250 Quintessential Film Noirs

Otto Preminger – Fallen Angel (1945)

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The huge success of Laura may have done more ill than good to Otto Preminger’s career, not only for setting expectations high early in the game, but also for forcing a “noir mystery master” image onto an artist much more interested in asking questions than in answering them. Fallen Angel, the director’s follow-up to his 1944 classic, is often predictably looked down as a lesser genre venture, yet its subtle analysis of shadowy tropes proves both a continuation and a deepening of Preminger’s use of moral ambiguity as a tool of human insight. Linda Darnell, a provocative bombshell caught behind the counter of a small-town California roadside café, is the flame around which the picture’s male moths circle, though the titular fallen angel is later revealed to be tainted drifter Dana Andrews, who comes to town and becomes quickly smitten with her. Read More »

Raoul Walsh – High Sierra (1941)

Roy ‘Mad Dog’ Earle is broken out of prison by an old associate who wants him to help with an upcoming robbery. When the robbery goes wrong and a man is shot and killed Earle is forced to go on the run, and with the police and an angry press hot on his tail he eventually takes refuge among the peaks of the Sierra Nevadas, where a tense siege ensues. But will the Police make him regret the attachments he formed with two women during the brief planning of the robbery. Read More »