The Damned Don’t Cry (1950)
Directed by Vincent Sherman
Produced by Jerry Wald
Written by Harold Medford and Jerome Weidman, based on a story by Gertrude Walker
Cinematography by Ted McCord
Edited by Rudi Fehr
Costumes/Wardrobe by Sheila O’Brien (Joan Crawford, uncredited consultant)
Warner DVD (1:43)
I don’t think most people really understand what an absolute force Joan Crawford was. Watch just about any of her films (especially from the 1940s and early 50s) and you’ll see what I mean. No matter who’s directing the picture, Joan is in charge. She commands the screen and defies you to look away. You don’t even want to look away, even when some of her movies aren’t that good. But this one is.
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:
My Friend Irma Goes West (1950) Hal Walker
Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis Collection Vol. 1 DVD (1:31)
My Friend Irma Goes West is more enjoyable than its predecessor My Friend Irma (1949) in that it’s shorter and features much more of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. It’s a bit embarrassing that ditzy Irma (Marie Wilson) is relegated to a supporting role in her own movie, but producers Cy Howard and Hal Wallis recognized that Martin and Lewis were clearly on the rise. Giving them more screen time was a no-brainer even Irma could figure out (eventually).
NOTE: This post is part of a multi-week Detectives and Dames blogathon hosted by Flicker Alley to celebrate the upcoming Blu-ray/DVD releases of Woman on the Run (1950), which costars Dennis O’Keefe, and Too Late for Tears (1949). The main blogathon page may be found at Flicker Alley here, and this tribute is cross-posted at the Flicker Alley site here.
Woman on the Run may be preordered from Flicker Alley here and Too Late for Tears right here. Both are outstanding film noir movies with some great extras, including commentary tracks by the Film Noir Foundation’s Eddie Muller (Woman on the Run) and Alan K. Rode (Too Late for Tears).
No Man of Her Own (1950)
Directed by Mitchell Leisen
Produced by Richard Maibaum
Screenplay by Sally Benson, Catherine Turney
Based on the novel I Married a Dead Man by William Irish (Cornell Woolrich)
Cinematography by Daniel L. Fapp
Edited by Alma Macrorie
Music by Hugo Friedhofer
Costumes by Edith Head
Original viewing October 25, 2015, Noir City DC at the AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center
Stanwyck’s throaty narration begins as the camera takes us from a quiet street up past a perfectly manicured lawn to a sprawling home large enough to house dozens of people. It’s a place, Stanwyck’s voice tells us, of “perfect peace and security. The summer nights are pleasant in Caulfield, but not for us.”
House by the River (1950) Fritz Lang
Wealthy novelist Stephen Byrne (Louis Hayward, above right) strangles one of his house servants (Dorothy Patrick, above left) when she begins screaming to ward off Byrne’s amorous advances. Before he can think fast enough, Byrne’s brother John (Lee Bowman, below left) walks in and helps him dispose of the body by dumping it in the river (thus the nifty title). Can the brothers now fool everyone in town before they kill each other?
Sometimes the closer you live to the site of a film festival, the harder it is to participate in it. Although I live less than an hour’s drive from the AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center, I was only able to attend two days of Noir City DC. Yet in those two days, I saw some amazing films and met some wonderful people. My wife and I are planning on flying out to San Franscisco in January to attend at least part of Noir City 14. (I’ll be there for the noir; my wife – not a film fan – for the sightseeing and hiking.)
For anyone considering the next Noir City DC, rest assured that the festival is well-run, organized, and very user-friendly. The main theater is simply gorgeous, a spacious art deco masterpiece that you could spend hours examining. The two smaller theaters – although nowhere near as extravagant as the main viewing hall – are clean, comfortable and inviting. All the threater employees I encountered were nothing less than friendly and helpful.
Now on to the films I saw on Sunday, October 25:
Woman on the Run (1950)
Directed by Norman Foster
Produced by Howard Welsch, Ann Sheridan
Screenplay by Norman Foster, Alan Campbell
Based on a short story by Sylvia Tate
Cinematography by Hal Mohr
Edited by Otto Ludwig
Music by Arthur Lange, Emil Newman
In his book Film Noir FAQ (2013) , David J. Hogan writes, “At this writing, Woman on the Run is commercially available, via a poor print, on budget DVD. A good print is hidden in a vault somewhere. Let’s find it.” (p. 293)
That’s exactly what Eddie Muller set out to do. Continue reading
Dial 1119 (aka The Violent Hour) (1950)
Directed by Gerald Mayer
Produced by Richard Goldstone for MGM
Written by Hugh King, Don McGuire
Screenplay by John Monks, Jr.
Cinematography by Paul Vogel
Music by André Previn
Classic Film Noir Collection: Volume 5 DVD
Dial 1119 could be called a “social consciousness” film similar to other later noir films like The Sniper (1952) or The Phenix City Story (1955), movies that clearly contain noir elements, yet also present societal problems and how we handle(d) them. More on that in a bit.