Raw Deal (1948) Anthony Mann
Amazon Instant Video
A woman named Pat (Claire Trevor, middle) goes to visit her man Joe (Dennis O’Keefe, right) in prison. Before she can see him, a prison official informs Pat that she’ll have to wait: Joe has another visitor that’s already talking to him. Pat is shocked to find a beautiful young social worker named Ann (Marsha Hunt, left) exiting the visitors area, but goes on in to see Joe to discuss her upcoming role in helping him escape.
Actors are actors. They usually aren’t people we know and probably aren’t even people we’ve met. If we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we probably don’t know very much about the actors we admire, certainly not first-hand. Yet when they’re gone, we feel as if we knew them and it hurts just the same. I felt that way when Jimmy Stewart died in 1997 and I feel it today upon the passing of Leonard Nimoy.
One of the greatest pleasures of getting back into comics a few years ago was reading the entire Criminal series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (followed by reading everything else I could get my hands on by this creative team). Even if you’re not a fan of comics/graphic novels but enjoy noir films or crime stories – or just plain good storytelling – you should check out Coward, the first volume in the series, which was just reissued last month from Image. You can read my full review over at The Comics Alternative.
Things are going to be quiet around the blog for the next few days, so I thought I’d let all the film noir fans chew on this for awhile: I recently read (and greatly enjoyed) Mark Fertig’s excellent book Film Noir 101: The 101 Best Film Noir Posters from the 1940s-1950s. Fertig’s 101 choices are not only great posters, but also great movies.
I decided to make a list of the films from that book that I haven’t seen, or haven’t seen in a long time (20+ years). A couple of these I actually own on DVD (or recently ordered) and others I have in my streaming queue through Amazon, Warner Archive, etc.(Those are marked in bold), but many of them I’d have to seek out elsewhere.
So here are two questions I have for you:
Private Hell 36 (1954) Don Siegel
Amazon Instant Video
In New York City, a man is robbed of $300,000 and murdered. Months later, several of the bills from that robbery begin appearing in Los Angeles. One such bill – a fifty – is given to a nightclub singer named Lili (Ida Lupino) as a tip. L.A. police detectives Cal Bruner (Steve Cochran, left) and Jack Farnham (Howard Duff, right) investigate, asking Lili if she thinks she could help them find the man who tipped her.
Yesterday I posted a review of the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself. Today, I thought I would repost a (slightly modified) tribute I wrote (on a different blog) the day he died.
Life Itself (NF 2014) Steve James
Magnolia Pictures Blu-ray
Many people may not know that Roger Ebert had been working as a journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times for five months before he was told he had just been appointed the paper’s new film critic. I’m not sure that’s a position he would’ve necessarily sought out, but that new role changed his life and ultimately took him to places he’d probably never imagined. Life Itself is obviously about Ebert’s life, but it’s also tangentially about the wonder of life and how – when it’s near its end – we can look back on it in utter amazement.
Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn (1970/2014) Hugo Pratt (IDW EuroComics)
Trade paperback, 138 pages
Italian comics legend Hugo Pratt preferred the term “drawn literature” over “comics” and it doesn’t take reading many pages of Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn to understand why. It’s not that Pratt’s work is pretentious or stuffy compared to other comics, it’s that he’s choosing to tell his stories in a different way from most other creators of his time – and ours.
Plunder Road (1957) Hubert Cornfield
Regal Films (distributed by 20th Century Fox)
Amazon Instant Video
Plunder Road is probably not the first film you think of when you think of films noir or heist films. To be quite honest, you’ve probably never thought of it at all. Maybe you’ve never even heard of it, but Plunder Road is one of those little gems that can easily slip by you if you’re not careful.
If you’re like me and read Peanuts as a kid and haven’t revisited the comic strip in many years, you might be surprised by taking a look at the first volume of Charles M. Schulz’s creation. I recently wrote an appreciation of the strip over at The Comics Alternative. Hope you enjoy it!