Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Noir Gang

DVD Beaver has a list of the films that will be in Warner Home Video's Film Noir Collection, Volume 4. It looks to be an improvement over the last two volumes in two ways: a) It'll have ten films instead of five, and b) It'll include more of the grungy little "B" movies, or relatively inexpensive, under-the-radar films, that have more of the real noir spirit than some of the star-studded "A" pictures included in previous volumes.

The movies are:

- Act of Violence (MGM, 1949) - an MGM "A" picture directed by Fred Zinnemmann before he got really boring.

- Cornered (RKO, 1945) - the team that made Murder My Sweet -- director Edward Dmytryk, writer John Paxton and star Dick Powell -- followed it up with this post-war noir thriller about Nazis who are alive and well and living in Argentina.

- Crime Wave (WB, 1954) - it's got Sterling Hayden and the young Charles Bronson, it's only 73 minutes and it's a violent little crime movie about how one mistake haunts you for the rest of your life. Late noir, but noir nonetheless.

- Decoy (Monogram, 1946) - very strange, very cheap, very implausible and very entertaining "B" picture about a very bad woman.

- Illegal (WB, 1955) - Edward G. Robinson (who was making a lot of "B" movies in the mid-'50s because the political situation made it harder for him to get hired for "A" pictures) plays a D.A. who gets an innocent man executed for murder, quits out of guilt, and then gets all sorts of shady problems in private practice.

- Mystery Street (MGM, 1950) - an early film from John Sturges about the investigation into the murder of a prostitute (Jan Sterling).

- Side Street (MGM, 1950) - before Anthony Mann started mostly directing Westerns, he mostly directed crime thrillers. This, with Farley Granger as yet another guy who makes one stupid mistake and finds he can't escape the consequences, is one of them.

- Tension (MGM, 1950) - Richard Basehart works out a plan to murder the guy who ran off with his wife (Audrey Totter), but somebody else kills him first and he's the suspect for something he planned to do, but didn't actually do. Cyd Charisse is in it somewhere as well.

They Live By Night (RKO, 1949) - The pick of this particular litter, directed by Nicholas Ray. Robert Altman later remade it as Thieves Like Us.

Where Danger Lives (RKO, 1950) - Obligatory Robert Mitchum movie. Faith Domergue is the woman who, you'll be shocked to hear, leads him astray.

It says on the site that Eddie Muller has recorded commentary tracks for Crime Wave and (with comments by Farley Granger) They Live By Night.


Anonymous said...

Nice call on They Live By Night, that's a really fun movie.

Anonymous said...

That's a great list of movies. I'm sure you're familiar with the books The Devil Thumbs a Ride by Barry Gifford and Death on the Cheap by Arthur Lyons, both entertaining and highly opinionated books about B-(and C- and even D-) noir.