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

Re: regarding "The Verdict"

What did you think of The Verdict?

I think it's such an amazing film. Totally my style - gothic whodunit-noir and a locked room mystery. Perfect for me.

Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: regarding "The Verdict"

Hard to go wrong with the cast. Great film.

Re: regarding "The Verdict"

I know that there is another film which was released around the same time with a lot of the same cast members. I saw it, but it sure didn't have any staying power with me. Meanwhile, The Verdict is a film which I can watch over and over again.

Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Richard Diamond, Private Detective double bill

Richard Diamond, Private Detective - S1E10 The Pete Rocco Case (1957): Richard Devon escapes from prison after David 'Richard Janssen' Diamond put him behind bars years ago. Devon's brother Charles Bronson and mother Marga Ann Deighton enlist Janssen's help to catch Devon again, thinking he's the only one who can bring him in alive and before he goes back to his criminal ways again. Police lieutenant Regis Toomey thinks Devon is out for revenge and wants to put a security detail on Janssen, who'll have none of it. He locates an old pal of Devon's and lo and behold, Devon is also there, promising to kill Janssen after retrieving some old loot. But Janssen, and Devon, have another enemy lurking in the shadows.

An excellent and exciting episode, and it has Charles Bronson ('Crime Wave, 'Death Wish') in it as well! Funnily enough, early on in the episode his mother keeps telling him to stop looking so mean, hah Anyways, this series was really well-made and had a charismatic lead in Janssen ('The Fugitive'). This episode also has a nice twist up its sleeve near the end that leads to some fisticuffs inside a candy store. Sweet! If you're looking for a hardcore-boiled private eye series with snappy dialogue and good performances and production values, Call Mr. D. 8/10

Richard Diamond, Private Detective - S3E18 Design For Murder (1959): David 'Richard Diamond' Janssen is hired by old flame Laurie Mitchell to retrieve some scandalous letters her sister wrote, as someone's gotten hold of them and is blackmailing them. As he leaves her apartment the blackmailer, Edmund Hashim, steps into his car and tells him at gunpoint to walk away from the case. To make a statement, later that evening someone takes a shot at him, barely missing him. Janssen's now determined to find the letters. He soon finds out that the case involves tattoos as well as a double-cross.

A solid episode, that stands out for two reasons It shows ordinary women with tattoos, and not just sailors or shady people. Something that was still quite uncommon for late 50s TV shows. And the DoP was George Diskant, who lensed some beautiful noirs like 'On Dangeround Ground' and 'The Narrow Margin'. He also knew how to shoot for TV as this episode shows. Aside from that it has the usual fast-paced plot, Diamond's hard-boiled lines and a bittersweet ending. It's hard to go wrong with Richard Diamond. 7/10

These episodes, and many more, can be found on youtube.

Re: Richard Diamond, Private Detective double bill

I really like this series a lot. Good stories, fine acting and pretty goop b/w photography all hit the spot. Tick on both have been sent.

NAKED FURY 1959 UK Good low renter



Second time I've seen this low budget quickie from the U.K. The first time was a rather poor VHS copy, but this time I watched the very nice DVD copy put out by VCI. It is part of a UK Double bill feature.

Four men, Reed De Rouen, Ken Cope, Alex Field and Tommy Eytle have planned a break and enter at a factory warehouse. The night watchman, Eric Woodburn, is given a cosh on the head while they hit the safe and lift the contents.

A hitch in the plan happens as the crew makes their getaway. The watchman's daughter, Leigh Madison, arrives to visit her father. The boys grab Madison and bring her along to the hideout. The hideout is a ruined dockside warehouse. There they join the fifth member of the group, Arthur Lovegrove. Lovegrove is the lookout man in case anyone comes looking.

The leader of the group, Reed De Rouen, drags Madison to one of the top floor rooms and shoves her inside. The gang then goes over the take. The take ends up to be 50,000 pounds! This of course makes for a most happy group of crooks. De Rouen has made arrangements for transport out of the country on a freighter, which is leaving the next night. They just need to get through the next day.

That will give them time to decide what to do with the girl. De Rouen and Lovegrove stay at the warehouse while the others head back to their homes. They will meet the next night and board the freighter at midnight.

Of course the plan immediately starts to come apart. Field, a safe-cracker from the old days, is paid a visit the next morning by the Police. It is the old, "usual suspects" call whenever a robbery happens. Field's wife, Ann Lynn, gives the Police an alibi for her husband and they leave.

After the Police have left, Lynn turns to Field and demands half the take he will get from the job. Field agrees to the deal since he knows he is leaving the country that night. Then news that the night watchman has died from the injuries he received in the hold up. Now Lynn wants her cash today. Field again agrees and sets out to get the cash.

Field runs into fellow gang member Eytle, who also now needs his end of the robbery. His son is very ill and he needs the cash. The two talk and decide that Eytle will explain to De Rouen their need for the cash. Eytle is to get his own, as well as Field's end from De Rouen. Field returns home in-order to keep a close eye on wife, Lynn.

When Eytle reaches the warehouse, De Rouen leaves before Eytle can explain what he needs. De Rouen is in a hurry to make the final arrangements with the ship's captain, for their transport out of the country. Eytle sits and waits for the return of De Rouen.

As for the girl, Madison, De Rouen has told her she will not be harmed if she just agrees to say nothing. That of course changes, when they hear the news over the radio of Madison's father's death. Now De Rouen has to consider whether or not to kill Madison.

Now several more flies in the ointment appear. Arthur Gross, a prison buddy of Cope, talks him into taking the whole take just for them. With the use of a handy pistol that is. De Rouen is also having a problem with the ship Captain. He has upped his price to 20,000 pounds. He also heard about the death of the watchman. De Rouen agrees and returns to the hideout.

Back at Field's apartment, wife Lynn has decided that Field intends to split without giving her any cash, She gets on the blower and calls the Police. Field responds to this by beating her to death with a handy blunt object. Field just has no luck and gets pinched by the Law, as he exits the apartment.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Err, I mean, warehouse. There is a major beef developing. Cope and his "new" partner, Arthur Gross, are at the hideout to lift all the cash. De Rouen interrupts this move, which results in Gross being killed from a 4 story fall. The rotted wooden stairway to the upper floor has given out. Now everyone is trapped on the top floor with no way out.

And of course the whole building now decides to start collapsing. Eytle and Cope soon join Gross as the floor gives out under them. De Rouen helps the girl, Madison onto a concrete window ledge just as the floor under him also gives way.

A local cop, hearing the noise of the collapsing building, calls the fire brigade. They arrive and rescue Madison before the building completely folds in on itself. Arthur Lovegrove, the only one beside Madison to get out, is grabbed up as he tries to leave the scene. "A word if you please." The Bobbie says to him.

Excuse the somewhat disjointed write up. All this action happens in a 57 minute runtime. This one never slows down. Not a bad low budget time waster IMO. This quickie feature some very nice night time photography..

The director was UK film veteran, Charles Saunders. He worked mostly in bottom rung productions that include the likes of, DANGER BY MY SIDE, DEATH OF AN ANGEL, BLACK ORCHID, THE SCARLET WEB, ONE JUMP AHEAD, A TIME TO KILL, THE NARROWING CIRCLE, MURDER REPORTED, JUNGLE STREET, THE END OF THE LINE and the very good, MEET MR. CALLAGHAN and KILL HER GENTLY. (b/w)

Re: NAKED FURY 1959 UK Good low renter

Never heard of this one before, it sounds like a fun movie! Will have to check out that DVD Tick has been sent.

Re: NAKED FURY 1959 UK Good low renter

An excellent review (which I've ticked) Gordon,I was wondering how you found the second movie in the set to be?


Re: NAKED FURY 1959 UK Good low renter

An excellent review (which I've ticked) Gordon,I was wondering how you found the second movie in the set to be?


TV Bit: SUBWAY 1957 Pretty good


This is an episode from the 57-58 series "PANIC". Every episode starts with the words, "You are now going to live through a moment of panic in a man's life. An experience so incredible that you will not believe it."

Eduard Franz is a New York insurance broker catching a late night subway after a long day at the office. The train pulls in and he grabs a seat and starts in on his newspaper. Between pages, he has a quick glance around the car. The car is empty except for a trio of men sitting across from him. Two rather thuggish types, John Doucette and Frank Richards book-ending a smaller fellow. Just then the man in the middle slips to the floor. The other two grab him up and set back up.

Franz realizes the man is dead and he is looking straight into the faces of his killers. The train pulls up to a stop and Franz tosses the paper at the gunmen and bolts out the door. He runs out of the station into the first cab. Does he go to the cops? No, he heads home instead. He tells his wife, Barbara Billingsley, what he witnessed. She wants him to call the police, he would rather not become involved. Next morning right on the front page of the paper is a photo of the dead man. He had been found floating in the East River.

It seems he had been a witness in a mob case. Franz heads to work but the stress soon has him ducking appointments. He is sure a gunman is lurking in every alley etc. He decides to do the right thing and goes to the cops. He is in the middle of telling several detectives what he saw when in walks Doucette.

One look from Doucette and Franz changes his story and swears he saw nothing. The cops toss him out as a quack. What can he do! Maybe all the cops are in on it. Franz heads home and finds Doucette and Richards already there. Franz leads the pair on a chase through the apartment block, down the fire escape and through the basement. The two gunmen corner Franz and are about to kill him when the honest cops arrive. A quick shootout and Richards and Doucette are cuffed. It seems the police figured Doucette might be bent and had a tail on him.

The straight up cops were played by Anthony Warde, Mort Mills while the corpse was played by Gene Coogan. The director was Maury Geraghty who also wrote the story and screenplay.

D of P was vet lensman Harry Wild. Wild worked on some of the best RKO noirs with, CORNERED, JOHNNY ANGEL, MURDER MY SWEET, NOCTURNE, THE WON'T BELIEVE ME, PITFALL, THE THREAT, HIS KIND OF WOMAN and MACAO among his credits.

A rather fast and furious 24 mins of a series i had never heard of before tonight.

Chicago Syndicate (1955)

Chicago Syndicate was directed by Fred Sears, a trusted journeyman director of Bs and programmers. The picture is standard fare albeit done well. It doesnt tell a new story but manages to be very entertaining.

Filmed in semi-documentary style with a sometimes too intruding voice-over narration, this is a typical crime exposé picture which were becoming popular in the 50s. In the wake of the Kefauver hearings crime dramas started to deal a lot more with organized crime and the corruption resulting from it. By the 50s it became clear that crime had gone corporate. Small-time bootlegging was an almost quaint thing of the past, big faceless criminal empires had taken over which easily had the potential to undermine national security.

Chicago Syndicate doesnt bother with doom, gloom and dread, it goes straight for the exposé story. It isnt as atmospheric as better known movies with comparable storylines, such as The Big Combo and The Big Heat.

Dennis OKeefe plays Barry Amsterdam, an accountant recruited by the police to go undercover to infiltrate the Chicago mob. Since mob boss Arnie Valent, smoothly and menacingly played by Paul Stewart, recently got rid of his accountant rather forcefully, Amsterdam works his way into the organization. There he meets two babes who may or may not be on his side.

The movie has a few things going for it. First two seriously sexy dames, glamorous nightclub singer Abbe Lane and Allison Hayes. I had never heard of Hayes before but from what I can see her movies should be worth checking out.

Second the film features many beautiful outdoor shots of Chicago. Filmmakers shifted production away from the back lots and sound stages, and a more authentic-looking kind of film came into vogue. Chicago Syndicate takes ample advantage of its surroundings with great on-location scenes of a Chicago that is no more (for the most part).

Never really a star player, OKeefe, like Edmond OBrien, had an everyman appeal, always dependable and sturdy, but was able to deliver strong performances. He was perfect for Noir, not pretty but you knew he could throw a punch.

Paul Stewart almost steals the show as mother-fixated criminal. Where have we heard that before?

It's on youtube, a fun time waster.

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

Re: Chicago Syndicate (1955)

As you say, standard fare but well done Great review! The on-location shooting around (and under!) Chicago is gorgeous and worth watching just for that. I loved the scenes in Stewart's old neighborhood, it really looks like they just walked in there, set up a few cameras and started rolling. As well as the finale underneath Chicago's roads, stuff like that is fascinating.

Re: Chicago Syndicate (1955)

I was surprised how many outside scenes there were. Truly beautiful.

it really looks like they just walked in there, set up a few cameras and started rolling

I'm sure that's exactly what they did. Good idea.

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

Re: Chicago Syndicate (1955)

Thanks for the write up, Jess. This is another one I have laying around but never seem to get to.

Re: Chicago Syndicate (1955)

Hi Jess,I hope you are all set for Christmas and I want to say thank you for the wonderful review,with your comments about the location shots making it sound like the flick stands out a bit in the "B" level of Noir. Whilst the movie gets a kicking on this site, (how do people take it seriously?) I found Allison Hayes to be gorgeous in Roger Corman's Camp Gothic Horror The Undead:

An interesting post in the comment on Hayes tragic death:

This is a deceivingly good movie! I remember watching it as a child in the 60s. Before making this movie Allison Hayes broke her ribs in Sign of the Pagan and broke her arm in Gunslinger. She ordered a bone supplement imported from Asia to speed the healing and continued to take it most of her life. Unfortunately, by the time she had the supplement tested which was full lead she had acute lead poisoning and leukemia and died at the young age of 46 in 1977. Because of her plight the FDA started enforcing stringent laws on everything that came into our country. I will always remember her as the witch Livia

TV Noir mini-series:One of Us (2016) with links.

Hi all,with their second Nordic Noir-inspired series of The Missing being highly praised,I decided to watch Harry & Jack Williams 4 part Noir mini-series One of Us.

The plot:

A man drives to the Scottish highlands and crashes his car.Seeing the car crashed,two families who have known each other for decades,come out on the stormy night to help him out.Never having seen the guy before,the families are taken aback,when one of their addresses is found in his coat pocket.Feeling that he might be dangerous, (and with the police unable to answer calls due to the storm) the families decide to lock him in the barn yard for the night.Coming out the next morning to get info out of the night,the families discover that during the night,one of them killed him.

View on the show:

Taking place against a beautiful Scottish backdrop,the Williams steam a dour Noir family drama with a brittle Agatha Christie-style Murder Mystery in eps 1 and 4,with stylishly tinted flashbacks from director William McGregor bringing the fractured nature of the relationships out of the loyal families.Whilst the cast (which includes a great John Lynch) give gravitas to the murky revelations,the Williams clip the Noir mystery tension in eps 2 and 3 by focusing on the troubled relationships between the families running dry with forced family unease that tries to cast harsh Film Noir isolation on the families,but fails to match the burning Noir anxiety cut deep into the first and final episodes.

Rating 7



Re: TV Noir mini-series:One of Us (2016) with links.

Thanks for the heads up.

Re: …a radio play…

Shifting gears slightly, I'd like to draw people's attention to a terrific radio play which I heard last night. It's called Want Ad (# 507 in the Suspense series) and it's a wonderful inverted mystery. I've seen/heard/read a number of inverted mysteries and enjoyed them (for example, the Columbo episodes), but this one IMHO has the best ending of them all. A crook (voice of Robert Cummings) has found an easy way of making a living (dishonestly of course) and I absolutely love how he gets trapped in the end. I'm not giving anything away by saying he gets trapped. With these inverted mysteries, it's obvious that the bad guys will be caught. His slip-up is absolutely priceless. Here is the link:

# 507 on this site:


Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: …a radio play…

I dabble once in a while with the radio stuff. Most times they are quite entertaining.

Re: …a radio play…

This radio play is certainly worth it. If you have half an hour to spare, I highly recommend you hear it. Radio plays and mysteries are perfect on these bitterly cold days.

Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: …a radio play…

Calling for maybe minus 27 or so tonight here.

Re: …a radio play…

After about 2 weeks or so, it looks like it's finally going to start warming up! Supposed to get to about zero (Celsius) by Monday or something. Crossing my fingers.

Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Farewell My Lovely (1975) The Good Detective

This post Hays (Motion Picture Production) Code and pre PC "code" version of Raymond Chandler's "Farewell My Lovely" is probably the closest version to the novel we are going to see, it's firing on all cylinders. It pulls no punches, it's serious, dialog wise, doing justice to the novel.

In the previously adapted for film 1944 version Murder, My Sweet, Dick Powell was great as wisecracking Marlowe, he's pretty much as I pictured him in my mind's eye as I read the book. Mitchum at 58 years, in this film, is just a tad too old to fit the Marlowe of the novel. He's also a tad too iconic, Mitchum is playing Mitchum playing Marlowe, but the script reflects at least this age difference, he's written as an older wiser Marlowe, a weary character who realizes he's over the hump and sort of coasting. This small change becomes very believable as Mitchum settles into the part. He's still the knight of streets but now he creaks and is just a bit more tarnished.

Farewell My Lovely was ably directed by Dick Richards just like an old studio "B" production picture without any noticeable in your face style.

The features Robert Mitchum (Film Noir Icon in no less than eight classics) as the definitive private detective Philip Marlowe. The film also has Noir star John Ireland (a vet of at least six classic noirs where he either played the bad guy, the good guy, or the not so bad guy) as Detective Lt. Nulty.

Charlotte Rampling (Angel Heart (1987)) as Femme Fatale Helen Grayle, Sylvia Miles (Murder, Inc. (1960), Naked City (TV Series), Terror in the City (1964), Midnight Cowboy (1969)), as Jesse Halstead Florian, Anthony Zerbe (Naked City (TV Series), Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Laughing Policeman (1973)), as Laird Brunette gangster/gambling ship operator. Harry Dean Stanton (The Wrong Man (1956), In the Heat of the Night (1967), Dillinger (1973), Paris, Texas (1984), Wild at Heart (1990)), as Detective Billy Rolfe LAPD, Jack O'Halloran as Moose Malloy.

The rest of the cast has, Sylvester Stallone (Cop Land (1997)), as Jonnie, Joe Spinell (The Godfather (1972), The Seven-Ups (1973), Taxi Driver (1976)) as Nick, Burton Gilliam as Cowboy. Kate Murtagh (87th Precinct (TV Series)) in a part channeling Hope Emerson, as Frances Amthor, L.A.'s whorehouse madam/drug dealer (Believed they say to be based on Brenda Allen whose arrest in 1948 triggered a scandal that led to the reform of the L.A.P.D.). John O'Leary as Lindsay Marriott, Walter McGinn as Tommy Ray washed up jazz man. Jim Thompson (hardboiled novelist) as Judge Baxter Wilson Grayle, Logan Ramsey (Something Wild (1961), Naked City (TV Series)) as the Police Commissioner, and what was left of Greater Los Angeles of the 1940s.

The hardboiled tale starts with Marlowe's smoky voice over as he's looking out the warped glass window of a downtown LA dive hotel. He's holed up there waiting for his case to break.
When Detective Lt. Nulty, LAPD arrives at his flop Marlowe begins to lay out the case from the beginning, which we see in an extended flashback.

After successfully tracking down a wayward teen at a dime a dance hall, he is almost roughed up by The Moose, a giant ex con who did a six year stretch for armed bank robbery. He watched Marlowe deliver the girl to her folks and gets obsessed with having Marlowe find his missing Velma. Moose slips Marlowe a fifty as a retainer. Velma, Moose tells Marlowe was "Cute, cute as lace pants".

It turns out Velma used to be a stripper/B-girl/hooker who worked out of a dump on Central called Florian's. In the time that Moose was in the joint, Mike Florian died and the neighborhood turned black. When Moose and Marlowe get to Florian's, it's in the hood and the clientele is all black. During a tense confrontation, Moose kills Mr. Montgomery, the current owner, and they find out nothing about Velma. Moose scoots, leaving Marlowe to call the cops and deal with Nulty.

After telling the cops the details of what went down at Florian's, Marlowe slips out and spies a fleabag hotel, The Crescent, across the avenue. He crosses the pavement to the sidewalk and up into the hotel lobby. Marlowe finds out that Tommy Ray a bandleader, (Tommy Ray and The Sun Rays) who used to work at Florian's has rooms upstairs.

From Tommy, Marlowe finds out Jesse Florian's address, and the tip that a fifth of booze will be his best friend. Jesse is a bit of an alkie, and Sylvia Miles does an extraordinary portrayal of Jesse that is subtle, touching, and heart wrenchingly sad. After Marlowe plays a little footsie with Jesse, she decides that he's alright and calls Tommy Ray who slips him a picture of Velma from the old days. Only it's a bum steer, flashing the picture at Burly Q's, and agents gets a name, but it isn't Velma, it's a dead end to a catatonic at Camarillo, the State Mental Hospital.

Before the end of the film Marlowe gets his mellon thunked while Lindsay Marriott gets dead on a bungled jewel theft payoff. He gets his noodle wet with a horney Mrs. Grayle, and gets geezed up with junk at Amthor's Hollywood whorehouse.

The film is also a visual treat to Noir Lovers.

Mitchum and Ireland are Noir pros, just the cinematic Film Noir memory that they exude, gives the film natural gravitas. For instance, they didn't have to practice learning how to light, smoke, and hold a cigarette. They've done it most of their lives. Their dangling cigarettes are the real deal, not part of the performance. Ireland is the tired, cynical, conflicted LAPD detective, who is told by the corrupt police commissioner to lay off the case. Mitchum is strong, steady, human, sarcastic, romantic. He displays self depreciating humor, humility, and is doggedly loyal to his friends and clients.

Charlotte Rampling the films Femme Fatale, plays Mrs Grayle as sultry and conniving, she gives off a bit of a Lauren Bacall vibe. She is however the films one false note, she's not quite convincing as an American chippy, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, hell she was born on the wrong side of "the pond", Sturmer, England, and it's just off. Lesley Ann Warren would have been a better choice for the role. We also don't quite get enough of Rampling to get comfortably acquainted with the duality of her character. I would have liked to see some of Moose's flashbacks to his time with Velma Valento, it would have been a nice juxtaposition to Rampling's performance as Mrs. Grayle, and just another plus for the film.

The real revelation in Farewell My Lovely is Jack O'Halloran's Moose Malloy, in this film version Moose actually becomes more than a cartoon bad guy. You really feel sorry for the big lug and the torch he carries for his lost hooker girlfriend. Moose doesn't care that Velma fingered him for the job and took off with the loot. He just wants to be back in that sweet spot. O'Halloran gives off a Laird Cregar vibe, if we had been in a full blown Noir revival both Jack and Sylvia Miles would have been two of the major new stars, out of this cast only Harry Dean Stanton went on to really make a name in Neo Noir. The film also features Sylvester Stallone in one of his first roles.It's the definitive Marlowe in the correct time period 9/10.

Full review with Screencaps from the ITV Studios DVD here

Re: Farewell My Lovely (1975) The Good Detective

Great review. I saw it years ago and didn't fall in love with it, probably simply because I had a hard time seeing my favorite actor old. A silly reason, I know. I also didn't know enough about Noir to appreciate it.

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

Re: Farewell My Lovely (1975) The Good Detective

As I said over on the classic film board, another great review. This is a solid flick, but I much prefer the Powell version. I think Mitchum is too old for the role.

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

Re: Farewell My Lovely (1975) The Good Detective

Seen it many years ago but rally do not recall that much of it. Time to add it to the rewatch list. Thanks for the reminder.

Re: Farewell My Lovely (1975) The Good Detective

Hi Mgt,I hope you are all set for Christmas,and I want to say thank you for the fantastic review.With it currently sitting by my TV waiting for a viewing,I think you would enjoy see Rampling in another Noir from '75:The Flesh of the Orchid

Re: Farewell My Lovely (1975) The Good Detective

Thanks for the recommendation.




Phyllis Kirk is a radio operator on an American ship that has just docked in the Pool of London. She decides to spend the day taking in the sights. The ship's Steward, Harold Ayer, asks Kirk to take several packs of smokes through Customs and give them to a buddy, Glyn Houston, on the docks.

Kirk does the favour and leaves the cigs with Houston. She then hits a local pub for a drink. There she meets John Bentley. Bentley is a Police Inspector with the Thames River Water Police. The two strike up a conversation and agree to meet the next evening.

The next day, Bentley and his fellow coppers get a flash about a smuggling outfit bringing in diamonds. They need to beef up checks etc around the docks. That evening, as Kirk is leaving the ship for her date with Bentley, she is again approached by Ayer. He asks if she could again drop off some more packs of smokes to his friend, Houston. Kirk agrees but tells Ayer it is the last time.

The Cop on the dock exit asks to look in her purse. He takes the cig packs into the Customs office and opens them. Needless to say that they find diamonds mixed in with the tobacco. A dumbfounded Kirk swears she had no idea about the diamonds. Ayer, watching from the ship sees Kirk get grabbed up. He quickly phones his boss with the info.

Bentley, waiting at the pub, decides Kirk is a no show and leaves. Kirk, is of course busy being questioned by the Police, and the Customs boys. She tells them about the Steward, Ayer. The Police tell her to return to the ship and say nothing.

The next morning, the Police, including Bentley, come calling on the ship's Captain, Robert Ayres. What can he tell them about Kirk and Ayer. "Good people as far as I know." He answers. The Police try to interview Ayer but is seems he jumped ship the night before. Bentley interviews Kirk to ask if she recalls anything else about Ayer. The police now get word that Ayer has been found.

The only problem here is that he was face down in the Thames. A quick check of his fingerprints etc, reveal him as a long time villain. Bentley assumes he was given the deep six to keep him quiet. They do a further check on the associate files and come up with a couple of leads.

They ask if Kirk would help with the case. Maybe she can identify one of the two as the man she passed the cig packs to the first time. The first man is a no go. The second man turns out to be Houston. He gives Bentley the slip by going out the back while his wife runs interference. Kirk, however, spots him and follows.

Houston leads Kirk through the back lanes down to the docks. There, she gets a surprise when Houston boards Kirk's ship. She boards and heads to Captain Ayres rooms for help finding Houston. Just as she is about knock, she hears Ayres and Houston talking inside. "It was that woman Ayer used who was with the police!" Houston tells Ayres. It seems that Ayres is the man in charge of the diamond smugglers. He brings the stones from the States and lands them in London. They then end up in the hands of black market boss, Charles Lloyd Pack.

Kirk rushes to call Bentley on the ship's land connected phone. Before she can complete the call, Ayres with gun in hand, hustles her back to his office. Ayres tells Kirk and Houston they have both become annoying loose ends. A trip over the side for an un-needed dip is about to happen.

Bentley now shows and the chase is on. Ayres, holding Kirk as a hostage, grabs a small launch and speeds off. Bentley and his Sgt, Leonard White, give pursuit in a Police boat. After several minutes, Kirk manages to bump Ayres off the wheel causing the launch to beach. Bentley and White are right behind. Ayres jumps to the ground and attempts to escape on foot. He is tackled by Bentley and given a sound thrashing. White then applies the cuffs.

It looks like Kirk and Bentley will get their date after all.

Phyllis Kirk was best known for her roles in CRIME WAVE and HOUSE OF WAX.

This film was Guy Green's first directing job. PORTRAIT OF ALLISON, LOST, HOUSE OF SECRETS, THE SNORKEL and THE MARK are several of his films. As a cinematographer, he worked on some early David Lean films such as, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, OLIVER TWIST and THE PASSIONATE FRIENDS. A middle of the road B-film that is well worth a look if you can find it. There is some interesting shots of the London Docks etc throughout. (b/w)


With Guy Green (whose The Mark has finally come out here on disc) going on the River Beat and Naked Fury it sounds like you had a great Brit Noir double bill Gordon! With you enjoying this ep of Panic so much,I was wondering if you have any other eps of the series?


You can find 8-9 episodes of PANIC! on you tube.

"Uncle Silas" aka "The Inheritance"

Currently watching and enjoying the British gothic mystery-noir Uncle Silas. I think someone on this board recommended it to me some time ago. Whoever it wasthanks for the recommendation!

Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: "Uncle Silas" aka "The Inheritance"

Another of those have it, but never watched it. It is in the pile somewhere.

Re: "Uncle Silas" aka "The Inheritance"

One complaint I have heard about this film is that it has too many cliches. Maybe it does, but oh well. I love these types of stories, and this one is very well done. Very suspenseful and well-acted.

Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Re: "Uncle Silas" aka "The Inheritance"

Good to read that you enjoyed it Ellery,are planning to read the book it is based on?

Re: "Uncle Silas" aka "The Inheritance"

I might. I try to read the original source material as much as possible (if I can find it).

Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen =

Tv Bit: "The Wizard of Ice" 1961 Good Brod Crawford episode


KING OF DIAMONDS "The Wizard of Ice" 1961

KING OF DIAMONDS was a one season private detective/crime drama with Broderick Crawford as a rough and tumble hard case. Crawford is also the head of security for a large diamond company. He goes anywhere in the world to combat jewel thieves and smugglers. He works with Ray Hamilton who does most of the leg work. The series ran for 38 episodes during 1961-62. This was Crawford's first big gig after his 1955-59 run on HIGHWAY PATROL.

In this episode, the first of series, we have it all, robbery, murder, double dealing and a gorgeous femme-fatale. This one starts with Crawford at the New York airport waiting for a flight to London. He is paged and told that he is needed back in the city. The 2 million in diamonds that Crawford had delivered earlier that day have been stolen. The new courier and his driver had been killed during the robbery.

Crawford calls up his man Hamilton to meet him at the jewel wholesaler's office. The office manager, Telly Savalas, is despondent over the murders and theft. He tells Crawford and Hamilton that no one besides the dead men and himself knew about the delivery plans. Crawford and Hamilton head out to beat the bushes for any underworld chatter on the robbery. They will also look into any local jewel fences.

The viewer is filled in on the four men who had pulled the robbery and murders. The two main thugs are Bert Freed and John Marley. We also find out that mister Savalas is not so upset with the crime as he said. In the back room of his office, he is now swapping spit with blonde bombshell, Lola Albright. The whole deal had been set up by Miss Albright.

Albright suggests that Savalas go over to Marley's apartment and collect the diamonds. Albright shows some cleavage and smiles while suggesting that Savalas take his automatic pistol along. She does not trust Marley completely she coos to Savalas. In true femme-fatale fashion, Miss Albright now gets on the horn to Marley and tells him Savalas is coming over, and intends to cut him out of his share. She mentions that she had emptied Savalas' weapon of live ammo. What Savalas and Marley don't know is that Miss Albright has also been stepping out with gang member, Bert Freed. Freed had switched fakes for the real gems during the getaway.

Marley, feeling safe knowing Savalas has no ammo, lets the man into his place. Savalas now discovers the fakes and yards his piece. Marley does not believe the diamonds are not the real deal. He figures this is Savalas making his play to cut him out of his cut. Boy is Marley surprised when the gun Savalas has, proves, to be anything but, empty.

By this time Crawford and Hamilton have narrowed the robbery suspects down to 4 or 5 men, including Marley. They arrive just as Marley is hitting the floor with the added weight of a couple of .45 slugs. They break in while Savalas is beating the feet down a handy fire escape. Meanwhile, back with our femme, Miss Albright, she is now with Freed and licking his ear and telling him he needs to bump off the diamond detective,Crawford. Then it will be a life of tall cool drinks in a nice southern climate somewhere. Albright of course has relieved Freed of the bag of diamonds. Once Freed has went out on his mission, Miss Albright heads to her place to back a bag and split without "any" male companionship.

Freed however fumbles his job and is collared by Crawford and his aide, Hamilton. By now Crawford and company have also figured out that Savalas is in the robbery mix as well. They catch Savalas and several other men coming out of his office and going to the car park. Savalas has likewise made a discovery. He knows that Albright has played him like a world class chump. He wants payback.

Crawford and Hamilton tail Savalas to Albright's place. Savalas has the pair of hired guns turn over Miss Albright's room for the stones. Albright had been a bit slow off the mark in her packing, and is now being "nicely questioned" by Savalas. Crawford and Hamilton burst in with drawn guns exchanging rounds with the two hired thugs. The two are dispatched quickly while Savalas and Albright are collared for a long stay on the State's dime.

Also in the mix with a small bit are John Anderson as a Police Detective, and Joan Tabor as a lounge piano player and info tout. (Tabor and Crawford were married at the time) Look close and you will see Richard Kiel in an early role as a club doorman. Lola Albright had just completed an 86 episode run on the popular PETER GUNN series.

The whole episode is smartly made with plenty of action and great b/w photography, supplied by the sure hand of director, Irving Lerner. Lerner is well known to noir fans as the helmsman on the excellent b-noir, MURDER BY CONTRACT and CITY OF FEAR.

The only problem here is that the series is 5-6 years too late on the air. The hard-boiled no nonsense detective phase was over on television. It was being replaced with shows like 77 SUNSET STRIP, HAWAIIAN EYE, BOURBON STREET and SURFSIDE 6. These series featured a more, shall we say, urbane take on the detective genre.

For a ZIV production it is quite good.

Re: Tv Bit: "The Wizard of Ice" 1961 Good Brod Crawford episode

That sounds really good. I've been getting into more classic TV lately, it's harder to find than movies though. Just bought Darren McGavin's Mike Hammer.

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

The Drowning Pool (1975) Louisiana Noir

9 years after making Harper (1966), Paul Newman reprises his role of private eye Lew Harper in The Drowning Pool. The Harper character is based on Ross Macdonald's private eye Lew Archer who was based in the fictional town Santa Teresa (Santa Barbara) just North of L.A.

The film was directed by Stuart Rosenberg (Cool Hand Luke (1967), Voyage of the Damned (1976)), and written by Tracy Keenan Wynn, Lorenzo Semple Jr. (The Parallax View (1974) and Three Days of the Condor (1975)), and Walter Hill (Hickey & Boggs (1972), The Getaway (1972), Hard Times (1975), Last Man Standing (1996)).

The cinematography was by Gordon Willis (Klute (1971), The Godfather (1972), The Parallax View (1974), The Godfather: Part II (1974), Pennies from Heaven (1981), the music was by Michael Small (The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), Black Widow (1987) Night Moves (1975)) with an instrumental version of 1971 hit song "Killing Me Softly" composed and conducted by Charles Fox serving as the leitmotif for the character Iris whenever she is on screen.

Too little too late. If Harper (1966) was the success the studio claimed it was, they should have put out another film out a year later, but oh wait, the studio era ended, film production was controlled by the studio heads anymore. We had to wait nine years for the next Harper/Archer film. Every year of delay more stars from the Classic Noir era who could have been used to bring a bit of cinematic memory/magic to a Neo Noir were lost. Nowadays all kinds of repetitive superhero carapola gets greenlighted, buy the suits who want to franchise properties, just like, like, like, the old studio heads, BINGO! Too bad Noir fans, there wasn't this mentality for Film Noir.

Private detective Lew Harper of southern California, flies out to New Orleans on a case at the bequest of a Mrs. James Devereaux. When he meets Mrs. Devereux he is surprised to discover that she is actually a girlfriend named Iris with whom he had a voluptuous fling with in L.A. six years earlier. She reveals to Lew that she has been married for 17 years to James Devereaux, a closet homosexual "playwright" of unproduced plays, and they both live with their 17 year old daughter Schuyler, and his overbearing mother Olivia Devereux on the huge family plantation Rivage.

She has called Harper to investigate the appearance in the mail of a blackmail letter to James suggesting her infidelity with other men. Iris believes that the letter came from Pat Reavis the family chauffeur that Iris just recently fired. Complicating the family intrigue is wayward daughter Schuyler who tries to proposition Harper in his Rivage Townhouse Motel room. As soon as Harper arrives his presence starts to shake things up in the best noir/hardboiled tradition setting up a chain reaction right to Noirsville. He gets rousted by Chief Broussard and Lieutenant Franks of the Louisiana local cops. Buttonholed by local mobbed up oil tycoon Jay Hue "Crab" Kilbourne who wants to "slant drill" him for information. And most importantly gets both touched and worried over his former lover Iris' quiet desperation in her crumbling antebellum alcoholic world.

The films real highlights are the scenes between Harper and Iris, there's a nice believable chemistry going on between Newman and Woodward, accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful arrangement of "Killing Me Softly" as Iris' leitmotif. Woodward's performance evokes in a good way just about every Tennessee Williams film adaptations "femme se désintégrer". There is some humor also, when Lew suggest that she leave, Iris "born into the lace" (good blood no money) is accustomed to style, surveying about her opulent surroundings replies "and do what?" Newman's reaction is chuckle worthy.

The big set piece is the denouement at the old Evangeline Sanitarium's Hydrotherapy Room.

The film chugs along through various intrigues and colorful characters, bayou cajuns, the trusting ditsy prostitute Gretchen, the crooked cop Franks, the horny trophy wife of Kilbourne, Mavis. The film is entertaining enough, with some interesting locations, but it seems a bit old fashioned and restrained comparatively to 1975's Night Moves, I still like it. Screencaps are from the Warner Archives DVD. 8/10

Fuller review with screencaps here

Re: The Drowning Pool (1975) Louisiana Noir

Your review is spot on. I agree, I don't understand why it takes producers so often so long to make a sequel. We've been seeing this more often lately (Indiana Jones, Independence Day). The movie has a completely different look and feel than Harper which I liked better.

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

Re: The Drowning Pool (1975) Louisiana Noir

Saw it 30 years ago and needless to say did not recall all that much of it. Thanks for the memory jog your review gave me.

Re: The Drowning Pool (1975) Louisiana Noir

Thank you for the great review Mgt,and picking up on the comment you make about studios losing touch with Noir,I was wondering if there is a title which marks the studios getting a grip on Neo-Noir?

The Las Vegas Story (1952)

The first thing we see at the start of The Las Vegas Story are the words Howard Hughes Presents. Hughes was head of RKO at the time of filming and his overpowering ego could never resist meddling in production matters and often demanding changes, especially where one of his obsessions/mistresses was concerned. During his 7-year tenure, the studio suffered massive financial losses due to his controlling and volatile management style.
Starring Jane Russell, The Las Vegas Story was guaranteed to have Hughess paw prints all over it. He was above all else concerned with promoting Miss Russells considerable bosomy charms which are displayed to great advantage in an ever-changing fabulous wardrobe. She sings a song or two with typical sultriness, Russell had a good voice and the musical numbers liven up the film. She oozes sex appeal, the whole picture is essentially her show but I doubt the audience had much of a complaint about that. Even if the movie isnt more than a showcase for Russell, she has enough talent to make it work. For no discernible reason at all, The Las Vegas Story is often considered a minor effort in the filmographies of its participants but it shouldnt be.

The previous year Hughes had made His Kind of Woman with Russell, Mitchum and Vincent Price, this time around he got Russell and Price, but replaced Mitchum with Victor Mature. And just like His Kind of Woman, The Las Vegas Story cant quite decide if it wants to be Noir, talky romance, comedy or straight-forward murder mystery. The plot is without a doubt schizophrenic, it goes down one road just to take off into another. There are subplots piled on subplots, but it all doesnt matter. It may be a mess of a movie but its a very entertaining one.

Ex-singer Linda Rollins (Jane Russell) has to stop over in Las Vegas quite unwillingly because husband Lloyd (Vincent Price) is interested in a little spot of gambling. Lloyd needs money pronto, he has gambling debts and, in a smart move, would like to rectify that situation at the gambling tables. But if theres one place Linda doesnt want to revisit its her past.
While in town, Linda decides to stop by her old stomping grounds The Last Chance casino, where she runs into former flame police Lt. Dave Andrews (Victor Mature).
Andrews wants to rekindle his romance with Linda, and here we veer a little into Casablanca territory. Dame ditched true love, runs into true love again whos still pining for her, dame knows shes hasnt forgotten true love
Throw in stolen jewelry, an amorous and crooked insurance investigator, a dead body and a kidnapping and we have enough plot for several different movies.
If this sounds all a bit confusing that's because it is, although it's a lot more fun to watch than to explain. Its very suspenseful even if its lacking logic but whos interested in that anyway? The story of the movie seems to be an afterthought and doesnt fare too well, for example its never made clear why Linda left David in the first place or why she married Lloyd. The protagonistss motivations are simply left in the dark. The picture forgoes coherence of plot and relies heavily on star power and glamour instead, and of that it has plenty.

The picture makes very good use of its on-location scenes in Vegas, it starts off with highlights of now-historic Vegas landmarks and otherwise features fabulous sets. Hughes had financial interests in Nevada so glamorizing the city was in his best interest.

The Russell/Mature dynamic works surprisingly well, though I believe if Mitchum had played Matures role there would have been that extra sizzle. Those two had enough chemistry to blow up a small country.

Vincent Price is in his element playing a suave and shifty gambler. Unfortunately he is sidelined halfway through the movie and his role is not quite meaty enough, though he makes the most of his scenes. Hes good as always and manages to generate a lot of sympathy for a character whos essentially shady and crooked, but understands that his wife has to sort out her past. Russell and Price are certainly an odd couple. Did Price ever get lucky with the ladies?

Another high point is the well-filmed ahead-of-its-time helicopter/car chase towards the end of the movie with daring aerial maneuvers. The cinematography here is wonderful, the entire scene including the showdown at the end is wordless but it's visually stunning storytelling. Sometimes dialogue is optional.

Not a fantastic film by any stretch but a very enjoyable one.

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

Re: The Las Vegas Story (1952)

I watched an avi file of this a couple of years ago, agree it wasn't fantastic by any stretch ;-)

Re: The Las Vegas Story (1952)

I agree that although it's not fantastic, it certainly is enjoyable. Russell, Price and Mature were very good. Russell's songs were great as was the piano work by Hoagy Carmicheal. And I enjoyed the photography of Vegas the way it used to be.

Re: The Las Vegas Story (1952)

It's always nice to see Hoagy Carmichael.

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

Re: The Las Vegas Story (1952)

Yet another one I need to watch.

Re: The Las Vegas Story (1952)

Hi Jess,I hope that you have a Merry Christmas and I want to say thank you for the fantastic review.A few weeks ago I recorded a double bill of rare Russell RKO movies, (the other is the average Underwater!-although the sight of Russell scuba diving in a tight red dress sure is memorable) and your comments about Price make me look forward to watching the film in the next few days.

Re: The Las Vegas Story (1952)

It's a fun time waster, still have to catch Underwater!.

Merry Christmas to you too.

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

Sweet Smell of Success - 1957

Alexander Mackendricks first Hollylwood film was the peak of his career as in it was all downhill after that. SSOS was a box office flop and received mixed reviews when it was released in 1957. He did a few good films in England, but this is the best film of his career.

The predatory urban world has been the backdrop for many noir steeped in crime and violence. But without spilling a drop of blood, Mackendrick exposes the seamy underbelly of the world of winners and losers in the Broadway district where the politics of fame, fortune and failure give one man the power to make or break anyone who comes into his sphere of influence. J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) is a popular newspaper columnist and TV show host who cruelly crushes those around him, destroying people he doesnt like and using coercion and blackmail to get what he wants out of those he will let survive.

Lancaster was the one of the first guys to have his own production company and as an actor he is good in this one (up to a point), but the real star of the film is Tony Curtis. He got second billing but is the central character of the film, sleazy PR agent Sidney Falco. Curtis lobbied hard for the part wanting to shed his pretty boy image which he did too well as the film previewed poorly with viewers who said they didnt like Curtis character.

Its a great story and the script plays out beautifully even if some of the dialog is a bit strange. It's really a melodrama in which the underlying plot seems harmless enough: J.J. enlists the help of Falco in breaking up the romance between his sister and a jazz musician. But this story is very much rooted in noir sensibilities and characterizations: a truly evil and destructive bad guy; a morally bankrupt, deeply flawed anti-hero; and a manipulated, conflicted good girl who makes all the wrong decisions. The ending of this film is brilliant in its depiction of the damage done and the aftermath.

The direction, camera, lighting, photography, locations, are all classic noir. The first time I saw this several years ago I was impressed with the look of the film but not the story. This viewing, the story came through really well and I can see why it is rated so highly as a noir.