Film Noir

Robert Florey – Danger Signal (1945)

Quote:
A mysterious artist – and psychopath – named Ronnie Mason, steals a dead woman’s wedding ring and money and leaves a fake suicide note. The woman’s husband, Thomas Turner, when questioned by the local police, believes his dead wife might have been seeing Mason behind his back. He also believes his wife was murdered, but in the absence of other evidence, the police list it as a suicide and drop the case. Read More »

Mark Robson – The Seventh Victim (1943)

Chicago Film Society writes:
Tasked with heading up RKO’s horror unit from 1942 to 1946, producer and screenwriter Val Lewton was responsible for one of the most extraordinary runs of films to ever come out of classic Hollywood. Given modest budgets, lurid titles, and a running-time cap of 75 minutes by his superiors, Lewton, along with up-and-coming directors Mark Robson, Jacques Tourneur, and Robert Wise, produced a string of bewitching, ethereal masterpieces and developed a house style defined by expressive shadows, pervasive melancholy, somnambulism, and ambient dread. One of Lewton’s crowning achievements, The Seventh Victim broke from horror conventions of its time and found darkness lurking not in the vampires and monsters of the old world but in good ol’ American sham psychoanalytics and success-centered occultism. Read More »

John Farrow – Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948)

UCLA Film & Television Archive writes:
Right from the opening sequence in which a seemingly possessed young heiress (Gail Russell) throws herself desperately in front of a moving train, this haunted noir comes packed with “highly-charged atmosphere” (Variety). At the center of all the doom is Edward G. Robinson as John Triton, a stage mentalist who suddenly discovers he can actually see the future and becomes overwhelmed by grim, fatalistic visions. Jerome Cowan plays his partner who exploits Triton’s powers for profit until Triton disappears. Ironically enough, this saga of man tormented by the future unfolds largely in flashback as the young woman’s boyfriend (John Lund) searches for the reason behind her suicide attempt. Director John Farrow keeps this adaptation of a Cornell Woolrich novel moving at a brisk thriller’s pace through deepening shadows. Read More »

François Truffaut – La Mariée était en noir AKA The Bride wore Black (1968)

Quote:
This Francois Truffaut thriller is based on a novel by William Irish (aka Cornell Woolrich), whose books had been adapted by Alfred Hitchcock on many previous occasions. Jeanne Moreau stars as a woman whose fiancé is nastily murdered by five men. Utilizing a series of disguises, the cool-customer Moreau tracks down all five culprits, sexually enslaves them, and then engineers their deaths. The ominous musical score was written by Bernard Herrmann, another frequent Hitchcock collaborator. The Bride Wore Black was initially released in France as La Mariee etait en Noir. — Hal Erickson Read More »

Norman Foster – Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948)

Quote:
Bill Saunders, a former prisoner of war living in England, whose experiences have left him unstable and violent, gets into a bar fight in which he in kills a man and then flees. He hides out with the assistance of a nurse, Jane Wharton, who believes his story that the killing was an accident. Read More »

John Farrow – Alias Nick Beal (1949)

ArtsEmerson writes: An update of the Faust story set in urban modernity, with Milland as the mysterious Nick Beal, the Mephistophelean tempter. District Attorney Joseph Foster (Mitchell) is after an elusive gangster when Beal—emerging from the fog—offers his assistance. The price to be paid is clear, as Farrow chillingly charts the initially law-abiding lawyer’s descent into corruption. With a notable hard-boiled turn from noir regular Audrey Totter, as the fallen woman Beal enlists to draw Foster away from his marriage. Read More »

Wilhelm Thiele – The Madonna’s Secret (1946)

Directed by Wilhelm Thiele and written by Thiele and Bradbury Foote with black and white cinematography by film noir giant John Alton

Quote:
This drama is an updated version of Ulmer’s 1944 film Bluebeard. It is set in New York and follows the exploits of an eccentric Parisian painter who has come to New York to escape a controversy surrounding his work. The trouble stems when the model he has used in all his work is found floating dead in the Seine. Read More »