Film Noir

Fritz Lang – The Blue Gardenia (1953)

by Steve-O of Film Noir of the Week
After getting a Dear John letter from her boyfriend overseas, a young girl goes out on a blind date with a heel. She blacks out after drinking half-a-dozen mixed drinks but remembers fighting off the man with a poker. She goes into a panic when a police manhunt begins for her. A Los Angeles reporter tracks the mystery woman down before the police can get to her. But is she innocent? Read More »

Budd Boetticher – Behind Locked Doors (1948)

Obscure Hollywood writes:
Kathy Lawrence (Bremer), a reporter, has evidence that fugitive judge Finlay Drake (Hayes) is hiding in La Siesta Sanitarium. She hires private investigator Ross Stewart (Carlson) to pose as her mentally unbalanced husband and enter the sanitarium to search for Drake. Kathy gives Ross a picture of the judge. If he finds the fugitive, she will have an important story, and they can split the $10,000 reward offered for Drake’s capture. Read More »

Joseph Losey – The Prowler (1951)

Quote:
Poor Susan Gilvray. One night she sees a peeping tom watching her through her bathroom window, so she does the sensible thing and calls the cops. But that prowler was but a fleeting invasion of her privacy. The cop who comes to her rescue brings a more sustained intrusion into her life. She has made a mistake in inviting this emotional vampire into her home. He sizes up what he sees–a huge suburban mansion, and a shapely blonde within-and decides he wants it all. The prowler scampers off into the night, never to be seen again. The cop, however, stays. Read More »

Richard Fleischer – Armored Car Robbery (1950)

by Hans J. Wollstein
Touching on both the film noir style of the 1940s and the “just the facts, ma’am” approach popular in the early television era, and incorporating both shadowy alleys and bright, almost flat sunlit street scenes, Richard Fleischer’s plebeian, no-nonsense Armored Car Robbery remains the quintessential low-budget heist melodrama. Starring tight-lipped Charles McGraw as the tough, unyielding police detective, the potboiler also benefited from a downright vicious performance by an unredeemable William Talman as the brains behind the ill-fated caper, as well as the presence of luscious B-movie icon Adele Jergens as one of those hardboiled dames seemingly born to destroy gullible dime-store gangsters like Benny McBride (Douglas Fowley). Read More »

Kaizo Hayashi – Wana AKA The Trap [+Extras] (1996)

Quote:
The 3 Part of the Maiku Hama Triology is the best and probably darkest of all the films. In fact, this episode is more of a horror-like thriller reminiscent of a Takashi Miike film. “The Trap,” which is the final film of the trilogy was preceded by the more semi-comical episodes of “The Most Terrible Time In My Life,” and then followed by “Stairway To The Distant Past,” and finally concluding with this film, “The Trap.” In the previous episodes of the trilogy, Maiku Hama (Masatoshi Nagase) is not the aloof private detective he was originally portrayed as; but a much more intelligent and calm detective. Read More »

Akira Kurosawa – Nora inu AKA Stray Dog (1949)

Quote:
Stray Dog is an intense criminal story that examines the psychology of the characters as in compares the similarities between criminals and detectives. These similarities are balanced on a thin line based on choice, which Kurosawa dissects studiously through the camera lens. Kurosawa’s investigation of the character’s psychology creates a spiraling suspense that is enhanced through subtle surprises and brilliant cinematography. The camera use often displays shots through thin cloths, close ups, and new camera angles, which also makes the film aesthetically appealing. When Kurosawa brings together camera work and cast performance, among other cinematic aspects, he leaves the audience with a brilliantly suspenseful criminal drama, which leaves much room for introspection and retrospection. Read More »

Lew Landers – Man in the Dark AKA The Man Who Lived Twice (1953)

Synopsis:
The refurbished storyline drops the plastic surgery angle but retains the now- disturbing idea that doctors might use brain surgery to “cure” lawbreakers of criminal tendencies. Convicted criminal Steve Rawley (Edmond O’Brien) volunteers for the operation half-assuming that he’ll not survive. He awakes with total amnesia and a more cheerful personality, and under a new name, “Blake” actually looks forward to beginning life afresh tending the hospital’s hedges. Steve is instead kidnapped and beaten bloody by his old cronies in crime Lefty, Arnie and Cookie (Ted de Corsia, Horace McMahon & Nick Dennis), who want to know where Steve hid the loot from their last robbery. Steve remembers nothing, and kisses from his old girlfriend Peg Benedict (Audrey Totter) fail to extract the location of the $130,000. But weird dreams provide clues that might lead Steve and Peg to the money everyone is so desperate to possess. Read More »