Movies Watched in February 2015 Part I

February was practically Film Noir Month here at Journeys in Darkness and Light, especially in Part I, as you’ll see. If you’re a film noir fan, you’ll find plenty of films to consider here. If you’re not, I hope you’ll want to check out at least one or two of these films after reading a bit about them.

For those new to the blog, the links will take you to fuller, previously posted reviews. Reviews printed on this page are mainly brief thoughts about movies I didn’t have time to explore as much as I would’ve liked. I hope to post Part II in the next few days. Comments welcome. Enjoy!

screamin

I Wake Up Screaming (a.k.a. Hot Spot) (1941) Bruce Humberstone
(1:22)
Fox DVD (library)

Previously reviewed here

4/5

hitch

The Hitch-Hiker (1953) Ida Lupino
(1:11)
RKO
Amazon Instant Video

Previously reviewed here

4/5

Insomnia_criterion

Insomnia (1997) Erik Skjoldbjærg
(1:36)
Criterion Collection DVD (library)

Previously reviewed here

4.5/5

dr-mabuse-the-gambler-movie-poster-1922-1020542837

Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler (1922) Fritz Lang
(4:31)
Masters of Cinema Blu-ray (UK)

Previously reviewed here

4.5.5

the_locket_poster

The Locket (1946) John Brahm
(1:26)
Warner Archive DVD

Previously reviewed here

4/5

SONY DSC

Angel Face (1952) Otto Preminger
(1:31)
Warner Archive DVD

When an ambulance driver named Frank (Robert Mitchum) gets called out to a Beverly Hills residence, he finds that the woman who was thought to be poisoned by gas is actually all right… for now. The woman’s daughter Diane (Jean Simmons), on the other hand, is a different story. Diane is so stricken with Frank that she convinces her mother to hire him as their chauffeur. Only Frank’s girlfriend Mary (Mona Freeman) isn’t so happy about the arrangement.

Angel Face is a great noir, complete with twists and turns, a wicked femme fatale, and the always welcome inevitability of a doomed relationship. Even today, the film’s shocks are still potent.

4.5/5

tomorrow-is-another-day-movie-poster-1951-1020560053

Tomorrow is Another Day (1951) Felix Feist
(1:30)
Warner Archive DVD

Bill (Steve Cochran) was convicted of murder at age 13, served 18 years, and was freed, only to find that he doesn’t know how to get along very well in the outside world. As luck would have it, he’s attracted to a dancer named Catherine (Ruth Roman), which is all well and good, except Bill won’t take “no” for an answer. Plus, Catherine’s police detective boyfriend (Hugh Sanders) doesn’t appreciate the attention she’s getting from Bill.

Soon Bill finds himself in the middle of another murder and the only thing he knows to do is run.

Tomorrow is Another Day is a solid story filled with social consciousness (especially the plight of ex-cons trying to go straight) and an ending that doesn’t quite fit into the noir mold, but Steve Cochran does a nice job as does Ruth Roman. The second half of the film requires a different shift and mood, and if you can go along with it, you’ll probably enjoy Tomorrow is Another Day.

Apparently the film was written with John Garfield in mind for the role of Bill, but Garfield died in 1951, so Cochran was brought in for the role. Also of interest: Guy Endore, who wrote the story, also wrote the classic horror novel The Werewolf of Paris (1933).

4/5

PLUNDER ROAD

Plunder Road (1957) Hubert Cornfield
(1:12)
Amazon Instant Video

Previously reviewed here

3.5/5

high_wall_ver2

High Wall (1947) Curtis Bernhardt
(1:39)
Library DVD

When police find the wife of Steven Kenet (Robert Taylor) strangled to death, all signs point to Kenet. Kenet claims he didn’t do it, but he suffered a brain injury in the war, so it’s possible he did kill his wife and just didn’t remember it. Dr. Ann Lorrison (Audrey Totter) thinks surgery could cure Kenet and seeks to help him and find the real killer.

High Wall certainly contains elements of noir style, yet it’s also drenched in melodrama and a bit of soap opera… not that those are bad things; in this case, they work quite well. Taylor gives a good performance balancing confidence, vulnerability and helplessness. Look for a cameo from H.B. Warner, who played Mr. Gower in It’s a Wonderful Life. Director Curtis Bernhardt’s next film would be Possessed (1947), a Joan Crawford film noir I hope to watch and review soon.

4/5

ebert...

Life Itself (NF 2014) Steve James
(2:01)
Magnolia Pictures Blu-ray

Oh, do I miss Roger Ebert… Previously reviewed here

4/5

(Photos: MoviePoster.com , Criterion Collection, The Nitrate DivaPariscineMovie Poster ShopCinema Gumbo, IMP Awards, RogerEbert.com)

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One thought on “Movies Watched in February 2015 Part I

  1. Pingback: Best Movies of 2015: Film Noir | Journeys in Darkness and Light

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