While October offered few film noir releases, the outlook for Noirvember is a bit better, although some of these releases come from Europe, so you’ll need an all-region Blu-ray player (which I highly recommend) for those titles. Let’s get started…
Croupier (1998) Hen’s Tooth Video
Perhaps Mike Hodges’s Croupier is more of a thriller than a neo noir, but the story of struggling writer Jack Manfred (Clive Owen) taking a job as a casino croupier contains several noir elements. I look forward to seeing this one again.
Elevator to the Gallows (1958) Gaumont (France)
No one who’s seen Louis Malle’s first film can forget it, either because of the amazing jazz soundtrack by Miles Davis or Jeanne Moreau’s career-launching performance or the fact that it’s an extremely effective noir thriller. I’m not sure what supplements will be on this French Blu-ray, nor am I sure when we’ll see a domestic Blu-ray upgrade from Criterion, so I’ll probably hold off on this one for now.
The Fallen Idol (1948) Vintage Classics (UK)
Earlier this year, I discussed whether Carol Reed’s The Fallen Idol is or isn’t a film noir. Regardless, it’s a great film that’s out of print from Criterion, and again, as with Elevator to the Gallows, who knows when we’ll see a Criterion Blu-ray upgrade? I’m planning on getting this one.
Pitfall (1948) Kino Lorber
Kino Lorber’s Blu-ray release of André De Toth’s Pitfall tops my list for November must-have films. I saw this one for the first time back in March and can’t wait to revisit Dick Powell, Lizabeth Scott, Raymond Burr and their tangled web of deception. And best of all, the disc will contain an audio commentary by Eddie Muller. Do not miss this one.
A Bullet for Joey (1955) Kino Lorber
I’ve actually never seen this Lewis Allen film, but I suspect it may be more crime drama than film noir. Although it does contain noir favorite Audrey Totter, it also stars George Raft and Edward G. Robinson, actors I associate more with crime films than noir. I’m going to hold off on this one for now.
Farewell, My Lovely (1975) Shout Factory DVD
Robert Mitchum was pushing sixty when he played Philip Marlowe in Farewell, My Lovely, a remake of Murder, My Sweet (1944). Mitchum also played Marlow again in the awful 1978 remake of The Big Sleep, so I hope Farewell, My Lovely is a better experience. It has to be. This is a DVD-only release from Shout Factory. (And this is the best cover they could come up with? Mitchum looks like he just stepped in something.)
The Crooked Way (1949) Kino Lorber
There’s some confusion over exactly when this disc will be released. The DVD edition has a release date of November 22, with the Blu-ray coming on December 8. I suspect we’ll see both on December 8, but I’ll keep it here just in case. The film stars John Payne, my favorite “gets no respect” film noir actor in a WWII veteran amnesia story with cinematography by the great John Alton. I’ve never seen it, but I suspect I’ll blind buy it.
Le dos au Mur (Back to the Wall) (1958) Gaumont (France)
I’ve never seen this French film of infidelity, blackmail and murder starring Gerard Oury and Jeanne Moreau, but Bosley Crowther’s review makes me want to pick this one up.
That’s all the film noir releases I’m aware of in November. If I’ve missed any, please let me know.