Film Noir

Michael Gordon – The Lady Gambles (1949)

Synopsis:
When Joan Boothe accompanies husband-reporter David to Las Vegas, she begins gambling to pass the time while he is doing a story. Encouraged by the casino manager, she gets hooked on gambling, to the point where she “borrows” David’s expense money to pursue her addiction. This finally breaks up their marriage, but David continues trying to help her. Read More »

Curtis Bernhardt – Conflict (1945)

Bogart is Richard Mason, successful engineer, just celebrating five years of marriage to Kathryn (Rose Hobart). Underneath the veneer of this idyllic marriage, however, the Masons’ relationship has degenerated into deep bitterness. Richard is in love with his wife’s younger sister, Evelyn (Alexis Smith), but knows that Kathryn will never grant him his freedom.
When he suffers a broken leg in a car accident, Richard sees a chance to escape his situation: Arranging a vacation at a mountain resort, he persuades his wife to make the long drive alone. That night, Richard intercepts Kathryn on the deserted mountain road and kills her, returning home before he’s missed, and maintaining the pretence that he’s still immobile from his broken leg, by way of an alibi. Read More »

Josef von Sternberg – The Shanghai Gesture (1941)

A young woman, Poppy, out for excitement in Shanghai, enters a gambling house owned by “Mother” Gin Sling, a dragon-lady who worked herself up from poverty to buy the casino. Sir Guy Charteris, wealthy entrepreneur, has purchased a large area of Shanghai, forcing Gin Sling to vacate by the coming Chinese New Year. Under orders from Gin Sling, who has found out Poppy is Charteris’ daughter, the smarmy Doctor Omar leads Poppy deeper and deeper into an addiction to gambling and alcohol. Gin Sling, realizing that Charteris was her long-ago husband who she thinks abandoned her, plans her revenge by inviting Charteris to a Chinese New Year dinner party to expose his past indiscretions. Charteris, however, has a suprise of his own to spring on Gin Sling. Read More »

Peter Godfrey – The Woman in White (1948)

Quote:
A young painter stumbles upon an assortment of odd characters at an English estate where he has been hired to give art lessons to beautiful Laura Fairlie. Among them are Anne Catherick, a strange young woman dressed in white whom he meets in the forest and who bears a striking resemblance to Laura; cunning Count Fosco, who hopes to obtain an inheritance for nobleman Sir Percival Glyde, whom he plans to have Laura marry; Mr. Fairlie, a hypochondriac who can’t stand to have anyone make the slightest noise; and eccentric Countess Fosco who has her own dark secret. The artist also finds himself drawn to Marion Halcomb, a distant relation to Laura whom the Count also has plans for. Read More »

J. Lee Thompson – Cape Fear (1962)

Synopsis:
Small-town lawyer Sam Bowden’s life becomes torturous when Max Cady re-enters his life. Cady went to jail for 8 years after Bowden testified that Cady attacked a young woman. Now that Cady has been released, he begins to terrorize Bowden and his family, particularly targeting Bowden’s daughter, Nancy. Initially, Cady uses his newfound knowledge of the law (learned in prison) to annoy the Bowdens, then poisons the family dog… Who’s next ? Read More »

Palle Kjærulff-Schmidt – Tænk på et tal AKA Think of a Number (1969)

Quote:
The story opens just before Christmas, when solitary, apathetic bank clerk Flemming Borck uncovers a plot to rob his bank. (It’s a convoluted set-up, so we’ll just leave it at that.) After doing a little rookie recon, Borck identifies the would-be bank robber as a faux shopping-mall Santa Claus, and counter-plots to steal the money himself and let Santa take the blame. This works out about as badly as you might imagine, and our bumbling protagonist spirals further and further away from the carefree, laconic lifestyle he had hoped to ensure for himself. Read More »

Norman Foster – Woman on the Run (1950)

Steven K. Hill writes:
Shot largely among the gritty working class landscapes of mid-century San Francisco, Woman on the Run spotlights Ann Sheridan as an acerbic wise-cracking wife in search of her estranged husband who suddenly disappears after witnessing a gangland assassination.

After a suffering through a series of disappointing roles at Warner Bros, Sheridan bought out her remaining contract and turned to the upstart independent Fidelity Pictures in an attempt to re-establish her career as a leading lady. The resultant film was Woman on the Run, and Sheridan delivers a tour-de-force performance, aided by equally strong turns by Dennis O’Keefe, Robert Keith, and Ross Elliott in the supporting roles. Read More »