Hugo Haas – The Other Woman (1954)

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Bit player Sherry Stewart gets miffed when director Walter Darman turns her down after she reads for a small part in his picture. She and her boy friend, Ronnie, devise a plan to lure Darman to her apartment, where she gives him a drugged drink. She tells Darman they had been intimate and blackmails him for $50,000. More than a little distracted by his situation, his wife senses something is wrong and he gets into a violent argument with his father-in-law who owns the producing company Darman works for, and discontinues the picture. Sherry informs Darman she is going to tell his wife all about them. Darman tells his secretary that he is going to work late and is not to be disturbed, sets the moviola runnings, and exits by the back door and hot-foots it to Sherry’s apartment. He tries to reason with her but to no avail, and strangles her in a fit of rage. The crime is first blamed on peddler Papasha, but Police Inspector Collins thinks otherwise. Written by Les Adams Continue reading

David Lean – Oliver Twist (1948)

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Expressionistic noir photography suffuses David Lean’s Oliver Twist with a nightmarish quality, fitting its bleak, industrial setting. In Dickens’ classic tale, an orphan wends his way from cruel apprenticeship to den of thieves in search of a true home. Here Alec Guinness is the quintessential Fagin, his controversial performance fully restored in Criterion’s new digital transfer.

Links:
Criterion
All Movie Guide Continue reading

Fernando Di Leo – Milano calibro 9 (1972)

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Quote:
Milan Calibre 9 (made in 1971 and released the following year) is the first chapter of the famous “Milieu Trilogy”, continued with Manhunt (La mala ordina) and ending with The Boss (Il boss) in which Fernando di Leo explores the different aspects of the world of organized crime. The title of the film is taken from a story by Giorgio Scerbanenco which is part of the book I Centodelitti. This Russian writer also inspired certain parts of scripts ( Stazione centrale ammazzare subitofor the bomb package, Vietato essere felici and La vendetta è il miglior perdono for certain characteristics belonging to the main character, Ugo Piazza). But basically, di Leo created this film independently, using the noir genre as a vehicle for his own sociological, anthropological and also philosophical ideas about the world of crime. Continue reading

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