(Southside 1-1000 is the third in a series of four film noir titles I recently purchased from Warner Archive. I previously discussed Riffraff  and The Threat . Look for a review of Out of the Fog , the final film in this set, very soon.)
Southside 1-1000 (1950)
Directed by Boris Ingster
Produced by Frank King, Maurice King
Screenplay by Boris Ingster, Leo Townsend
Based on a story by Bert C. Brown, Milton M. Raison
Cinematography by Russell Harlan
Edited by Christian Nyby
Warner Archive DVD/MOD (1:13)
The King Brothers’ masterpiece, Gun Crazy (1950)
The list of movies King Brothers Productions planned to make but didn’t is nearly as long as the ones they did produce, and of those films, I’d love to see them all. (And if there’s a King Brothers biography out there [I can’t find one], I’d certainly buy it.) For nearly 20 years, the King Brothers broke all the rules, employing blacklisted writers in the 1940s and 50s, publicly trading their company, and creating several good films including one masterpiece, Gun Crazy (1950). Southside 1-1000 was the first film the King Brothers made after Gun Crazy and while it’s not in the same league with that film (What film is?), it’s definitely worth a look, especially for film noir fans.
The Killer That Stalked New York (1950) Earl McEvoy
Sheila Bennet (Evelyn Keyes, right) has big plans. She’s just returned to New York from Cuba, where she’s stolen $50,000 worth of diamonds for her husband Matt Krane (Charles Korvin). Their plan is to lay low separately until the feds give up on them, but Matt has a different plan he’s not telling Sheila about: he’s secretly been running around with Sheila’s sister Francie (Lola Albright, left) and plans to ditch them both once he has the money from selling the diamonds.
Oh, but wait…
The Underworld Story (1950) Cy Endfield
Warner DVD (1:31)
Newspaper reporter Mike Reese (Dan Duryea) gets canned from his job at a big city paper and discovers that no one will hire him. Desperate, he borrows $5,000 from a local gangster (Howard Da Silva) and buys a half interest in the tiny Lakewood Gazette in the sleepy town of Lakewood, where nothing ever happens other than the occasional bake sale and a few obituaries.
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.
Caged (1950) John Cromwell
Warner Archive DVD (1:37)
“Pile out, you tramps, end of the line!”
“Women in prison” movies became a huge subgenre of crime films in the 1970s, but many people forget that they’d been around for several years. Directed by John Cromwell (sometimes called the “Master of Melodrama”), Caged served as a template of sorts for future entries of the subgenre. In this picture written by Virginia Kellogg (based on her story “Women Without Men” with Bernard C. Schoenfeld), 19-year-old Marie Allen (Eleanor Parker) is sent to prison for her part in an armed robbery attempt which left her husband dead. Marie has no idea how to handle living with hardened criminals and navigating a prison culture she can’t understand, but things soon get even worse: she finds out she’s pregnant and won’t be able to gain parole to have the baby.
Directed and produced by Roberto Rossellini
Story by Roberto Rossellini with collaboration by Sergio Amiedi, G. P. Callegari, Art Cohn, and Renzo Cesana
Screenplay by Rossellini and Father Félix Morlión
Cinematography by Otello Martelli
Edited by Roland Gross (uncut version) and Alfred L. Werker (U.S. version)
Stromboli’s full title in Italian reads Stromboli, terra di Dio or Stromboli, Land of God. The complete title is crucial to understanding what Rossellini is trying to convey. The film goes beyond the concept of Italian neorealism, reaching for something larger and yet personal and intimate. Does it succeed?