Film Noir

Marcel Carné – Hôtel du Nord (1938)

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Story :
A young couple, Renee and Pierre, take one night a room at the Hotel du Nord, in Paris, near the canal Saint-Martin. They want to die together, but after having shooted at Renee, Pierre lacks of courage and ran away. Another customer, Monsieur Edmond, a procurer, rescues her. When Renee goes out of the hospital, she is hired as a waitress at the hotel. Monsieur Edmond falls in love with her, but Renee is still thinking of Pierre … Read More »

Steven Soderbergh – Underneath (1995)

For passion, betrayal and murder… there’s still no place like home.

Michael Chambers returns home to celebrate his mother’s marriage. Michael had been ousted from his home town due to his gambling indiscretions and had left his wife to deal with the mess he created. He now must reassimulate back into the town, renew his relationships with his family and friends (and enemies) and, most-of-all, seek out his ex-wife to woo her again. In the process, he obtains a job working with his mother’s new husband as an armored car driver. He almost seems the perfect prodigal son as he finds his niche back in the community and his way back into his ex’s heart. His troubles surmount when he and his wife are caught in the act by her hoodlum boyfriend/fiancée. To get out of this predicament, Michael must concoct a plan to heist of a payroll being carried by his armored car company. Read More »

Cornel Wilde – Storm Fear (1955)

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Quote:
Much of this gripping crime drama takes place in a remote New England farm house owned by the brother of a bank robber. The crook is mortally wounded during his last heist and suddenly shows up seeking shelter. The brother reluctantly harbors the fugitive and his henchmen. Time passes and the henchmen are anxious to move on; unfortunately, their leader is healing. He is also still in love with his brother’s wife with whom he had an affair. More trouble ensues when it is revealed that the woman’s son was fathered by the crook, not her husband. Meanwhile, a farmhand manages to escape. He tries to alert the cops and this causes the criminals to flee. To help them through the woods the robber takes the boy to guide him. The boy is devastated when his heretofore decentuncle shoots his father. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide Read More »

Jean Negulesco – The Mask of Dimitrios (1944)

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Synopsis:

Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre make a marvelous team in this exhilarating and atmospheric Film-Noir that Daily Variety hailed as “one of the most brilliant crime dramas yet filmed.” When the body of Dimitrios Makropoulos (Zachary Scott) washes ashore in Istanbul, there is cause for celebration all across Europe. The devious sociopath has left as his legacy an array of crimes including blackmail, thievery, murder and high treason. Interested in chronicling the dead man’s unscrupulous exploits, mystery writer Cornelius Leyden (Lorre) takes up his trail, aided by a mysterious man named Peters (Greenstreet). But as Leyden zeroes in on the truth about Dimitrios, he finds that his new associate has an ulterior motive in helping him – with Leyden as the unwitting accomplice! As suspenseful and riveting as the Eric Ambler novel on which it is based, The Mask of Dimitrios is “an exceptional picture” (Los Angeles Times) that delivers nonstop, pulse-quickening excitement! Read More »

Leo C. Popkin – The Well (1951)

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The Well is a modest but generally effective plea for racial tolerance. Based loosely on a real incident, the film tells of the disappearance of a little African-American girl in a small, segregated community. Caucasian Claude Packard (Harry Morgan, the nephew of the town’s richest man (Barry Kelley), is the last person seen with the little girl. Sensing a coverup when Morgan is not immediately charged, the black community is on the verge of a riot. But when it’s discovered that the little girl has fallen down a well, all racial differences are forgotten as black and white neighbors work shoulder to shoulder to rescue the child. The Well tries very hard to be equitable by 1951 standards, and is heartfelt enough to overcome its occasional lapses into stereotype and condescension. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Read More »

Sam Newfield – Money Madness (1948)

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Money Madness (1948)
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‘Money Madness’ (1948) Hugh Beaumont (Steve) Frances Rafferty (Julie) Cecil Weston (Aunt Cora) Harlan Warde (Attorney)

Leave it to Ward Cleaver. With a few deft strokes, he can ; stash the 200K he stole from a bank (and his cohorts) ; land a low-key hack job ; woo and marry a lovely and unsuspecting young soda jerk ; and manipulate his way to financial freedom – all in the few short weeks following his arrival in town on the noon bus (and a very ill wind).

In this lean and efficient programmer from the middle of the cycle, Beaumont impresses as moody crook-on-the-lam Steve Clark (an alias). Desperate to construct a front that will deceive the authorities and disgruntled fellow thugs alike – he blows into a strange town and rapidly spins the tangled web he deems necessary.
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Lewis Seiler – Whiplash (1948)

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Plot:

Michael Gordon never intended to be a boxer. But after he decks a burly brawler at a nightclub, a ring promoter encourages him to give the fight game a shot. Gordon, whose career as an artist is going nowhere, agrees. Besides, it will bring him closer to the woman who has KO’d his heart – the promoter’s wife. The corrupt world of boxing was a staple of postwar Hollywood in well-known works like Body and Soul, The Set-Up and Champion and in lesser yet admirable works like Whiplash. Romantic melodrama and noirish atmospherics combine in this tale starring Dane Clark, Alexis Smith, Zachary Scott, Eve Arden and other reliables. Future The Mickey Mouse Club host Jimmie Dodd has an uncredited role as a piano man. From Warner Brothers!
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