Film Noir

Yannis Economides – Macherovgaltis aka Knifer (2010)

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Following his father’s death, Nikos leaves the provinces to work in Athens guarding his brutish uncle’s dogs. Nikos finds the dynamic of his relationship with his uncle changing when his uncle’s wife draws closer to him. This relentlessly gritty film noir won seven Hellenic Film Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture. Read More »

Srdan Golubovic – Klopka aka The Trap (2007)

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Mladen, an ordinary man, signs a pact with the devil in order to pay for the life-saving operation for his son and becomes a murderer. But the act soon starts to haunt him: keeping the secret from his wife forces him into a kind of emotional poker, and his conscience does not cooperate very long in his betrayal of his own moral standards. A “Balkan version of Crime and Punishment”, wrote director Srdan Golubović, set against the backdrop of a transition process gone awry: “a modern ‘film noir’ about post-Milosevic Serbia, where there is no more war, just a moral and existential desert.” Golubović vividly dissects personality transformations from the perspective of a confession, always showing great respect for his protagonists. With its distinctive language of images, which finds a style of its own between close-ups and the representation of urban architecture, the film reveals an artistic approach to the theme that points beyond empty metaphors to the personal quality of the story — a story whose pull can’t be resisted.
(Berlinale Catalogue)
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Alfred Hitchcock – Notorious [+Extras] (1946)

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One of Hitchcock’s finest films of the ’40s, using its espionage plot about Nazis hiding out in South America as a mere MacGuffin, in order to focus on a perverse, cruel love affair between US agent Grant and alcoholic Bergman, whom he blackmails into providing sexual favours for the German Rains as a means of getting information. Suspense there is, but what really distinguishes the film is the way its smooth, polished surface illuminates a sickening tangle of self-sacrifice, exploitation, suspicion, and emotional dependence. Grant, in fact, is the least sympathetic character in the dark, ever-shifting relationships on view, while Rains, oppressed by a cigar-chewing, possessive mother and deceived by all around him, is treated with great generosity. Less war thriller than black romance, it in fact looks forward to the misanthropic portrait of manipulation in Vertigo. — GA, Time Out Film Guide 13 Read More »

Alfred Hitchcock – Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

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Alfred Hitchcock cited Shadow of a Doubt as his favorite film experience, indicating on numerous occasions that from day one of shooting up until the final scene concluded, he was invigorated by a spirit of joint cooperation. He was so impressed by the spirit of the people of Santa Rosa, California that he ultimately bought a home in nearby Santa Cruz that he used as his Northern California retreat away from bustling Los Angeles. Read More »

Anthony Mann – T-Men (1947)

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Hal Erickson @ All Movie Guide wrote:

The moodily evocative docudrama T-Men stars Dennis O’Keefe as Dennis O’Brien, a treasury agent determined to bring a counterfeiting ring to justice. O’Brien and his partner Tony Genaro (Alfred Ryder) go undercover to gain the confidence of the ruthless Detroit mob responsible for the phony money. The plot, compelling though it is, takes second place to the film’s stylish set pieces, superbly directed by Anthony Mann and brilliantly photographed by John Alton.

One of the finest examples of the film noir form, T-Men proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that a film didn’t need to have a lush budget, brilliant Technicolor and Clark Gable to score a hit with postwar moviegoers. Read More »

Hugo Haas – The Other Woman (1954)

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Bit player Sherry Stewart gets miffed when director Walter Darman turns her down after she reads for a small part in his picture. She and her boy friend, Ronnie, devise a plan to lure Darman to her apartment, where she gives him a drugged drink. She tells Darman they had been intimate and blackmails him for $50,000. More than a little distracted by his situation, his wife senses something is wrong and he gets into a violent argument with his father-in-law who owns the producing company Darman works for, and discontinues the picture. Sherry informs Darman she is going to tell his wife all about them. Darman tells his secretary that he is going to work late and is not to be disturbed, sets the moviola runnings, and exits by the back door and hot-foots it to Sherry’s apartment. He tries to reason with her but to no avail, and strangles her in a fit of rage. The crime is first blamed on peddler Papasha, but Police Inspector Collins thinks otherwise. Written by Les Adams Read More »

Hugo Haas – The Girl on the Bridge (1951)

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An elderly watchmaker stops a beautiful young blonde from committing suicide by throwing herself off a bridge. They eventually marry, and things go well until a man from the woman’s somewhat unsavory past shows up and attempts to blackmail her. Written by frankfob2 Read More »