Stuart Heisler – The Glass Key (1942)

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This is a solid remake of the 1935 film of the same name about big-city political corruption, and it starred Edward Arnold as the corrupt political boss and George Raft as his loyal lieutenant. Stuart Heisler directs this film noir in a workmanlike manner (though, the changed hard-edged ending from the novel is a copout). It is similar themed but less effective than The Maltese Falcon, which was also based on a Dashiell Hammet novel. The Glass Key was supposedly the inspiration for Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. The title refers to the political boss backing a candidate based on the expectation of being rewarded with the key to the governor’s house if all goes according to plan, but is breakable if there’s a betrayal. For Paramount this was a big box-office film because of the star team of Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd, who sparkled as lovers with opposite personalities. Continue reading

Toshio Masuda – Sabita naifu AKA Rusty Knife (1958)

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Synopsis:
Udaka is a new, post-war city where corruption has already taken hold. A persistent district attorney wants to arrest and convict Katsumata, a laughing, self-confident thug. The D.A. gets an anonymous letter about the suicide five years’ before of a city council member. Evidence about the case leads the D.A. to Tachibana, struggling to go straight after involvement with the mob and a prison sentence for killing the man responsible for the rape and suicide of his fiancée. One of Tachibana’s friends is Keiko, the daughter of the dead councilman and the ward of another powerful official. How do these stories connect? Continue reading

Terence Young – Bloodline (1979)

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Synopsis:
Sam Roffe, president of a multi-national pharmaceutical corporation, is killed while mountain-climbing. It is first determined to be an accident, but Inspector Max Hormung later deduces that Roffe was murdered. Sam’s daughter Elizabeth assumes control of the company, and while traveling through Europe she immediately becomes a target as well. Continue reading

Andrzej Zulawski – L’Amour braque AKA Limpet Love (1985)

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Synopsis:
Inspired by Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot and intended as “a homage to the great writer,” this film is set in modern France rather than 19th century Russia. This is a story of Léon (Francis Huster), who has been recently released from a mental asylum and claims to be a descendant of a Hungarian prince. On his way from Hungary to France, he meets Mickey (Tchéky Karyo), a hood who has committed a successful bank robbery and plans to take brutal revenge on the brothers Venin for what they did to his girlfriend Mary (Sophie Marceau). Léon can hardly understand what Mickey is up to but he follows him everywhere and soon falls in love with Mary. This odd love triangle resolves in a tragic ending. The frantic pace of the film’s action can be compared to that of a runaway, hell-bound train. The colors and sounds go out of control, and violence abounds — all of which is intended to convey to a viewer the craziness of the time.
— (allmovie) Continue reading

Karel Reisz – Night Must Fall (1964)

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Albert Finney stars in this 1964 psychological thriller, as a psychotic killer who murders a woman then becomes the handy man at a local house where his girlfriend works. Once there he proceeds to slowly torment the old lady who owns the house and attempts to seduce her granddaughter. Continue reading