Film Noir Releases in March 2016

March looks to be a slim month for film noir and neonoir, offering little that we haven’t seen before in one form or another. But since February has been been pretty tough on our wallets, the scant offerings in March might give us time to catch our breaths before April. Here’s what I found for next month:

Continue reading

Blindspot Series 2016: Johnny Guitar (1954)

629

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.”

Continue reading

Champion (1949) Noirvember 2015: Episode 28

kirk-douglas-in-champion

Champion (1949) Mark Robson
(1:39)
Amazon streaming

We know from the opening scenes of Champion that we’re getting a frame story. As the film begins, Midge Kelly (Kirk Douglas, above) is already the boxing champion, about to take on another challenger, but we’ll have to wait for that bout while director Mark Robson shows us in flashback how Kelly went from riding the rails and hitchhiking to becoming the champ.

Continue reading

Sleep, My Love (1948) Noirvember 2015: Episode 21

SleepMyLove3

Sleep, My Love (1948) Douglas Sirk
(1:37)
Olive DVD (library)

Alison Courtland (Claudette Colbert, above) finds herself on a passenger train bound for Boston, with no memory of how she got there or the gun in her purse. She’s aided by fellow passenger Bruce Elcott (Robert Cummings, second picture below, left), who makes sure she gets home to her husband Richard Courtland (Don Ameche, below left), where she’ll be safe and taken care of. She’ll be taken care of, all right, just not in way Elcott thinks.

Continue reading

Baby It’s You (1983) John Sayles

132244_front

Baby It’s You (1983)
Directed by John Sayles
Produced by Robert F. Colesberry, Griffin Dunne, Amy Robinson
Written by Amy Robinson
Screenplay by John Sayles
Cinematography by Michael Ballhaus
Edited by Sonya Polonsky
Paramount Pictures
Olive Films DVD (library)
Rated R for language, nudity
(color; 1:45)

John Sayles isn’t about typical. He isn’t about routine, either, and although Baby It’s You was his first film to be backed by a major studio (and his third overall), it’s far from just another conventional high school love story.

Continue reading

Cooley High (1975) Michael Schultz

Cooley-High-movie-poster

Cooley High (1975)
American International Pictures
Directed by Michael Schultz
Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff, Steve Krantz
Written by Eric Monte
Cinematography by Paul Vombrack
Edited by Christopher Holmes
(1:47)
Olive Films
Library DVD

It’s been called “The Black American Graffiti,” which is only moderately accurate and a mostly unfair comparison, but it is something of a starting point. While writer Eric Monte certainly could have been influenced by American Graffiti (released in 1973), Cooley High, doesn’t feel like a ripoff.

Continue reading