Film Noir

Fritz Lang – The Big Heat (1953)

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One of the later examples of American film noir, The Big Heat is also one of the genre’s most underrated films. Director Fritz Lang utilized many of the elements typical to his other films: unseen yet gruesome violence, relentless pacing, and a hardboiled view of justice and revenge. The sad, realist film has an oppressive feeling of malignity. Glenn Ford is a perfect everyman cop, out for revenge against criminals as well as other cops. In this way, The Big Heat marks a significant transition between the crime movies of two different eras. Read More »

Francisco Rovira Beleta – Expreso de Andalucía (1956)

A retired sportsman, a young law student and small-time crook team up in order to plan the robbery of some jewels in the Andalusian express train

Based on real facts ocurred decades before, it’s an excellent spanish film noir, that mixed classical elements from noir, neorrrealism, existentialism and social literature of this moment. It’s a hard portrait of spanish society under Franco’s military dictatorship. Read More »

Rudolph Maté – The Dark Past (1948)

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Taken hostage along with his family and friends, psychologist Andrew Collins (Lee J. Cobb) is held by the murderous fugitive Al Walker (William Holden) and his gang. While Walker’s crew, which includes his lover, Betty (Nina Foch), tends to the other hostages, the desperate mastermind talks to Collins about his troubled past. As the night progresses, Collins gets Walker to focus on a disturbing dream, resulting in a psychological breakthrough that may help avoid a violent conflict. Read More »

Fritz Lang – The Blue Gardenia (1953)

by Steve-O of Film Noir of the Week
After getting a Dear John letter from her boyfriend overseas, a young girl goes out on a blind date with a heel. She blacks out after drinking half-a-dozen mixed drinks but remembers fighting off the man with a poker. She goes into a panic when a police manhunt begins for her. A Los Angeles reporter tracks the mystery woman down before the police can get to her. But is she innocent? Read More »

Budd Boetticher – Behind Locked Doors (1948)

Obscure Hollywood writes:
Kathy Lawrence (Bremer), a reporter, has evidence that fugitive judge Finlay Drake (Hayes) is hiding in La Siesta Sanitarium. She hires private investigator Ross Stewart (Carlson) to pose as her mentally unbalanced husband and enter the sanitarium to search for Drake. Kathy gives Ross a picture of the judge. If he finds the fugitive, she will have an important story, and they can split the $10,000 reward offered for Drake’s capture. Read More »

Joseph Losey – The Prowler (1951)

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Poor Susan Gilvray. One night she sees a peeping tom watching her through her bathroom window, so she does the sensible thing and calls the cops. But that prowler was but a fleeting invasion of her privacy. The cop who comes to her rescue brings a more sustained intrusion into her life. She has made a mistake in inviting this emotional vampire into her home. He sizes up what he sees–a huge suburban mansion, and a shapely blonde within-and decides he wants it all. The prowler scampers off into the night, never to be seen again. The cop, however, stays. Read More »

Richard Fleischer – Armored Car Robbery (1950)

by Hans J. Wollstein
Touching on both the film noir style of the 1940s and the “just the facts, ma’am” approach popular in the early television era, and incorporating both shadowy alleys and bright, almost flat sunlit street scenes, Richard Fleischer’s plebeian, no-nonsense Armored Car Robbery remains the quintessential low-budget heist melodrama. Starring tight-lipped Charles McGraw as the tough, unyielding police detective, the potboiler also benefited from a downright vicious performance by an unredeemable William Talman as the brains behind the ill-fated caper, as well as the presence of luscious B-movie icon Adele Jergens as one of those hardboiled dames seemingly born to destroy gullible dime-store gangsters like Benny McBride (Douglas Fowley). Read More »