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The opening:

No credits--a figure moves through a dark alley and enters a sleazy barroom. He slowly walks into the back room where a single light bulb over a round table reveals six men playing cards. The camera pans from one face to the next and then the figure utters one word: "Well?"--a voice says "Guilty"--another voice says the same. A man at the table points to two others, who then get up and quietly walk out. The shadowy figure then leaves the way he came, and as he passes a brick wall in the alley the credits unfold.


This one blew me away! One of the grittiest noirs I've ever seen, and from a small company with an almost no name cast aside from John Ireland, Jane Randolph and Roman Bohnen.


The basic story concerns newlyweds Ireland and Randolph who, on their honeymoon, stop in a town to visit one of Ireland's war buddies, now a professional photographer. But when they arrive, he's gone and as the days pass, he doesn't return. Soon this couple find themselves drawn into a web of terror involving murder and anti-semitism. It's the latter that really sparks this film, making CROSSFIRE and GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT (both made about the same time) look like a Sunday School debate. This is one dark, brooding, and very sinister movie. If you ever get access to it, you won't be disappointed. OPEN SECRET (1948)

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Mr. Hangman -

I'd like to echo your enthusiastic comments about OPEN SECRET, one of the absolute best "poverty row" noirs out there. I've seen it a number of times and even had the privelige of proramming it on the big screen in San Francisco back in the 90s. Needless to say, the audience was stunned. Also in the cast and worth mentioning is Sheldon Leonard as a sympathetic cop.

Available on a low-price ($4.98) reasonably good quality DVD and well worth it.

Another similar film, released by Monogram in 1947 is VIOLENCE, directed by Jack Bernhard (of DECOY fame). This one's about a fascist hate group preying on returning soldiers. A winner.

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Of course, shame on me for forgetting Sheldon Leonard in a very understated role. It's always gratifying to see a film like this and realize the great things that can be accomplished on a small budget. Other titles that come to mind are the below mentioned VIOLENCE, THE LAST CROOKED MILE, DETOUR, DECOY, INSIDE JOB--which once again reinforces the notion that lots of money and big names do not a great noir make.

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