Film Noir

Elmer Clifton – The Judge (1949)

One of the last films directed by the great Elmer Clifton, whose career dates back to the mid-teens and D.W.Griffith, The Judge was also the first production of Ida Lupino’s production company, first called Emerald Productions, later called The Filmmakers.

This is a quirky film which is both hard-boiled and pretentious, raw and artsy. It is also a film that raises as many questions as it answers. Elements are introduced into the story, covered in detail, and then not developed. Dream sequences are introduced, but are unclear. The main character–who is a sleazy defense attorney, NOT a judge–is well-played by Milburn Stone, but his story is not really typical of anyone other than this one oddball character. Read More »

Harry Keller – Tarnished (1950)

Plot
Dorothy Patrick, Republic Pictures’ all-purpose leading lady, heads the cast of Tarnished. Arthur Franz co-stars as Bud Dolliver, who returns to his hometown after a hitch in the Marines. Because of Bud’s previous bad reputation, the townsfolk assume that he’s been in prison. Despite his protestations, everyone chooses to believe the worst of Dolliver — everyone, that is, except his childhood sweetheart Lou Dolliver (Patrick). Eventually, a crisis arises which allows Bud to prove himself once and for all. Former “Henry Aldrich” James Lydon is most effective in an sympathetic supporting role. Read More »

Ted Tetzlaff – A Dangerous Profession (1949)

Ex-policeman Vince Kane is a partner with Joe Farley as bail bond brokers, but retains his ties and friendship with the police and Detective Nick Ferrone. Ferrone picks up Claude Brackette, a brokerage clerk, as a suspect in the securities robbery in which a policeman was killed, and Kane goes with him when the detective searches Brackett’s apartment, and Kane finds that Brackett’s wife, Lucy, is his former sweetheart. She insists her husband is innocent and pleads with Kane to get him out on bail but she has only $4,000 of the $25,000 needed. A mysterious emissary puts up $12,000 and Kanes, over Farley’s protest, makes up the rest from the company’s money. Brackett is murdered after his release. Read More »

David Friedkin – Hot Summer Night (1957)

Brief Synopsis:
A hot-shot reporter risks his life to land an interview with a notorious crook.

Quote:
Hot Summer Night is an out-of-the-ordinary crime yarn from the TV/radio production team of Morton Fine and David Friedkin. Unemployed journalist William Joel Pertain (Leslie Nielsen) hopes to reestablish himself by capitalizing on a recent wave of bank robberies. Pertain has a “lead” to the gang’s leader Tom Ellis (Robert Wilke), and intends to parlay this into a hot news story. Instead, he places the lives of himself and his wife Irene (Colleen Miller) in dire peril. Of interest is the fact that the villain is portrayed with a modicum of sympathy, while the reporter comes off as a bit of a jerk. — Hal Erickson Read More »

Phil Karlson – 5 Against the House (1955)

Phil Karlson (“The Phenix City Story”/”Kansas City Confidential”/”Scandal Sheet”) directs with verve this gripping caper thriller based on a Good Housekeeping serialized magazine story that was based on the novel by Jack Finney and is well-written by John Barnwell, William Bowers, Stirling Silliphant and Frank Tashlin. Read More »

Joseph H. Lewis – The Undercover Man (1949)

“The Inside Storyo of a Great U.S. Criminal Investigation”
Frank Warren is a treasury agent assigned to put an end to the activities of a powerful mob crime boss. The agent struggles to put together a case but is frustrated when all he finds are terrified witnesses and corrupt police officers. Although most informants end up dead, Agent Warren gets critical information about the mob from an unlikely source.

The film was based on an article entitled “He Trapped Capone,” the first part of the autobiography Undercover Man by Federal Agent Frank J. Wilson, which was serialized in Collier’s in 1947. (Wikipedia) Read More »

Alfred Zeisler – Alimony (1949)

Small town girl Kitty Traves comes to New York with the idea of getting rich fast. Beginning as a ‘model’ she then becomes a divorce co-respondent in hotel room frame-ups. When her songwriting boyfriend, Dan Barker, runs out of songs and money, she send him back to his loyal, true-blue fiancée, Linda Waring. She moves on to marry a wealth industrialist, with divorce and alimony her only goal.
(from IMDB) Read More »