Noirvember 2016, Episode 29: Pickup on South Street (1953)


Pickup on South Street (1953) Samuel Fuller (2x)
Eureka! Masters of Cinema Blu-ray (UK)


It’s just another job for pickpocket Skip McCoy (Richard Widmark, right)… He spots a woman on a New York City subway train, lifts her wallet, and is on his way. He’s done it a thousand times and hardly has to even think about it. But this time Skip has picked up more than he’s bargained for. The wallet contains microfilm filled with top-secret government information. The woman named Candy (Jean Peters, left) was going to deliver the microfilm to her ex-boyfriend Joey (Richard Kiely). Joey had told Candy that the envelope she was delivering contained stolen business documents. Candy doesn’t know that Joey is really a communist spy and Skip doesn’t know what he’s got. They’re both in a world of trouble.

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Noirvember 2016, Episode 28: Act of Violence (1948)


Act of Violence (1948) Fred Zinnemann (2x)
Warner Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 DVD


World War II hero Frank Enley (Van Heflin) is a well-respected man in Santa Lisa, California and has everything going for him: a wonderful wife named Edith (Janet Leigh) and a little boy named Georgie.


But when Frank discovers that one of his war buddies Joe Parkson (Robert Ryan) desperately wants to see him, he panics. No one knows why, but Frank’s fear forces him into hiding.

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Noirvember 2016, Episode 27: Decoy (1946)


Decoy (1946) Jack Bernhard (2x)
Warner Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 DVD

Like many film noir movies, this Monogram picture is told mostly in flashback, but the weird nature of the film combined with multiple double crosses and a seriously wicked femme fatale, all in a glorious low-budget production, make Decoy a must-see. As the story begins, a dying Margot Shelby (Jean Gillie) tells police Sgt. Joe Portugal (Sheldon Leonard) the story of Margot’s gangster boyfriend Frankie Olins (Robert Armstrong), a criminal who’s about to go to the gas chamber for killing a guard during a heist. Although he got nabbed, Frankie made off with $400,000 and swears he’s going to take the knowledge of where the money’s stashed with him to the grave. Continue reading

Noirvember 2016, Episode 26: Crime Wave (1954)


Crime Wave (1954) André de Toth (2x)
Warner Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 DVD


LAPD Detective Lieutenant Sims (Sterling Hayden, above) is having a tough time trying to quit smoking, but that’s nothing compared to the problem of finding a cop killer. Sims is sure about one thing, though: once a bad apple, always a bad apple. So when ex-con Steve Lacey (Gene Nelson, below center) comes up as a possible accomplice in the murder and maybe also a bank robbery, Sims is clearly looking in Lacey’s direction.

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Noirvember 2016, Episode 25: Out of the Past (1947)


Out of the Past (1947) Jacques Tourneur (4x)
Warner DVD, Blu-ray


We may be done with the past, but the past is never done with us. Robert Mitchum plays Jeff, a man trying to escape his shady past and settle down in a small rural community with a good woman (Virginia Huston, above left), but former big city boss Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas) has other plans for him. First, find Whit’s girl Kathie Moffat (Jane Greer, below right), who shot him and stole $40,000 from him.

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Film Noir Holiday Gift Guide

I’ve seen a lot of great gift guides floating around lately. Two in particular are excellent for the lover of classic film: first the Classic Movie Gift Guide from The Blonde at the Film and then the 2016 Classic Film Holiday Gift Guide from Out of the Past. Both of these excellent gift guides inspired me to create my own, one dedicated solely to film noir. Now understand that as much as I love film noir, I am not an expert. I am still in the infancy stages of learning about film noir, so my suggestions are far from comprehensive. Yet I hope they will be helpful.

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Noirvember 2016, Episode 23: His Kind of Woman (1951)


His Kind of Woman (1951) John Farrow
Warner Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 3 DVD

Confession time: I had always thought I had seen His Kind of Woman, but about two minutes into the film, I realized I hadn’t. I think I was getting it confused with The Big Steal (1949), another Robert Mitchum picture. I should’ve known something was up when I heard Eddie Muller say that His Kind of Woman makes Specter of the Rose (1946) look normal.

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Noirvember 2016, Episode 22: The Lady Confesses (1945)


The Lady Confesses (1945) Sam Newfield
Mill Creek Crime Wave DVD

The Lady Confesses isn’t the worst hour and four minutes I’ve ever spent and I suspect the same may be true of you. (If not, you haven’t seen nearly enough really bad movies in your life.) It’s a Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) flick, which may mean nothing to folks who are not fans of classic films. PRC was also one of the Poverty Row studios, a term that should need no explanation after watching just a few minutes of this film. As long as you know this about The Lady Confesses and adjust your expectations accordingly (i.e. You ain’t gettin’ Citizen Kane here…), you might have a pretty good time.

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