Nicholas Ray

Nicholas Ray & Wim Wenders – Lightning Over Water [+ Extras] (1980)

Lightning Over Water is a penetrating and touching film of the last days of cult American director Nicholas Ray, most well-known for Rebel Without a Cause.

.”I knew that he wanted to work, to die working”, Wim Wenders says in the movie. And through his work with Wenders and the crew, Ray transformed his dying into an act of collaboration and a work of art.

Dying slowly of terminal cancer, Ray chose not to institutionalize himself in a hospice and fade away in an old people’s home but stayed in his modest New York City loft, surrounded by his closest friends — a sharp and poignant contrast to the comparative luxury of his Hollywood years. Read More »

Nicholas Ray & Ida Lupino – On Dangerous Ground (1951)

Quote:
A superb noir thriller with a difference. Ray’s second film with producer John Houseman (the first being They Live By Night) starts off in the sinister urban jungle, with Ryan’s cop increasingly brutalised by the ‘garbage’ he is forced to deal with. Finally, his methods become so violent that he is sent to cool off in snowy upstate New York, where his search for a sex killer brings him into contact with Lupino’s blind woman and her mentally retarded brother (Williams). It’s a film about the violence within us all, about the effects of environment and family upon character (Lupino, peaceful and a healing force, even has a tree in her living room), and about the spiritual redemption of a fallen man. Read More »

Nicholas Ray – Party Girl (1958)

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Synopsis:
Lawyer Thomas Farrell has made a career defending crooks in trials. He has never realized that there is a downside to his success, until he meets the dancer Vicki Gayle. She makes him decide to get a better reputation. But mob king Rico Angelo *insists* that he continues his services… Read More »

Nicholas Ray – Bitter Victory (1957)

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Synopsis:
Two British officers are assigned to lead a raid on a German stronghold in Libya and steal secret documents. However, one of the pair suspects the other of having had an affair with his wife and the tension between them threatens the mission. Read More »

Nicholas Ray – They Live by Night (1948)

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John Greco wrote:
Three men escape from prison, two seasoned bank robbers T-Dub (Jay C. Flippen) and Chickamaw (Howard Da Silva) along with young Bowie (Farley Granger) who was innocently convicted of murder. The three men rob a bank. When Bowie is injured he is brought to Chickamaw’s brother’s place where he meets Keechie (Cathy O’Donnell), Chickamaw’s tomboyish niece. After another bank job, the young lovers take off to get away from Bowie’s two thug partners and a life of crime. Unlike Bowie, his two cohorts quickly blow their share of the money and want Bowie for another bank job which goes bad resulting in T-Dub’s death. Bowie and Keechie are again running only this time instead of running to a new life they are running from the law and straight toward a tragic end. Read More »

Nicholas Ray – A Woman’s Secret (1949)

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Synopsis:
Susan is laying in the hospital with a bullet near her heart. Marian has told the police that she shot Susan in a rage as Susan was giving up her singing. Marian and Luke found Susan when she was a failure. A singer with a limited range, she was a diamond in the rough to which Marian and Luke taught how to walk, dress and talk. With the singing lessons, Marian had hoped that she would have the career that Marian would have had if she had not lost her voice. Even thought Susan is a scatterbrain girl, Luke does not believe that Marian would or was capable of shooting her. Luke hopes that Detective Fowler will be able to find out the truth and free Marian. Read More »

Nicholas Ray – Born to Be Bad [+Extra] (1950)

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Synopsis:
One of the most oft-revived of the pre-Technicolor Nicholas Ray efforts, Born to Be Bad offers us the spectacle of Joan Fontaine portraying a character described as “a cross between Lucrezia Borgia and Peg O’ My Heart”. For the benefit of her wealthy husband Zachary Scott and his family, Fontaine adopts a facade of wide-eyed sweetness. Bored with her hubby, she inaugurates a romance with novelist Robert Ryan. All her carefully crafted calculations come acropper when both men discover that she’s a bitch among bitches. She might have gotten away with all her machinations, but the censors said uh-uh. Originally slated for filming in 1946, with Henry Fonda scheduled to play the Robert Ryan part, Born to Bad was cancelled, then resurfaced as Bed as Roses in 1948, this time with Barbara Bel Geddes in the Fontaine role. RKO head Howard Hughes’ decision to replace Bel Geddes with the more bankable Fontaine was one of the reasons that producer Dore Schary left RKO in favor of MGM. Based on Anne Parrish’s novel All Kneeling, Born to be Bad is so overheated at times that it threatens to lapse into self-parody; though this never happens, the film was the basis for one of TV star Carol Burnett’s funniest and most devastating movie takeoffs, Raised to be Rotten Read More »