Basil Dearden – Cage of Gold (1950)

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Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Cage of Gold was a rare non-comic effort from Britain’s Ealing Studios. Jean Simmons stars as Judith, who awakens the morning after her wedding to discover that her new husband has deserted her. Later on, she is told that her husband is dead. After a period of mourning, Judith remarries–only to be subjected to blackmail by husband number one. It’s all a racket, of course, but Judith doesn’t go to the police until it’s almost too late. Featured in the cast of Cage of Gold as a slimy smuggler is Herbert Lom, who later gained worldwide fame as Inspector Dreyfus in the “Pink Panther” comedies. Continue reading

Henri-Georges Clouzot – La Vérité AKA The Truth (1960)

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Plot summary from IMDB:

Dominique Marceau is on trial for the murder of Gilbert Tellier. The counsels duel relentlessly, elaborating explanations for why the pretty, idle and fickle girl killed the talented and ambitious conductor freshly graduated from the conservatory. Was it passion, vengeance, desperation, an accident? The acquaintances of Gilbert testify, as well as Dominique’s former lovers, and her sister, Annie, the studious violin player engaged to Gilbert. The evidence they give progressively paints a more finely-shaded picture of the personalities of Dominique and Gilbert, and of their relationship, than the eloquent and convincing justifications of the counsels. Continue reading

Tonino Valerii – Mio Caro Assassino AKA My Dear Killer (1972)

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Plot / Synopsis

Following a mysterious decapitation (via mechanical digger) of an insurance investigator, Police Inspector Peretti is put onto the case. Slowly more people are found dead… a man supposedly commits suicide, a women is strangled, another attacked in her flat… but all the clues lead to an unsolved case of kidnapping and murder. Can Peretti find the murderer, if his major clue is a little girls drawing??? Continue reading

Karel Reisz – The Gambler (1974)

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“James Caan as a New York college professor? Somehow it works in Karel Reisz’s interesting, mostly forgotten 1974 drama The Gambler. A quintessential ’70s film with its non-innocent protagonist swimming in a sea of sleaze and self-destructing when he should know better, The Gambler is one of cinema’s best depictions of a person’s addiction to gambling. That may seem like an inflated statement, but gambling addiction hasn’t really been a subject of film interest, at least not in the same vein as drugs or alcohol. And yet its milieu is tailor-made for drama, comedy, and tension. With that, The Gambler is a crime movie wrapped in an addiction movie wrapped in an existential void, during which, fittingly, Caan teaches his students about Dostoyevsky, one of our first existentialists (without knowing the word yet) who had a gambling problem himself. He even wrote a semi-autobiographical work about it called (again, fittingly), “The Gambler”. Like Dostoyevsky, Caan’s character, Axel, knows what he’s doing and can even discuss his psychology and madness in an offhand manner (as he does to his class) while still jonesing for his next win or lose. Continue reading

Francis Veber – Les fugitifs AKA The Fugitives (1986)

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Francis Veber directs this hilarious comedy about François (Pierre Richard), a desperate, novice, bumbling bank robber who takes an ex-con hostage during his attempted hold-up. They are both chased by the police. Jean (Gérard Depardieu) plays the convicted bank robber just released from jail and forced to escape with François. Anaïs Bret portrays François’ 6-year-old autistic daughter, and is the reason why he needed money so badly that he would steal for it. An inventive series of farcical situations and witty dialogue keeps the two men moving one step and several missteps ahead of the police. This comedy was so successful that Veber repeated it in 1989 for English-speaking audiences as Three Fugitives, starring Nick Nolte and Martin Short.

— Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide Continue reading

W.S. Van Dyke – Guilty Hands (1931)

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Starring: Lionel Barrymore, Madge Evans, Kay Francis, C. Aubrey Smith, Polly Moran, Alan Mowbry

Richard Grant (Barrymore) is a successful lawyer who believes that his many years of dealing with crime has taught him how to commit the perfect murder. He’s working for shady cad Gordon Rich (Mowbry) who informs Grant before a dinner party that he intends to marry his daughter, Barbara (Evans). Grant seethes with anger and, after dinner, kills Rich. It’s almost the perfect crime, but Rich’s troubled mistress Marjorie (Francis), becomes suspicious of Grant. Continue reading