MARK YOUR CALENDARS: NOIR CITY makes its way to Chicago's historic Music Box Theatre August 29–September 4. The 6th edition of NOIR CITY: Chicago will predominantly feature international titles, exploding the long-held belief that noir stories and style are specifically American. The focus is on the immediate post-WWII years, spotlighting noir from France, Japan, Argentina, Spain, and Italy—including Death of a Cyclist (Spain, 1955), Ossessione (Italy, 1942), Pepé Le Moko (France, 1937), Rififi (France, 1955), Two Men in Manhattan (France, 1959), Hardly a Criminal (Argentina, 1949), Drunken Angel (Japan, 1948) and Stray Dog (Japan, 1949).
As usual, the festival will include films restored by the FNF, funded largely by the generous support of our NOIR CITY festival patrons and FNF donors. A new FNF-funded subtitled print of the Argentine rarity El Vampiro Negro (1953), a revisionist take on M, will screen on a bill with the 1951 Hollywood version of Fritz Lang's famous 1931 film. The FNF, co-presenters of the festival, will also be presenting its latest 35mm film restoration, Too Late for Tears (1949), as well as a newly struck 35mm print of the tough-as-nails Roadblock, starring noir favorite Charles McGraw. We'll update you when the full schedule and tickets go on sale at Music Box Theatre.
In Steve Mimm's mystery tinged romantic comedy Arlo & Julie, the eponymous young couple is adrift in the post-college ether of Austin. The pair's lives are upended when Julie starts to receive a series of mysterious packages in the mail. Each one contains more pieces of the same jigsaw puzzle. As they try to solve the mystery, they descend into an obsession that threatens to change everything. The result is an uplifting, surprisingly moving exploration of art and history, love, trust and faith. The film screens twice during the 34th edition of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, both times preceded by the short A Knock at the Door. The FNF co-presented screenings play in San Francisco at the Castro Theatre on Saturday, July 26, at 7:00pm and in Berkeley, at the California Theater on Saturday, August 2 at 8:55pm. For more on the festival, including ticket information, visit the SFJFF's website.
Actress Rose McGowan is the latest addition to the Film Noir Foundation's Advisory Council, joining such notables as James Ellroy, Leonard Maltin, Dennis Lehane, and Marsha Hunt. She became aware of the FNF's work after appearing with at the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival with Eddie Muller, where the pair hosted a session on vintage noir—imagining themselves the co-heads of RKO Radio Pictures in 1947, seeking to create the ultimate film noir. "Film noir captured my imagination when I was very young," says McGowan. "I knew I wanted a life in the shadows. And I wanted to live my life off the books. Noir appeals to the antihero in me. Give me a fierce Stanwyck or snaky Greer any day of the week."
An avid fan of old Hollywood, McGowan was co-host with Robert Osborne of TCM's The Essentials (2009-11), enthusiastically presenting an array of classic films, including A Face in the Crowd (1957), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), Psycho (1960), The Spiral Staircase (1945), and Night of the Hunter (1955). She is also an ardent proponent of film preservation: "It is our history, American history, world history, and it is our future," she declares. "Film is our art. That Hollywood doesn't understand that is, sadly, not mind-blowing. Classic film moves so many to create themselves, I wish those people would start to give back. A collection at each DGA meeting, on sets, at the Screen Actors' Guild... I think this could be done. We owe it to our heritage."
Crime movies were a Columbia Pictures staple during the studio's first decades as a budget-conscious, high-volume producer of mass entertainment. The Museum of Modern Art explores the distaff side of the studio's crime genre output with "Lady in the Dark: Crime Films from Columbia Pictures, 1932–1957," screening July 11–August 4. The MoMA exhibition, organized by Dave Kehr, the museum's new adjunct film curator, and Joshua Siegel, the department's long-time curator, traces the evolution of the genre at Columbia, from atmospheric whodunits that dominated the early 1930s (By Whose Hand?, The Ninth Guest) through the moody, despairing films noirs of the 1940s and 50s. Check MoMA's online calendar for schedule and times. FNF honcho Eddie Muller will introduce several films on the opening weekend of the MoMA series, including 1947's rarely screened I Love Trouble, written by witty and prolific Roy Huggins (Too Late for Tears).
Glendale, CA celebrates America's automotive obsession with its yearly "Cruise Night" on July 19. One week later, on Saturday, July 26, the Alex Film Society will present Chrome-Plated Crime: A Car-Crazy Film Noir Double Feature, presenting the diesel-fueled duo of Gun Crazy (1949) and The Lineup (1958) as their homage to the city's annual celebration. In the former, John Dall and Peggy Cummins play gun-obsessed lovers on a cross-country crime spree. The film features one of the most influential scenes in cinema, a bank heist shot from the backseat of the getaway car in one continuous take. The latter portrays the quest of two amoral criminals through the streets of San Francisco in search of heroin placed in the luggage of unsuspecting travelers. The FNF's Alan K. Rode will introduce the program. For complete details and ticket information visit the Alex Film Society website.
New York City's Film Forum is taking a comprehensive look at lovely but lethal beauties throughout film history with its series Femmes Noirs: Hollywood's Dangerous Dames. Although the programming includes films from the silent period (Pandora's Box) to the age of modern neo-noir (Body Heat), classic-era films noir dominate. The iconic roles of this series comprise wicked women portrayed by legendary actresses: Barbara Stanwyck's borderline psychotic Phyllis in Double Indemnity; Joan Bennett's singularly manipulative and slatternly Kitty in Scarlet Street; and Mary Astor as congenital liar Brigid O'Shaughnessy in John Huston's adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. There are also surprising against-type performances by movie stars: Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven, Jean Simmons in Angel Face, Marilyn Monroe in Niagara. Joan Crawford plays the victim of devious women twice, in Mildred Pierce and Sudden Fear. The B-girls also get their due, with screenings of Gun Crazy and Detour, featuring two of the greatest female performances in noir, Peggy Cummins and Ann Savage respectively. See the Film Forum's website for details on the series, running Friday, July 18 through Thursday, August 7.
When a pair of screen personas like Lizabeth Scott and Dan Duryea collides, the sparks will fly. Jane Palmer (Scott) and her husband Alan (Arthur Kennedy) mysteriously have $60,000 literally dropped in their laps. The circumstances look pretty suspicious and dangerous to Alan, who wants to turn the money over to the police. But in a materialistic rapture, Jane won't let it go. She doesn't care where it came from, not if it can bring her the luxuries she craves. Enter shady Danny Fuller (Duryea, as cocky and menacing as you've ever seen him) who claims the money belongs to him. Let the games begin—which means sex, deception and murder. Roy Huggins' snappy script is a complex, breezy and black-hearted homage to Cain and Chandler, and his Jane Palmer is one of the juiciest female villains in Hollywood history, and Scott's best role ever.
Too Late for Tears has been underappreciated for decades mainly because it was almost impossible to see. Now it returns to the big screen in a completely restored 35mm print, the result of a five-year campaign by the Film Noir Foundation to rescue this nearly extinct gem. The restored print premiered during the opening weekend of NOIR CITY 12. More screenings of the restored noir continue at the 2014 NOIR CITY satellite festivals in Seattle, Austin, Los Angeles, Chicago, Portland (OR), and Washington D.C.
In the U.S. pulp fiction writer David Goodis is best known for—or perhaps only known for—his novel Dark Passage, thanks to the popular film adaptation starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Although the film brought its author great opportunities, his Hollywood screenwriting career would shortly fizzle out. He returned to his family home in Philadelphia, disappearing from the public eye—but launching a prodigious output of original pulp paperbacks which would earn him a huge reputation, especially in France, where his novels inspired many film adaptions, including François Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player. In America, however, Goodis never again regained the mainstream success he had with Dark Passage. In 1982, French journalist Phillip Garnier decided to plumb the mysterious depths that had seemingly swallowed the reclusive writer. The resulting book, Goodis: A Life in Black and White is now available for the first time in English. You can buy it directly from Black Pool Productions or at one of our NOIR CITY festivals.
Keep us posted on noir news and events in your area! Email Anne Hockens, Film Noir Foundation news and events editor.
While most noirs take place within city limits, a notable subset such as Detour (1945) and The Hitch-Hiker (1953) venture into the desert, where evil can flourish with no witnesses. Writer-director Craig Lahiff places Swerve (2011)— an innocent bystander is caught in a web of adultery, drug money, police corruption and murder—solidly within this subgenre, crafting a twisty tale set in the Australian outback. Colin (David Lyons) tries to do the right thing, turning over a suitcase full of money he found at a car accident to Frank (Jason Clarke), the local lawman of a one-horse town. As it turns out, Frank's unhappy wife Jina (Emma Booth) is the only other witness to the accident. + READ MORE.
And the longer Colin sticks around, the more he realizes that both Jina and Frank have plenty of deep, dark secrets. What transpires is quintessential noir—backstabbing, double-crosses, and a steadily mounting pile of dead bodies. Swerve opened in Australia in 2011, but hasn't been widely available stateside until Cohen Media Group's recent Blu-ray release. Thankfully, it's respectable disc, featuring solid video and robust audio (if unfortunately light on supplements). Story and performances more than competently carry the film, making Lahiff's neo-noir a worthy successor to its desert-dwelling precursors.
—Jason Ney, NOIR CITY e-magazine, July 2014
It's tempting to view The Counselor as the photo negative of director Ridley Scott's previous effort. If the raison d'être for 2012's Prometheus is to clear up any lingering questions from Alien (1979), The Counselor goes out of its way to provoke head-scratching. The story, about a nameless Texas legal wizard (Michael Fassbender) who ventures into business with a drug-dealing client only to unleash Old Testament-level fury, ultimately resolves with a considerable amount of cleverness and satisfaction. But the route to that conclusion is so circuitous that many viewers will only recall their confusion—and Cameron Diaz's character having sex with a Ferrari. + READ MORE.
Credit for the obfuscation belongs to the original screenplay by Cormac McCarthy, which eschews such niceties as a three-act structure and conventional motivation while larding on the author's trademark stark moralism. Scott's greatest accomplishment is imposing order on McCarthy's chaos, their two minds meeting to salutary effect. The Counselor offers a gorgeous view of The Doomed, the film basically an exercise in seeing how many indignities can be visited on the residents of a SkyMall in-flight catalog. There is something bracing about being absolved of the duty to care, to feel empathy for the poor players strutting and fretting before us. We can watch them be punished for their greed, stupidity, and criminal naiveté with distant curiosity. You don't have to pull the wings off a fly yourself to wonder what the crippled creature will do next.
The 20th Century–Fox Blu-ray includes the 117-minute theatrical cut as well as Scott's preferred version running 21 minutes longer. Don't expect the extra time to cut through the narrative fog. What was unclear remains so, the money woes driving Fassbender's lawyer to throw in with wild man Reiner (Javier Bardem) still so murky that the likeliest explanation is that he spent too much on the engagement ring for his impossibly virginal fiancée (Penelope Cruz). Scott has been delivered by DVD before—witness the acclaim for the extended cut of his 2005 historical epic Kingdom of Heaven—but here, less genuinely is more. The theatrical release's abrupt, dismissive rhythms are more compelling. The bulk of the additional content is given over to more windy McCarthy monologues, like Bardem's sophomoric sex tale that pales in comparison to the vehicular one he relates (and we witness) later.
The digital images captured by the Red Epic camera are luscious in the Blu-ray's 1080p transfer; every pastel accent wall pops. The primary extra is a lavish "immersive experience" combining Scott's feature-length commentary with a baker's dozen of featurettes that balloons the running time to over three and a half hours. Among the material covered: McCarthy's surprisingly active involvement with the production and the challenges of recreating the American Southwest on European locations. Diaz confesses in an interview that she almost withdrew from the movie. She was right to reconsider. Her turn as Malkina, a moll nearing her sell-by date, was a point of controversy (she allegedly re-recorded all of her dialogue, which she'd initially delivered with a Barbados accent). But the actress gives Nicolas Cage a run for his money in terms of ferocious commitment. Malkina alone acknowledges that when in the jungle one must play by jungle rules—trust a woman who keeps cheetahs never to change her spots—and Diaz bravely goes deep into the character. "This is a cynical business," Fassbender is told by his jeweler. "We seek only imperfection." The Counselor has its share of flaws, and glitters because of them.
—Vince Keenan, NOIR CITY e-magazine, July 2014
We hope it's a good sign that Universal Home Entertainment, notoriously slow to plumb its depthless classics catalog, has released optimized Blu-ray versions of the two greatest noirs it owns: Double Indemnity and Touch of Evil. It also means 4K digital DCPs of both now exist—exponentially decreasing the odds of ever again seeing them in 35mm. The good news—as was the case with Paramount's recent 4K version of Sunset Boulevard.—is that digital restoration serves cinematographer John F. Seitz so well. Double Indemnity hasn't looked this good since its opening day. This "Limited Edition" Blu-ray coincides with the film's 70th anniversary (amazing how significant such ballyhoo is to marketeers); it includes all the bonus material that filled the previous "Special Edition" just a few years back—a pair of audio commentaries, a fun documentary about the making of the film and its influence, and even a pack of miniature lobby cards. But is it essential for noir fans to own? We say—"Yes," especially if your home set-up is of sufficient size and resolution to reveal Seitz's genius in never-before-seen detail. + READ MORE.
Likewise, there are new things to see in the shadows of Touch of Evil, where the remastered Blu-ray reveals previously unseen secrets in its hotel rooms and oil fields. This edition includes three iterations of the film: the original 108-minute preview version (rarely seen), the 95-minute theatrical release (with Mancini's score and credits over the legendary opening shot), and the "reconstructed" version that Rick Schmidlin and sound editor Walter Murch rebuilt in 1998 from Welles' copious notes. Adding to the package: numerous bonus docs and audio commentaries, including insights from Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Dennis Weaver, Robert Wise, Peter Bogdanovich, and critics F. X. Feeney, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and James Naremore.
—Eddie Muller, NOIR CITY e-magazine, July 2014
Sleep My Love. This little-known offering from director Douglas Sirk is in the mold of more famous films such as Suspicion and Gaslight (is caddish hubbie trying to snuff his starry-eyed wife?), but has its own quirky appeal thanks largely to a clever script by Leo Rosten and New Yorker veteran St. Clair McKelway, and appealing turns by stars Claudette Colbert and Robert Cummings. Both display more wit and panache than typically found in "woman in jeopardy" films. Noir fans will enjoy appearances by familiar faces Raymond Burr and Hazel Brooks, while suave Don Ameche effectively plays against type. + READ MORE.
Sirk's supple direction is abetted by Joe Valentine's versatile camerawork, which finds visual corollaries for the shifts between light comedy and noir menace. This bare-bones release rescues from obscurity one of the last films made by Mary Pickford's independent production company. The digital transfer is from a 35mm restoration by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, one of the last projects supervised by FNF colleague Nancy Mysel before her untimely death. The image and sound quality, well transferred, is testimony to her perfectionism. (She also managed the restoration of Cry Danger, the source of Olive's Blu-ray release.) We're used to Olive eschewing extras, but the egregious gaff here is the packaging, which misrepresents the film as a generic horror film, not a neglected noir gem from 1948.
—Eddie Muller, NOIR CITY e-magazine, July 2014
We're delighted that Olive Films has released the FNF funded restoration of Robert Parrish's Cry Danger (1951) on Blu-ray and DVD. In this unjustly little known noir, Rocky (Dick Powell), recently sprung from the big house, wants to find the rat who framed him for the robbery that landed him there. Priceless dialog and an outstanding supporting performance by Richard Erdman as Powell's alcoholic sidekick elevate this noir well above the ordinary. Sadly, no extras on either format.
In Roadblock Charles McGraw offers the most conflicted characterization in a lengthy resume of cinematic hard cases. His honest-John insurance investigator falls for ingénue Joan Dixon, who has a yen for the high life her lover can't possibly afford. The smitten McGraw concocts a robbery scheme that eventually consigns the star-crossed couple to a noir-stained finale. + READ MORE.
With its 15-day production schedule, $192,000 budget and a director named Harold Daniels at the helm, no one will confuse Roadblock with The Asphalt Jungle. The screenplay, penned by a gaggle of writers including Daniel Mainwaring and Steve Fisher, combines crisp dialogue with abrupt character transitions. Presented in an acceptable transfer, Roadblock moves briskly (it's only 73 minutes) from modest studio sets to downtown L. A. locations with the confident assurance that distinguished RKO programmers. It may be implausible, but it's always entertaining—witness the climactic chase, in which the fugitive couple tries to evade a police dragnet. When Dixon wonders why the freeway is suddenly deserted, McGraw barks, "This isn't a highway—it's the Los Angeles Riverbed!" Look for Roadblock at future festivals, the Film Noir Foundation having recently funded a new 35mm print, which played like gangbusters to appreciative Angelenos at the recent NOIR CITY Hollywood festival.
—Alan K. Rode, NOIR CITY e-magazine, July 2014
George Raft is an uneasily acquired taste for anyone who grew up admiring Brando, Clift, Dean and all the Method-trained "naturalist" actors they spawned. But his tough and taciturn style often works well in noir, especially when he plays it deadpan in a story filled with fast-paced twists and turns. For our money, Nocturne and Red Light are two of the best Raft vehicles of the '40s, both slightly but spicily scripted and filled to the brim with great art direction and evocative chiaroscuro. + READ MORE.
In Nocturne, Raft is a L.A. detective hunting for the killer of a noted Hollywood composer, likely the victim of one of the many scorned conquests in his little black book. The gag is that Raft, a noted ladies' man, plays against type as a milk-drinking mama's boy. Jonathan Latimer's script and Joan Harrison's stylish production enliven the typically pedestrian direction of Edwin L. Marin, Raft's handpicked helmsman. The unrestored film gets a decent transfer, which is the most we've come to hope for with any MOD product.
Red Light is an especially strange film, the sole example of "Biblical Noir" from the original era. Raft plays the shady owner of a trucking company whose sainted brother, an Army chaplain (Arthur Franz), is murdered in a San Francisco hotel. The only clue to the culprit's identity is a Gideon Bible missing from the room. Bolstering the movie's noir credentials: villainous supporting roles for both Raymond Burr and Harry Morgan. The story zips hither and yon as the vengeful Raft ("An eye for an eye!") hunts down the killer, and frankly it makes little sense. But the noir atmospherics—especially a stunningly staged rooftop climax in a driving rainstorm—clearly inspired veteran director Roy Del Ruth (the 1931 Maltese Falcon) and cinematographer Bert Glennon (Crime Wave), whose lighting is masterful throughout. A minor noir to be sure, but audiences had an uproariously good time with it during its NOIR CITY revival in 2009. A packed house at the Cinematheque Française enjoyed Red Light at a 2011 Paris screening even thought the projected subtitles malfunctioned. Raft's American tough-guy act may be hopelessly dated, but it still translates easily abroad.
—Eddie Muller, NOIR CITY e-magazine, July 2014
Warner Archive has released Caged (1950) as a standalone DVD, previously it was only available as part of Warner's Women in Peril set. This film noir in women-in-prison clothing details the transformation of a young, naïve and pregnant widow (Elanor Parker) into a hardened convict. She learns the hard way how to survive in the big house from a sadistic prison guard (Hope Emerson) and the failure of a good hearted warden (Agnes Moorehead) to reform the prison. This is more than an exploitation flick, it's an intelligent social drama and raises the still prescient issue facing the American penal system, is it actually reforming first time offenders or just turning prisoners into career criminal? + MORE WARNER RELEASES.
Warner Archive has added Edwin L. Marin's Race Street (1948) to its offerings of classic RKO rarities. In this San Francisco based noir, an ex-bookie Dan Ganin (George Raft) tries to go straight by opening a nightclub with his singing sister (Gale Robbins) as the main attraction, but soon finds himself seeking vengeance against a protection racket syndicate after they kill his friend (Harry Morgan). Noir stalwart William Bendix plays the cop and childhood friend trying to keep Dan in one piece while he's on his rampage. As usual for the Archive, no extras.
Jean Negulesco's The Mask of Dimitrios starring the eternal noir duo of Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, and featuring Zachary Scott in his film debut, is now available, newly remastered, from the Warner Archive. In this film based on the Eric Ambler novel, novelist Cornelius Leyden (Lorre) investigates the mysterious death of international criminal Dimitrios Makopoulus (Scott) after Dimitrios' body is discovered in Istanbul. The mysterious Peters (Greenstreet) encourages Leyden and promises him a financial reward. But what is Peters' motivation for the investigation? The always wonderful character actress Fay Emerson plays a supporting role as a lover formerly fleeced by Dimitrios. ↑ COLLAPSE
The Film Foundation in partnership with Turner Classic Movies and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have released a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack of Orson Welles' The Lady from Shanghai (1947)—the first-ever Blu-ray release of the film, featuring a brand-new 4k digital restoration from the original negative. In this wonderfully convoluted noir, an Irish sailor (Orson Welles) gets caught between a corrupt tycoon (Everett Sloane) and his voluptuous wife (Rita Hayworth) and their plans to eliminate one another. Special features include an introduction by Robert Osborne and a commentary by Peter Bogdanovich. Available exclusively here from the TCM Shop. + MORE TCM RELEASES
TCM shows off the dark side of Glenn Ford in their DVD set Glenn Ford: Undercover Crimes. The set comprises Charles Vidor's The Lady in Question (1940) co-starring Rita Hayworth in the onscreen couple's first film together; Framed (1947) also featuring film noir regulars Janice Carter and Barry Sullivan; master noir director Joseph H. Lewis' The Undercover Man (1949); the Christmas noir Mr. Soft Touch; and the prison drama Convicted (1950) co-starring noir stalwart Broderick Crawford. Extras include an introduction by Ben Mankiewicz and a digital image gallery.
TCM and Universal teamed up to release Dark Crimes Film Noir Thrillers, a 3-disc set comprising Stuart Heisler's adaptation of the Dashiell Hammett hard-boiled classic The Glass Key (1942) with Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Brian Donlevy and William Bendix; Robert Siodmak's Phantom Lady (1944) based on the novel by Cornell Woolrich and starring Ella Raines, Alan Curtis and Franchot Tone; and George Marshall's The Blue Dahlia (1946) which reunited Glass Key co-stars Lake, Ladd and Bendix with a screenplay by Raymond Chandler. Extras include an introduction by Ben Mankiewicz and a Digital Image Gallery with behind-the-scenes photos, TCM Database articles, publicity stills, lobby cards, movie posters and scene stills. You can order it here.
Turner Classic Movies and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have teamed up to release a new line of DVDs as part of the TCM Vault Collection. The series kicked off with the Humphrey Bogart Columbia Pictures Collection, and, in collaboration with the FNF, Film Noir Classics III. Both sets comprise full restored and re-mastered Columbia noir titles previously unreleased on DVD. The Bogart set consists of Love Affair, Tokyo Joe, Knock on Any Door, Sirocco and NOIR CITY 7 fan favorite, The Harder They Fall.
The Noir Classics set includes the rare and wonderful noir The Burglar (1957) (Dir. Paul Wendkos), featuring Dan Duryea and Jane Mansfield, adapted by David Goodis from his own novel. The other films on the set are My Name is Julia Ross, The Mob, Tight Spot, and Drive a Crooked Road. Both sets are available exclusively at TCM's online store. ↑ COLLAPSE
Twilight Time has released a limited edition 3-D Blu-ray of Man in the Dark 3-D (1953). Pinched by the cops after pulling off a big heist, crook Steve Rawley (Edmond O'Brien) undergoes an experimental operation to eliminate his criminal urges. It also makes him forget where he hid the loot—much to the consternation of his old gang and his itchy-fingered girlfriend (Audrey Totter). INCLUDES 2-D VERSION NOTE: When viewed on a compatible 3-D monitor and 3-D blu-ray player set-up, the menu offers an option for both 3-D and 2-D playback, but when this disc is viewed on a regular 2-D monitor and 2-D Blu-ray player, the 3-D version is. Special features comprise an isolated score track and an original theatrical trailer. Available here from Twilight Time. + MORE TWILIGHT TIME RELEASES.
Don Siegel's Private Hell 36 (1954) is also now available on Blu-ray directly from Twilight Time. Noir goddess Ida Lupino chalks up another sympathetic tough girl performance as nightclub singer Lilli in this tight little noir, a film produced by her ex-husband Collier Young who co-wrote the screenplay with her. The film also co-stars Lupino's husband at the time Howard Duff as Jack, a cop whose partner Calhoun (Steven Cochran) draws him into a web of deceit and corruption when Calhoun steals part of a robbery haul that the pair recovers during a criminal investigation. Interestingly, Lupino plays Cochran's love interest and not Duff's.
Twilight Time has released through Screen Archives a limited edition Blu-ray of Blake Edward's late era noir Experiment in Terror (1962). A San Francisco bank teller (Lee Remick) is forced to be an accomplice to a daring robbery scheme when her sister (Stefanie Powers) is taken hostage by a perverted criminal genius. Glenn Ford is the taciturn old-school FBI agent charged with hunting down the mysterious mastermind. Typically light and breezy Blake Edwards shows masterful skill with suspense, ratcheting up the tension to Hitchcockian heights while making abundant and evocative use of actual San Francisco locales. More than a time capsule of the city circa 1962, this is arguably the most intense thriller ever set in San Francisco. Special features include an isolated track of Henry Mancini's jazzy score, as well as, trailers and TV spots.
Gene Tierney gives an astonishing, and Oscar nominated performance as Ellen, an insanely jealous woman in John M. Stahl's Leave Her to Heaven (1945). Ellen will stop at nothing to destroy anyone that she perceives as a threat to her being first place in her husband Richards's affections. The truth begins to dawn on Richard (Cornell Wilde) after a tragic "accident." When Ellen realizes that Richard no longer loves her, she designs the ultimate revenge. Based on the novel by Ben Ames (a highly recommended read), Twilight Time has done an extremely limited release (3,000 units) of the classic color noir on Blu-ray. Extras include an isolated score track, audio commentary with actor Darryl Hickman and critic Richard Schickel, Movietone news footage, original theatrical trailer, and an essay by Julie Kirgo. ↑ COLLAPSE
The Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics IV DVD set is now available exclusively from the TCM Shop. The set includes Joseph H. Lewis' So Dark the Night (1946) in which a Parisian detective (Steven Geray) on vacation finds love and murder in a small coastal town. Dick Powell plays a casino co-owner who finds himself in both criminal and romantic trouble in Robert Rossen's Johnny O'Clock (1947). An FBI agent (Dennis O'Keefe) and a Scotland Yard detective (Louis Hayward) team up to bring down a spy ring led by frequent noir heavy Raymond Burr in Gordon Douglas' Walk a Crooked Mile (1948). Two cops (Edmund O'Brien and Mark Stevens) find their friendship tested by their pursuit of a racketeer and their mutual love of the same woman (Gale Storm) in Gordon Douglas' Between Midnight and Dawn (1950). Alfred L. Werker's Walk East on Beacon! (1952), adapted from an article written by then Director of the F.B.I. Edgar J. Hoover, follows a dedicated G-man (George Murphy) as hunts down a Communist sleeper-cell in Boston. Extras include an introduction by Martin Scorsese and a digital image gallery.
Criterion is now offering a new 2K digital restoration of Fritz Lang's Ministry of Fear (1944) on both DVD and Blu-ray. In this effectively paranoiac and suspenseful noir, a recently released mental patient (Ray Milland) finds himself embroiled in a fantastic espionage plot after getting his fortune told at a fete. Watch for a wonderfully chilling performance by Dan Duryea as a conspiratorial tailor. Extras include an interview with Fritz Lang scholar Joe McElhaney, trailer and an essay by critic Glenn Kenny. + MORE CRITERION RELEASES.
Stanley Kubrick's The Killing (1956), scripted by the renowned pulp writer Jim Thompson, features both one of the best heists in film and one of the best portrayals of men undone by their own fears and illusions. The film comprises notable performances by Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Marie Windsor and Elisha Cook Jr. The new Criterion Blu-ray and DVD editions feature a high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Special features include: new video interviews with producer James B. Harris and film scholar Robert Polito; excerpts of French television interviews with actor Sterling; a restored transfer of Stanley Kubrick's 1955 noir feature Killer's Kiss; and a new video appreciation of Killer's Kiss with film critic Geoffrey O'Brien. The booklet includes a reprinted interview with actress Windsor and essay by film historian Haden Guest.
In 1963 Akira Kurosawa adapted one of Ed McBain's bestselling 87th Precinct novels, Kings Ransom. Re-titled High and Low, the film resets the novel from a fictional American big city to Tokyo, but retained the same story and class conflicts. Kingo Gondo (Toshiro Mifune), a wealthy shoe manufacturer, finds himself facing a devastating moral dilemma. A kidnapper (Tsutomu Yamazaki) has taken his chauffer's son, mistaking him for the industrialist's. He demands a cash ransom, the exact amount that Kingo just raised for a hostile takeover of another company. So it's the boy's life or the corporate coup. Available on Blu-ray for the first time on July 26 from Criterion. Extras include: a high-definition digital restoration; audio commentary by Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince; a making of documentary; video interviews with actor Toshiro Mifune and actor Tsutomu Yamazaki; and a booklet featuring an essay by critic Geoffrey O'Brien and more.
Criterion brings newly restored high-definition digital transfers of two Sam Fuller classics to DVD and Blu-ray. First, Constance Towers stars as a prostitute trying to go straight in The Naked Kiss (1964). She must overcome her past, hidden perversity and small town hypocrisy. Extras include: a video interview with Constance Towers; excerpts from the BBC’s The South Bank Show (1983); two interviews with Fuller from French television; the original theatrical trailer; and illustrations by cartoonist Daniel Clowes (Ghost World). ↑ COLLAPSE
MGM's has added several noir titles under their Limited Edition Collection brand. The films are available on demand from various retailers, including Amazon and the Warner Archive. In Budd Boetticher's The Killer is Loose (1956), a seemingly mild mannered embezzler (Wendell Corey), recently released from prison, tries to avenge his wife's accidental shooting by Detective Sam Wagner (Joseph Cotton) by killing Sam's wife (Rhonda Fleming). Can Sam stop him? + MORE MGM RELEASES
Then in Arnold Leven's Down Three Dark Streets (1954), a FBI agent (Kenneth Tobey) pursues there separate cases that lead him to the discovery of a murder. The victim of an extortion racket (Ruth Roman), that he takes more than a professional interest in, proves the key to unlocking the mystery. John Payne co-produced and starred in Byron Haskin's The Boss (1956), a gritty crime thriller depicting the rise and fall of racketeer Matt Brady during the Roaring 20s. The screenplay, by the then blacklisted Donald Trumbo, was largely based on Kansas City's Irish organized crime racket, The Prendergast Machine.
MGM is also offering William Ahser's rather bizarre late period noir Johnny Cool (1963). Harry Silva stars as a Sicilian bandit given a new identity by an exiled mobster. The mobster offers to make him his heir in exchange for killing the men back in the states who betrayed him. Things get weird when the newly christened Johnny Cool meets a sexy divorcee (Elizabeth Montgomery) while on his deadly mission. On the neo-noir side of things is Hickey & Boggs (1972), written by Walter Hill and directed by Robert Culp. In this cynical films, a lawyer hires two private dicks (former I Spy compatriots Bill Cosby and Culp) to find his missing girlfriend. The missing person case soon turns into a search for the proceeds from an armored car robbery. Along the way, the film explores the broken-down lives of the deeply flawed protagonists. ↑ COLLAPSE
NOIR CITY E-MAG
At left, the cover of NOIR CITY® — the Film Noir Foundation's latest e-magazine issue. For access to the best writing on noir available today, and to enjoy one of the most cutting-edge interactive multimedia cinema publications in the world, subscribe to NOIR CITY. Start by adding your name to our mailing list and then making a donation to the FNF of $20 or more. For an overview of the current issue and to view article excerpts, go here.
Check our monthly listings for noir and neo-noir films coming up on TCM.
Join us on Facebook and Twitter. If you haven't signed up, maybe you should. Maybe you'll meet someone who will betray you and leave you for dead on the internet. At the least, you'll have access to a vast repository of noir posters and photos.