Film Noir

Alexandre Rockwell – In the Soup (1992)

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Soup’ Dreams

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Essentially a retread of The Freshman (1990) on a much lower budget, In the Soup concerns a young wannabe filmmaker, Adolfo Rollo (Steve Buscemi) who becomes mixed up with a gangster-type, Joe (Seymour Cassell) in the name of financing his first film.

Very little filmmaking occurs, though. What really happens is the old story of the life-loving older guy teaching the high-strung younger fellow a thing or two about living.

Yes, it’s an old story that has been told a thousand times before and since, but Alexandre Rockwell’s little film has a home movie charm and a streetwise wit that make it a must-see sleeper. Read More »

John Huston – The Maltese Falcon (1941)

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Synopsis:
‘Spade and Archer is the name of a San Francisco detective agency. That’s for Sam Spade and Miles Archer. The two men are partners, but Sam doesn’t like Miles much. A knockout, who goes by the name of Miss Wanderly, walks into their office; and by that night everything’s changed. Miles is dead. And so is a man named Floyd Thursby. It seems Miss Wanderly is surrounded by dangerous men. There’s Joel Cairo, who uses gardenia-scented calling cards. There’s Kasper Gutman, with his enormous girth and feigned civility. Her only hope of protection comes from Sam, who is suspected by the police of one or the other murder. More murders are yet to come, and it will all be because of these dangerous men – and their lust for a statuette of a bird: the Maltese Falcon.’
– J. Spurlin (IMDb) Read More »

Alfred Hitchcock – The Wrong Man [+extras] (1956)

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Synopsis:
Manny Ballestero is an honest hardworking musician at New York’s Stork Club. When his wife needs money for dental treatment, Manny goes to the local insurance office to borrow on her policy. Employees at the office mistake him for a hold-up man who robbed them the year before and the police are called. The film tells the true story of what happened to Manny and his family. Read More »

Nicholas Ray – Party Girl (1958)

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Synopsis:
Lawyer Thomas Farrell has made a career defending crooks in trials. He has never realized that there is a downside to his success, until he meets the dancer Vicki Gayle. She makes him decide to get a better reputation. But mob king Rico Angelo *insists* that he continues his services… Read More »

Charles Vidor – Gilda [+Extras] (1946)

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I warned you once. You didn’t
listen. Now you’re through.
– Through with what?
– The casino. You’re fired.

You are mistaken. I will be here
after you are gone, Mr. Peasant.

Plot Synopsis
In Argentina, Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford) wins money at dice and is held up; but Ballin Mundson (George Macready) rescues him with a sword-cane and recommends a gambling club. Johnny goes there and wins at blackjack. Ballin is the owner and tells him to leave, but Johnny hits back at his thug Casey (Joe Sawyer) and asks for a job. People celebrate the end of the war, and Ballin puts Johnny in charge while he is away… Read More »

Harold D. Schuster – Loophole (1954)

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Synopsis:
Everything’s going right for Mike Donovan (Barry Sullivan). He came home after the war, married his gal, got a regular job as a bank teller in Hollywood, makes payments on a house in the ‘burbs. But, as the voice-over narrator of this on-edge Film-Noir notes, “One day the world’s all right. The next, it’s nowhere.” Read More »

Phil Karlson – The Phenix City Story (1955)

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synopsis
Based on actual events, The Phenix City Story tells the tale of a wide-open “Sin City” in Alabama (across a bridge from Columbus, GA, and just a stone’s throw from the Ft. Benning Army base) where gambling, prostitution, and any number of other vices were tolerated openly by the law, most of it centered on the main downtown drag, 14th Street, thanks to the 50-year influence of organized crime on the local government. Reform groups, mostly in the form of vigilantes, had tried to clean up “the wickedest city in the United States” before, even taking the law into their own hands and wrecking some of the establishments, only to be stymied by the courts (which were otherwise indifferent to activities on 14th Street). Read More »