Film Noir

Edwin L. Marin – Race Street (1948)

In this dark crime drama, the trouble begins when a San Francisco bookie attempts to lead an honest life by marrying a comely widow. In preparation for his nuptials, the fellow stays on the straight and narrow, but when he learns that one of his cohorts has been murdered by an East Coast gang that is trying to horn in on West Coast territory, he reenters the underworld. A boyhood friend who became a cop tries to convince him to team up with the police, but the vengeful bookie remains determined to things his way. It proves to be a tragic mistake and shows the bookie that those closest to him are not what they seem.
— Sandra Brennan Read More »

Irving Rapper – Deception (1946)

Brief Synopsis:
A woman tries to protect her refugee husband from her rich and powerful ex-lover.

Quote:
Deception is an operatic rehash of the 1929 film Jealousy. Music teacher Bette Davis–who evidently has a large student pool, judging by the size of her penthouse apartment–is reunited with her cellist lover Paul Henreid, whom she believed to have been killed in the war. Henreid wants to marry Davis, but he is unaware that she has, for the past several years, been the “protege” of composer Claude Rains. Read More »

George Sherman – The Sleeping City (1950)

Pacific Cinémathèque Pacifique writes:
The Sleeping City is a gritty, claustrophobic thriller set in a metropolitan hospital. Its jarring opening has a burned-out intern, out on a smoke break, shot point-blank in the face. Film noir fixture Richard Conte heads the “Confidential Squad” that goes undercover to investigate. Coleen Gray is the attractive head nurse with whom Conte becomes involved — and who may be mixed-up in some major medical skulduggery. Read More »

William Wyler – The Letter (1940)

Synopsis:
William Wyler’s dark and poisonous melodrama, based on the W. Somerset Maugham novel, features Bette Davis in one of her nastiest roles. The story begins in the shimmering moonlight on a tropical Malayan rubber plantation. Shots ring out and a wounded man, Geoffrey Hammond (David Newell) staggers from a bungalow as Leslie Crosbie (Bette Davis) coldly follows him, pumping the remaining bullets into his body. She later tells her husband Robert (Herbert Marshall) that she shot Geoffrey, a mutual friend, because he was drunk and tried to take advantage of her. Robert, who owns the plantation, believes her story and hires high-powered lawyer Howard Joyce (James Stephenson) to defend her. Read More »

Archie Mayo & Fritz Lang – Moontide (1942)

Synopsis:
After a drunken binge on the San Pablo waterfront, longshoreman Bobo fears he may have killed a man. In his uncertainty, he takes a job on an isolated bait barge. That night, he rescues lovely Anna from a watery suicide attempt and installs her on the barge. But Tiny, Bobo’s longtime pal and parasite, hopes to drive Anna away before domestic bliss tears Bobo away from him; the still unsolved murder may be just the wedge Tiny needs. There’s fog on the water and evil brewing… Read More »

John Huston – The Maltese Falcon [+commentary] (1941)

Synopsis:
Spade and Archer is the name of a San Francisco detective agency. That’s for Sam Spade and Miles Archer. The two men are partners, but Sam doesn’t like Miles much. A knockout, who goes by the name of Miss Wonderly, walks into their office; and by that night everything’s changed. Miles is dead. And so is a man named Floyd Thursby. It seems Miss Wonderly is surrounded by dangerous men. There’s Joel Cairo, who uses gardenia-scented calling cards. There’s Kasper Gutman, with his enormous girth and feigned civility. Her only hope of protection comes from Sam, who is suspected by the police of one or the other murder. More murders are yet to come, and it will all be because of these dangerous men — and their lust for a statuette of a bird: the Maltese Falcon. Read More »

Stanley Kubrick – Killer’s Kiss (1955)

Synopsis:
Prize-fighter Davy Gordon intervenes when private dancer Gloria Price is being attacked by her employer and lover Vincent Raphello. This brings the two together and they get involved with each other, which displeases Raphello. He sends men out to kill Davy, but they instead kill his friend. Gloria is soon kidnapped by Raphello and his men, and it is up to Davy to save her. Read More »