July 09, 2015

#NoirSummer - TCM's Summer of Darkness July 10, 2015

There's a strong line-up tomorrow on TCM's Summer of Darkness.

Follow Me Quietly (1949)

Leonard Maltin Review ***:
D: Richard Fleischer. William Lundigan, Dorothy Patrick, Jeff Corey, Nestor Paiva, Charles D. Brown, Paul Guilfoyle. Solid little film noir about police manhunt for self-righteous psychopathic killer called The Judge. Packs style and substance into just 59 minutes.

I'll be DVRing this one since it's on at 6:00 am. Love short and sweet noirs. It was co-directed by an uncredited Anthony Mann. Good example of RKO noir.

Woman's Secret, A (1949)

Leonard Maltin Review **1/2:
D: Nicholas Ray. Maureen O'Hara, Melvyn Douglas, Gloria Grahame, Bill Williams, Victor Jory. Intriguing flashback drama of woman coming to hate singer she built up to success; good performances by two female stars. Just a bit too sloppy. Produced and scripted by Herman J. Mankiewicz, from a Vicki Baum novel.

Think I might skip this one.

Side Street (1950)

Leonard Maltin Review ***:
D: Anthony Mann. Farley Granger, Cathy O'Donnell, James Craig, Paul Kelly, Edmon Ryan, Paul Harvey, Jean Hagen, Charles McGraw, Adele Jergens, Harry Bellaver, Whit Bissell. Story of part-time postman Granger impulsively stealing a wad of money, and finding himself involved with gangsters and murder, is bolstered by striking N.Y.C. locations and stark cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg. The chase finale is a highlight.

Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell were fantastic together in They Live by Night. Give this one a look.

Black Hand (1950)

Leonard Maltin Review **1/2:
D: Richard Thorpe. Gene Kelly, Carrol Naish, Teresa Celli, Marc Lawrence, Frank Puglia. If you can buy Kelly as an Italian immigrant in N.Y.C. (circa 1908), you'll probably go along with this naive but entertaining story about a young man's attempt to avenge his father's murder by the infamous--and seemingly unstoppable--Italian crime syndicate known as the Black Hand.

Have to see Gene Kelly in a non-musical role.

Armored Car Robbery (1950)

Leonard Maltin Review ***:
D: Richard Fleischer. Charles McGraw, Adele Jergens, William Talman, Steve Brodie, Douglas Fowley, Don McGuire, Gene Evans. Crackerjack crime drama in which Talman masterminds the title theft; he and his gang are pursued by determined cop McGraw.

This one is a must-see. Great cast.

Caged (1950)

Leonard Maltin Review ***:
D: John Cromwell. Eleanor Parker, Agnes Moorehead, Ellen Corby, Hope Emerson, Jan Sterling, Jane Darwell, Gertrude Michael. Remarkable performances in stark record of Parker going to prison and becoming hardened criminal after exposure to brutal jail life. Remade as HOUSE OF WOMEN.
I've seen this film multiple times and will watch it again. Eleanor Parker is fabulous. Hope Emerson is one big, bad broad (6'2" - 230 lbs.) as sadistic matron Evelyn Harper.

D.O.A. (1950)

Leonard Maltin Review ***1/2:
D: Rudolph Mate. Edmond O'Brien, Pamela Britton, Luther Adler, Beverly Campbell (Garland), Lynn Baggett, William Ching, Henry Hart, Neville Brand. Gripping, original film noir with O'Brien desperately trying to find who has given him a slow-acting poison--and why. Inventively photographed (by Ernest Laszlo) on the streets of San Francisco and L.A. Written by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene. Music by Dimitri Tiomkin. Remade in 1969 (as Color Me Dead) and 1988. Also shown in computer-colored version.

This is one film that never gets old for me. I see something new with every viewing. Rudolph Maté was a cinematographer before he was a director. The combination of Maté and Ernest Laszlo = terrific photography. A must-see. Since it's in the public domain, viewing quality is often poor. Hoping TCM has a clear version.

Destination Murder (1950)

A woman infiltrates the mob to find her father's killer. Dir: Edward L. Cahn Cast: Joyce MacKenzie, Stanley Clements, Hurd Hatfield.

Going to skip this one while I cook dinner.

Tattooed Stranger, The (1950)

Detectives investigate the Central Park murder of a young woman with a Marine Corps tattoo. Dir: Edward J. Montagne Cast: John Miles, Patricia White, Walter Kinsella.

Going to skip this one while I eat dinner.

Red Light (1949)

Leonard Maltin Review **:
D: Roy Del Ruth. George Raft, Virginia Mayo, Gene Lockhart, Barton MacLane, Henry (Harry) Morgan, Raymond Burr. Turgid drama of innocent Raft seeking revenge when freed from prison, hunting brother's killer.

Only giving this one a chance because it's TCM Spotlight film and I like the cast. George Raft is suited for his part. Raymond Burr is always a good villain.

Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

Leonard Maltin Review ***1/2:
D: Robert Aldrich. Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Cloris Leachman, Wesley Addy, Nick Dennis, Maxine Cooper, Gaby Rodgers, Jack Elam, Strother Martin, Jack Lambert. Meeker is a perfect Mike Hammer in moody, fast, and violent adaptation of Mickey Spillane novel. Years ahead of its time, a major influence on French New Wave directors, and one of Aldrich's best films. Leachman's film debut. Some video versions have 82 seconds of additional footage which completely change the finale.

Regarded by many critics as the ultimate film noir. Watch this one for sure!

On Dangerous Ground (1952)

Leonard Maltin Review ***:
D: Nicholas Ray. Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Ward Bond, Charles Kemper, Anthony Ross, Ed Begley, Ian Wolfe, Cleo Moore, Olive Carey. Effective mood piece with hardened city cop Ryan softened by blind girl Lupino, whose brother is involved in rural manhunt. Bernard Herrmann's score was reportedly his favorite work. Produced by John Houseman.

This is a great little film featuring fine performances by Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino.

Hitch-Hiker, The (1953)

Leonard Maltin Review **1/2:
D: Ida Lupino. Edmond O'Brien, Frank Lovejoy, William Talman, Jose Torvay. Well-made suspense yarn about two men on a hunting trip whose car is commandeered by a murderous fugitive. Good performances, especially by a venal Talman in the title role, but the film's once-powerful impact has been muted by decades of more graphic and imaginative films.

I disagree with Leonard Maltin's review. This flick still packs a wallop. Talman is creepy. It's the only true film noir ever directed by a woman and a public domain gem. Can be quite faded and blurry. Looking forward to seeing TCM's print.

Blue Dahlia, The (1946)

Leonard Maltin Review ***:
D: George Marshall. Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix, Howard da Silva, Hugh Beaumont, Doris Dowling. Exciting Raymond Chandler-scripted melodrama has Ladd returning from military service to find wife unfaithful. She's murdered, he's suspected in well-turned film. Produced by John Houseman.

Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake are the stars. The screenplay, the only one written by Raymond Chandler directly for the screen, was nominated for an Academy Award. The film would be John Houseman's first success as a Hollywood producer. Need I say more.

Raw Deal (1948)

Leonard Maltin Review ***:
D: Anthony Mann. Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt, Raymond Burr, John Ireland. Beautifully made, hard-boiled story of O'Keefe escaping from jail and taking out revenge on slimy Burr, who framed him; what's more, he gets caught between love of two women. Tough and convincing, with Burr a sadistic heavy.

I watched this film for the first time a few nights ago. Great noir photography by John Alton! Claire Trevor is fine as she always is. Marsha Hunt is weak. There's no shortage of violence. Raymond Burr is especially mean to a poor party girl.

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