I usually wait until the end of the month to tell you about the next month’s film noir releases on Blu-ray, but I thought I’d get this out a couple of weeks early to better prepare you financially. Hang on: there’s a lot to cover. (All releases are Blu-ray and U.S. Region A discs unless otherwise noted.)
The Panic in Needle Park (1971) Signal One Entertainment (UK, Region B)
In his book A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir, John Grant calls this film “borderline noir,” a film about two addicts (Al Pacino and Kitty Winn) struggling to determine for themselves which is stronger: their love or their addiction. I’ve never seen this one, but I know it has a dedicated fan base.
Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (1922) Kino Lorber
Okay, so this film isn’t technically noir and it was released well before any film we currently think of today as noir, but it certainly contains elements that would become important to noir such as crime, deception, paranoia, and much more. Rudolf Klein-Rogge plays Dr. Mabuse, a criminal mastermind who controls and manipulates people and institutions in Berlin with ease. If you’d like to know more, you can read my review of the Eureka! Masters of Cinema edition (UK, Region B) here:
I know of several noir fans who love this as well as the other Mabuse films. If you’re into silent films at all and are reading this post because you love noir, I think you’ll enjoy this one.
De Palma (2015) Lionsgate
Although I’m not the biggest fan of director Brian De Palma, I do recognize his contribution to neo-noir. While I probably won’t buy this, I certainly want to see it.
Cry of the City (1948) Kino Lorber
Kino Lorber is killing it this year! Here comes another great noir directed by the great Robert Siodmak. I’ve actually never seen this one, but it generally gets very high marks from lots of noir heads. Richard Conte (in what many consider his finest performance) is a jewel thief as well as a cop killer who busts out of prison, but two police detectives (Victor Mature and Fred Clark) are closing in fast. I can’t wait for this one… The only thing that would totally send me over the moon would be an Eddie Muller commentary, but I suspect this will feature Adrian Wootton’s commentary instead, which I’m sure will be enjoyable.
Update: This release has been pushed back to November 15. Thanks to Michael Cannon for the heads-up!
Love Me or Leave Me (1955) Warner Archive
I typically don’t like musicals, but this isn’t your typical musical. Torch singer Ruth Etting (Doris Day) is propelled to stardom thanks to a tyrannical manager who is also a Chicago mobster (James Cagney). Cagney is magnificent, as is Day, who has several great songs throughout. This is not a light, happy film. Although full of Eastmancolor, the film contains plenty of darkness (literal and metaphorical). This played at the Noir City festival in San Francisco earlier this year and I was blown away by it. I think you will be, too.
Road House (1948) Kino Lorber
Outstanding noir about a nightclub owner (Richard Widmark) who becomes attracted to his new cabaret singer (Ida Lupino), who is attracted to the owner’s best friend (Cornell Wilde). I’m pretty certain the Eddie Muller commentary will be ported over from the 20th Century Fox DVD release. Don’t miss this one.
The Glass Key (1942) Arrow (UK, Region B)
Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake were a very popular pair onscreen for a few years, making huge waves in This Gun for Hire (1942), which they followed up with The Glass Key, based on the Dashiell Hammett novel of the same name. A German Blu-ray of the film was released earlier this year. I’m thinking a Ladd/Lake Blu-ray box set would be nice, especially since This Gun for Hire has never been released on Blu-ray in any country as far as I can tell.
The Blue Dahlia (1946) Arrow (UK, Region B)
Again, as far as I can tell, this is the first time The Blue Dahlia has been released on Blu-ray. The film features another pairing of Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake and was Raymond Chandler’s first original screenplay. Johnny (Ladd) returns from WWII to find that his wife (Doris Dowling) has not exactly been sitting at home alone. A mostly good noir that suffers from one of the most ridiculous endings of all time.
Twin Peaks: The Original Series, Fire Walk With Me & The Missing Pieces (1990-1992) Paramount Pictures
I’m not sure what’s different about this release as compared to the 2014 Blu-ray release, except that this edition has one less disc, 9 instead of 10. (Let’s hope the supplements found their way onto other discs.) I’m also not sure what “The Missing Pieces” refers to unless it’s referring to the previous release having the deleted scenes from Fire Walk With Me integrated into the film and not as separate supplements. Anyone with further information, please feel free to comment.
Cat People (1942) Criterion
I certainly hope we see more Val Lewton-produced films in the Criterion Collection. This Jacques Tourneur-directed film is generally thought of more as a horror title, but its noir elements are just as impressive. This new edition features a new 2K restoration and possibly a new supplement or two. I haven’t compared what supplements are included on my old DVD, but it’s safe to say I’ll pick this one up.
Blood Simple (1984) Criterion
The Coen brothers debut film has been available on Blu-ray previously, but this new edition features a new restored 4K transfer with several new supplements. A must-own.
The Laughing Policeman (1973) Rimini Editions (France, Region B)
This police procedural is based on the fourth book of the Martin Beck series of detective novels (which are very good) by Swedish writers Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. The story isn’t set in Stockholm, but rather San Francisco with Walter Matthau as Jake Martin, a detective attempting to solve the murders of several people who were gunned down on a city bus. Directed by Stuart Rosenberg, the film also stars Bruce Dern, Louis Gossett Jr., Anthony Zerbe, and Cathy Lee Crosby. If you’re a U.S. film noir fan and can wait a little longer, Kino Lorber will be releasing this film on Blu-ray in October.
Lured (1947) Coen Media Group
Be aware that Lured is part of the Blu-ray double feature Two Films from Director Douglas Sirk, which also includes A Scandal in Paris (1946), which is a crime film, but probably not as noir-based as is Lured, which features Lucille Ball as a dancer whose friend (Tanis Chandler) goes missing, believed to be the victim of the “Poet Killer,” a murderer who attracts his victims through personal columns in London newspapers. What a cast! In addition to Ball, the film features George Sanders, Charles Coburn, Boris Karloff, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, George Zucco and Alan Napier. Too bad Lured isn’t a stand-alone release; I’d probably pick it up. As it stands, this double feature is a little pricey at $49.95.
Whew! Hope you’ve got some money left for food and such. As always, if you know of other noir or noir-ish films coming out in September that I’ve overlooked, please let me know in the comments section.