Film Noir : What Film Noir did you see?:November/December Edition.

Hollow Triumph and The Dark Corner

Firstly, one that is new to me. Hollow Triumph (1948). Paul Henreid plays John Muller, a criminal released from prison. Pursued by a gambler, Muller goes on the run. He finds a psychiatrist (Henreid in two roles)who looks identical to him. He assumes this new identity to avoid capture. Joan Bennett is the psychiatrists secretary, who falls for Muller.

I was quite disappointed with this one. It requires too much suspension of disbelief, he just happens to find a man who looks and sounds exactly like him? That's a bit of a stretch. Also this would require him to know everything about the other man(habits, people he knew etc to avoid being caught out.) Plus, I didn't buy the growing romance between him and Bennett's character.

On the plus side, there is some stunning photography and Henreid gives quite a good performance. I also had a good laugh at the scene where he is picked up from prison, he asks his colleague who the random woman is in the back seat, it is heavily implied(how did this get by the censor?)that she is a prostitute for him to spend his first free night with.


The Dark Corner (1946). A rewatch of one of my favourite Noir films. Private Detective Bradford Galt(Mark Stevens)catches on that someone is tailing him and trying to kill him. Assisted by his secretary Kathleen(Lucille Ball), he tries to uncover what is going on.

I love the characters, dialogue and story in this. I really love this though for the scenes between Stevens and Ball, I love the friendship and developing romance between them. This is also one of the few Noir films featuring a woman getting in on the investigation side of things. Kathleen is independent and eager to get in on the action. Galt is quite young, but due to circumstances has become hardened and cynical, Kathleen offers him a life where he doesn't have to be like that. She also proves to him that there are still good folks out there.

It also features this line, that cracks me up whenever I hear it."If I catch you shagging me again". Here in the UK that word means something very different to following someone.

I'm surprised that Mark Stevens never became a bigger star after this, it's also a bit weird that he isn't listed first, especially since he is the main character.

Strong support from William Bendix (love the scene where Galt gives him a pretty brutal beating),and Clifton Webb.



Go to bed Frank or this is going to get ugly .

Re: Hollow Triumph and The Dark Corner

I really need to watch these two again. It has been over a decade since last seen either. Thanks for the reminder.

Re: Hollow Triumph and The Dark Corner

Hi Maddy, I agree with you about the two films. The Hollow didn't do too much for me, maybe I'm just not a Henreid fan. He was a very pleasant actor, but not more.

I love The Dark Corner. I've seen it several times. I can't quite agree about Mark Stevens. I see you also commented on the movie's board as did I. To repeat myself, this was a Dana Andrews role for me. Stevens seemed like his understudy. He was good and likable, but didn't quite have the screen presence. I've also seen him in Cry Vengeance and The Street with no Name and I got the same feeling about him. But the movie is great anyway.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: Hollow Triumph and The Dark Corner

I love this film.

The Kathleen/Gault side story is unobtrusively woven into the fabric of the plot. Gault, is no iconic Sam Spade, Marlowe or Hammer, he is, as played by Stevens a bit vulnerable more soft boiled than hard, the average everyday PI, he gets stressed, he gets drunk, he tries to score with Kathleen. Ball plays Kathleen as the virginal good girl who begins to fall for Gault and there are some nice situational humorous sequences where Balls virginity to onlookers and acquaintances is put doubt.

Re: Hollow Triumph

I really enjoyed Hollow Triumph when I saw it. But then, I love far-fetched mysteries/thrillers. The ending didn't come as that much of a surprise, though.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: Hollow Triumph

I enjoyed the cinematography of The Hollow Triumph probably more than it's slightly far fetched story. ;-)

Re: Hollow Triumph

Most noir has exceptional cinematography. That's one of the reasons I love it so much!

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: Hollow Triumph and The Dark Corner

Hi Maddy,I hope you had a good weekend and I want to say thanks for these 2 terrific Noir reviews.I also want to say that I enjoyed reading your take on Till the End of Time,which I'm hoping to watch soon.

Black Coal, Thin Ice (2014)

5

* This review may contain spoilers ***

Getting the wonderful chance to be the host for an event held on IMDb's Film Festival board,I decided to take a closer look at the nominated titles. Introduced to Film Noir from Asia via John Woo's Heroic Bloodshed movie The Killer,I was intrigued to find a Neo-Noir from China on the list,which led to me breaking into the ice.

The plot:

In the city of Heilongjiang Province,dried up body parts of Liang are found in bags of coal.Sent to investigate, Zhang and his partner Wang go to interview a suspect,who opens fire on them and is soon killed. Shaken by the events,Zhang sinks into booze and gets dropped into being a security. Finding out that two men who have recently dated Liang former wife Wu have recently been found killed in a similar way,Zhang decides to become an ice breaker for the case and for Wu.

View on the film:

Burning up the black coal,co-writer/director Yi'nan Diao unveils a Neo-Noir landscape of frosty blues and decayed greys,with the people in the outdoor scenes being drained of as much colour as the body parts. Getting in from the cold, Diao sets Zhang's life in stylish chalk Neo-Noir reds and yellows which bluntly hit the pessimism of the case.

Spending 8 years writing the screenplay, Diao gives the Noir mystery a clinical edge,as Zhang becomes entwined in a detached love for Femme Fatale Wu.Cut down from the original 210 minutes cut, Diao sets the Noir in a glacial mould.Whilst giving light to some startling images,the sparse nature of the dialogue and the stilted solving of the mystery leaves to any feeling of intrigue being frozen under thin ice.

The World of Kanako (2014)

"And it's been the ruin of many a poor girl,And God I know I'm one."

9

* This review may contain spoilers ***

Getting a chance to host an event on IMDb's Film Festival thread,I started gathering up the titles on DVD.Putting things into place whilst nearing the end of IMDb's Horror board October Challenge,I was pleased to discover that one of the films was hitting UK DVD on Halloween, (despite coming out in cinemas in 2014)which led to me entering the world of Kanako.

The plot:

After a bitter divorce detective Akihiro Fujishima loses contact with his wife and their innocent teenage daughter Kanako. Carrying the bitterness on his shoulders, Fujishima is taken aback when his ex-wife phones to reveal that Kanako has gone missing.Finding that Kanako (who got perfect marks at school) has left all her belongings in the bedroom, Fujishima starts tracking down her pals.Pulling info out of them, Fujishima is horrified to discover a completely different world of Kanako to the one he knew.

View on the film:

Spraying the screen with Comic-Book-style credits,co-writer/(along with Miako Tadano & Nobuhiro Monma) director Tetsuya Nakashima and cinematographer Shôichi Atô unleash a hyper-stylised Neo-Noir revenge nightmare,blazing with unsettling catchy cover songs and burning rapid-fire edits from editor Yoshiyuki Koike.Breaking out in waves of lavish animation being kicked with harsh point-blank violence, Nakashima closely works with Koike to pull back some of the confrontational edge with a rich dour Neo-Noir stillness splashed from every clue Fujishima finds,as the vibrant reds and blues engulfing Kanako life image fade into bursts of crimson and sour greens.

Taken from the world of Akio Fukamachi's hard-nosed novel,the screenplay by Nakashima/ Tadano and Monma sharply use flashbacks to get under the burnt skins of loners Fujishima and Kanako,as the writers brilliantly twist and turn the initial pristine image of Kanako,and also tear open the ruthless brittle wires of Fujishima's scrambled mind.Shaking the animated violence he uses to get clues on Kanako,the writers soak the title in a tense, sombre Neo-Noir atmosphere,as Fujishima finds his perfect image of Kanako to melt away in the snow.Screaming out in pure anger over finding Kanako, Kôji Yakusho gives an excellent performance as Fujishima,whose Noir loner desperation Yakusho fires up with unforgiving, wounded rage,as the world of Kanako crumbles.

Re: The World of Kanako (2014)

I was just looking at the Film Festival board, I don't see your thread. Could you post a link? Those Asian movies sound interesting.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: The World of Kanako (2014)

Hi Jess,here is a link to the main thread:



Re: The World of Kanako (2014)

Thanks for the info, I'll check it out.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

.Tv Bit: WORLD OF GIANTS "Special Agent" 1959

CONTAINS SPOILERS

This one is stretching the point, but what the hell, it was a hoot to watch. It has a noir look mixed together with a bit of sci-fi and a dollop of the then current, "Red Scare" paranoia.


WORLD OF GIANTS "Special Agent" 1959

WORLD OF GIANTS was an American television series that ran for 13 episodes during the fall of 1959. The series starred Marshall Thompson and Arthur Franz as a pair of US Government CIA types. The gag here is that, Thompson, had been exposed to a nerve agent while on a mission in the U.S.S.R. The gas had caused Thompson to shrink down to 6 inches in height. The US Government sees all sorts of possibilities for a miniature agent. He is teamed up with full sized agent, Arthur Franz.

In this episode, the first of the series, Thompson and Franz are sent to gets the goods on an "Eastern Bloc" spy ring working out of a downtown warehouse. The CIA types figure that there are plenty of secret documents and the like hidden in the warehouse. They want Franz to break in to the building, and place Thompson where he can watch the various activities.

The two men avoid the warehouse guard while Franz deposits Thompson in a hidden perch. The guard soon comes around for a regular check and gives away the location of the hidden goods. Once the guard leaves on his rounds again, Franz re-enters to grab up Thompson. Thompson directs Franz to the hidden papers and all seems to be going smoothly.

Needless to say that would not make for a very interesting story. The guard pops back in early, Franz and said guard pull iron and fire. The guard is killed while Franz collects a round in the shoulder. The wound causes Franz to pass out from the pain. Thompson of course has no way to help the wounded man.

Thompson decides he might be able to get the desk phone off the hook and dial headquarters for help. This idea soon hits a major speed bump. The warehouse cat is on the job and Thompson looks like a juicy snack. Thompson barely escaped being lunch by turning a small fire extinguisher on the cat, and giving him a blast. The feline is less than amused and high tails it for easier prey.

Our boy Thompson, now climbs up various phone cords, pencils etc to make the call to headquarters. Help is soon on the way and Franz is whisked to the medical types for repairs. The info recovered aids in rounding up a whole nest of Red spies.


The producer and director of this particular episode was 4 time Oscar nominated second unit and short subject director, Otto Lang.

Re: .Tv Bit: WORLD OF GIANTS "Special Agent" 1959

A miniature agent, that sounds very strange. No wonder it only ran for 13 episodes. :)

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Tv Bit: Coast to Coast (1958) Cornel Wilde and director Paul Wendkos

CONTAINS SPOLIERS

"Alcoa Theatre" Coast to Coast (1958)

In this one, we have Cornel Wilde, Kay Stewart, Whitney Blake and Francis De Sales.

Wilde plays an up and coming Hollywood director who is about to sign a million dollar contract. He is also newly engaged to the hot new actress in town, Whitney Blake. Blake and Wilde are beaming as they pose for the press during the announcement of both events. Can it get any better, Wilde wonders? When the press gathering ends, Blake tells Wilde she needs to go to an interview at the NBC TV studio. She asks Wilde to meet her there at 7 sharp that evening. They kiss and leave, Wilde for his agents office and Blake for the studio. Wilde can hardly wait to put pen to paper on the big contract, As Wilde is crossing the lobby, he bumps into Kay Stewart. Stewart is Wilde's ex-wife. The two had not parted on good terms. It seems Wilde had forged a $500 check in her name when he dumped her in NY nine years before.

Wilde asks what on earth she is doing here on the west coast? She responds that she is in town on business. She is a buyer for an east coast store and is in the building to meet a supplier. Wilde tells her that he still feels like a rat the way he left. He tells her that he had gotten a divorce in Mexico. Stewart answers it would not be legal in the US if she fought it, but not to worry.

Wilde excuses himself for a minute and heads for a phone. He calls his agent, De Sales. "Is there a morals clause in the contract? Yes." Answers De Sales. "The head of the studio is big on a squeaky clean image. He does not like scandals". De Sales then tells Wilde that the studio has postponed the signing that afternoon. Wilde hangs up the phone.

"My god!" Wilde mutters to himself, "That must be why Stewart is here!" Wilde returns to the lobby and finds Stewart speaking with a man. He watches till the man leaves and grabs Stewart again. She smiles and pulls out a cigarette. Wilde takes the matches from her hands and lights her up. As he does so, he notices that the matches have the logo of the studio he is about to sign with.

Wilde talks Stewart into a drive over to see his new house. She agrees, but makes a quick call before they head out.

Wilde gives her a tour of the house, then, he grabs Stewart and forcefully asks. "Why are you really in town? Are you going to ruin my life? What do you want! A payoff? How much do you want?" Stewart goes wide-eyed and attempts to break away. "I don't want a thing!" She answers.

While trying to break away, Stewart tumbles backwards down the stairs, landing in a heap at the bottom. Wilde rushes down to her and finds that her neck is broken. What to do! Wilde grabs a chair and tries to think his options out. He decides he will leave Stewart's body at the back of the house. He has to meet Blake at seven. He will play it cool for the evening, then return afterwards and take the body out of town. He'll find a place in the hills to dump her. With any luck, nobody will suspect a thing.

Wilde drives over to the NBC lot to meet his soon to be bride. He enters the studio and is whisked onto a darkened sound-stage. The lights pop on and there he is in front of a cheering audience. A man approaches and says, "Welcome to your Big Moment!" Wilde discovers he is on a THIS IS YOUR LIFE type program.

A curtain off to the side parts, Wilde sees 8 chairs with 7 people seated there. Blake, De Sales, the studio head, his 8th grade teacher etc. The announcer then says, "All the people who helped you towards this BIG MOMENT, are here to witness you sign your new contract live on television." "The one empty seat you see, is for your ex-wife. She is late, but she had called and said she was going over with someone to look at your house. We sent a police car to your place to escort her back to join the show". Wilde lowers his head, he knows the game is up, he is sunk.

This is a pretty nifty half hour's worth of entertainment. The director of this episode is, Paul "THE BURGLAR" Wendkos. It is not even listed on his IMDb page. The D of P was Irving Lippman whose claim to fame is the 1950's sci-fi classic, 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH. Most here should recall Whitney Blake from the comedy series, HAZEL. (b/w)

BLACK WIDOW 1951 UK

CONTAINS SPOILERS

BLACK WIDOW 1951

Robert Ayres is driving down a country lane when he comes across someone laying in the middle of the road. Thinking it is someone who has been hit by a car he stops to see if he can help. What he gets for his efforts is a vicious belt to the head from a lead cosh. He is then relieved of his wallet and his car.

Several minutes later having somewhat recovered, he staggers to a nearby farmhouse and collapses. He is found and a doctor is called. Meanwhile the car thief has made it about 30 miles before he takes a corner a tad fast and goes for an unwanted flight off a cliff. Needless to say that the car explodes taking care of the thief. Back at the farmhouse Ayres has regained consciousness.

One slight problem though. He has no idea who he is or how he got to the farmhouse. The local doctor says to get some rest and the police say there are no reported missing persons. The farm owner and his daughter agree to house Ayres while he recovers. Several weeks go by and Ayres still has no memory of who he his. A search of his overcoat turns up a theatre ticket from a town 60 miles away.

Ayres grabs a train and heads for the town. Once there he recognizes a large house. He enters and finds a coffin covered with flowers in the front room. A blonde, Christine Norden, enters and upon seeing Ayres screams and then faints. Ayres memory all drops back into place! Norden is his wife and this is his house. It seems Norden thought Ayres had been killed in the car crash that killed the car thief.

All is now well. Or is it? It seems Norden has been stepping out with another man and has plans of her own for the estate. She asks if anyone had seen him come home. "No", answers Ayres. "Go have a sleep while I make some calls. We'll have a welcome home party tonight" she says. While Ayres is upstairs, Norden makes a call to her lover to arrange Ayres upcoming demise. Of course her plan comes unraveled and Norden and her lover get their just deserts.

This is a brisk moving 60 min thriller from the U.K. Directed by Vernon Sewell who did several very good little noirs, STRONGROOM, MAN IN THE BACK SEAT and UNEASY TERMS. Christine Norden did quite a few blonde bimbo roles before Diana Dors showed up on the scene.

Re: BLACK WIDOW 1951 UK

This sounds like a fun movie, will try to find it. Christine Norden was quite the looker.

Re: BLACK WIDOW 1951 UK

That really sounds quite good. I'd like to see that.

When I read the title, I thought at first you meant the 1954 film with Van Heflin and Ginger Rogers. Despite the wonderfully pulpy poster, the movie does not keep its lurid promises. It's quite boring.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: BLACK WIDOW 1951 UK

Never seen the Heflin and Rogers film. The reviews frightened me off. This BLACK WIDOW UK might be on You-Tube, I saw it up a few months ago. But you know you tube, things have a habit of being taken off.

Re: BLACK WIDOW 1951 UK

I checked on youtube. It's not there, but they have really been cracking down on uploads. There were several movies I wanted to watch, they're gone now.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: BLACK WIDOW 1951 UK

It is good to read that you had a terrific time with the Special Agents and Coast To Coast Gordon.After reading your great review (which I've ticked) I was wondering if you found Window to be better than Sewell's Back Seat?

Thanks.

NO TIME TO BE YOUNG 1957 Early Robert Vaughn

With the passing of Robert Vaughn last week I thought I would post this JD slash noir in tribute.

CONTAINS SPOILERS

NO TIME TO BE YOUNG 1957

This is a Columbia Pictures low renter with Robert Vaughn in the lead role. Vaughn is suffering from the mad at the world complex. He recently quit college and now finds out he has been drafted. He has no intention in going.

He needs money so he can head south to a sunnier climate. He meets a couple of buddies, Roger Smith and Tom Pittman at the local burger place. Smith and Pittman have troubles of their own. Smith has it bad for the daughter of his boss. The daughter, Merry Anders, is not interested in a guy who fills grocery bags for a living. Pittman has just got married to Kathy Nolan and needs to impress his new father in-law. He has been lying about selling a novel for a big wad of cash.

Complicating Vaughn's life, is his over protective mother, Sarah Selby, and the sexy college teacher, Dorothy Green, whom he is seeing. Vaughn tells Smith and Pittman he has a plan to net them 35-40 grand. They will hit the big supermarket where Smith works. They will rob the place on a Friday night and help themselves to the week's cash take. The other two want no part of the set-up. Things quickly change however for Smith and Pittman. Smith causes an accident that puts Anders in the hospital and Pittman's wife leaves him after discovering he is really broke.

The three decide to pull the job and acquire a pistol for, "just in case".. They call the police and send them on a wild goose chase with a false hold-up report. The three mask up and hit the supermarket with weapon drawn. They grab the cash and head for the exit. However, one of the clerks grabs Smith's mask and is shot dead by Vaughn. The three pile into the car and head to Dorothy Green's place to hide out. Green wants no part with the mess and sneaks off to call John Law.

The boys now have a falling out over the killing. Smith is left in a heap by a right cross by Vaughn and left for the Police. Vaughn and Pittman manage to escape as the police sirens close in. The two stop for food and cigarettes and a passing Patrol car puts the grab on Pittman. Vaughn is now on foot with the cash stuffed in his jacket. He hits a handy dance joint to hide for a while. The cops are soon looking the place over. Vaughn grabs a girl and hits the dance floor in-order to blend in.

Vaughn's night continues its downward spiral when his jacket pops a button. All the cash hits the floor and the crowd goes for it. Vaughn again beats the feet and escapes the police. On the edge of town he hitches a ride from a truck driver. Vaughn curls up and is soon asleep. The driver notices Vaughn's pistol stuck in his belt and pulls over at the first Highway Patrol station. While the driver is in grabbing the boys in blue, Vaughn awakens.

He quickly slips behind the wheel and speeds off with the Police in hot pursuit. The chase does not go far as Vaughn fails to make a turn on a steep hill and hurtles through the guard-rail. The film is sort of a juvenile delinquent "crime does not pay" expose.

If it had been made 8-10 years earlier I think it would have made a real killer of a noir.

This was one of the few films vet television director David Lowell Rich made away from the small screen.

The screenplay and story were by John McPartland.

The D of P was Henry Freulich. His work included, THE DEVIL'S MASK, SHADOWED, BUNCO SQUAD, CHINATOWN AT MIDNIGHT, THE CROOKED WEB and OVER-EXPOSED.

Re: NO TIME TO BE YOUNG 1957 Early Robert Vaughn

Nice! Amazon has it. In addition to Vaughn, the movie also stars Roger Smith. Sounds good.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: NO TIME TO BE YOUNG 1957 Early Robert Vaughn

I forgot you were a Smith fan. I caught a few episodes some months ago of his 1965-66 series, MISTER ROBERTS up on You-Tube. Poor copy quality, but I still watched them as I only saw one or two episodes as a kid. (Dating myself again)

Re: NO TIME TO BE YOUNG 1957 Early Robert Vaughn

A very classy tribute to Vaughn Gordon,I think that you would enjoy #33 of Cinema Retro,which focuses on Vaughn:

https://www.amazon.com/Cinema-Bridge-Remagen-Robert-Vaughn/dp/B018A7BAIK


The Woman in the Window (1944)

This review will necessarily contain spoilers.

Life ends at 40I hate this stolidity, this stodginess Im beginning to feel.

The Woman in the Window is part of the original group of films Cahiers du Cinéma identified as Noir for the first time. Directed by Fritz Lang, together with its companion piece Scarlet Street, both films portray nightmares of middle-aged men with repressed but perfectly human desires. Scarlet Street is a bleak masterpiece with a pitch black ending, it is unremitting hopelessness right to the closing frame while The Woman in the Window takes the easy way out in the end.
The Woman in the Window is a trial run for Scarlet Street, it is Noir light. It should go out with a bang, but goes out with a wink instead.

Edward G. Robinson plays Richard Wanley, a middle-aged professor of psychology, comfortably settled in his safe but tame and monotonous existence. When his family goes on vacation, he intends to spend his evenings at his club with good friends. After seeing the portrait of a beautiful woman in a shop window, he is intrigued by her beauty and a sense of adventure overcomes him. To him she personifies the lure of forbidden adventure, something he thought he had left behind a long time ago. When he turns around, the woman has become reality. Alice Reed (Joan Bennett) invites Wanley for a drink to her apartment, he takes her up on it when suddenly her jealous sugar daddy Claude Mazard appears. In classic Noir fashion a possible night of adultery turns into something much worse. Mazard attacks Wanley who kills him in self-defense. This one false step should seal his fate. To make a bad situation worse, together with Alice he tries to cover up any evidence but gets careless. His clever friend, DA Lalor (Raymond Massey), is on the case and puts the clues together fast. Another complication is Mazards bodyguard Heidt (Dan Duryea) who starts to blackmail Wanley and Alice. Wanley decides he cannot let Heidt live.
Wanley cant cope with the guilt and fear of being found out so he decides to kill himself. And here comes the surprise twist.
All of a sudden a tap on the shoulder wakes him up. He realizes it was all just a dream, he fell asleep at his club.

The Woman in the Window is full-blown Noir in its observations of human follies and weaknesses, it nails what Noir is supposed to look and feel like with rain-soaked streets at 3 am, cigarette smoke, desperation, a hunted man, moral murk and ambiguity and the inevitability of doomuntil the end when Lang blows it all to bits and pieces. It angered many viewers. The ending has been called everything from copout to disaster to indefensible rubbish because it doesn't play by the rules. The Woman in the Window drifts into deepest Noir territory only to pull the rug out from under the audience. Many reviewers saw it as a subversion of the genre.
But taking a closer look at the picture it becomes clear that there is an internal coherence to the film. The ending does not come out of left field.The stage is clearly set for a hallucinatory dream.
Alice appears out of nowhere like a ghostly apparition, she materializes out of unreality. It's a magic trick.

Wanley (an appropriate name) is a study in middle-aged boredom. He has a bad case of midlife crisis. He lives in his little cocoon of comfort and likes it that way, but he also clearly has a yearning for the excitement and freedom of youth. With his friends at the club he is discussing their reckless youths, if one should succumb to temptation and forbidden desire if one has the chance. It is a lengthy and incredibly fascinating discussion. The DA, the voice of reason, is of the opinion that temptation leads to catastrophe, he has seen it too often. Wanley would simply love to give in to temptation (he reads the Song of Solomon), but is bewildered by his age, he simply feels too old for it (The flesh is still strong, but the spirit grows weaker by the hour). Wanley cant even work up the energy to go see some strippers. He would only be bothered to watch them if they happened to pop up at his club. He agrees with the others that he would be well-advised to stay in his place though he says he doesnt like it.
At least on an emotional level he is impotent. The thought of pretty naked ladies doesnt stir him as it used to. Lang suggests it is safety and comfort that breeds impotence.

Wanleys dream is the direct result of his discussion at the club.

It is interesting how fast Robinson changes from mild-mannered law-abiding college professor to criminal. He is willing to commit actual premeditated murder to safe his respectable life. His first killing was doubtlessly justifiable self-defense, but from the second he decides not to call the police and cover up the killing his life spirals out of control very quickly and he takes to crime like a duck to water.
The second killing (of Duryea) would be outright murder, but Robinson argues that it must be done. Blackmailers never stop blackmailing. Self-protection is a strong motivator.
Under his sophisticated and educated facade lurks a man who is willing to do everything to protect not only his reputation, but also his comfortable position and existence. Alice Reed goes along with him for exactly the same reasons.

In retrospect, his attempts to protect himself were doomed to failure from the beginning. Accepting a late night drink from Alice set him on to his path to downfall, and in Noir there is no way out. Or at least there shouldnt be.

The movie can be seen as a cautionary tale not to stray from the path of righteousness because just one unlucky event can lead to destruction. The entire dream sequence confirms the conviction Wanley has in the beginning conversation - that he cannot handle adventure and desire on the same level as before. He could not deal with his desires, so his nightmare was a manifestation of his deep-seated guilt and through his nightmare he found his guilt justified.
In the end he has learned his lessons. When another streetwalker tries to chat him up, he simply runs.

It seems unusually conservative for Noir. But Lang was not a moralizer.

Wanleys subconscious has revealed his deepest desires, after the dream he can never again pretend they arent there. Wanley knows there could easily be evil within him. Freud would have told him that a dream is a revelation of ones true nature and wishes. What a person dreams is a key to his character. Wanleys awakening at the end of the movie in no way negates his dream reality (yes, an oxymoron). He understand that he may well be capable of murder in the real world.
If Robinson could see his desires as perfectly normal, he may have seen that they did not necessarily have to lead to destruction, as his Victorian outlook on life suggests.

Joan Bennett is beautiful, alluring and spirited, she is every mans phantasy. But shes not really a femme fatale in the film, she isnt fatal. Shes a good time girl with questionable ethics, but shes not evil. She doesnt want to lure men to their destruction, she just wants to have a good time and has to realize that shes way in over her head. But she too is perfectly willing to commit murder to get rid of the blackmailer. Oddly enough, Bennett and Robinson make a perfect team.

Dan Duryea arrives a bit late to the party but, as we would except, lends his special magic, aka sleaze, to his role.

Raymond Massay deserves special mention as the DA. Even as a good guy there is always something menacing about him. With his face he was born to play bad guys. There seems to be a slight sadistic enjoyment in his enthusiasm to hunt down a man to trap him.

Obviously recommended.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: The Woman in the Window (1944)

Excellent work as always, Jess. Hard to go wrong with Duryea in anything. E.G. and the Joan Bennett deliver top goods as well and Raymond Massey never seemed to take a bad step in any film. Again, well done.

Re: The Woman in the Window (1944)

I'm amazed at all the complaints I've heard over the years about the ending of this film. I've heard some folks say that the endingspoilers ahead. was a cop-out so that they wouldn't have to finish telling the story. The thing is that they DID tell the story before the professor wakes up. Terrific film and I have no objections to the ending.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: The Woman in the Window (1944)

Great review as usual. It's been awhile since I watched it.

Re: The Woman in the Window (1944)

Hi Jess,I want to say thank you for the superb,very detailed review,with your "magic trick" and and "dream reality" comments bringing the dream-logic of Vertigo to mind.

When looking up another Film Noir a few weeks,I found a site called Paste Magazine,which gives Woman in the Window their top spot,with this being what is written on the site:

https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/08/the-100-best-noirs-of-all-time.html?a=1

Only a master like Fritz Lang could take a trope as hackish as it was all just a dream and turn it into nightmare fuel. Then again, only a master like Lang could surreptitiously flip the board at censors by tacking a happy ending onto a tragedy. The Woman in the Window isnt just one of Langs best films, its one of noirs greatest gifts to cinema, a taut psychological mindscrew about the nature of taking life. When is it okay to take a life? When is it not? By the films own standards, Langs protagonist, Professor Wanley, kills the jealous lover of young Alice Reed in self-defense, which puts him in the clear from our standpoint. But Wanley winds up falling further and further into hot water, and we start to question the lesson he teaches his students at The Woman in the Windows commencement. Its such a juicy, complex film, made impeccably and with unshakable style, that theres no need to wonder at its role in validating cinema as art and causing a sea change in film criticism as a discipline. A.C.

Re: The Woman in the Window (1944)

Interesting but strange list. These kind of lists are so subjective and I can't say I agree with much of it. Many films I wouldn't even put in the Noir category.

As much as I love The Woman in the Window, I would never put it at No. 1. The ending most certainly precludes it from that. But it is one of the few film where the dream ending works. It didn't work in The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry and The Chase. And anybody remember Dallas?

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Tv bit: JOHNNY MIDNIGHT "X Equals Murder"1960 E. O'Brien

CONTAINS SPOILERS

JOHNNY MIDNIGHT - X Equals Murder - 1960

Edmond O'Brien stars in this 1960 series, "Johnny Midnight". The series ran for 39 episodes during 1960. O'Brien plays an ex-actor who is now a New York based private detective.

Answering his apartment buzzer, O'Brien finds a weeping Viveca Lindfors on the other side of the door. Lindfors tells O'Brien she needs his help to prevent a murder. The victim? Lindfors' husband. Lindfors informs O'Brien that her husband and herself are refugees from East Germany. The East Germans want her husband, a skilled engineer, back, or else dead.

The husband is on a train heading to Quebec City to offer his services to a West German company. Lindfors is sure the East German's are going to kill him before hubby gets to Quebec. O'Brien hops a plane to Montreal in order to get ahead of the train. He meets the train but is too late. The man is dead.

He grabs a flight back to N.Y. to inform the wife. Lindfors takes the news rather too calmly which gets O'Brien to thinking. He checks around and finds out the newly departed had left 3 different insurance policies to Lindfors. Our man Edmond digs a little deeper and up pops a boyfriend. O'Brien now figures Lindfors has played him for a chump. She has used him to set up an alibi for herself while the boyfriend disposed of the husband.

O'Brien sets out to prove his theory which needless to say ends in violence. The boyfriend does not come easy and an exchange of shots followed by fisticuffs and a general curb-stomping is needed. Things are wrapped up and Lindfors and her cohort are handed over to John Law.

O'Brien is very good here and fits the p.i. role like a glove. The rest of the cast includes Richard Coogan, Harry Townes, Alan Calliou, Jean Allison and Tom Palmer.

The director was vet TV helmsman Robert Stevens. The story and screenplay are by Edmond's brother, Liam O'Brien. Liam wrote the Bogart film, Chain Lightning.

The d of p was Oscar nominated Ellsworth Fredericks. Fredericks started out as a cameraman for Warners where he worked on Flamingo Road, Key Largo, The Damned Don't Cry, The Breaking Point. He was d of p on Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Sayonara, 7 Days in May.

MISSING WOMEN 1951 : Brisk Republic Pictures B-Noir

CONTAINS SPOILERS

MISSING WOMEN 1951

This is another of the seemingly endless supply of programmers produced by Republic Pictures. This B-noir stars, Penny Edwards, James Millican, John Alvin, John Gallaudet, Robert Shayne, Marlo Dwyer and William Forest.

Newlyweds Penny Edwards and John Hedloe are parked on the side of the road swapping spit when approached by a couple of car thieves. The pair, James Millican and John Ennis, want the newlywed's car. Hedloe puts up a bit of an argument when Millican starts pawing Miss Edwards. This gets him a slug in the gut. Hedloe is dumped in the bushes and Edwards is about to get the same treatment when a passing Police prowler stops.

Millican shoves a gun in Edwards' side and says, "Smile and play nice for the cops". The Police see the "Just Married" sign and tells them to move on. The other carjacker, Ennis is hiding a bit further up the road with his own car. The Police fail to spot him. Millican forces Edwards to drive him up the road a piece.

He then grabs a quick feel and a kiss before knocking her out. He then hotfoots it away to hook up with Ennis. They feel it is a bit risky to take Edwards' car with the cops in the area. A passing motorist finds Miss Edwards and contacts the Police. A revived Edwards leads them to her now dead hubby.

Several days later, Edwards is being interviewed by Police detective John Gallaudet. He wanted details on the suspects and asks if there had been a woman involved. It seems that there are several groups of carjacker types who use a woman as a driver. The detective shows Edwards the history of one of the women, Marlo Dwyer. Dwyer is doing a year bit in the pen at the moment.

The detective steps out of the room to grab some more mug books and the like to show Edwards. Edwards reads the detail on Dwyer and has an idea. She takes off before Detective Gallaudet returns. Edwards buys some new duds and hits a beauty salon for blond dye job.

Edwards then uses details gleamed from Marlo Dwyer's files to get cozy with people involved in the car theft business. In no time straight she in knee deep with the racket types. Of course she soon runs into Ennis and Millican. With the new dye job, the low-life types fail to recognize Edwards.

Edwards lets the Police in on the set up. Detectives Gallaudet and James Brown are soon shadowing Edwards to keep her safe while she digs up more info on the racket. She is soon introduced to the boss of the operation, Robert Shayne. Of course the mandatory fly in the ointment now shows. Marlo Dwyer, the woman Edwards had used to fake her creds is released from prison.

Matters go south in a hurry and Miss Edwards is soon knocked on the head and dumped in the trunk of a car. She is up for a trip to the woods and a final resting spot in a deep hole. It is only the timely arrival of Detectives Gallaudet and Brown that saves the day. There is a brisk exchange of lead with several of the mob types expiring from severe blood loss. The dead include boss Shayne and hubby killer, James Millican.

The director of this brisk paced B-noir is Philip Ford. Ford was the nephew of the famous director, John Ford. While Philip never made it out of B-film fare, he did knock out a few decent low end crime and noir features. These include, THE INNER CIRCLE - 1946, THE LAST CROOKED MILE -1946, HIDEOUT -1949 and the excellent, THE TIGER WOMAN - 1945.

The director of Photography was another Republic staple, John MacBurnie. MacBurnie started out on serials like, RADAR MEN FROM THE MOON, CAPTAIN America, JESSE JAMES RIDES AGAIN and THE BLACK WIDOW. He then moved on to B-westerns and low rent crime and film noir. The noir include, SECRET SERVICE INVESTIGATOR, HIDEOUT, THE RED MEANCE, FEDERAL AGENT AT LARGE, POST OFFICE INVESTIGATOR, MISSING WOMEN and INSURANCE INVESTIGATOR. Several of these like, HIDEOUT, POST OFFICE INVESTIGATOR and INSURANCE INVESTIGATOR are quite nifty low renters.

Re: MISSING WOMEN 1951 : Brisk Republic Pictures B-Noir

I watched that not too long ago. Nice little programmer that turned out to be a lot better than I expected.

Jessica Rabbit
"I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

Re: MISSING WOMEN 1951 : Brisk Republic Pictures B-Noir

This missing Republic women sure sounds brisk from your review Gordon! After reading your great review (which I've ticked) I was wondering if you planning to watch all the Johnny Midnight eps?

Thanks.

Cop Hater (1958) 87th Precinct Noir

The new MGM DVD of March 15, 2011 has dictated an updated review.

A police procedural Film Noir, based on the 1956 novel "Cop Hater" by Ed McBain. It was the first in a series of books and films about the 87th Precinct in New York City. The film was produced and directed by William Berke (Shoot to Kill (1947), FBI Girl (1951)). The film was written by Henry Kane. Cinematography was by J. Burgi Contner.

The film stars Robert Loggia (Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), The Garment Jungle (1957), Scarface (1983), Lost Highway (1997)) as Detective Steve Carelli, Gerald S. O'Loughlin as Detective Mike Maguire, Ellen Parker (Mike Hammer (TV Series)) as Teddy Franklin,
Shirley Ballard (The Second Woman (1950), Scandal Sheet (1952), The Laughing Policeman (1973)) as Alice Maguire, Russell Hardie (Fail-Safe (1964)) as Detective Lieutenant Peter Byrnes, Gene Miller as Hank Miller, reporter, John Gerstad (No Way to Treat a Lady (1968)) as Forensics Lieutenant, Hal Riddle as Mercer, Vincent Gardenia (Murder, Inc. (1960), Mad Dog Coll (1961), The Hustler (1961), Hickey & Boggs (1972)) as Danny the Gimp, Steve Franken, and Jerry Orbach (Mad Dog Coll (1961), Delusion (1991)) as Gang Leader Mumzer.

The murder of three detectives in quick succession in the 87th Precinct leads Detective Steve Carella (Loggia) on a search that takes him into the city's underworld. Written by Evan Hunter using the name Ed McBain, the book was inspired by a television show he greatly admired, Dragnet. McBain chose to set his 87th Precinct series in the fictional city of Isola though for all intents and purposes it's Manhattan.

Plainclothes detective Mike Reardon is awakened by an alarm clock. He's got graveyard shift. He is on the way to work when he is shot to death from behind with a .45. Detective Steve Carella and his colleagues from the 87th Precinct are obsessed with looking for their friend's killer, and they have no real clues nor any idea that this is just the beginning of a series of police murders.

David Foster Reardon's partner is the next victim, in an alley near the entrance of his apartment. There the killer has left behind a footprint and some .45 shell cases at the crime scene. All the footprint provides is a make of shoe, an identifying bent nail on the heel, and a possible weight of the murderer that, one of the detectives jokes, narrows it down to three million suspects.

Detctive Lieutenant Byrnes (Hardie) and Maguire
The city is in the grips of a heat wave in July 1956, it's hot and humid, not many buildings have air-conditioning. Most citizens seek relief from fans, or open windows, some resourceful denizens will even drag their mattresses out on firescapes.

Steve Carella and Maguire (O'Loughlin) question all the likely leads. A few nights later the unknown killer ambushes and murders Maguire. Maguire though was able to get a shot off and scratch the killer's face. A blood drip trail gives the detectives an idea as to the severity of the killers wound. From the evidence supplied from under the fingernails they get more clues. Steve Carella fears he will be the next target if he fails to stop him. A young Vince Gardenia plays a junky stoolie. Jerry Orbach is a teen gang leader who's crew gets mixed up in the proceedings.

Teddy (Parker) is Carella's mute gal pal, she is a cutie and becomes part of the final confrontation after she has just emerged from the tub wearing only a bath towel and the proceedings get on the very brink of kinky as Teddy is backed onto a table while the killer is seated before her, you wonder which gun he may use. Alice Maguire (Ballard) is equally toothsome parading around in her bra and panties for a good majority of her scenes.

The films biggest problem is that the investigation sequences seem a bit too rushed in spots and very detailed in others making the film uneven, and there seem to be hardly any location shots which gives the film a cheap production feel on the whole. At least you do actually see the actors and some of New York City in the same shots, unlike the recently reviewed The Case Against Brooklyn. Cop Hater is not very noir visually, it's cafe au lait - Noir Lite, but it has an excellent femme fatale. 6.5- 7/10 with the new DVD. Review with screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2016/11/cop-hater-1958-87th-precinct-noir.html

Re: Cop Hater (1958) 87th Precinct Noir

One I have but have not popped in the old dvd machine as of yet. Nice write-up as always my good fellow. Thanks for the reminder. Always a fan of McBain stuff.

Re: Cop Hater (1958) 87th Precinct Noir

Thank you for the terrific review Mgt,I was wondering if the new DVD version was much an improvement on the old one?

Re: Cop Hater (1958) 87th Precinct Noir

Don't morrison-dylan-fan know but it's an immense improvement over the multi generational avi file I originally had.

In Cold Blood (1967) A Noir/Neo Noir Masterpiece

You'll know it when you see it. Just like you know a Noir when you see it. In Cold Blood is a Masterpiece and it's a Masterpiece of Film Noir, to boot, no doubt about it. It was made right at the end of Black & White film production and that format, along with the Classic Noir look/aesthetic couldn't have gone out with a bigger or more powerful bang.

Masterfully directed by Richard Brooks (Deadline - U.S.A. (1952), Blackboard Jungle (1955), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Elmer Gantry (1960), Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)). Written by Richard Brooks whose previous credits include (The Killers (1946), Brute Force (1947), Crossfire (1947), Key Largo (1948), Mystery Street (1950), Storm Warning (1951), Deadline - U.S.A. (1952), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Elmer Gantry (1960)) and based on Truman Capote's book "In Cold Blood"

The incredibly crisp and strikingly artistic cinematography was by Conrad L. Hall (The Outer Limits TV Series (19631965), Harper (1966), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Black Widow (1987)). Editing was by Peter Zinner (The Professionals (1966), The Godfather (1972), The Godfather: Part II (1974)). The film also has an excellent score by Quincy Jones (The Pawnbroker (1964), In the Heat of the Night (1967), The Getaway (1972)).

In Cold Blood stars Robert Blake (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), Black Hand (1950), Naked City TV Series (19581963), Electra Glide in Blue (1973), Lost Highway (1997)) as greaser Perry Smith. Scott Wilson (In the Heat of the Night (1967)) as farm boy Dick Hickock.

The film has a plethora of Classic Film Noir veterans, John Forsythe (The Captive City (1952), The Glass Web (1953), ) as Alvin Dewey the lead investigator for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI). Paul Stewart (Johnny Eager (1941), Champion (1949), The Window (1949), Edge of Doom (1950), Appointment with Danger (1951), Deadline - U.S.A. (1952), Loan Shark (1952)) as Jensen, the reporter. Gerald S. O'Loughlin (Cop Hater (1958)) as Harold Nye KBI. Jeff Corey (Somewhere in the Night (1946), The Killers (1946), Brute Force (1947), The Gangster (1947), Scene of the Crime (1949), Once a Thief (1965)) as Dick's father, Charles. Charles McGraw (ten Classic Noir under his belt) as Perry's father Tex. Vaughn Taylor (The Lineup (1958), Screaming Mimi (1958), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Party Girl (1958), Psycho (1960)) as the Good Samaritan. James Flavin (High Sierra (1941), Laura (1944), Mildred Pierce (1945), The Spider (1945), The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), Nora Prentiss (1947), Nightmare Alley (1947), Armored Car Robbery (1950), The Naked Street (1955) ) as Clarence Duntz KBI. Will Geer (Johnny Allegro (1949), The Tall Target (1951), Seconds (1966)) as Prosecuting attorney. Jim Lantz as Officer Rohleder, John McLiam as Herbert Clutter, Paul Hough as Kenyon Clutter, Ruth Storey as Bonnie Clutter, Brenda C. Currin as Nancy Clutter, Donald Sollars as Clothing Salesman and John Gallaudet as Roy Church fill out the rest of the cast.

In Cold Blood is both intensely horrific and starkly beautiful at the same time. The incredibly random violence visited upon a Kansas family triggered by an off hand remark to Dick Hickok from a prison cell mate, should send shivers down your spine. The film is an electrifying reenactment (in the actual locations) of the brutal murder of the Clutter Family near the town of Holcomb, Kansas on November 14, 1959, the subsequent six week flight of Perry Smith and Dick Hickock to Mexico, and their final track down by law enforcement in Las Vegas.

The film is stylistically nonlinear in format and there are multiple time jumps and flashbacks to Perry's and Dick's past, giving you quasi insights as to the why. There are occasional daydreams and escapist sunken pirate treasure fantasies that sometimes just add to the mystery and other times add to the explanation of what tipped the incident into brutal hideous murder in cold blood.

An interesting take away from the film is that neither Perry or Dick by themselves singly would have committed the murders, but together they formed a third sort of super personality that fed off the weaknesses of both of them and canceled any inhibitions they may have had.

It's not until the trip with the two fugitives back towards Holcomb do we get to hear Perry's confession with a flashback that reconstructs the fatal events of the night. What we don't see is actually far more suggestively appalling in Brook's skilled direction. The isolated farmhouse. A howling prairie wind. A foreboding interior darkness stabbed crazily about by erratic flashlight beams. Pleas for mercy cut off by gun blasts. Muzzle flash, juxtaposed with eerie silences. The actual massacre of innocents is solely in your imagination.

Perry Smith: It doesn't make sense. I mean what happened. It had nothing to do with the Clutters. They never hurt me. They just happened to be there. I thought Mr. Clutter was a very nice gentleman I thought so right up to the time I cut his throat.

The film takes you along with the marauders on their getaway in their 1949 Pontiac Chieftain, excellently weaving their backstories with the various objects, encounters, and incidents that trigger the aforementioned revealing flashbacks. It's almost jarring upon reflection in the way that we get to know, and on some level, even feel some sympathy for the killers. Traditional Hollywood would have either painted these two murderers all in basic black or glamorized them, but Brooks shows us that despite their having no moral compass, there is still some modicum of humanity even in these two deplorables.

I can't emphasize enough the powerful performances of Robert Blake and Scott Wilson, they make these two sleazeballs BONAFIDE. Combined that with the vivid realism of the direction, the artistry of the cinematography, and the score from Quincey Jones and you have a film for the ages. This is undoubtedly Robert Blake's best performance, and I was also deeply impressed with the supporting work of Charles McGraw as Perry's grizzled, broken down and out, cowboy father Tex, living in what looks like the back of derelict box truck, outfitted with a bed pallet, a hot plate, wrangler gear, festooned with rodeo posters, horse blankets, and lit by kerosene lanterns, setting in a auto junk yard.

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards: Director, Original Score, Cinematography, and Adapted Screenplay. It should have nominated Blake and McGraw also, and it should have won all of them. It's chilling 10/10.

Full review with screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2016/11/in-cold-blood-1967-noirneo-noir.html

Re: In Cold Blood (1967) A Noir/Neo Noir Masterpiece

Shame on me as I still have never seen this film. Do not even have a copy. For some reason it has always slipped by me when it was on the tv. Once I went to record it back in the vhs days, and had the wrong time setting.

I watched them filming parts of the 1996 mini series remake which was shot locally here in Calgary. Several pals of mine worked as extras. They used one of the old style movie theaters here that was shut down as a set. It was the only one standing that was from the 20's. It is now a bar and nightclub. Anthony Edwards, Eric Roberts and Sam Neill starred. I have a neat story about Eric Roberts I might share one day.

And of course thanks for the first rate review!

Re: In Cold Blood (1967) A Noir/Neo Noir Masterpiece

Thank you for the extraordinary review Mgt,with you superbly mixing expressive details on the on-screen action,with an excellent depth into the background work of the cast/crew (with Jones also scoring the Noir style In the Heat of the Night that same year.) Whilst looking for details on the movie,I found an interesting piece on The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/sep/07/in-cold-blood-a-near-masterpiece

No one who has ever seen it forgets the beginning of Richard Brookss 1967 adaptation of Truman Capotes non-fiction novel In Cold Blood: a Greyhound bus howls out of an ink-black prairie night, Kansas City its destination, on a screaming trumpet note from Quincy Joness score. Inside the darkened bus we glimpse seated silhouettes, and a child making her way towards the rear. She sees a boot sole with two catspaw studs these will eventually convict their owner of murder and the outline of a man holding a guitar. He strikes a match on the boot in the fierce blackness, it registers like Hiroshima and moves it toward his cigarette and his face, which fills the screen: Robert Blake (who was later an acquitted murder suspect in real life) is Perry Smith, convicted killer of four, the hanged man.

All of In Cold Bloods virtues are encapsulated in that opening: the black-and-white camerawork of cinematographer Conrad Hall; the music of Jones; and the performance of Robert Blake. Halls work draws on news-footage aesthetics, achieving a true-crime tabloid griminess that evokes photographers such as Walker Evans and Robert Frank. Jones sonically anchors his two killers (Smith and Richard Dick Hickock, played by Scott Wilson) with unnerving twinned acoustic basses and found sounds. And Robert Blake is Robert Blake, in the keynote performance of his career.

However, the movies shortcomings also derive from Brooks, who was famous for shunning his collaborators contributions. (Keep it to yourself, he told his cast and crew on day one of Looking For Mr Goodbar in 1977. Its my *beep* movie, Im going to make it my way!) Like his mentor John Huston, Brooks adapted far too many Great Books Lord Jim and The Brothers Karamazov were notable failures and worked without a co-writer to apply the brakes or gas. His introduction of a reporter, Mr Jensen, to help explain large tracts of In Cold Blood is the characteristic failed innovation here; Jensen screams device!. Brooks also consulted psychiatrists about the killers, and throws in cod-psychological explanations that have dated horribly. Yet here he largely saved himself from himself, and created this near-masterpiece.



Film history footnote: In Cold Blood marked the first appearance in a studio-financed movie for the terms p****, bu******, jacking off, and diarrhoea. Let us praise, too, Brookss contribution to the end of cinematic prudishness.



THE 87th PRECINCT "Floater" 1961 Robert Culp as a Killer

With mgtbltp mentioning COP HATER from Ed McBain's 87th Precinct set of books. I dug out this episode from the series.

CONTAINS SPOILERS


THE 87th PRECINCT 1961 "Floater"

This is the first episode of the one season run of Ed McBains' 87TH PRECINCT. The series ran for 30 episodes during 1961-62. The show, based on writer Ed McBain's books, is about the Detectives who work out of New York's 87th Precinct. Cast regulars include, Robert Lansing, Ron Harper, Gena Rowlands, Norman Fell and Gregory Walcott.

The day starts with the squad getting a call about a woman's body in the East River. Some kids swimming had found a woman's body underwater caught on a pier. The boys, Robert Lansing and Norman Fell roll out to have a look. The body is retrieved and sent to the medical examiner.

The M.E. tells the Detectives that the woman had been dead of arsenic poisoning before she hit the water. The only real clue for the Police is a small heart shaped tattoo with the letters MAC inside.

That evening, Lansing is talking to his wife, Gena Rowlands. Rowlands is a deaf mute who can read lips. Lansing tells, signs, Rowlands about the tattoo etc.

The next morning, Rowlands gets a ride into town with hubby Lansing for some shopping. Lansing stops on the way to check out several tattoo shops. And what does he find, a man who recalls doing the heart with the letters. The letters stood for Mary Ann C. The woman had been in with a handsome young man. While Lansing is questioning the tattoo artist, Rowlands is having a look at the images of butterflies that are offered by the tattoo artist, Victor Sen Yung.

Lansing drops Rowlands off and heads for the squad room. A check of the missing person files comes up with a lead. The Detectives check out the lead and come up with a positive identification. The woman had come to New York seeking fame and fortune.

Now the show switches to Central Park. A horse drawn cab with Robert Culp and Natalie Norwick are taking a tour of Central Park. Norwick is a new to the city girl who has been swept off her feet by big city charmer, Culp. Culp however, is a serial killer who preys on the unwary small town types. He poisons them and then dumps them in the river. But first, he has them get a little heart tattoo.

Rowlands has done her shopping and has decided to return to the tattoo shop to get a small butterfly on her shoulder. Though she cannot speak, she soon shows Sen Yung what she wants. While Yung is finishing her tattoo, Culp arrives with Norwick in tow. He wants a heart just like the last time done for Norwick. Sen Yung says he just needs 5 minutes to finish with Rowlands and to have a seat.

Sen Yung returns to the back room and tells Rowlands that the same man, Culp, is out front. Rowlands asks Yung to call her husband and tell him. Yung goes out and tells Culp there will be a further delay. Before Yung can call Lansing, Culp smells a rat, he grabs Norwick, heads out and jumps in a cab. Rowlands does the same and has her cab follow Culp.

Culp takes his cab down to the waterfront. He drags Norwick down to the pier. Norwick is in agony from the last batch of arsenic Culp slipped her. She begs to be taken to a doctor. Rowland has likewise now arrived at the pier. She pays off the driver, and hands him a card with Lansing's Precinct number on it. She then follows Culp onto the docks.

When Lansing gets the call from the cabbie, Ralph Manzo, he takes along Detective Fell and does a mad dash for the docks. Norwick has passed out from the pain before Culp can send her over the dockside. He notices Rowland watching and puts the grab on her. Now Lansing shows and lays a severe beating on pretty boy Culp before slapping the cuffs on. An ambulance for Norwick is then called.

Not bad at all. The rest of the cast includes, Wally Brown, Dale McKinnon, Paul Bryar, and Kim Hamilton. Some will recall Victor Sen Yung as the cook Hop Sing on the long running BONANZA western series.

The director of the episode was, Herschel Daugherty. The d of p was three time Oscar nominated, and one winner, Lionel Lindon. (B/W)

THE RACKET MAN "1944".

CONTAINS SPOILERS

THE RACKET MAN - 1944

This is one of the bottom dwellers put out by the B film unit at Columbia Picture. Mostly a crime programmer but there is the odd noir flourish here and there.

Tom Neal and Hugh Beaumont are two lads from the same neighbourhood who took different paths in life. Neal is a gangster while Beaumont became a cop. They both happen to be in love with the same girl, Jeanne Bates. The two get drafted into the army the same day but Beaumont, the cop, is released because of "flat feet"! Neal learns the hard way that just because he was a big man on the outside, he is just a soldier in the army.

Neal sees the light and does the old bad guy turns good bit. The army decides that instead of sending Neal overseas he would be of more use in the States. They want him to go back on the streets as an undercover government agent. He is to pretend he is back in the "rackets" and help the government round up the black-market baddies.

Larry Parks plays a newspaper reporter who gets mixed up in the deal and blows Neal's cover. Fists, guns and Neal's death are all needed in order for the good guys to wrap this one up. Kind of slow for the first 15-20 minutes, but once it gets going, it is not a bad little programmer.

Hugh Beaumont would become "Ward Cleaver" on the LEAVE IT TO BEAVER show. Neal would end up in prison on murder charges and Larry Parks would end up being blacklisted during the 50's. Of course both Beaumont and Neal are known to fans of film noir. Neal was in DETOUR and Beaumont in, THE FALLEN SPARROW, RAILROADED, THE LADY CONFESSES, APOLOGY FOR MURDER, THE BLUE DAHLIA, BURY ME DEAD, MONEY MADNESS, THE COUNTERFEITERS and a string of films where he played Michael Shayne.

Veteran cinematographer James van Trees gives the picture a nice dark feel.

Look quick and you will see future film and television regular, Anthony Caruso.

Racket Precinct

It sounds like you enjoyed that Precinct ep Gordon.After reading your terrific review (which I have ticked) I was wondering how Tom Neal was in Racket Man?

Thanks.

Re: Racket Precinct

Mister Neal is pretty well just a pretty face.

Richard Diamond, Private Detective - Widow's Walk (1958)

Richard Diamond, Private Detective - Widow's Walk (1958): David 'Richard Diamond' Janssen receives $500 and a note from a former client. All he has to do is take a suitcase out of deposit and return it. Which is tough to do when the man is beaten to death by Christopher Dark ('Suddenly') and his men. Turns out the dead man smuggled some drawings by Botticelli into the States for Dark, but decided to use Janssen and the deposit box to blackmail Dark. Which obviously backfired. Ex-wife Dorothy Green ('The Big Heat') hires Janssen to look into her ex-husband's death, but Dark kidnaps the ex-wife in exchange for the suitcase. The exchange is planned at an abandoned wharf at night

This episode is from the second season, when the series was still set in NYC, and noir-regular Regis Toomey ('The Big Sleep') made regular appearances as a police lieutenant, as he does here. The later seasons played out in LA, and were a bit sexier (due to a faceless but sexy phone-service operator named 'Sam'). Either way, a fun & fast-paced series worth checking out. Janssen ('The Fugitive') is good as the smooth but persistent Diamond, using voice-over narration to help push the plot forward. This particular episode doesn't really stand out among the series, but it does have some twists along the way, and a nice noir-looking finale on a wharf at night. A good amount of this series episodes can be found on youtube btw.

Re: Richard Diamond, Private Detective - Widow's Walk (1958)

I have the entire series here on dvd-r but have not seen this one. Sounds good! Tick will be sent once it shows up on your imdb page.

Re: Richard Diamond, Private Detective - Widow's Walk (1958)

Thank you for the wonderful Diamond reviews Xhc,and I hope you are all set for the Network and Arrow Christmas sales!

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