Some of these are pretty short… So much going on… Regardless, I hope you’ll find something of interest here:
The Late Show (1977) (2x)
Written and directed by Robert Benton
Produced by Robert Altman, Scott Bushnell
Cinematography by Charles Rosher Jr.
Warner DVD – library (1:33)
The Late Show is a film I first saw when I was 15 years old, far too young to adequately appreciate it. I hadn’t gained enough life experience, hadn’t seen enough film noir, and felt as if its stars Art Carney and Lily Tomlin were trapped in a movie where they didn’t belong. To this 15-year-old mind, Carney belonged on reruns of The Honeymooners; Tomlin belonged on TV variety shows performing skits as Edith Ann and Ernestine the telephone operator. Yet here they were on the big screen in a… what? A comedy? A crime picture? To make things even weirder, I saw The Late Show in one of the strangest places you can see a movie: the theater of a cruise ship on the way to the Virgin Islands. At the time, I thought little about the movie. Now 40 years later, I embrace it as a rare gem.
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.
On Dangerous Ground (1952) Nicholas Ray (2x)
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.
Two clarifications are in order. First, when reporting the events of Noir City DC 2016, I want to give you a taste of Eddie Muller’s film introductions that is as accurate as possible while providing some thoughts of my own. I’ll try to make it clear when I am quoting or paraphrasing what Muller said. My opinions will hopefully be read only as my opinions; I’m not trying to put words in Muller’s mouth. (When in doubt, listen to Muller, not me!)
Second, last Sunday marked the fourth time I’ve seen The Narrow Margin in 20 months. I am still not tired of it and could watch it again right now. If you’ve never seen it, I hope Muller’s thoughts on the film (and maybe even mine) will convince you to seek it out.