While there aren’t a lot of film noir Blu-ray releases in February, you’ll no doubt find at least a couple of things to get excited about. As always, these titles are North American Region A releases on Blu-ray unless otherwise noted.
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) Peter Yates
The first time I saw Friends of Eddie Coyle, I thought it was a pretty good realistic, gritty crime film that I watched mostly for Robert Mitchum, who was still getting it done at age 56. Watching it again, I begin to see just how good it is.
The pickings are pretty slim in December, but if you have any money whatsoever left after November, here are a few titles worth considering for your holiday shopping or wish lists:
Blast of Silence (1961) Allen Baron
Criterion DVD – interlibrary loan
Director and star Allen Baron has spent most of his career directing television, mostly from the 70s and 80s. I’m not sure how he ever got Blast of Silence made, but I can’t wait to watch Requiem for a Killer: The Making of “Blast of Silence, one of the extras on the Criterion DVD, to find out. It’s one of those movies that seems like it was probably an uphill battle to make, but regardless of the hardships involved, it was all worth it.
Mr. Arkadin (1955) Orson Welles
(1:39 – Corinth edition)
Criterion DVD – library
I’m uncertain whether I can do justice to Mr. Arkadin either as a film or as one of the oddest entries in cinematic history, but here goes. In Naples, an American cigarette smuggler named Guy Van Stratten (Robert Arden, above right) hears the dying words of a man named Bracco, who has just been stabbed. Bracco gives Van Stratten two names, names that will supposedly lead to great riches. One of those names is Gregory Arkadin. After much searching, Van Stratten locates Arkadin (Orson Welles) who informs him that he wants Van Stratten to investigate someone. Who? Gregory Arkadin. It seems Arkadin can’t remember anything before 1927. And we’re off…
I’m taking a brief break from Noirvember to talk a bit about which version of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Dekalog to buy. I saw two of the ten episodes years ago and have wanted to watch the entire set ever since. We have two choices (actually there are more than two, but these are no doubt the two best choices): The Criterion Collection release and the Arrow release.
DVD Beaver has a comparison of all the available editions, but again, the Criterion and Arrow Blu-ray releases are the main ones I’m interested in. I’ll get into some of the more obvious differences, but the primary question for most viewers will no doubt be which version is the most true to the original films as they were originally broadcast on Polish television?
Okay, so October obviously belongs to horror, and so next month may be a bit light on new film noir releases, but remember that November (or Noirvember, if you prefer) is just around the corner. In the meantime, I hope these October noir releases – many of which are European – will give you something to consider. (Unless otherwise indicated, these are U.S. Region A Blu-ray releases.)