Film Noir

William Beaudine – Don’t Gamble with Strangers (1946)

Plot:
When Mike Sarno (Kane Richmond) out-cheats Fay Benton (Bernadene Hayes) in a crooked poker game, the two gamblers bury the hatchet and agree to become partners in crime. Posing as brother and sister, the pair finally hits the big time when Mike runs into a gambler (Phil Van Zandt) who owes him a debt and takes over his casino to square it. Read More »

Roman Polanski – Chinatown [+commentary] (1974)

Quote:
A private detective investigating an adultery case stumbles on to a scheme of murder that has something to do with water. Read More »

Leslie H. Martinson – FBI Code 98 (1963)

Robert Cannon (Jack Kelly), Fred Vitale (Ray Danton) and Alan Nichols (Andrew Duggan), three men vital to America’s missile program, are en route to Cape Canaveral when a bomb is discovered in a suitcase. Defused by Vitale, the device is turned over to the FBI, which takes charge of the investigation. Assigned to determine if it’s a case of sabotage or attempted murder, Inspector Leroy Gifford (Philip Carey) and his squad race to track down the bomber before he can strike again. Read More »

Billy Wilder – Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Quote:
One of Wilder’s finest, and certainly the blackest of all Hollywood’s scab-scratching accounts of itself, this establishes its relentless acidity in the opening scene by having the story related by a corpse floating face-down in a Hollywood swimming-pool. What follows in flashback is a tale of humiliation, exploitation, and dashed dreams, as a feckless, bankrupt screenwriter (Holden) pulls into a crumbling mansion in search of refuge from his creditors, and becomes inextricably entangled in the possessive web woven by a faded star of the silents (Swanson), who is high on hopes of a comeback and heading for outright insanity. Read More »

Lewis Allen – Desert Fury (1947)

Quote:
Fritzi Haller is a powerful casino owner in Chuckawalla, Nevada. Her daughter Paula (having quit school) returns at the same time as racketeer Eddie Bendix, who left under suspicion of murdering his wife. Paula and Eddie become involved; each for their own reasons, Fritzi, Paula’s old beau Tom, and Eddie’s pal Johnny try to break up the relationship. Then Eddie’s past catches up with him in an unexpected way. Read More »

Felix E. Feist – The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950)

Synopsis:
Rich Lois Frazer, divorcing her fortune-hunter husband, finds he’s bought a gun. Suspecting he plans to kill her, she calls in her lover, who just happens to be Homicide Lieutenant Ed Cullen. When Ed arrives, the gun gets used…and because of his relationship with Lois, Ed is compelled to compound a felony. The good news: Ed himself is assigned to the case. The bad news: Ed’s hotshot younger brother Andy, a new- minted detective, is also on the case…and anxious to prove himself. Read More »

Robert Siodmak – Criss Cross (1949)

Plot Synopsis [AMG]Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster) returns home after a few years of knocking around the country following his divorce from good-time girl Anna (Yvonne De Carlo). Getting his old job back driving an armored car, and not even convincing himself that he’s making a new start, he also wants his old wife back.When he finds Anna, he quickly learns that she is involved with gangster Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea). Nonetheless, they carry on a clandestine affair, with Steve foolishly believing that Anna will return to him. Even after she marries Slim, Steve, with her encouragement, masochistically clings to this doomed obsession. Read More »