Film Noir

Fritz Lang – Scarlet Street (1945)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Bleak.. grim… uncompromising… masterpiece… these are the words usually batted around about the film Fritz Lang considered his best American title. And the film lives up to these accolades without excuses. Endlessly rewatchable, the film finds Lang’s mise en scene at its most precise, its most crystalline. The film flows like the rainwater down a polished glass… easy and languid here, pausing there to plump up and gather weight… letting go there with velocity, until Chris Cross (Robinson) eventually finds his bottom in inevitable oblivion. Banned in several states, the ending of Scarlet Street may be the grimmest of all “Golden Age” Hollywood films– and most amazing that it passed the censors. Joan Bennett’s Kitty, and Dan Duryea’s Johnny may be the most vicious characters ever sketched onscreen in a 1940’s melodrama.. and the murder at its climax may be the most shocking, despite the absence of blood and gore. Read More »

Yves Boisset – Espion, leve-toi (1982)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Sebastien Grenier (Lino Ventura), a former French spy, is working as a financial analyst in Zurich and cultivating an on-going relationship with Anna Gretz (Krystyna Janda), a German teaching at the university. Then his peaceful existence starts to disintegrate when he is recruited by a top French intelligence operative (Michel Piccoli) to discover how one of their own secret agents was found out and executed in broad daylight by a gang of terrorists. Sebastien starts to work but is immediately put off by the fact that his contacts are being murdered before he can reach them. As he gets deeper and deeper into the case, he comes to realize that he is being used in an elaborate political scheme, a scheme that leads to the death of Anna and a vow to get the killers who have now ruined what is left of his life. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide Read More »

Joseph H. Lewis – A Lady Without Passport (1950)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
There is a problem with foreign nationals using Cuba as a convenient jumping off point for illegal entry into the United States. So U.S. Immigration Service Agent Peter Karczag (John Hodiak) is sent to Havana posing as a Hungarian frustrated with the legal immigration process and open to an alternative. By this means he uncovers the human smuggling ring run by Palinov (George Macready). He also meets concentration-camp refugee Marianne Lorress (Hedy Lamarr), a Viennese working in a nightclub and one who has paid to be smuggled into the United States. When Karczag falls in love with her, he becomes conflicted, not wanting her to be among those he plans to have captured in his operation. So he tries to persuade her to stay in Cuba instead of being secretly flown to the United States. Will he succeed? What if his cover is blown? Read More »

Fritz Lang – While the City Sleeps (1956)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
While the City Sleeps (1954) was Fritz Lang’s last fully successful film, one of a pair of movies that he made with independent producer Bert E. Friedlob (the other was Beyond a Reasonable Doubt). Additionally, it has proved to be one of his more enduring successes over the decades, due to the combination of its virtues as a thriller and also as a snapshot of American mores circa 1954. It may not be as respected as, say, M (1931) or Fury (1936), but it might be the Lang film that Americans of the baby-boom generation know best, through countless television showings in the 1960s and ’70s, and like most for its sinister subtext. Strangely enough, While the City Sleeps was not a story that Lang that set out to tell — producer Bert E. Friedlob rejected several of the director’s proposed subjects and imposed the story on Lang, as he had already bought the rights to Charles Einstein’s novel The Bloody Spur. That book was based on the criminal career of William Heirens, who had terrorized that city with a string of burglaries, sexual assaults, and murders during the mid-’40s. Heirens was identified as the “Lipstick Killer” when he left a message, scrawled in lipstick, at one of his crime scenes, asking the police to stop him. He was later caught, and he confessed and was given a life sentence (which he was still serving as of 2003). Read More »

Fritz Lang – Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Quote:
Crusading publisher Austin Spenser (Sidney Blackmer) wants to prove a point about the insufficiency of circumstantial evidence. Spencer talks his prospective son-in-law Tom Garrett (Dana Andrews) into participating in a hoax, the better to expose the alleged ineptitude of conviction-happy DA (Philip Bourneuf). Tom will plant clues indicating that he is the murderer of a nightclub dancer, then stand trial for murder; just as the jury reaches its inevitable guilty verdict, Spencer will step forth to reveal the set-up and humiliate the DA. Somewhat surprisingly, Tom eagerly agrees to this subterfuge. Unfortunately, an unforeseen event renders their perfectly formed scheme useless. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt was the last American film of director Fritz Lang. Read More »

Larry Cohen – Perfect Strangers (1984)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Description:
This Low Budget neo-noir crime thriller involves Johnny, a hitman (Brad Rijn), whose contract hit on a gangland rival is witnessed by a three year old boy, playing in his backyard. Johnny’s initial motivation to “eliminate” the one witness to the crime (under orders of his mob boss) becomes conflicted by his growing romantic involvement with the boy’s mother, Sally (Anne Carlisle). Read More »

Samuel Fuller – Underworld U.S.A. (1961)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
Erik Gregersen, imdb wrote:
Fourteen-year-old Tolly Devlin sees four hoods beat his father to death. Twenty years later, the killers have risen to the top of the crime syndicate and Tolly has a plan for revenge. Read More »