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July 2014

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Jul. 25th, 2014

This Gun For Hire

dfordoom

Red Light (1949)

For a noir fan there’s nothing more exciting than coming across a little-known and not particularly well-regarded crime movie and discovering that it’s a bona fide neglected film noir gem. Such a movie is Red Light.

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Red Light3

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Jul. 20th, 2014

This Gun For Hire

dfordoom

The Threat (1949)

The Threat could have been just another solidly competent B noir but Charles McGraw’s performance makes it something else again, a minor noir classic.

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Threat1

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Jul. 11th, 2014

This Gun For Hire

dfordoom

The Killers (1964)

Don Siegel’s The Killers was ostensibly a remake of Robert Siodmak’s 1946 film noir classic of the same title. Both were based, very very loosely, on a 1927 Ernest Hemingway short story. Siegel’s movie in fact was originally released as Ernest Hemingway’s The Killers, much to Siegel’s disgust. He considered the title dishonest because the movie’s connection with Hemingway’s story is extremely tenuous. The Hemingway story is extremely short, dealing with two contract killers who are puzzled by their victim’s apparent willing acquiescence in his own death. While it’s an important theme in both movies, it’s the one element in the story that is retained. Both movies then add a detailed backstory which has no connection with Hemingway’s tale.
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Killers1964_3

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Jul. 4th, 2014

This Gun For Hire

dfordoom

Murder by Contract (1958)

Many books on the subject will tell you that film noir was all but dead by the mid-50s and that Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil represented noir’s last gasp. That hasn’t stopped various corporations from releasing a lot of late 50s movies on DVD under the noir banner in recent years. Some of these movies are at best only marginally noir but many are nonetheless quite interesting. Murder by Contract, released by Columbia in 1958 and included in the Columbia Film Noir Classics I boxed set, is a pertinent example and it’s a very interesting film indeed.

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Murder by Contract2

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Jun. 30th, 2014

Gun Crazy pic

dfordoom

The Desperate Hours (1955)

The Desperate Hours was one of Humphrey Bogart’s last films and his performance is an intriguing throwback to The Petrified Forest which had given his first major break back in 1936. The movie itself is caught uneasily between two different eras of film-making but it succeeds because it has the right cast and a great director in William Wyler.

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Desperate Hours3

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Jun. 26th, 2014

Gun Crazy pic

dfordoom

Plunder Road (1957)

Plunder Road was made by Regal Films in 1957 and released by 20th Century-Fox. It has few genuine claims to being a film noir but it’s an exciting and entertaining heist movie.

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Plunder Road3

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Jun. 21st, 2014

Gun Crazy pic

dfordoom

Down Three Dark Streets (1954)

Down Three Dark Streets, released by United Artists in 1954, is a noir-tinged police procedural with an intriguing structural twist.

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Down Three Dark Streets3

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Jun. 15th, 2014

Diana Dors Yield

dfordoom

The Devil's Party (1938)

The Devil’s Party is a 1938 Universal programmer about five slum kids who start out as juvenile delinquents and whose lives then take different paths. There are obvious similarities to Angels with Dirty Faces and while this movie is not quite in the same league it’s still worth a look. The lead character’s fate gives this movie a very slight claim to being a film noir precursor.
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Devil's Party3

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May. 18th, 2014

Gun Crazy pic

dfordoom

The House on 92nd Street (1945)

The House on 92nd Street is included in Fox’s excellent series of film noir releases on DVD. In fact the movie is not even remotely a film noir. It is however an effective spy thriller and is important in being the first movie to adopt the semi-documentary approach that would soon become so popular.

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House on 92nd Street2

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May. 8th, 2014

This Gun For Hire

dfordoom

The Killer Is Loose (1956)

Budd Boetticher is today revered for his westerns. The Killer Is Loose, made in 1956, isn’t a western but a taut crime thriller with perhaps just a dash of film noir.

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Killer Is Loose3

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