White Heat (1949) Raoul Walsh
Ultimate Gangsters Collection Blu-ray (1:54)
James Cagney stars as Cody Jarrett, psychotic leader of a gang of robbers, but there’s much more to the role and the film. Jarrett is vicious, murdering people without thinking twice, even discarding his own people if they’re injured and unable to help themselves.
My previous bonus episode covered T-Men (1947), a recent Blu-ray from ClassicFlix. Now comes another release from the same company, one that may be even more impressive than T-Men: Alfred L. Werker’s He Walked by Night (1948) with directorial contributions by Anthony Mann.
Two Men in Manhattan (Deux hommes dans Manhattan) (1959) Jean-Pierre Melville
Kanopy streaming (1:25)
I’m stepping outside my own guidelines for Noirvember today by viewing a film from 1959. The reasons? The film appears on Kanopy, a new streaming service that all Anne Arundel County library patrons can access for free, and it’s a Jean-Pierre Melville film that I hadn’t previously seen.
Scandal Sheet (1952) Phil Karlson
I believe there’s no such thing as too much Phil Karlson, so I proudly present Scandal Sheet for your Noirvember viewing pleasure. Broderick Crawford (who previously appeared in The Mob) stars as Mark Chapman, a no-nonsense newspaper man who has taken over the slagging New York Express and – much to the chagrin of the paper’s Board of Directors – turned it into a tabloid sensation.
Dark City (1950) William Dieterle
Olive Films Blu-ray (1:38)
Danny Haley (Charlton Heston, in his first major screen role) and his hustler buddies (Ed Begley and Jack Webb, with Harry Morgan hanging around) target a man named Winant (Don DeFore) in a poker game. Winant does well during his initial game, then gets into trouble when he returns the next night. Big trouble. Things get so bad that Winant’s brother comes around looking for the the gang of hustlers.
Tight Spot (1955) Phil Karlson
Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics III DVD (1:37)
It seems odd that a play which ran for only 21 performances on Broadway would get the green light for a movie starring Ginger Rogers and Edward G. Robinson, but that’s what happened with Tight Spot. Based on the 1953 play Dead Pigeon by Lenard Kantor, Tight Spot is another “protect the witness long enough for her to testify” movie, this time with a female prison inmate and former model Sherry Conley (Ginger Rogers) willing to expose mobster Benjamin Costain (Lorne Greene) in front of a jury.
Photo: Film Riot
If you’re new to my monthly Film Noir Releases posts, welcome. My goal is to cover all the first-time releases to Blu-ray and DVD, usually passing over reissues unless there’s a good reason to include them. Unless otherwise noted, the following are all North American Region A Blu-ray discs. I often use the terms “film noir” and “neo-noir” rather loosely, so while you may quibble with some of my choices, I hope these are films you’ll at least consider. As always, if you know of any film noir or neo-noir films I’ve left out, please let me know in the comments below. And thanks for reading.
Let’s face it: the pickings are quite slim in December, but after the holidays, who really has any money anyway? Yet December does offer at least one must-own disc and an epic collection for those who have a Region B or region free player. So let’s get started:
Manhandled (1949) Lewis R. Foster
Writer Alton Bennet (Alan Napier) confides to his therapist Dr. Redmond (Harold Vermilyea) that he’s having nightmares of killing his wife Ruth (Irene Harvey), who just happens to own a very impressive collection of jewelry. Sure enough, Mrs. Bennet turns up dead and, of course, Alton is the leading suspect, but Detective Lieutenant Bill Dawson (Art Smith) thinks Alton is innocent.
The Dark Mirror (1946) Robert Siodmak
Olive Blu-ray (1:25)
Watching The Dark Mirror in 1946 was undoubtedly a fascinating experience. First of all you had Olivia de Havilland performing wonderfully as twin sisters, a Nunnally Johnson screenplay, cinematographer Milton R. Krasner, music by Dimitri Tiomkin and, of course, Robert Siodmak directing. Over 70 years later, the film’s impact is far less than it was in 1946, but this has less to do with the people who made the film than our understanding of psychology.
The Burglar (1957) Paul Wendkos
Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics III DVD (1:30)
How many movies give the bassoon soloist a screen credit?
The Burglar is one of those film noir titles you hardly ever hear anyone talking about despite the fact that it features a David Goodis script (based on his 1953 novel of the same name) and stars film noir icon Dan Duryea. It also features Jayne Mansfield, which may surprise you in ways you hadn’t expected….