Film Noir Releases in August 2016

Things look a bit slim for noir fans in August, even for those of you who own region-free players. But hopefully you’ll find something here of interest. All releases this month are Blu-ray only. Apologies for the links. WordPress is not cooperating.

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Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) Carl Franklin

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Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)
Directed by Carl Franklin
Screenplay by Carl Franklin, based on the book by Walter Mosley
Produced by Jesse Beaton, Jonathan Demme, Donna Gigliotti, Gary Goetzman, Thomas A. Imperato, Walter Mosley, Edward Saxon
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography by Tak Fujimoto
Editing by Carole Dravetz
Costumes by Sharen Davis
Twilight Time Blu-ray (1:42)

The story may be typical noir, but the look, feel, and performances in Devil in a Blue Dress make it anything but typical. The film is based on the first book in the Easy Rawlins mystery series by Walter Mosley and it’s a pity no other books were adapted.

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Bunny Lake is Missing (1965) Otto Preminger

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Bunny Lake is Missing (1965)
Directed by Otto Preminger
Produced by Otto Preminger and Martin C. Schute
Based on a novel by Marryam Modell (as Evelyn Piper)
Screenplay by John Mortimer, Penelope Mortimer, Ira Levin (uncredited)
Cinematography by Denys N. Coop
Edited by Peter Thornton
Title designs by Saul Bass
Columbia Pictures
Twilight Time Blu-ray (1:47)

If you read almost any reviews of Bunny Lake is Missing, you’ll find that most critics praise the first two-thirds of the film, lamenting that the structure crumbles to ruins during the final half hour or so. I’m not so sure I agree with that assessment. I simply do not believe that Otto Preminger – a director so meticulous with camera angles, direction of actors, and absolute (i.e. tyrannical) control of his films – simply didn’t know what he was doing with the ending. I think he knew exactly what he was doing. Perhaps some of the problems stem from scenes that linger too long after the reveal of what really happened or, more likely, an ending whose familiarity is embedded into our cinematic consciousness after these many years.

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