottle he's working his way back. Veronica Lake (in a western and somehow, it works) on the other hand is estranged from her father who keeps trying to marry her off to the local cattle Baron( evilly played by Preston Foster) , even though she has a beau who was going to try and leave town and move sheep into grazing land. Her future fiancé is scared off in the middle of the night which leaves him turning his ranch over to Veronica Lake, who then hires John McCrea to be her “Ramrod”, foreman of her workers to help maintain her ranch and build up her property so that she in turn can be on equal footing with the cattle Baron Anne rub it in her father's face.

McCrae says that he will only do this if they do it his way which is within the guides of the law on the up and up so that the wall is on his side and they've done nothing wrong. But Lake has other ideas, after her original ranches is burned out, they take over one of the cattle Baron’s line shacks that's made of stone as her new home. And she has some of her own crew Stampede her herd so that she can place the blame on her arrival. This backfires when one of her men is beaten so brutally and has his eyes gouged out that he dies, leading to a showdown with Joel McCrea standing righteous after his friend the lawman is wrongfully killed. The outside shots are pretty much bright and sunny as they should be but when night comes in it's dark, inky dark. Bars with low ceilings to the point it looks like hats are going to touch the top with very low lighting.

Morals and what people are willing to do play a big part film, in this and it ends differently than what you might think in a good way. Once again another highly recommended film if you like westerns and you like noir this is one for viewing.


7. Sleep, My Love (Olive Films) First Time Viewing

Triangle Productions, Inc. (Release Date: 27 Jan 1948) Director: Douglas Sirk, Cinematographer: Joseph Valentine

Second feature of the night was Sleep, My Love. Which like the movie before it, does a similar thing only this time it's pairing Don Ameche and Claudette Colbert. But throughout the romantic comedy of 1939's Midnight. As director Douglas Sirk steps up to the plate to do a film noir, lensed by Joseph Valentine.

The story starts off with Claudette Colbert waking up distressed on a train headed towards Boston but not knowing how she got there with a gun in her purse. An older woman helps her off the train and tries to get ahold of somebody at the counter at the same time her husband (Don Ameche) has gotten ahold of Raymond Burr as a local policeman to tell him that his wife is missing. When the detective shows up and looks around, he notices that Mr. Courtland seems to be favoring his arm, his answer was that he fell and hurt it.

Meanwhile in Boston at the train station Mrs. Courtland runs into an old friend who is accompanied by Robert Cummings. and they explained that they're going to be in the city of New York in a couple of days would it be OK to drop by and visit. On the flight back to New York, (Cummings) Bruce Ellicott caries on conversation with Mrs. Courtland becoming enamored with her.

Meanwhile, we find out that Mr. Cortland has been stepping little out on the marriage he's got a girlfriend on the other side of town, his business isn't doing well, and he's hired a weird photographer to play psychiatrist and between drugging his wife and having hypnosis performed on her, by slipping something nightly into her drinks, and then influencing her while she's under the drug, he's trying to drive her crazy. So that he can get her money. Very Hitchcockian in its mode, Sirk does a great job, with the right of mount of menace.

Untrusting of all this situation, Robert Cummings character along with his business partner Key Luke, who gives up way too much of his honeymoon time to help his friend out on this look around to try and find the people they are causing issues from Mrs. Cortland.

Once again, I would have to make this another recommendation it was a good film for the first time, honestly, I liked it, more importantly it was good to see some people playing against their normal type most impressive was seeing the normal romantic lead of Don Ameche playing the slimeball as the husband trying to off his wife for cash.
 
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THE BIG HEAT (1953) Directed by FRITZ LANG

They don't come any more hard-boiled than this one: Lots of tough guys, tough talk and tough dames, one of whom oversteps her mark and pays the price, Noir style.

What a cast this one sports: Glenn Ford, Lee Marvin and Gloria Grahame. It's Noir heaven.

Ford plays Dave Bannion, a dedicated detective who has his eye on Mob boss Mike Lagana. After Bannion's wife is killed in a car bomb explosion meant for him, Bannion goes into over-drive as a one-man wrecking crew to take down Lagana.

Lee Marvin is well cast as Lagana's coarse, brutish henchman Vince Stone. Gloria Grahame steals the show (as she often does) as Vince's 'girlfriend' Debby, whose smart mouth and eventual betrayal seal her fate.

At around 90 minutes 'THE BIG HEAT' just steams along, crackling with tension and more than delivers the goods.
If you look up the definition of 'film noir' in the dictionary, 'THE BIG HEAT' will be sitting right underneath.
5 out of 5
 

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Last Night:

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CRISS CROSS (1949) Directed by Robert Siodmak.
Shout Factory Blu-ray

Burt Lancaster, Yvonne DeCarlo and Dan Duryea star in this film that gives you the feeling that nothing and nobody is going to come out well in the end.

Lancaster stars as Steve Thompson, who returns to LA after a year away, to find his ex-wife Anna (DeCarlo) married to small-time hood Slim Dundee (Durea). This doesn't stop either of them, as they drift into an affair. To deflect Slim's suspicions, Steve lures him into an armoured car heist. There's a double cross and then a criss cross, leading to a gut-punch ending.

I like Criss Cross, mostly for the cast. Otherwise, it came out a bit flat, for me at least. I got a chuckle out of seeing Percy Helton as a bartender. Whenever I see him, I think of his role in Wicked Woman.
3 out of 5
 

Reggie W

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View attachment 117955

HIGH SIERRA (1941)

I had seen this NOIR gem before, but it was so long ago that it seemed like a first watch--what a treat!
Though for me, it plays more as a straight crime drama, there are plenty of Noir elements to fit the bill. There isn't a dark, seedy bar or smoke-filled night club to be seen, instead we're treated to rustic, wide-open spaces--and a fantastic chase sequence to end the film.

Adding a wonderful cast, headed by Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino, makes HIGH SIERRA a must-see, especially seen on Criterion's excellent new blu-ray release.
4 out of 5

I also will be watching this classic noir this month. Thanks to Criterion, obviously. Much of my noir viewing to start though will be of more recent vintage, so neo-noirs.
 

Robert Crawford

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Last Night:

View attachment 118179

CRISS CROSS (1949) Directed by Robert Siodmak.
Shout Factory Blu-ray

Burt Lancaster, Yvonne DeCarlo and Dan Duryea star in this film that gives you the feeling that nothing and nobody is going to come out well in the end.

Lancaster stars as Steve Thompson, who returns to LA after a year away, to find his ex-wife Anna (DeCarlo) married to small-time hood Slim Dundee (Durea). This doesn't stop either of them, as they drift into an affair. To deflect Slim's suspicions, Steve lures him into an armoured car heist. There's a double cross and then a criss cross, leading to a gut-punch ending.

I like Criss Cross, mostly for the cast. Otherwise, it came out a bit flat, for me at least. I got a chuckle out of seeing Percy Helton as a bartender. Whenever I see him, I think of his role in Wicked Woman.
3 out of 5
Wow, I didn't expect that low of a score for one of the best film noirs ever filmed. No doubt, this movie is at the top of my list.
 

Robert Crawford

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1st of 20 Noirvember titles:

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I finally joined the party yesterday and watched "Five Steps to Danger" (1957) starring Ruth Roman and Sterling Hayden. An espionage film noir during the cold war era of the 1950s. This was my first viewing of this movie. I like the stars, but the movie was a low budget film with a flimsy script and production values. My film score is a 3 out of 5.

I don't know if I'm going to be able to watch 20 film noirs before December 1st, but I'll give it a try.
 

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