Film Noir

The Harder They Fall

The Harder They Fall

| July 22, 2003 | 0 Comments

This scathing indictment of Professional Boxing, dubbed the “red light district” of pro sports, packs a big factual punch. In his final film, Humphrey Bogart plays an out-of-work sports columnist who compromises his principles to become a PR shill for fight promoter Nick Benko (Rod Steiger). Benko is a diabolically brilliant promoter who is as […]

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Abandoned

Abandoned

| April 15, 2003 | 0 Comments

During American Cinematheque’s recent Film Noir festival, I decided to join our resident noir expert, A.K. Rode, for a screening of this rarely seen gem which took us into the seamier side of late 1940′s Los Angeles, as a reporter (Dennis O’Keefe) pursues a missing girl into the bowels of a black market baby racket. […]

Rififi

Rififi

| March 3, 2003 | 0 Comments

Then-popular French actor Jean Servais is middle-aged tough guy Tony le Stéphanois, a grim, hardboiled crook fresh from the state prison where he served time for the noble gesture of taking a rap for his younger buddy Jo le Suedois (Carl Mohner), a young tough who blurs his life of crime with his role as […]

Thief

Thief

| February 28, 2003 | 0 Comments

Frank pulls diamond heists, and he’s good at it. His teacher was one of the best, a man his friends call “Okla,” but whose real name is David. David’s in prison and has just found out he’s got a heart disease. Scheduled for release in 10 months, he may not live long enough to taste […]

Border Incident

Border Incident

| January 8, 2003 | 0 Comments

If you’re a cinephile purist who believes that a necessary attribute for a film noir must be the gritty urban environment of rain-swept streets and dark alleyways, check out Border Incident (1949) and your opinion will undoubtedly change. This surprisingly grim movie, directed by Anthony Mann and shot by master cinematographer John Alton, is as […]

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The Man Who Cheated Himself

The Man Who Cheated Himself

| November 14, 2002 | 0 Comments

Lieutenant Ed Cullen (Lee J. Cobb) is a San Francisco homicide dick who is attracted to women like a moth to a blowtorch. His clandestine love affair with socialite Lois Frazier (Jane Wyatt) undergoes a major paradigm shift when she pumps two slugs in a soon-to-be-ex husband bent on mayhem. Cullen is Johnny-on-the spot and […]

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The Well

The Well

| August 7, 2002 | 0 Comments

This frequently overlooked but important film was co-directed by Leo Popkin and produced by Harry M Popkin (this cinematic team of brothers also co-produced And Then There Were None, D.O.A., Impact, among others) and written by Russell Rouse. A young black child walks through a meadow and falls down an abandoned well. The last person […]

Bob Le Flambeur [Bob the Gambler]

Bob Le Flambeur [Bob the Gambler]

| July 15, 2002 | 0 Comments

Fold in varied amounts of The Asphalt Jungle and The Killing, add both obligatory and surprising French seasoning from director Jean-Pierre Melville, stir well and you have his cinematic valentine to post WWII Paris and American Film Noir: Bob Le Flambeur (1955). Bob the Gambler (Roger Duchesne) exudes a professional mien as he glides through […]

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The Lost Son

The Lost Son

| July 14, 2002 | 0 Comments

In true detective fashion, world-weary P.I. Xavier Lombard (Daniel Auteuil–Manon of the Spring) is wrapping up another case. A husband has hired Lombard to find out if his wife is cheating on him. In a scene most telling of contemporary attitudes and economy, Lombard confronts the wife with his photographic and tape recorded evidence. He […]

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Moonrise

Moonrise

| May 15, 2002 | 0 Comments

When does the formula plot of a guilt-ridden man tormented by his conscience not become a foundation of a 1940′s atypical film noir? With director Frank Borzage at the helm of Moonrise), the hard-boiled repartee and blind alley themes associated with classic film noir are eschewed for the subjective moral shadings typically associated with romanticist […]