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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The Damned Don’t Cry (1950) Vincent Sherman

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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 Brothers
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.

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Blindspot Series 2016: Johnny Guitar (1954)

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Johnny Guitar (1954)
Directed by Nicholas Ray
Produced by Nicholas Ray
Screenplay by Philip Yordan (Ben Maddow and Nicholas Ray, uncredited)
Based on the novel by Roy Chanslor
Cinematography by Harry Stradling
Edited by Richard L. Van Enger
Music by Victor Young
Costumes by Sheila O’Brien
Republic Pictures
Olive Films Blu-ray (1:50)

Nobody really knew what to make of Johnny Guitar when it was released in 1954. Martin Scorsese says as much in his introduction on the Olive Films Blu-ray edition of the film. Audiences “didn’t know what to make of it, so they either ignored it or laughed at it.”

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Mildred Pierce (1945) Noirvember 2015: Episode 30

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Mildred Pierce (1945) Michael Curtiz
(1:51)
Warner Brothers DVD

The longer you think about Mildred Pierce, the more you realize how completely devastating it is. You may not know exactly how to feel about the film once it’s over and that’s understandable. You may not even know what to call it: film noir, melodrama, women’s picture, or all three. You can certainly make a case for each, but over the years, melodrama seems to have won out. If Mildred Pierce is indeed a melodrama, it’s one of the best you’re likely to see.

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