Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster) returns home after a few years of knocking around the country following his divorce from good-time girl Anna (Yvonne De Carlo). Getting his old job back driving an armored car, and not even convincing himself that he’s making a new start, he also wants his old wife back. Read More »
Years before they became major players in Hollywood, a group of young German filmmakers—including eventual noir masters Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer and future Oscar winners Billy Wilder and Fred Zinnemann—worked together on the once-in-a-lifetime collaboration People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag). This effervescent, sunlit silent, about a handful of city dwellers (a charming cast of nonprofessionals) enjoying a weekend outing, offers a rare glimpse of Weimar-era Berlin. A unique hybrid of documentary and fictional storytelling, People on Sunday was both an experiment and a mainstream hit that would influence generations of film artists around the world. Read More »
In 1902 London, unhappily married Philip Marshall meets young Mary Gray, who is unemployed and depressed. Their deepening friendship, though physically innocent, is discovered by Philip’s wife who threatens him with exposure and scandal, driving him to kill her. Thereafter, fortune seems to smile on Philip Marshall; but does fate have a surprise in store? Read More »
Not really epic material, this is a fated romantic drama (a typically French quality) set against the exotic background of the Foreign Legion and, actually, a remake of Jacques Feyder’s 1934 film LE GRAND JEU.
The plot involves a successful young lawyer (Jean-Claude Pascal) who, due to a shady deal, finds himself penniless and separated from his wife (Gina Lollobrigida). Stranded in Algeria, he’s persuaded to join the Foreign Legion where he befriends a couple of similar losers (played by Raymond Pellegrin and Peter van Eyck). Read More »
The wonderfully suspenseful psychological drama Spiral Staircase is the prototype of the “old dark house, lady in distress” thriller, full of dark corners, flickering candles and featuring a mysterious, menacing killer whose true identity remains hidden until the end. Helen Capel (Dorothy McGuire), mute because of a childhood trauma, cares for the owner of the house, the wealthy Mrs. Warren (Ethel Barrymore), a demanding, widowed invalid. Helen has quietly fallen in love with one of Mrs. Warren’s sons, Dr. Parry (Kent Smith), who she believes to be a gentle and understanding man. Helen’s peaceful life is changed forever when three local women, all with physical handicaps, are found murdered. Read More »
Phantom Lady (1944) is one of the high points of ’40s film noir, the title alone evoking a potent mythology of this era. At the center of its narrative is the seemingly hopeless search for the title character who potentially serves as the only reliable witness in the murder trial for Scott Henderson (Alan Curtis), falsely accused of killing his wife. But the search is frustrated by Henderson’s inability to remember any details about the woman outside of a flamboyant hat she wore during the night they spent together, an unlikely memory lapse that only intensifies his apparent guilt. Furthermore, no one else who saw Henderson and the woman together will admit to the police that they had seen her. Read More »