Director Edgar G. Ulmer can do a lot with a little, as films like Detour and Black Cat reveal. Every so often, though, even the most inventive of auteurs can run into trouble. Such is the case with Strange Illusion, a 1945 film noir that struggles under the weight of lukewarm performances, a clumsy script […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: Strange Illusion (1945)"
When it comes to bleak and beautiful noir, it’s hard to top Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street. This 1945 motion picture is based on Georges de La Fouchardière’s novel La Chienne and features a screenplay by Dudley Nichols. The material is dark and cynical and glorious, with characters traipsing through life in various stages of desperation.Read more "Film Noir Friday: Scarlet Street (1945)"
Henry Hathaway’s The House on 92nd Street is an exercise in what’s widely called the semi-documentary style, which has earned in comparisons to Jules Dassin’s 1948 noir The Naked City. As such an exercise, this 1945 movie builds substantial interest. As a film noir, it’s a tougher sell.Read more "Film Noir Friday: The House on 92nd Street (1945)"
Josef von Sternberg’s 1927 silent crime movie Underworld isn’t considered a film noir in any traditional sense, but it certainly speaks the language of the genre and serves as an instructive if influential piece of prescient cinema.Read more "Film Noir Friday: Underworld (1927)"
Robert Siodmak helms Phantom Lady, a dazzling film noir based on a screenplay by Bernard C. Schoenfeld. This 1944 picture is based on Cornell Woolrich’s 1942 novel of the same name and is the first movie produced by Hitchcock screenwriter Joan Harrison.Read more "Film Noir Friday: Phantom Lady (1944)"
Jacques Tourneur’s Experiment Perilous may have one of the most magnificent titles of all the films noir. The 1944 picture is based on the 1943 novel of the same name by Margaret Carpenter and features a screenplay by Warren Duff, with Tony Gaudio’s cinematography working its way through the Oscar-nominated interior design.Read more "Film Noir Friday: Experiment Perilous (1944)"
It’s tempting to consider The Mask of Dimitrios a relative of The Maltese Falcon. Both feature twisty plots full of deception. Both feature the cinematography of Arthur Edeson. And both feature Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, two spectacular character actors who always pair well together.Read more "Film Noir Friday: The Mask of Dimitrios (1944)"
André de Toth directs Dark Waters, a 1944 film noir that traffics in the marshes and endless murk of Louisiana. The picture is based on a Saturday Evening Post serial by Francis and Marian Cockrell and features a screenplay by Marian Cockrell, Joan Harrison and The Suspect scribe Arthur Horman.Read more "Film Noir Friday: Dark Waters (1944)"
Robert Siodmak helms The Suspect, a twisting 1944 film noir with a sincere dose of London fog. This picture features a screenplay by Bertram Millhauser and Arthur T. Horman and is based the novel This Way Out by James Ronald. The great Paul Ivano is the cinematographer.Read more "Film Noir Friday: The Suspect (1944)"
Richard Wallace directs The Fallen Sparrow, a convoluted 1943 film noir based on the novel of the same name by Dorothy B. Hughes. The screenplay is by Warren Duff and the cinematography is by Nicholas Musuraca. The look of Wallace’s picture reveals an impressive espionage core, even if the film can’t live up to the […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: The Fallen Sparrow (1943)"
Frank Tuttle’s This Gun for Hire is mostly known for a star-making turn by Alan Ladd, who plays a hitman named Philp Raven and who is cold as ice – except when it comes to kitties. The 1942 film noir is based on Graham Greene’s novel A Gun for Sale and features a screenplay by […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: This Gun for Hire (1942)"
Stuart Heisler helms 1942’s The Glass Key, which is based on the Dashiell Hammett novel of the same name and serves as the second film version of the book after a 1935 Frank Tuttle joint. Heisler’s picture features a screenplay by Jonathan Latimer and carves out a lot of the political subtext, but it still […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: The Glass Key (1942)"
Directed by George Cukor, A Woman’s Face is fundamentally a remake of the 1938 Swedish film of the same name. This 1941 picture features a screenplay by David Ogden Stewart and is based on the play Il Etait Une Fois by Francis de Croisset. It veers between controlled, emotional melodrama and flaring camp and the […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: A Woman’s Face (1941)"
Raoul Walsh directs High Sierra, a 1941 film noir with a screenplay by John Huston and W.R. Burnett. The picture is based on the novel of the same name by Burnett and is often considered as the bridge between Warner Bros. slate of gangster flicks and the escalating noir genre.Read more "Film Noir Friday: High Sierra (1941)"
Anatole Litvak directs Blues in the Night, an interesting if melodramatic film noir musical. The 1941 motion picture is based on Edwin Gilbert’s play Hot Nocturne, which was picked up by Elia Kazan and reworked. Kazan subsequently sold the material to Warner Brothers, where it was handed to Robert Rossen.Read more "Film Noir Friday: Blues in the Night (1941)"
Directed by Anatole Litvak with a screenplay by Robert Macaulay, Robert Rossen and Jerry Wald, Out of the Fog can be a little on the nose. It’s based on the Irwin Shaw play Gentle People and features the perceptive cinematography of James Wong Howe.Read more "Film Noir Friday: Out of the Fog (1941)"
A forbidding, charmingly ominous parlour noir, Ladies in Retirement is a fated document of dark doings. Directed by Charles Vidor from a screenplay by Garrett Ford and Reginald Denham, this 1941 movie is based on the 1940 Broadway play of the same name by Denham and Edward Percy. It is ensconced in a sullen, foggy […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: Ladies in Retirement (1941)"
Mervyn LeRoy’s Johnny Eager is a sometimes dazzling film noir from 1941. Featuring a screenplay by John Lee Mahin and James Edward Grant, this is an archetypical story of redemption set against the backdrop of organized crime. The cinematography of Harold Rosson touches things up and helps the production transition from glossy drama to cheap […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: Johnny Eager (1941)"
A twisted psychological film noir, Rage in Heaven is as obvious as a punch in the face. This 1941 motion picture is directed by the irregular trifecta of W.S. Van Dyke, Robert B. Sinclair and Richard Thorpe with a screenplay by Christopher Isherwood and Robert Thoeren.Read more "Film Noir Friday: Rage in Heaven (1941)"
One of the earliest and most interesting of the films noir, They Drive by Night is directed by Raoul Walsh and features a screenplay by Jerry Wald and Richard Macaulay. The whole shebang is based on A.I. Bezzerides’ 1938 novel Long Haul, which describes truckers moving fruit and perishables around California.Read more "Film Noir Friday: They Drive by Night (1940)"