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anyone have a list of "B" noirs?


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Hi, folks,

I wonder if anyone has a list of *"B"* noirs? I'm trying to work out which films had small budgets and fast shoot schedules to see if there is a distinguishing characteristic. I suspect that many of my favorite noirs are "B" movies and that the limitations on the directors actually enhance the noir quality.

 

I wonder if anyone has a list of *"B"* noirs? I'm trying to work out which films had small budgets and fast shoot schedules to see if there is a distinguishing characteristic. I suspect that many of my favorite noirs are "B" movies and that the limitations on the directors actually enhance the noir quality.

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You are 100% right. The small scale and lack of glamour fit perfectly with the concept. DETOUR is the classic example. Was there ever a lower budget? THE NARROW MARGIN another. You could almost count THE MALTESE FALCON, as Bogart wasn't a huge star at the time of release, and it was John Huston's first directing assignment. What about Fritz Lang's SCARLET STREET? Lang was an accomplished director, Edward G. Robinson a major star. But in every other sense, it meets the criteria. So I'm cheating!

 

If you follow this trail, you will see some clever, innovative filmmaking.

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As _redriver_ wrote, *Detour* (PRC) is probably the great "B" noir. For all practical purposes, the entire noir output of Poverty Row studios such as PRC, Monogram and Republic would be "B" movies. Then there's Eagle-Lion's noirs, arguably the classiest of the bunch. Some examples from these studios are:

 

*The Lady and the Monster* (1944, Republic)

*The Madonna's Secret* (1946, Republic)

*The Guilty* (1947, Monogram)

*T-Men* (1947, Eagle-Lion)

*Bury Me Dead* (1947, Eagle-Lion)

*I Wouldn't Be In Your Shoes* (1948, Monogram)

*Canon City* (1948, Eagle-Lion)

*The Amazing Mr. X* (1948, Eagle-Lion)

*Raw Deal* (1948, Eagle-Lion)

*He Walked By Night* (1948, Eagle-Lion)

*Hollow Triumph* (1948, Eagle-Lion)

*Reign of Terror* (1949, Eagle-Lion)

 

All except the two from Monogram had John Alton as the cinematographer. The two from Monogram were based on stories written by Cornell Woolrich.

 

Most noirs, regardless of studio, could likely be considered "B" movies -- the second feature of a double feature, usually shot for less on a short schedule -- unless it had a big star, such as Stanwyck. From *Gun Crazy* to Dial 1119, *Naked Alibi* to Fear in the Night.

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> Most noirs, regardless of studio, could likely be considered "B" movies

 

Sounds like a pretty fair assessment to me.

 

I'm interested in learning more about Eagle-Lion and how a British studio became involved with low-budget American movies. It seems that they acquired PRC Pictures at some point, but Wikipedia doesn't give a lot of information beyond that. I'll try and find more information about this.

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Thanks for that great list. I know from Arthur Lyons' _Death on the Cheap_ that "Mysterious Intruder" (1946), "My Gun is Quick" (1957), "The Glass Alibi" ((1946), "The Hunted" (1948) and "I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes" (1948) are all legitimate 'B's and should be added to the list.

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> {quote:title=NatchuraLee wrote:}{quote}

> Thanks for that great list. I know from Arthur Lyons' _Death on the Cheap_ that "Mysterious Intruder" (1946), "My Gun is Quick" (1957), "The Glass Alibi" ((1946), "The Hunted" (1948) and "I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes" (1948) are all legitimate 'B's and should be added to the list.

 

Looks like you could come up with a fairly good list of B noirs yourself, NatchuraLee! ;)

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Spencer Selby's 1984 "Dark City" list some 490 film noir films plus an ancillary list of noirish off-genre films like fantasy and westerns, war among others. The book list the "A" films as well as the "B" films but is a great reference tool.

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Eagle-Lion did acquire PRC in 1945, and likely saw noir as a trend to follow.

 

This company was one of several attempts by the British mogul J. Arthur Rank to crack the American market. He also held a one-quarter share of Universal Pictures, which distributed Rank's bigger-budget British films in the US.

 

Eagle-Lion shut down in 1951, but that same year two of its executives, Arthur Krim and Robert Benjamin, convinced Mary Pickford to let them take over the management of United Artists, and they ran that company until the mid-70s.

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I'm adding the program from Dewey's fest to this thread, it contains info on more than 2 dozen B noirs from Monogram, Republic, Eagle-Lion, and even one or two from the major studios. To read the program descriptions, just right-click on the picture and select "view image" then you should be able to zoom.

 

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Here?s a random list of 1940s B noirs that just happened to fly out of my head; there are literally hundreds more where these came from, so you might see it as something of a ?starter kit.? I intentionally left off many of the higher profile titles form the major studios---many of those (like *JOHNNY O'CLOCK, PHANTOM LADY, BLACK ANGEL*, etc) tend to blur the line betwixt A & B. The films listed here are bona fide B delights, not to be missed by hard-core fanatics!

*STRANGER ON THE 3rd FLOOR* (1940; RKO)

*STREET OF CHANCE* (1942; PARAMOUNT)

*THE LEOPARD MAN* (1943; RKO)

*WHEN STRANGERS MARRY* (1944; MONOGRAM)

*THE WHISTLER* (1944; COLUMBIA)

*MARK OF THE WHISTLER* (1944; COLUMBIA)

*PORT OF 40 THIEVES* (1944; REPUBLIC)

*ALLOTMENT WIVES* (1945; MONOGRAM)

*THE STRANGE MR. GREGORY* (1945; MONOGRAM)

*POWER OF THE WHISTLER* (1945; COLUMBIA)

*BEWITCHED* (1945; MGM)

*STRANGE ILLUSION* (1945; PRC)

*DETOUR* (1945; PRC)

*DECOY* (1946; MONOGRAM)

*NIGHT EDITOR* (1946; COLUMBIA)

*THE LAST CROOKED MILE* (1946; REPUBLIC)

*THE MYSTERIOUS INTRUDER* (1946; COLUMBIA)

*THE PRETENDER* (1947; REPUBLIC)

*RAILROADED!* (1947; PRC)

*THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE* (1947; RKO)

*THE GUILTY* (1947; MONOGRAM)

*HIGH TIDE* (1947; MONOGRAM)

*FEAR IN THE NIGHT* (1947; PINE-THOMAS / PARAMOUNT)

*VIOLENCE* (1947; MONOGRAM)

*FRAMED* (1947; COLUMBIA)

*BLONDE ICE* (1948; FILM CLASSICS)

*OPEN SECRET* (1948; MARATHON)

*THE THREAT* (1949; RKO)

*DOA* (1949; UA)

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Well Dewsey, if that is what's flying out of your head...you ought to leave your brain to science...or the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

 

Very impressive. I have "Blonde Ice." I'd better pull that out of my pile soon and check it out.

 

P.S., do you own a trenchcoat and a fedora??

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CM, you said: *I have "Blonde Ice." I'd better pull that out of my pile soon and check it out.*

 

You've got a handful of great reasons to check out *BLONDE ICE*, like pronto:

1) Leslie Brooks, a fairly obscure thesp, turns in one incredible femme fatale performance, very much in the Janis Carter / Jean Gillie school of casual cruelty.

2) It was directed by Jack Bernhard, he of *DECOY* fame.

3) It was rumored (as yet unsubstantiated) to have originated from a story written by Edgar G. Ulmer. It was produced by Martin Mooney, who produced Ulmer's classic *DETOUR*.

4) It's only 73 minutes.

5) It's great.

 

ps: No trenchcoat, no fedora.

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"You've got a handful of great reasons to check out 'BLONDE ICE', like pronto:

1) Leslie Brooks, a fairly obscure thesp, turns in one incredible femme fatale performance, very much in the Janis Carter / Jean Gillie school of casual cruelty." - Dewey.

 

Dewey, you had me at hello.

 

Oh...also at "casual cruelty." :-) I'm there!

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Oh good. I'm glad i'm not the only one who thinks Blonde Ice was a great film. I love Leslie Brooks who is still with us and will be 87 in July. How nice to see ole Leslie get a role she can really sink her teeth into. I'm glad none of my girlfriends ever acted like this. I am looking forward to watching Blonde Ice again. Go Leslie Go.

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