Noirvember 2017, Episode 20: Scandal Sheet (1952)

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Scandal Sheet (1952) Phil Karlson
TCM (1:22)

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I believe there’s no such thing as too much Phil Karlson, so I proudly present Scandal Sheet for your Noirvember viewing pleasure. Broderick Crawford (who previously appeared in The Mob) stars as Mark Chapman, a no-nonsense newspaper man who has taken over the slagging New York Express and – much to the chagrin of the paper’s Board of Directors – turned it into a tabloid sensation.

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Noirvember 2017, Episode 10: This Woman is Dangerous (1952)

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This Woman is Dangerous (1952) Felix E. Feist
TCM (1:40)

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.

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Noirvember 2017, Episode 3: Beware, My Lovely (1952)

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Beware, My Lovely (1952) Harry Horner
TCM (1:17)

Beware, My Lovely is one of those movies that contains some obvious problems (which we’ll get to in a moment), but offers rich rewards, especially for fans of Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino. After an attention-getting opening (which I will not describe), we find itinerant handyman Howard Wilton (Ryan) looking for work in a quaint, small town sometime after World War I. Helen Gordon (Lupino), whose husband died in the war, happens to be by herself for the holidays and hires Howard for help with a few chores. Helen is friendly and Howard begins his work well, but we soon suspect that something is terribly wrong. Howard swings back and forth between moments of kindness and dangerous rage, often in the same sentence. Realizing that Howard is volatile and unbalanced, Helen carefully tries to read his moods and act in a way that will placate him long enough for her to alert someone as to the danger she’s in.

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Without Warning! (1952) Arnold Laven

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Without Warning! (1952)
Directed by Arnold Laven
Written by William Raynor
Produced by Arthur Gardner and Jules V. Levy
Cinematography by Joseph F. Biroc
Edited by Arthur H. Nadel
Dark Sky Films DVD – interlibrary loan (1:15)

Without Warning! looks like a super low-budget picture (which it is) that you’d probably pass by, but you shouldn’t; it’s surprisingly good. The first thing I noticed about the cheesy-looking DVD cover was Adam Williams – a somewhat familiar actor – holding a pair of garden shears.

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Outside of his many appearances in TV shows, Williams (a distinguished WWII veteran) is probably most famous for his role as Valerian, one of Phillip Vandamm’s (played by James Mason) henchmen in North by Northwest (1959), where he also handles a pair of garden shears, albeit a larger pair. (That’s Williams on the right, trying not to get upstaged by Cary Grant. Sorry, Adam… You don’t stand a chance, dude.)

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Noirvember 2016, Episode 13: On Dangerous Ground (1952)

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On Dangerous Ground (1952) Nicholas Ray (2x)
(1:22)
Warner Archive Blu-ray

In every Nicholas Ray film I’ve seen, there’s always an underlying darkness that emerges from within what appears to be a conventional (or more likely an unconventional) drama and that’s certainly true of On Dangerous Ground. I just started reading Nicholas Ray: An American Journey by Bernard Eisenschitz, which is a fascinating look at the director’s life and work. I haven’t gotten that far into the book, but I feel certain that loneliness and isolation play a big part in many of his films. They certainly do in this one.

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The Turning Point (1952) Noirvember 2015: Episode 23

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The Turning Point (1952) William Dieterle
(1:25)
Amazon streaming

New district attorney John Conroy (Edmond O’Brien, above right) is young, eager and determined to wipe out crime, starting with the city’s most powerful syndicate run by Neil Eichelberger (Ed Begley). Conroy even appoints his dad (Tom Tully), a cop, to be part of his task force. But Conroy’s reporter friend Jerry McKibbon (William Holden, above left) discovers that Conroy’s dad has ties to Eichelberger. That could make for an awkward Thanksgiving…

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