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. (I also tend to leave out more recent films from the last several years.) 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.
I hope you picked up enough film noir titles from last month to tide you over the very lean month of April. A big thanks goes to ClassicFlix and a couple of Region B releases, otherwise you’d be looking at a blank page right now. I’m sure more April releases are forthcoming and when they’re announced, I’ll be sure to update this post. In the meantime, here’s what April has to offer:
Mirage (1965) Movinside (France, Region B)
Gregory Peck plays David Stillwell, an accountant suffering from amnesia. The only thing he’s sure of: several people are out to kill him. A young woman (Diane Baker) helps Stillwell in one of his narrow escapes, but can he trust her? Often labeled “Hitchcockian,” Mirage is a compelling noir thriller from veteran director Edward Dmytryk and also stars Walter Matthau, Kevin McCarthy, George Kennedy, Jack Weston, Leif Erickson, and Walter Abel. It’s been years since I’ve seen this one and I can’t wait to revisit it. No word on extras or whether we’ll see a U.S. release (although the film is available domestically on DVD).
Five Steps to Danger (1957) ClassicFlix ($29.99)
John Emmett (Sterling Hayden) is having some bad luck. While on a fishing vacation, his car breaks down on a New Mexico road, forcing him to hitchhike. But his luck changes when a woman named Ann (Ruth Roman) picks him up with the understanding that he’ll share the driving. Or maybe it’s John’s bad luck after all: something’s not quite right about Ann… ClassicFlix has done some fine work lately and this new 4K restoration certainly looks enticing. No word yet on special features.
Down Three Dark Streets (1954) ClassicFlix ($29.99)
More ClassicFlix, more Ruth Roman, both of which are most welcome. When an FBI agent (Kenneth Tobey) is murdered, his partner John Ripley (Broderick Crawford, looking very stylish on the cover here) picks up the three cases his partner was working: a ring of car hijackers, a blackmail/kidnapping scheme, and a mobster on the run. Which case holds the clue to his partner’s death? Down Three Dark Streets is directed by Arnold Laven with cinematography by Joseph Biroc. As with Five Steps to Danger, no word yet on supplements.
Berlin Alexanderplatz (TV 1980) Second Sight (UK, Region B, 5 Blu-ray discs)
You may remember this release from last month, now bumped back to the end of April. Details here.
NOT FINAL ART
And although this release is several months away (October 29, to be exact), I’m overjoyed that the British label Signal One recently announced it will be releasing one of the most anticipated film noir titles from the classic era, Nightmare Alley (1947). Again, this will be a Region B release and may be just the impetus you need to purchase a region-free Blu-ray player. More on this one in the coming months.
So that’s it for April, a month so short you’re probably still drinking your morning coffee. Rest assured, we will see more noir soon. In the meantime, enjoy catching up on any of the January, February, or March releases you might’ve missed and if I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments below. Happy watching!