I saw almost twice as many movies in October than I did in September, thanks largely to the Noir City DC 2016 festival. The 11 movies I watched before Noir City can be found here and the nine I watched at Noir City here. Everything else you can find below.
Johnny Eager (1941) and Boomerang (1947)
Both films covered previously here.
I’m so behind on writing up these films that I’m going to limit myself to 100 words or less for each of these entries. Sorry to be so short, but Noirvember starts in 17 hours…
Human Desire (1954) Fritz Lang
DVD – interlibrary loan (1:31)
Terrific noir with Glenn Ford as an Army veteran train engineer who gets mixed up with Gloria Grahame and her murdering husband Broderick Crawford. Train metaphors abound and they’re fairly effective. This is a film rarely discussed, but should be.
Sudden Fear (1952) David Miller
DVD – library (1:50)
Joan Crawford is a playwright who marries an actor (Jack Palance) she once turned down. Nice suspense and another Gloria Grahame role. You either love or hate Crawford; if she works for you, you’ll enjoy this one. The ending, however, is preposterous.
I Walked with a Zombie (1943) Jacques Tourneur
Warner DVD – Val Lewton Collection (1:09)
Cat People (1942) Jacques Tourneur
Criterion Blu-ray (1:13)
Both Val Lewton-produced, Jacques Tourneur-directed films were part of our Forgotten Horror Double Feature at the library.
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950) Gordon Douglas
DVD – library (1:42)
Solid and brutal Cagney performance as a prison escapee who rubs shoulders with corrupt cops and lawyers. Often compared (less favorably) to White Heat.
Black Angel (1946) Roy William Neill
DVD – interlibrary loan (1:21)
The ending weakens an otherwise nice noir title with Dan Duryea, Peter Lorre and June Vincent, based on a Cornell Woolrich novel. Still, this is the film noir I would most like to revisit soon.
This Gun for Hire (1942) Frank Tuttle
DVD – interlibrary loan (1:21)
Highly influential Alan Ladd/Veronica Lake noir that I hope to revisit in detail in 2017. Ladd’s character Raven became something of a blueprint for noir protagonists. Not perfect, but a must-see. Also stars one of my favorite actors Laird Cregar.
A Kiss Before Dying (1956) Gerd Oswald
DVD – interlibrary loan (1:34)
With apologies to those who love this film, I don’t. Robert Wagner (never one of my favorites) plays an amoral college student trying to grab some money from his girlfriend (Joanne Woodward, not pictured; that’s Virginia Leith on the right) who is pregnant by him and (for some reason) loves him. Nice use of color and some effective scenes, but besides that, there’s not much for me here.
Hoodlum Empire (1952) Joseph Kane
DVD – interlibrary loan (1:38)
I think I could probably limit myself to one word for this film: tired. John Russell plays a former hood who goes straight and plans to testify against his former mob buddies. The film is about 20 years out of date in 1952 and contains some awful dialogue but some good people delivering it: Brian Donlevy, Claire Trevor, Forrest Tucker, Roy Roberts.
That’s it for October. Let me know what you saw, good or bad, and prepare yourselves for Noirvember!
Photos: In the Mouth of Dorkness, Showdown on Mean Street, Electric Sheep, Fourth and Sycamore, Green Briar Picture Shows, Sarah Beth Online, Quixotando, Hi-Def Digest, Cinema of the World