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*** 2nd Annual HTF Noirvember Movie Challenge*** (1 Viewer)

HawksFord

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Criss Cross (1949) — We watched one more Robert Siodmak noir, and one of our favorites, before we take a Thanksgiving break. Burt Lancaster plays an armored truck driver, Yvonne De Carlo is his ex-wife for whom he is still carrying a torch, but she is now involved with a gangster played by the great Dan Duryea. On the one hand, there’s the antipathy Lancaster and Duryea feel for each other. On the other hand, there’s all that money in the truck Lancaster is driving. It’s a classic noir that holds up to repeated viewings.
:emoji_gun: :emoji_gun: :emoji_gun: :emoji_gun:
 

John Stell

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Rating out of 4
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35) 11/22/2022 Touch of Evil (1958) 1669214329682.png 1669214329682.png 1669214329682.png 1669214329682.png

A car explodes on the US side of the Mexican border, killing two people. The dynamite, however, was planted on the Mexican side. This brings together Mexican narcotics officer Charlton Heston and respected US police captain Orson Welles. Complicating matters for Heston is his current investigation into a family of gangsters who have taken an interest in Heston's new bride, Janet Leigh, as well as the discovery that Welles may be corrupt as all get out.

In at least one documentary, James Ellroy, author of L.A. Confidential, has cited this as the last film noir of the original period. If so, what a way to bow out. Opening with a now-legendary tracking shot, Touch of Evil is never less than griping. Starkly shot by DP Russell Metty, the film contains Welles' trademark unusual camera angles and framing. Welles and Metty visually capture feelings of uneasiness and dread. There's a scene in a hotel room involving Janet Leigh that's as frightening as anything found in a classic horror film. The plot, while complex, never gets too convoluted to follow. There's a surprising twist with respect to the identity of bomber. Outstanding turns by the supporting cast include Joseph Calleia as Welles' partner and close friend, Dennis Weaver as a very nervous motel night manager, Akim Tamiroff as a scheming thug, and Marlene Dietrich as the business owner of where Welles' cop hides out.

Touch of Evil was yet another film re-edited by others after Orson Welles had finished shooting. There are 3 versions currently available: the preview cut, the shortened theatrical cut, and the longest version dubbed the reconstructed cut, which attempts to align the film with Welles' vision based on a 58-page memo Welles' wrote to Universal after viewing the studio's changes, reshoots, and re-editing. I believe I've only seen the reconstructed cut. I can't imagine losing any of the scenes; there are no slow spots here. This is classic Film Noir and therefore a must-see film.
 

John Stell

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Rating - Out of a possible 4 1669248374734.png

36) 11/23/2022 The Turning Point (1952)
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Edmond O'Brien returns to his home city as a special prosecutor charged with bringing down vicious crime boss Ed Begley. O'Brien's childhood pal William Holden is a reporter willing to help on his own terms. When O'Brien's cop father initially scoffs at being offered a key position on his son's task force, Holden becomes suspicious and ultimately discovers Dad is on Begley's payroll! A solid noir with a strong cast, this plays out as expected for the most part, culminating in a suspenseful boxing arena climax.
 

Robert Crawford

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Bold - Denotes first ever viewing

Rating - Out of a possible 4 View attachment 163530

36) 11/23/2022 The Turning Point (1952) View attachment 163530 View attachment 163530 View attachment 163530

Edmond O'Brien returns to his home city as a special prosecutor charged with bringing down vicious crime boss Ed Begley. O'Brien's childhood pal William Holden is a reporter willing to help on his own terms. When O'Brien's cop father initially scoffs at being offered a key position on his son's task force, Holden becomes suspicious and ultimately discovers Dad is on Begley's payroll! A solid noir with a strong cast, this plays out as expected for the most part, culminating in a suspenseful boxing arena climax.
The film's ending was surprising to me!
 

Robert Crawford

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See my summary for film grades with the movies in "Bold" being first time viewings!

11-23-22

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61) 11-23-22 "The Brasher Doubloon" (1947) (DVD) 3/5 Stars
This is the second screen adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel "The High Window" with Phillip Marlowe as the main character. However, the first movie was the Michael Shayne movie "Time to Kill" (1942 starring Lloyd Nolan. This 1947 movie turns it back to Phillip Marlowe/George Montgomery as he's hired to find a rare stolen coin (Brasher Doubloon) by a rich elderly widow, Elizabeth Murdock/Florence Bates. Marlowe wanted to walk away from the case, but he's intrigued by Murdock's beautiful, but neurotic secretary, Merle Davis played by Nancy Guild. Therefore, he stays on the case and gets himself involved in a complex maze of violence, blackmail and murder. Eddie Muller likes this movie and even did an audio commentary for it, but unfortunately, Fox never released it on DVD as part of their Fox "Film Noir" series. Fox did release it on DVD in 2012, as part of their "Cinema Archives" series sans Muller's commentary. That's the DVD I watched for my first viewing of this movie. To this day, Muller is still pissed about that audio commentary not being released on DVD as he still talks about it during his "Ask Eddie" segments. Anyhow, as to the movie itself, I think it's mediocre, but it does have its moments. Montgomery was okay, but I think Robert Mitchum or William Holden would've been better in that role.

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62) 11-23-22 "Chicago Calling" (1951) (DVD) 3/5 Stars
For years, I've heard Eddie Muller talk about "Chicago Calling". In Los Angeles "Bunker Hill" area, a down-an-out photographer with an alcohol problem has his wife leave him with his young daughter. Sick of his failures and lies, the wife loses faith in him and decides to return to her parents home back East. On the way, there is a traffic accident and his young daughter is seriously hurt in the car accident near Chicago. His wife sends him a telegram to say she will call him at a certain time the next day to tell him about her scheduled surgery. However, because he's been out of work and hasn't paid his bill, his telephone service has been cut off. He needs $53 to turn his phone service back on. The rest of the movie details the trials and tribulations he has to go through in order to raise $53. The movie isn't really film noir per se, but with Dan Duryea as your lead actor, great LA location shooting and with some noir elements throughout the movie, I can why Muller liked this movie. Duryea's character is really a loser, but he gets help from different individuals throughout the movie. Though, this movie has a sad ending, there is some hope for redemption for Duryea's character because of a presence of a young boy that he meets during the course of the movie. Not a great film, but a decent movie! Another WA DVD from 2011.

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63) 11-23-22 "The Garment Jungle" (1957) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
A returning veteran goes to work in his father's dress manufacturing business located in NYC's garment district. He learns of his father's vindictive anti-labor practices including murder, assault and intimidation. A really good film about labor and societal issues without being preachy. A tremendous cast of actors as Lee J. Cobb plays the father, Kerwin Mathews his son, Richard Boone as the mob enforcer that Cobb pays for protection. Robert Loggia and Joseph Wiseman play young labor organizers that become victims of Boone's thugs. Gia Scala plays the immigrant wife of Loggia's character that Mathews becomes infatuated with. There are some brutal sequences of violence in this 1957 film. Vincent Sherman is credited as director, but most of the film was actually directed by Robert Aldrich before he was fired by Harry Cohn, Columbia Pictures head due to artistic differences about the script and Aldrich's desire to film the movie in NYC. When you watch the movie, you can tell it's not a Vincent Sherman movie. Too much of Aldrich's signature violent sequences are in the film. IMO, a fine film that I will watch again in the near future to listen to Alan K. Rode's audio commentary. The Imprint 2020 Blu-ray offers a very good video presentation.

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64) 11-23-22 "Hoodlum Empire" (1952) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
A WWII army veteran breaks with the crime syndicate that he was born into before the war, but they continue to use his name for their payoff and criminal operations. Most of the film is told in flashback during a fictional inquiry headed by Senator Bill Stephens, Brian Donlevy based on the real life Kefauver Hearings. John Russell plays the returning veteran, Joe Gray trying to break from his criminal family headed by his uncle, Nick Mancani played by Luther Adler and his second in command, the hot-tempered and violent Charley Pignatalli played by Forrest Tucker. Other key roles are played by Claire Trevor, as Joe Gray's former girlfriend that is still part of the crime family and Vera Ralston, playing Joe's French war bride. Frankly, I think too much of a movie is told in flashbacks. The movie has its moments, but those several flashbacks tend to slow the pace of the movie. With that said, I enjoyed this film because of its cast which includes many recognizable character actors I haven't mentioned in this mini-review. The film has some quite brutal sequences in it. The 2013 Olive Blu-ray offers a solid video presentation.
 

Robert Crawford

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I'll be updating this particular post throughout this Thanksgiving Holiday here in the States between football games, eating delicious food and nap times. :D See my summary for film grades with the movies in "Bold" being first time viewings!

11-24-22

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65) 11-24-22 "Southside 1-1000" (1950) (DVD) 4/5 Stars
Another Secret Service agent goes undercover to track down the source of high quality counterfeit bills. Told in a quasi-documentary style that was popular at that time. It's complete with an opening four minute "patriotic" warning about counterfeiting being a sabotage against the state segment which caused me to downgrade this highly entertaining movie from a 4.5/5 film grade to 4/5 grade. What a terrific little film the King Brothers produced starring Don DeFore, Andrea King, George Tobias, Morris Ankrum and Barry Kelley. Interesting film having George Tobias playing against type as a dangerous hood with Andrea King's strident rendition of a "femme fatale". On location shooting by Russel Harlan in Los Angeles is another plus. A master counterfeiter played by Morris Ankrum, still imprisoned in San Quentin, is still able to continue his craft in his prison cell. He's able to smuggle out his latest plates to the outside world into the hands of his counterfeiting gang led by a certain family member. Good film despite the opening four minute segment. Viewed for the first time via the 2012 WA DVD.

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66) 11-24-22 "The Criminal" (1960) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
AKA "The Concrete Jungle" was the title of its American release which was directed by Hollywood exile Joseph Losey. It's an uncompromising Brit noir about a career criminal and his ill-fated attempt at a big score. Johnny Bannion/Stanley Baker recently released from prison executes a race track robbery. After burying the loot in a country field, he's arrested at his apartment after a former girlfriend rats him out to the police. Back in prison, Bannion is targeted by a crime kingpin to give up his loot in exchange for a prison break in order to rescue his current girlfriend being threaten by one of his robbery accomplices. This film is an indictment on the UK prison system as it shows how corrupt their prison system is with corrupt and sadistic prison guards. Much of the movie takes place in prison including the opening sequences of the film, before Bannion is paroled, prior to the race track robbery. IMO, this is one uncompromising violent movie. Its protagonists are vicious people with few, if any, redeeming characteristics. Baker gives an outstanding performance as a brutal hood, but does try to do one good thing by rescuing his girlfriend. I think that's the one weakness in this film because he's only been with the girlfriend for a very short time. He's a professional criminal, similar to Robert De Niro's character in the movie "Heat". Such criminals would just walk away from any woman and would choose to escape with their stolen monies. Even with that one flaw, this is still an outstanding movie that I watched on Blu-ray released by Kino in 2020. Another Blu-ray to revisit in order to listen to Kat Ellinger's audio commentary.

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67) 11-24-22 "The Tijuana Story" (1957) (Blu-ray) 2.5/5 Stars
Another quasi-documentary style crime movie. Manuel Acosta Mesa played by Rodolfo Acosta is a crusading editor of a Tijuana newspaper trying to clean up Tijuana from the criminal activities of the syndicate which deals in gambling, drugs, prostitution and violent crimes including murder. Mesa continues to publish newspaper editorials condemning the criminal activities. Those editorials gains noticed from the American newspapers in San Diego and LA. which makes the criminal syndicate nervous enough to place a "hit" on Mesa and thus, galvanizes the local community to fight back against the syndicate. Robert Blake has a supporting role as Mesa's oldest son, who carries on his father's campaign against crime. James Darren has a minor role as a young American that gets into trouble in Tijuana after smoking some dope and then drowning trying to escape from the Mexican police. Rodolfo Acosta playing the "hero" is quite different for him as he's usually cast as a "heavy". I think this is the first movie I've seen him in which he's the "good" guy. Overall, the movie isn't very good, it's just an adequate crime drama. Viewed for the first time on Kit Parker's 2019 Blu-ray release "Noir Archive: 9-Film Collection Volume 3".

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68) 11-24-22 "The Shadow on the Window" (1957) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
The main movie premise is three young criminals burglarize a farmhouse, kills the wealthy owner and holds his secretary hostage/Betty Garrett as they try to figure out their next move. Unfortunately, for them, is the secretary's young son Petey played by Jerry Mathers witnesses the crime and escapes to the highway. He's picked up there by a couple of truckers, but he's traumatized by what he's seen so he's in-shock when handled over to the police so he's unable to talk. Another bad omen for the robbers is that secretary's estranged husband and father of the boy is a police detective/Philip Carey so the cops are fully engage in trying to find the missing woman. John Barrymore, Jr. plays one of the criminals, who just wants to kill Garrett's character, but is prevented from doing so by his other two buddies. IMO, this film has a good opening premise including the opening credits, but the rest of the movie dissipates into another adequate crime drama. The movie was filmed in 1956, but released in 1957, the same year that "Leave it to Beaver" started its TV run with Mathers as the Beaver. One of nine movies on the Kit Parker's 2019 Blu-ray release "Noir Archive: 9-Film Collection Volume 3".
 

compson

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Pencil down for me with a total of 31 movies watched, 21 of which were new to me AFAIR. I watched Collection 3 of Imprint’s Essential Film Noir, the first four sets of Columbia Noir from Indicator, and three others. The Indicator discs are Region B locked but were playable on my Panasonic player.

1. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)
2. No Man of Her Own (1950)*
3. The Turning Point (1952)*
4. The Desperate Hours (1955)*
5. Escape in the Fog (1945)*
6. Undercover Man (1949)*
7. Drive a Crooked Road (1954)*
8. 5 Against the House (1955)
9. The Garment Jungle (1957)*
10. The Lineup (1958)
11. Framed (1947)
12. 711 Ocean Drive (1950)*
13. The Mob (1951)*
14. Affair in Trinidad (1952)*
15. Tight Spot (1955)
16. Murder by Contract (1958)
17. Johnny O’Clock (1947)
18. The Dark Past (1949)*
19. Convicted (1950)*
20. Between Midnight and Dawn (1950)*
21. The Sniper (1952)
22. City of Fear (1959)
23. Walk a Crooked Mile (1948)*
24. Walk East on Beacon (1952)*
25. Pushover (1954)*
26. A Bullet Is Waiting (1954)*
27. Chicago Syndicate (1955)*
28. The Brothers Rico (1957)*
29. I, The Jury (3D 1953)*
30. The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)*
31. Detour (1945)

*first-time viewing

The movie I enjoyed most was probably PUSHOVER, directed by Richard Quine from a screenplay by Roy Huggins and introducing Kim Novak as the icy blonde Fred MacMurray’s undercover policeman falls in love with. Derivative? Of course, but it influenced Godard when he made Breathless; in movies, everyone takes from everyone else. That this movie is not available on a Region A Blu-ray is an omission Sony or a licensee should address.

Quine also made DRIVE A CROOKED ROAD, another good film, this time from a screenplay by his friend Blake Edwards, which provided Mickey Rooney one of his early dramatic roles as a decent man taken in and used by a temptress and her boyfriend.

PUSHOVER is referenced in CHICAGO SYNDICATE, released the following year. The establishing shot for Allison Hayes’s apartment in CHICAGO SYNDICATE is the same as the establishing shot for Kim Novak’s apartment in PUSHOVER, with the same “Parkcrest Apts.” Cut to Dennis O’Keefe, who says, “You don’t have to go to all this trouble, Sue. I’m really a pushover.” (She replies, “That’s one out of left field.”)

Some of the Columbia movies were, as one writeup put it, made for the matinee crowd, but then I would come to movies like MURDER BY CONTRACT (the title provides a sufficient synopsis) or Edward Dmytryk’s THE SNIPER (same). MURDER BY CONTRACT, shot over seven days, stars Vince Edwards as a hired killer and features a performance by Philip Pine so similar to later performances by Joe Pesci that I assume Pesci used Pine as a model.

Other highlights included William Wyler’s THE DESPERATE HOURS (escaped convict Humphey Bogart terrorizing Fredric March and his family), Don Siegel’s THE LINEUP (Eli Wallach as one of two ruthless hired killers searching for missing heroin), and AFFAIR IN TRINIDAD (Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth, ‘nuff said).

The biggest surprise was not a noir work. Indicator’s 711 OCEAN DRIVE disc includes as a extra a 1945 U.S. Army short, “Diary of a Sergeant,” about an Army sergeant who lost both hands in a training accident. The sergeant, who narrates the film and appears in recreated scenes, was Harold Russell. After seeing the short, William Wyler cast Russell in The Best Years of Our Lives, for which Russell received two Oscars.

I enjoyed participating in the challenge. I love film noir, but I’m ready for something else now. And Go Blue!
 
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Robert Crawford

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I updated my post from yesterday. My final tally of movies watched between November 1st through 24th, is 68 movies with 63 of them being first time viewings. I can't believe I was able to watch that many new movies in less than one month's time. Also, I will continue to watch more noir through November 30th. Most of those remaining movie titles will be movies I've seen beforehand with a few new one titles sprinkled in with some favorite noirs of mine.

Noirvember Film Noir Movie Listing with titles in "Bold" designating first time viewings:

01) 11-01-22 "I, The Jury" (1953) (Blu-ray) 2.75/5 Stars
02) 11-01-22 "Criminal Court" (1946) (TCM app) 3/5 Stars
03) 11-02-22 "El Vampiro Negro" (1953) (TCM Noir Alley) 4.5/5 Stars
04) 11-02-22 "Cage of Evil" (1960) (TCM Noir Alley) 2/5 Stars
05) 11-03-22 "Thunder on the Hill" (1951) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
06) 11-03-22 "Dangerous Mission" (1954) (TCM Recording) 2.5/5 Stars
07) 11-04-22 "Plunder Road" (1957) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
08) 11-04-22 "World for Ransom" (1954) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
09) 11-05-22 "City of Fear" (1959) (Blu-ray) 2.5/5 Stars
10) 11-05-22 "The Scarlet Hour" (1956) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
11) 11-06-22 "Shock" (1946) (DVD) 2.75/5 Stars
12) 11-06-22 "Vicki" (1953) (DVD) 2.75/5 Stars
13) 11-07-22 "Moontide" (1942) (DVD) 4/5 Stars
14) 11-07-22 "Dangerous Crossing" (1953) (DVD) 3.5/5 Stars
15) 11-08-22 "Shockproof" (1949) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
16) 11-08-22 "Chicago Confidential" (1957) (Blu-ray) 2.5/5 Stars
17) 11-09-22 "The Boss" (1956) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
18) 11-09-22 "Take One False Step" (1949) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
19) 11-10-22 "Port of Shadows" (1938) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
20) 11-10-22 "The Thief" (1952) (DVD) 3.5/5 Stars
21) 11-11-22 "Shack Out on 101" (1955) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
22) 11-11-22 "Bewitched" (1945) (DVD) 3/5 Stars
23) 11-11-22 "Singapore" (1947) (Blu-ray) 2.5/5 Stars
24) 11-11-22 "The Midnight Story" (1957) (Blu-ray) 2.5/5 Stars
25) 11-12-22 "Outside the Law" (1956) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
26) 11-12-22 "The Fearmakers" (1958) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
27) 11-12-22 "Dancing with Crime" (1947) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
28) 11-12-22 "The Green Cockatoo" (1937) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
29) 11-12-22 "A Life at Stake" (1955) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
30) 11-12-22 "Highway Dragnet" (1954) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
31) 11-13-22 "The Chase" (1946) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
32) 11-13-22
"Tension" (1949) (DVD) 4/5 Stars
33) 11-14-22 "A Woman's Devotion" (1956) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
34) 11-14-22 " Pool of London" (1951) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
35) 11-14-22
"Kid Glove Killer" (1942) (DVD) 3/5 Stars
36) 11-14-22 "Grand Central Murder" (1942) (DVD) 3/5 Stars
37) 11-15-22 "Loophole" (1954) (DVD) 3/5 Stars
38) 11-15-22 "Tangier" (1946) (Blu-ray) 2/5 Stars
39) 11-16-22 "Touchez Pas au Grisbi" (1954) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
40) 11-16-22 "Cry Vengeance" (1954) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
41) 11-16-22 "Private Hell 36" (1954) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
42) 11-16-22 "Hidden Fear" (1957) (Blu-ray) 2.5/5 Stars
43) 11-17-22 "Razzia Sur La Chnouf" (1955) (Blu-ray) 4.5/5 Stars
44) 11-17-22 "The Gun Runners" (1958) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
45) 11-17-22 "Storm Fear" (1955) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
46) 11-18-22 "The Devil Strikes at Night" (1957) (Blu-ray) 4.5/5 Stars
47) 11-18-22 "Black Gravel" (1961) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
48) 11-18-22 "Jigsaw" (1962) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
49) 11-19-22 "Town on Trial" (1957) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
50) 11-19-22 "Time Without Pity" (1957) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
51) 11-19-22 "The Diamond Wizard" (1954) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
52) 11-20-22
"The Unfaithful" (1947) (TCM's "Noir Alley") 3/5 Stars
53) 11-21-22 "Escape in the Fog" (1945) (Blu-ray) 2/5 Stars
54) 11-21-22 "The Undercover Man" (1949) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
55) 11-21-22 "Pickup Alley aka Interpol" (1957) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
56) 11-21-22 "The Last Crooked Mile" (1946) (iTunes HD Digital) 2.5/5 Stars
57) 11-22-22 "Chicago Syndicate" (1955) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
58) 11-22-22 "Mystery in Mexico" (1948) (DVD) 3/5 Stars
59) 11-22-22
"The Clay Pigeon" (1949) (DVD) 3/5 Stars
60) 11-22-22 "Flesh and Fury" (1952) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
61) 11-23-22 "The Brasher Doubloon" (1947) (DVD) 3/5 Stars
62) 11-23-22 "Chicago Calling" (1951) (DVD) 3/5 Stars
63) 11-23-22 "The Garment Jungle" (1957) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
64) 11-23-22 "Hoodlum Empire" (1952) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
65) 11-24-22 "Southside 1-1000" (1950) (DVD) 4/5 Stars
66) 11-24-22 "The Criminal" (1960) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
67) 11-24-22 "The Tijuana Story" (1957) (Blu-ray) 2.5/5 Stars
68) 11-24-22 "The Shadow on the Window" (1956) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
 

John Stell

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Rating - Out of a possible 4
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37) 11/23/2022 Thunderbolt (1929) 1669399954170.png 1669399954170.png 1669399954170.png

Jim "Thunderbolt" Lang (George Bancroft) is the authorities' most wanted gangster. The police think they finally have a way of getting him when they discover his girlfriend, Ritzie (Fay Wray), is pitching woo with another man, bank teller Bob Moran (Richard Arlen). But she won't rat Thunderbolt out. Then the jealous gangster learns of Moran and plots to kill him.

The first talkie directed by Josef von Sternberg, Thunderbolt is an entertaining if occasionally creaky prototype noir that takes several interesting turns before all is said and done, with several unexpected story twists. Thunderbolt is a rather complex character, and Bancroft has some nice moments, especially those involving a stray mutt that takes a liking to him. The real surprise for me, though, was Fay Wray, whom I'd previously seen strictly in damsel roles (King Kong, Doctor X, Mystery of the Wax Museum). Here she's tough as nails most of the time and she's quite good. Also worth mentioning is Tully Marshall's warden, who's a bundle of nervous energy but nevertheless is quite capable of compassion now and again.

For an early talkie, Thunderbolt is a lot more sophisticated than some films that followed, e.g., 1935's The Scoundrel which I watched earlier. There are some great early scenes in a jazz club, a well-staged sequence inside an apartment complex, and an interesting gallery of death row inmates. People who find 90+ year old films too archaic would probably knock the rating down a cig. But I found this solid entertainment.

Totals through November 24: 37 noirs watched, of which 22 were first time viewings.
 

Suzanne.S

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Well, I didn't get nearly as many watched as I would have liked. I've had some issues come up with my Mom and my sister was out of the country most of the month so everything fell to me. Not complaining, but it took up a lot of time.

November 17, 2022
5. The Asphalt Jungle (1950) Warner Bros. Film Noir Classic Collection DVD Box Set. First time viewing. I loved all these extremely flawed characters, especially Doc. He was so confident and it led to his downfall. Even with all that went awry in his meticulous plan, he almost got away but his own personal flaw was his undoing. The commentary by Drew Casper is informative and starts out slow and a bit dry. Once he warms up and starts talking about the movie, he can be quite engaging. For the first half he give a lot of background detail on the production and the people involved, ignoring the onscreen happenings. At times he can be almost condescending and pretentious. I've listened to other commentaries by him and if he sticks to the film and really likes the film, he can be quite enjoyable. This was a mixed bag.

November 19, 2022
6. Clash by Night (1952) Warner Bros. Film Noir Classic Collection Volume 2 DVD Box Set. First time viewing. Peter Bogdanovich supplied the commentary for this disc and I have to agree with him, that this wasn't really a Film Noir. It is certainly shot in the Noir style, but the story is a simple love triangle. The performances are excellent, especially Barbara Stanwyck, as Mae. Since it was packaged as a Noir, I kept expecting much more horrible things to happen throughout the film. The commentary was excellent. I am a fan of Bogdanovich but sometimes he can be pretentious and dull, not so here. He points out camera angles and cinematography details with the cinephile in mind.

November 21, 2022
7. Crossfire (1947) Warner Bros. Film Noir Classic Collection Volume 2 DVD Box Set. First time viewing. It is a powerful film and has a great lesson about the consequences of hatred. Robert Ryan is chilling as Monty. There is something off about him from the moment we are introduced to him even as the director tries to frame him as a good guy. The commentary points out, using archival interviews with director Dmytryk, the differences in lense, lighting and angle used on Ryan as the film progresses. I did feel that Robert Young's speech to the young soldier from Kentucky was a bit overwrought and overplayed but not enough to distract from the overall impact of the film. The commentary by James Ursini and Alain Silver is interesting and the inclusion of relevant comments from Dmytryk are valuable.

That's it for me at least to the 24th. I guess I could say I watched 14, since I watched each one twice. ;) It's been enlightening and enjoyable. And there is quite a lot of value in listening to the commentaries right away. I need to make that a habit from now on.
 

Robert Crawford

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See my summary for film grades with the movies in "Bold" being first time viewings!

11-25-22

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69) 11-25-22 "No Man of Her Own" (1950) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
"He was a skunk!" That line of dialogue always makes me chuckle when it is spoken at the end of this Mitchell Leisen directed film in which he had a hand in co-writing too. An unmarried woman/Barbara Stanwyck goes along with a case of mistaken identity so that her out-of-wedlock newborn son can have a decent life. Dangerous complications soon arise when skunk/Lyle Bettger expectantly shows up again in Stanwyck's life. Fervent, suspenseful noir that might even be better than Cornell Woolrich's novel "I Married a Dead Man" which was the source material. The beginning of this movie has Stanwyck at her best while Bettger is at his best playing one awful human being. Just a heart wrenching sequence in that opening sequence. John Lund gives a fine performance as the good guy that falls in love with Stanwyck and becomes complicit in crimes that weren't even talked about in the movie, like evidence tampering and such. Anyhow, a fine movie despite some implausible circumstances in the film. My latest viewing of this movie was from a Blu-ray that is part of Imprint's "Essential Film Noir Collection 3".

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70) 11-25-22 "Scandal Sheet" (1952) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
Unscrupulous newspaper editor Mark Chapman/Broderick Crawford has a secret past, when he runs into his wife/Rosemary DeCamp that he abandoned 20 years ago with a different alias. DeCamp gives a brief outstanding performance. Needless to say, this reunion was not a happy one as Chapman accidently kills his wife during an argument. He then attempts to cover up his involvement in the killing as his star reporter investigates the crime. John Derek is cast as the star reporter, but I always thought he was miscast in this movie. Somebody like William Holden or Glenn Ford would've been better suited for that role as Derek appears too young and naïve for that role. Donna Reed plays another reporter, but one with ethics that is constantly in conflict with her colleagues Crawford and Derek. Henry O'Neill is excellent as a former star reporter that felled victim to the bottle. A good noir, full of suspense and strong acting performances. The source material for this movie was written by Sam Fuller. The film was directed by Phil Karlson, who has a long list of excellent film noirs under his directorial resume. Movies such as Kansas City Confidential, 99 River Street, Tight Spot, 5 Against the House, The Phenix City Story and The Brothers Rico. I viewed this movie on Blu-ray from Indicator's "Samuel Fuller: Storyteller Volume 2".
 

Robert Crawford

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Does "Reservoir Dogs" count as noir? If so, I'll be watching my 4K disc which would be my first viewing of this movie.
 

Robert Crawford

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See my summary for film grades with the movies in "Bold" being first time viewings!

11-26-22

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71) 11-26-22 "Reservoir Dogs" (1992) (4K/UHD) 4/5 Stars

More to come as I further process my first viewing of this movie. It's entirely possible that my film grade will change as I continue to think about this film throughout the day. A really good film! Edit: I'm not going to detail the movie's premise except to say it's about a jewelry robbery gone bad with a major shootout between the cops and the robbers. The robbers are given generic names like Mr. White, Mr. Brown, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Orange and Mr. Pink in order to hide each other's identify from each other. This movie does require more than one viewing as there is so much sharp dialogue in it that multiple viewings are essential to fully enjoying this movie. There is a lot of profanity and violence in this movie. One of the bloodiest crime movies I have ever seen. I'm not going to change my film score, but I will be revisiting this movie again so a film grade upgrade is possible in the future. I never had a great desire to watch Quentin Tarantino movies because of their violence and profanity. It wasn't until I watched the Kill Bill movies that I started to watch his films. I've still haven't watched "Pulp Fiction" in its entirety from beginning to end. I'll rectify that situation when the 4K/UHD is released in a couple of weeks.

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72) 11-26-22 "The Limey" (1999) (4K/UHD) 4.5/5 Stars
I love this film! Wilson/Terrence Stamp, a career criminal from the UK arrives in Los Angeles to find out how his daughter Jenny died and to seek vengeance on those responsible for her death. He zeroes in on a record producer Terry Valentine played by Peter Fonda, who was Jenny's boyfriend. Apparently, Valentine got his hands dirty dealing with drug smugglers as a money launderer. From there, Wilson invokes havoc on Valentine's life with the help of a pair of Jenny's friends played by Leslie Ann Warren and Luis Guzman. Some of the movie was told in flashback to when Jenny was a little girl which makes the movie more poignant than most crime dramas. Stamp is outstanding in this movie as he hands out punishment to those that get in his way as he tracks Valentine down from LA to Big Sur. I never get tired of watching this movie which was directed by Steven Soderbergh. The 4K/UHD disc just released last month offers an excellent audio and video presentations with 4K/Dolby Vision/Dolby Atmos codecs which is a huge improvement over the DVD and the 4K digital I have of the film. Highly recommended!

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73) 11-26-22 "Lady on a Train" (1945) (Blu-ray) 2.5/5 Stars
I was never a fan of this movie! A woman traveling on a train witnesses a murder as it passes a building. Unable to convince the police of the murder she proceeds to investigate the crime herself and recruits the involvement of her favorite mystery writer played by David Bruce to help her solve the case. There are far too many silly moments in this film for my taste. I think Deanna Durbin fans will enjoy the movie, but I think her other noir film "Christmas Holiday" (1944) is a better movie. This film has a great cast of actors with Ralph Bellamy, Dan Duryea, George Coulouris, Allen Jenkins, Edward Everett Horton and Patricia Morrison. Morrison is wasted in this movie as the jealous girlfriend of Bruce's character. Of course, there are a couple of songs that Durbin sings in the movie including "Silent Night". However, the silliness of the movie just doesn't float my boat. With that said, I did enjoy the "red herring" aspect of the movie as it does have a couple of twists and turns as to who is actually the murderer in the movie. The Blu-ray is part of Kino's "Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema IX" box set. IMO, it's the weakest of the three movies in that set as I enjoyed "Take One False Step" and even "Tangier" more than this movie.

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74) 11-26-22 "He Walked By Night" (1948) (Blu-ray) 4.5/5 Stars
After watching the mediocre "Lady on a Train" again, I decided to watch again one of my favorite film noirs again on Blu-ray. It's "He Walked by Night" (1948) credited director is Alfred Werker, but there is little doubt that Anthony Mann directed the best sequences of this film. Los Angeles police conduct an elaborate manhunt for a cunning nocturnal psychopath. This is one of the coldest and blackest semi-documentary thrillers from this film period with classic noir visuals by cinematographer John Alton. This film contains one of the great film sequences that Mann probably directed in which the police are tracking the killer through LA's underground storm drain system with culminates in a great gun battle between the killer and the police. I guess it's a coincidence that this movie and "The Third Man" were being filmed about the same time with a similar iconic action sequence happening underground beneath a large city. However, "He Walked By Night" was actually filmed about six months prior to "The Third Man" and it opened a few months prior too. Richard Basehart is fantastic as Roy Morgan/Martin a disturbed WWII veteran with a penchant for killing and electronics. Scott Brady, James Cardwell and Roy Roberts play the police detectives pursuing Basehart. Jack Webb has a supporting role playing a police forensics expert. This is the movie that was the inspiration for Webb's "Dragnet" as the actual police technical advisor on this movie also helped Webb with his TV series. The 2017 Classiflix Blu-ray does this fine movie justice as it also features a short featurette as well as an entertaining audio commentary with Alan K. Rode and Julie Kirgo. Highly recommended!
 

Robert Crawford

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See my summary for film grades with the movies in "Bold" being first time viewings!

11-27-22

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75) 11-27-22 "Death of a Cyclist" (1955) (TCM's Noir Alley) 4/5 Stars
A married woman having an affair with her long-time lover run over a bicyclist with their car. Instead of going for help, they leave him for dead on that lonely road in the country. The woman is married to a wealthy man. From the start, you can tell she is a selfish person willing to do anything to protect her way of life. The man is unmarried, but is an assistant college professor not making much money, he has wealthy relatives and comes from a good family, but he considers himself a failure. The man has some conscious issues because deep down he's a decent man and knows he needs to do the right thing. The woman, has no reservations at all when it comes to protecting her marriage and society status. There lies the conflict between the two individuals and which will lead to tragic consequences for both of them. This very dark Spanish film has not only noir elements, but is considered anti-upper class and is basically a political statement against the nobility of wealthy people. The movie was written and directed by Juan Antonio Bardem, who was briefly jailed by Franco because of this movie. The actor, Javier Bardem's mother, Pilar was the sister of Juan so acting and directing runs in their family. Criterion released this on DVD about 14-15 years ago, but hasn't been released on Blu-ray here in the States.

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76) 11-27-22 "The Spiral Staircase" (1946) (Blu-ray) 5/5 Stars
This is not only one of my favorite noir films, but one of my all-time favorite movies. Mute servant girl becomes the target of a serial psycho-killer that preys on handicapped women in a small New England town in the early 21st Century. This eerie gothic noir is strong on mood, suspense and resonance. According to Imogen Sara Smith's commentary, the eye of the killer seen in close-up several times in the film, is actually the eye of Robert Siodmak as he didn't want to reveal any possibility that people could identify the killer before the great reveal. There are plenty of red herrings in this film. Siodmak directed this movie in 1945, and this RKO picture was released in 1946. Ethel Barrymore received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for playing the sickly matriarch that Helen/Dorothy McGuire cares for in this movie. Barrymore's sons are played by George Brent and and Gordon Oliver, in which one of them might be this psychopath. A tremendous cast of supporting actors includes Kent Smith, Elsa Lanchester, Rhonda Fleming, Sara Allgood, Rhys Williams and James Bell. A lot of gothic tropes in a large mansion during a thunderstorm are in this movie, but the close-up of the killer's eye was a trope copied later on in other movies. This is a movie best viewed late at night in a completely darken room. I highly recommend this 2018 Kino Blu-ray.
 

Robert Crawford

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11-28-22

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77) 11-28-22 "T-Men" (1947) (Blu-ray) 4.5/5 Stars
Two Treasury Agents pose as small-time hoods to infiltrate counterfeiting ring. Does that sound familiar? :D However, this is one of the most significant noir films ever made with dynamic visuals and provocative direction which combined does deflect the conventional law-and-order take, these type of movies usually have from that time period. The outstanding camera work John Alton and direction of Anthony Mann is on full display with this 2017 Kino Blu-ray. This was the first movie that Alton and Mann teamed up on. Just an outstanding film that you have to watch and study for its photography and direction. Without a doubt, many great directors and cinematographers have made note of this film as it had to serve as inspiration for so many of them. The shot selection in this film is just legendary. Some great location shots in and around Los Angeles and Detroit in 1947. I can do without the Treasury Department stuff, but the rest of the film makes up for it. Also, really good acting performances by Dennis O'Keefe, Alfred Ryder, Wallace Ford, Charles McGraw, Jane Randolph and a small part for June Lockhart daughter of Gene Lockhart many years before Lost in Space hit our TV screens. The Blu-ray has an entertaining and informative audio commentary by Alan K. Rode.

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78) 11-28-22 "The House on 92nd Street" (1945) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
I agree with Eddie Muller, this movie isn't really film noir because it's more about the FBI processes to capture a Nazi spy ring than from the protagonist's point of view. It's basically a FBI propaganda film which made J. Edgar Hoover happy. However, there are definitely some noir elements throughout this Henry Hathaway directed movie. Also, it's the first semi-documentary crime movie made and it was filmed in NYC even before "The Naked City". A great cast of actors including Signe Hasso as the lead Nazi spy along with fellow spies Leo G. Carroll, Gene Lockhart and Harry Bellaver. On the "good guys" side we have lead FBI agent Lloyd Nolan and FBI double agent William Eythe. The movie evolves around a Nazi spy ring operating in NYC with their base of operations being a house on 92nd Street. The movie wasn't released until after the conclusion of WWII because the movie details the Nazis trying to steal Atomic Bomb secrets and ferret them to Germany. Eythe plays an American born citizen of German descent that is trained by the Nazis to spy for them without realizing he's actually working for the FBI as a double agent. A good movie that I've seen many times over the years. This latest viewing was with the 2016 Kino Blu-ray that has an Eddie Muller commentary on it.

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79) 11-28-22 "Violent Saturday" (1955) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
Three crooks (Stephen McNally, Lee Marvin & J. Carroll Naish) come to Bradenville, Arizona to rob a bank. As they're casing the bank, we see all of the "Peyton Place" elements among the local citizens including "Peeping Tom" stalking, adultery and common theft. All of the dirty little secrets! Anyhow, the robbers take a local mining manager played by Victor Mature hostage in order to use his car as a getaway vehicle. They hold Mature hostage at a farm located outside of town that belongs to an Amish family with Ernest Borgnine playing the Amish father. As the robbers try to escape, some complications interfere with their escape plan. The robbery sequence is first rate, but the melodrama in the movie kind of downplays the noir effectiveness of the movie. With that said, the violent ending kind of uplifts the film again. I've seen this movie quite a few times with my latest viewing being the Twilight Time 2014 Blu-ray.

Below is Alan K. Rode's interview with Richard Fleischer's son as they talk about "Violent Saturday". Fleischer was one underrated director. Of course, animator Max Fleischer was Richard's father.




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80) 11-28-22 "Kiss of Death" (1947) (Blu-ray) 4.5/5 Stars
This well known noir depicting the many forces which makes it difficult for a man to escape his criminal past. Often remembered for Richard Widmark's graphic portrayal of a vicious, giggling psycho-killer. Another interesting tidbit about this noir is its female narrator which is actress Coleen Gray that plays Victor Mature's love interest in the movie. I don't think anything else really needs to be said about this iconic movie which was pretty much filmed on location in NYC by Henry Hathaway. I think the only major sequence not filmed on location is the final sequence in and outside the restaurant during the final shootout. That sequence was filmed back at Fox studio. Anybody that's really into film noir or classic movies in general should know all about this movie and its infamous sequence featured on the front cover of this 2017 Twilight Time Blu-ray. A great movie with an excellent cast of supporting actors.
 

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We're back from our Thanksgiving travels and resumed our movie watching with a classic.

12
In a Lonely Place (1950) — This Nicholas Ray film is unrelentingly bleak with many questions left unresolved. Humphrey Bogart plays a Hollywood screenwriter with a history of violence who is suspected of murder, and Gloria Grahame is the woman who may be able to provide an alibi. That makes it sound like a conventional murder mystery which is not at all what the movie is about. It’s a haunting character study with great performances from the cast making it a classic, deeply disturbing piece of film noir.


:emoji_gun: :emoji_gun: :emoji_gun: :emoji_gun: 🔪
 

Robert Crawford

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I'll be updating this post throughout the day as I plan on watching 3-4 movies today. See my summary for film grades with the movies in "Bold" being first time viewings!

11-29-22

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81) 11-29-22 "23 Paces to Baker Street" (1956) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
I've been on a Henry Hathaway kick lately and I realized I've never seen one of his movies which I already own on Blu-ray. So early this morning, I pulled out my 2017 Kino Blu-ray of "23 Paces to Baker Street" which was released in 1956. This Fox mystery movie was filmed in London and stars Van Johnson and Vera Miles. The film's premise is about a blind American playwright that overhears a discussion in a London pub that might involve some criminal activity regarding a possible kidnapping of a child. The police are unconvinced, but with the help of his man servant and his former fiancée he conducts an investigation on his own which places him in great danger. IMO, the movie is perhaps 10 minutes too long as the pacing of the film is rather slow, but it does have a good mystery. There is a twist plot point that kind of reminds me of another Hathaway directed film "The House on 92nd Street". Not a bad film, some people might think of it as mediocre, but I was entertained by it and will try to revisit this Blu-ray again in order to listen to its audio commentary. TBH, I wouldn't consider this Deluxe Color/Cinemascope movie a "film noir" as it's more of a crime mystery movie.

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82) 11-29-22 "Body and Soul" (1947) (Blu-ray) 5/5 Stars
I'll update my thoughts later on regarding this film, but this movie was one of my father's favorite movies as he was the person that turned me onto John Garfield in the first place. Garfield is one of my all-time favorite actors just behind John Wayne. His filmography is amazing considering he died at 39 years of age. IMO, "Body and Soul" is among the greatest boxing movies ever made with so many noir elements in it. I like this movie more than "Champion" (1949) and as much as "The Set-Up" (1949). Charley Davis lost his soul, but finally regained it again. An ambitious and imperfect man, but he finally remembered what he was deep inside, despite the corruption and the backstabbing that was prevalent in the boxing business, he beat the odds and redeemed himself in the end. I love Garfield's last line of dialogue to his crooked boxing promoter after his last boxing match. Canada Lee was also superb in this movie as the former broken down boxing champion that works for Charley as a trainer and eventually becomes his conscience in doing the right thing. This latest viewing was my 2012 Olive Blu-ray.

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83) 11-29-22 "Force of Evil" (1948) (Blu-ray) 5/5 Stars
Syndicate lawyer is opposed by his older brother in efforts to bring about numbers racket takeover of his small bookie operation. This is an important and sincere noir whose veiled attack on American capitalism did not go over well in its time. Many of the people involved with this film became targets of the Un-American Activities committee and were later on blacklisted. Abraham Polonsky wrote and directed this movie and also wrote the screenplay for "Body and Soul" before he was blacklisted. This movie is filmmaking at its best with some great location shots of NYC, particularly, Wall Street area. A great film with John Garfield and Thomas Gomez at the top of their game as the two combatant brothers. This movie is essential noir for viewing as it perfectly captures the "noir" period. This latest viewing was the 2017 Arrow Blu-ray that is region-free.

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84) 11-29-22 "So Evil My Love" (1948) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
A recently widowed woman falls for unregenerate artist that leads her into a dark web of blackmail and murder. This period noir set in Victorian England details the complete transformation of its straight-laced female protagonist into an unflinching murderess. Ray Milland is perfectly cast as the homme fatal, the smooth-faced, silver-tongued embodiment of corruption. Ann Todd is excellent as the initially uptight woman pulled deeper and deeper into degradation by her lust for Milland. Geraldine Fitzgerald plays the former classmate of Todd's that is trapped in a loveless marriage to a wealthy and powerful man. She uses alcohol to endure her husband's cruelty towards her. Eventually, Todd is hired by Fitzgerald's rich husband to be her companion and to keep her from drinking. That sets up the film premise in which blackmail and eventually murder comes into play. Even though this was a Paramount release, produced by Hal Wallis, it was actually filmed in England with Brit director Lewis Allen along with actors from the UK. Allen directed a number of Hollywood movies including "The Uninvited", "The Unseen" and "Desert Fury" and "Appointment with Danger". He also directed a lot of American TV shows including Bonanza. This movie is a bit too long, but it's still a really good "gaslight noir" that I'm glad I've finally watched for the first time. This 2021 Kino Blu-ray contains an audio commentary from Imogen Sara Smith that I need to listen to when I have my next viewing of this movie.
 

Robert Crawford

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Today's the last day for 2022 Noirvember Challenge! I'm going to try to watch as many noirs today as possible. The brief summaries will have to wait until later on. Anyhow, time for some sleep and more noir watching after I wake up.

See my summary for film grades with the movies in "Bold" being first time viewings.

11-30-22

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85) 11-30-22 "The Dark Mirror" (1946) (Blu-ray) 3.5/5 Stars
Olivia de Havilland is superb playing identical twins, often fill in for each other as no one can tell the difference between them. When one of the twin's physician boyfriend is murdered, police detective/Thomas Mitchell investigates, discovering that people are often confused into thinking which one is which twin. Mitchell is sure one of the twins committed the murder, but since they alibi each other, he can't charge one or the other without evidence to offer that he's got the right one. He calls in psychologist/Ayres, to evaluate each twin for mental evaluation. Anyhow, the mystery is flimsy, but the special effects in those scenes where de Havilland plays both parts, are really good for its day. My latest viewing of this movie was 2017 Arrow Blu-ray which is region-free.

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86) 11-30-22 "The Desperate Hours" (1955) (Blu-ray) 4.5/5 Stars
Three escaped convicts hideout in the home of respectable businessman, terrifying and terrorizing his family. This was the last film that features Bogart in a criminal role. This is a well-executed home invasion thriller. Fredric March plays the family patriarch that is desperate to protect his family at any cost. Robert Middleton and Dewey Martin play the other two escaped convicts. Martha Scott plays March's wife with Mary Murphy and Richard Eyer playing their kids. The cast alsoo includes Arthur Kennedy as a determined detective in apprehending Bogart and company. I always thought the film was a little too long, but the last 30 or so minutes are exciting with some suspenseful sequences. As much as I liked this film and consider it an excellent movie, the title of the film should have been "The Desperate Days" as the movie takes place over a few days not hours.:) This was the last Blu-ray I viewed from Imprint's 2022 "Essential Film Noir Collection 3" box set.

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87) 11-30-22 "The Big Combo" (1955) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
Over the years, this cheaply made noir has become a noir classic. It's cast is a film noir "Who's Who" with Cornel Wilde, Richard Conte, Brian Donlevy, Lee Van Cleef, Earl Holliman, Robert Middleton, Jay Adler, John Hoyt, Ted de Corsia and Jean Wallace as the object of affection for both, crime kingpin Mr. Brown/Conte and police lieutenant Diamond/Wilde. The movie's premise is rather basic with an obsessed policeman, at any cost is after a mob boss. Joseph Lewis directed this movie, but the real filmmaker genius for this movie is cinematographer John Alton. His usage of light or lack of really camouflaged many of the cheap production sequences in the movie. IMO, this was one of Alton's best efforts as a cinematographer. Another hero of this film is Richard Conte, who's performance as sadistic mob boss Mr. Brown is so good. He's given all of the good lines in this film and he recites them perfectly. The filmmakers are lucky that Jack Palance dropped out of this movie and they were able to get Conte as his replacement. Palance is a great actor, but I don't think he would've brought the necessary subtleties to this role that makes Brown so evil and unredeemable. Wilde's character is wooden and so is his performance as he's second banana in this movie. He's a cop, but he's not a good guy. Van Cleef and Holliman shine as the two mob killers with an underlying "gay" subtext between them. Jean Wallace is another plus as Brown's girlfriend that can't make up her mind to get away from Brown. This 2018 Blu-ray is another Arrow region-free disc and offers a good video presentation along with an excellent audio commentary by Eddie Muller.

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88) 11-30-22 "High Sierra" (1941) (Blu-ray) 4/5 Stars
A recently paroled middle-aged criminal agrees to pull one last job, but everything goes wrong. The doomed thirties gangster is transformed in this movie to a more existential noir protagonist, pursued doggedly by his inescapable fate. There isn't nothing much else to add here as everyone knows this is the movie that help make Bogart a movie star along with "The Maltese Falcon" that came out shortly thereafter. The one thing that I never liked about this movie is the Joan Leslie storyline. I know it helps humanizes the Roy Earle/Bogart character and is used as a filler for the movie, but it's sequences never appealed to me. Anyhow, I finally watched my 2021 Criterion Blu-ray that I will revisit again due to the many bonus materials.

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89) 11-30-22 "Sirocco" (1951) (Blu-ray) 3/5 Stars
A mercenary gun smuggler Harry Smith/Bogart gets caught in the middle of 1925 rebellion involving Syria and France. This is a somber little film that takes place in war-torn Damascus, Syria where the Syrian rebels are fighting French troops for the control of the city. The film was produced by Bogart's Santana production company. Lee J. Cobb plays an idealistic French officer that wants to negotiate a truce between the Syrians and French. Marta Toren plays a woman that wants to leave Damascus and get away from Cobb and uses Bogart to help her. Bogart's character cares nothing for anybody except making money. IMO, I always considered this movie as mediocre in comparison to many other Bogart films, but the ending sequence of the movie is quite effective with an idealistic theme that probably won't last. This was the first Blu-ray I viewed from Indicator's 2022 "Columbia Noir #5: Humphrey Bogart" Blu-ray box set.

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90) 11-30-22 "Circumstantial Evidence" (1945) (DVD) 2/5 Stars
IMO, this "B" movie from Fox isn't really film noir, though, it has some noir elements in it. The casting of Michael O'Shea, Lloyd Nolan, Roy Roberts and Reed Hadley would suggest otherwise. Anyhow, three people swear they witness O'Shea killing a baker with a hatchet. He's convicted and sentenced to the electric chair. His best friend/Nolan is determined to get him a new trial, but time is running out as his execution is scheduled for next week. Many of the noir elements involves O'Shea escaping prison then trying to get himself back into his prison cell without being detected that he escaped. The reason why he's trying to get back to his cell, is that he finds out Nolan did get him a new trial by convincing the Governor to grant him a stay of execution for a new trial. Far-fetched indeed! I can't say I enjoyed this movie after viewing it for the first time with the 2013 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives DVD. Perhaps, last night I was a little too tired to enjoy the movie as it was my sixth movie on Wednesday. I might have to give this movie another chance some day.
 

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Real Name
Maurice
13
El Vampiro Negro (1953) NEW — This Noir Alley presentation had been sitting on the DVR for a few weeks, but we finally got around to watching it. It’s an Argentine remake of Fritz Lang’s M and quite good in its on right. Eddie Muller made the point in his comments that Vampiro makes better use of the women in the case which deepens the narrative in some ways. On the other hand, I didn’t feel Vampiro had quite the same level of suspense as M.
:emoji_gun: :emoji_gun: :emoji_gun: :emoji_gun:

We'll get one more noir in tonight.
 

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