Film Noir

The Killers

The Killers

| May 6, 2002 | 0 Comments

Director Donald Siegel is probably best known for the films he made with Clint Eastwood: Dirty Harry, Two Mules for Sister Sara, The Beguiled, Coogan’s Bluff, and Escape from Alcatraz. Probably few people realize that he directed the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In the 40′s, 50′s and early 60′s he made his share […]

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The Salton Sea

The Salton Sea

| May 5, 2002 | 0 Comments

Val Kilmer is one of those people who can be very, very good or very, very bad, to my tastes, anyway. It must be something in his acting which triggers a response that is less than positive in me. And I don’t feel that I am alone in having this point of view. In truth, […]

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The Prowler

The Prowler

| April 17, 2002

What does a restless Susan Gilvay (Evelyn Keyes) do when her older husband works evenings as a radio disc jockey? She calls the police to investigate when she is startled by a peeping tom. Enter cop as predator: Webb Garwood (Van Heflin). Garwood doesn’t collar the window peeper, but his eyes protrude like golf balls […]

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The Dark Corner

The Dark Corner

| February 17, 2002

Spirited discussions about film noir often hinge on subjective applications of traditional categorizations such as “crime drama,” “suspense,” “mystery” and “melodrama.” Which crime dramas are film noirs? Aren’t some melodramas actually noirs? Are certain Alfred Hitchcock films actually noirs or suspense films? While this debate is often the equivalent of using cinematic algebra to square […]

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Plunder Road

Plunder Road

| February 9, 2002

Plunder Road is a bare-bones noir caper flick with some nice plot and performance discriminators. The film opens with five robbers in three trucks heading toward a major heist in the midst of a driving rainstorm. All of the men silently consider their thoughts (audible to the audience) as the trucks rumble and a cliched […]

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711 Ocean Drive

711 Ocean Drive

| January 1, 2002 | 0 Comments

America’s transition into the postwar boom of the 1950′s engendered a new type of noir crime drama in pace with current events. Senator Kefauver’s congressional organized crime hearings were a national road show starring underworld luminaries such as Frank Costello (The Prime Minister of the Underworld) and Meyer Lansky (The Chairman of the Board). The […]

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Crime Wave [a.k.a., The City Is Dark]

Crime Wave [a.k.a., The City Is Dark]

| November 14, 2001 | 0 Comments

Several of the 1950′s era crime caper films, including Armored Car Robbery (1950), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), and The Killing (1956), comprise an important style of classic film noir. Within this genre, Crime Wave (1954), a 73-minute Warner Brothers effort, is frequently overlooked and unappreciated. A closer look at this film reveals a well-crafted “B” […]

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Heist

Heist

| November 14, 2001 | 0 Comments

Six really good actors were the attraction when the previews for Heist began to run. Gene Hackman, Danny DeVito, Delroy Lindo (the detective in Gone in 60 Seconds and James Gandolfini’s commanding officer in The Last Castle), Sam Rockwell (Charlie’s Angels, Galaxy Quest and The Green Mile), Rebecca Pidgeon (Ann in State and Main) and […]

China Moon

China Moon

| October 24, 2001 | 0 Comments

The term “noir” was first applied to the cinema when French critics wanted describe the “blackness” of the subject matter they saw in wartime American movies. Certainly, the classic noir period occurred circa the nineteen-forties, yet ever since Kathleen Turner drawled her predilection for feeble-witted men in 1981′s Body Heat, the “neo-noir” has proved itself […]

Born to Kill

Born to Kill

| October 2, 2001 | 0 Comments

“As you grow older, you’ll discover that life is very much like coffee–the aroma is always better than the actuality.” – Detective Arnett The working title for Born to Kill was Deadlier Than The Male (from the pulp novel by James Gunn). It’s a title that’s easily applied to most of the ‘black films’ of […]

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