While July seems a pretty light month, this might be a good time to catch your breath and recover from June, which is turning out to be quite a month for film noir. Unless indicated otherwise, the following releases are Blu-ray, Region A.
All Night Long (1962) Network (UK, Region B)
This little gem from British director Basil Dearden (included in the Criterion Eclipse set Basil Dearden’s London Underground certainly deserves a Blu-ray release. The film is a reimagining of Shakespeare’s Othello with a fantastic jazz score featuring cameos by musicians Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, and others. But the real attraction – apart from the score – is the performances by Patrick McGoohan, Paul Harris, and Marti Stevens.
Suture (1993) Arrow
This title was delayed from its originally announced release date of June 21. Black-and-white neo-noir about a man who fakes his own death and decides to assume the identity of his half-brother. The reviews on this one are certainly mixed, so you might want to read a few spoiler-free reviews to see if this release is right for you. (Arrow is also releasing a UK edition.)
The Rockford Files: Season One (1974-75) Mill Creek DVD
The Rockford Files: Season Two (1975-76) Mill Creek DVD
Okay, I know this is a TV show and maybe not technically noir, but the series is about a private detective and the few episodes I’ve seen contain some noir elements. If you’re curious, you can still stream the show on Hulu. (23 episodes in Season One, 22 in Season Two. Looks like no extras of any kind in either set.)
The Outsider (1980) Olive Films
Tale of a U.S. Vietnam veteran (Craig Wasson) seeking to join the IRA in Belfast, just like his grandfather (Sterling Hayden) did. Certainly seems ripe for some noir elements, so much so that John Grant included it in his A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir, which is good enough for me.
Kiss of Death (1947) Signal One Entertainment (UK, Region B)
After getting caught in an attempted robbery, Nick Bianco (Victor Mature) agrees to help the cops nab big-time crook Tommy Udo (Richard Widmark) to expedite a quicker release date so he can spend time with his kids. Widmark may be fourth-billed on the cover, but he’s the one people remember from this film, playing a villain so nasty it helped launch his career. Nice directorial work by Henry Hathaway. This one should be on every noir fan’s must-own list.
Deadline – U.S.A. (1952) Kino Lorber
For folks who don’t own a region-free player, this is arguably the highlight of the month. Nifty newspaper noir with a great cast including Humphrey Bogart, Ethel Barrymore, Kim Hunter, Warren Stevens, Ed Begley, and one of my noir favorites, Paul Stewart. Don’t miss this one.
Five Miles to Midnight (Le Couteau dans la Plaie) (1962) Kino Lorber
A woman (Sophia Loren) drives her husband (Anthony Perkins) to the airport, tells him she’s divorcing him, then later hears a news story that his flight has crashed leaving no survivors. Or did someone survive? Despite big-name stars Loren and Perkins, the reviews I’ve read seem to indicate that Five Miles to Midnight is a total misfire. Yet with these two stars and Anatole Litvak directing, how bad could it be?
If you know of any noir releases I’ve missed for July, please let me know in the comments section. Thanks!