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….
Noirvember is racing right along. I’m still on pace to deliver brief reviews of one film noir title a day and a bonus episode or two. (Another is coming up soon!) If you missed any films from Week 1, look no further. On to the Week 2 recap:
Roadblock (1951) Harold Daniels
You never want to hear Charles McGraw saying this about you: “Let me have him for a minute…”
Cry Vengeance (1954) Mark Stevens
Olive Blu-ray (1:23)
San Francisco Detective Vic Barron (Mark Stevens) was so close to bringing down a gang connected to organized crime… In fact, he was too close: the mob bombed his car in an attempt to make him disappear. Barron survived with a disfigured face, but his wife and child were killed in the blast.
Now, after serving three years in prison, a set-up for a crime he didn’t commit, Barron follows a lead to Ketchikan, Alaska, out to find the man who bombed his family. Along the way, Barron encounters a psycho mob footman named Roxey (Skip Homeier) and maybe more problems than he can handle.
Repeat Performance (1947) Alfred L. Werker
Ok Ru (1:32)
Repeat Performance asks a question we’ve probably all asked at some point: What if I could live part of my life over and change the outcome? This happens to Sheila Page (Joan Leslie) on New Year’s Eve as she finds herself holding a gun, standing over her dead husband Barney (Louis Hayward). In a panic, she flees the scene and seeks out her friend, a poet named William Williams (Richard Basehart in his first film). During this frantic moment, Sheila wishes she could go back and live 1946 all over again, but with a different outcome.
Drive a Crooked Road (1954) Richard Quine
Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics III DVD (1:23)
Eddie Shannon (Mickey Rooney) is both a great mechanic and race car driver, but he’s socially awkward around women and not much more at ease around men, especially the guys he works with at a Los Angeles garage. Eddie can’t believe it when a woman named Barbara (Dianne Foster) brings her car into the shop and asks specifically for him, even telling Eddie which beach she’ll be at later. When he finds Barbara at the beach, she’s with a good-looking guy named Steve (Kevin McCarthy in only his second credited film), a guy Barbara claims is only a friend. Something’s going on here….
This Woman is Dangerous (1952) Felix E. Feist
This Woman is Dangerous should probably be retitled This Woman Is Under Contractual Obligation as it was Joan Crawford’s final film for Warner Bros. (Her next movie would be the independently produced noir Sudden Fear.) This is far from Crawford’s best work (even she dismissed it) but it does have a few things going for it.