The Dark Past (1948) Rudolph Maté
The Dark Past caught me off guard in a number of ways. I’m sure it happened in other films, but I can’t remember ever seeing William Holden playing a criminal or Lee J. Cobb so calm and in complete control, his voice never rising above a mezzo forte. So The Dark Past held a few (mostly) pleasant surprises.
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.
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.
Call Northside 777 (1948) Henry Hathaway
Fox Film Noir DVD
When a man named Frank Wiecek (Richard Conte, left) is found guilty of murdering a policeman in a Chicago speakeasy during Prohibition, no one seems to care, except Wiecek’s mother (Kasia Orzazewski), who places an ad in a newspaper offering $5,000 for information leading to the real murder. Chicago Times reporter P.J. McNeal (James Stewart, right) decides to investigate the ad, the story, and Wiecek himself. But nobody – including Wiecek – is interested in uncovering the truth.
Cry of the City (1948) Robert Siodmak
Kino Lorber Blu-ray
Cry of the City opens with Alfred Newman’s soaring, dramatic score, seemingly promising drama or even melodrama, until the opening credits end with an ominous chord that hits you square between the eyes. There’s no mistaking the music’s message: you’re in film noir territory.
In his introduction, Eddie Muller called the British film Corridor of Mirrors (1948) “probably the most unknown film on our (Noir City DC) schedule.” Muller also explained that British noir differs from American noir in several different ways, particularly in the British artistic response(s) to World War II, which often included art, fantasy, and obsession as ways to cope with war.
British Noir – Kino Lobber five DVD set
So you’re a film noir fan, maybe a veteran noir watcher, or maybe you’ve just gotten bit by the noir bug. Is this set for you? Let’s take a quick look at each of these films individually and see: