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Les Diaboliques (Diabolique) (1955)

A 1955 French psychological noir thriller directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot (Quai des Orfèvres (1947), Le salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear ) (1953), ), starring Simone Signoret (Gunman in the Streets (1950), Casque d'Or (1952), Is Paris Burning? (1966), Army of Shadows (1969)), Véra Clouzot (Le salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear) (1953)), Paul Meurisse (Sergil chez les filles (1952), Army of Shadows (1969), Le Deuxieme Souffle (1966)) and Charles Vanel (The Wages of Fear (1953), To Catch a Thief (1955)).  

The film was based on the novel Celle qui n'était plus (She Who Was No More) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. The screenplay was by Henri-Georges Clouzot, Jérôme Géronimi, René Masson and Frédéric Grende.

Cinematography was by Armand Thirard (Quai des Orfèvres (1947), Le salaire de la peur (1953)), and music was by Georges Van Parys (Casque d'Or (1952)).

03%2BDiabolique%2B1955.jpg Nichole (Simone Signoret) 
05%2BDiabolique%2B1955.jpg Michel (Paul Meurisse)
07%2BDiabolique%2B1955.jpg Christina (Vera Clouzot)
21%2BDiabolique%2B1955.jpg  Inspector Fichet (Charles Vanel)

A cheap boarding school near Paris is run by tightwad headmaster Michel Delassalle (Meurisse). The school is owned by Delassalle's sickly wife Christina, who is also a teacher. Christina has a heart condition which prevents her from performing her wifely duties, so Michel has taken to banging the blonde Nicole Horner (Signoret), another teacher at the school. The prospect of Nicole becoming Michel's mistress has no effect between the two women since Michel is verbally abusive to both of them and woman beater to boot. They both despise him.

Nichole concocts a plan to off Michel. Christina, is indecisive at first, but after more rounds of abuse from Michel agrees to the plan. Threatening divorce, Christina leaves the school, drives with
Nichole to Nichole's hometown Niort and stays at her apartment. This lures Michel away from the school in pursuit of his meal ticket. Using a sedative mixed into a bottle of Johnnie Walker scotch she gets Michel to drink it. Michel passes out. Nichole and Christina carry him into the bathroom and drown him in the bath tub. Hiding his body in a large wicker basket Nichole and Christina drive back to the school and dump Michel into a disused swimming pool. They figure that once the body floats up to the top it will look like an accident.

Of course the body never floats to the top and everything goes exquisitely Noirsville.





Vera Clouzot, is a delight as the pious, frail, nervous, stepped on one to many times, wife. Simone Signoret seems almost butch in comparison. She is a big full figured woman and she towers over Christina both physically and mentally. There have been some critiques that state that Nicole may have lesbian designs on Christina, I got the same faint vibe. Paul Meurisse comes off like a French Jack Webb, and Charles Vanel's Inspector Fichet I hear is the original prototype of Colombo.

One of the best French Noir, screencaps are from the Criterion DVD. 10/10


Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/01/les-diaboliques-diabolique-1955.html

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Private Property (1960) Psychological California Smog Noir


Private Property was long thought lost. It is a lurid psychological noir thriller, based on a sleazy pulp fiction type premise.

It is the first feature written and directed by Leslie Stevens (writer and director of The Outer Limits TV series (1963-1964). The cinematography was by Ted D. McCord (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), Flamingo Road (1949), The Damned Don't Cry (1950), The Breaking Point (1950) and, I Died a Thousand Times (1955)). The films music was by Pete Rugolo (whose credits range from Richard Diamond, Private Detective TV Series (1957–1960), to This World, Then the Fireworks (1997)).

The film revolves around two down and out creepy and twisted drifters, hitchhiking their way to The Sunset Strip. The two become sexually obsessed over a hawt "California Girl" blond housewife driving a white corvette who casually stops for directions at a Pacific Coast Highway Veltex filling station near Malibu. (BTW the Veltex Gas is going for 8 cents a gallon in 1960).

00%2BPrivate%2BProperty%2B1960.jpg Duke and Boots with "The Rock" in the background 03%2BPrivate%2BProperty%2B1960.jpg Boots (Oates)
04%2BPrivate%2BProperty%2B1960.jpg Duke (Allen) One of these losers is a smart sociopath, a sexual predator called Duke, played by Corey Allen (The Night of the Hunter (1955), Rebel Without a Cause (1955), The Shadow on the Window (1957), The Big Caper (1957)). The other is the sexually dysfunctional dimmer bulb Boots, a mama's boy, played by Warren Oates (The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960), The Outer Limits TV Series (1963–1965), In the Heat of the Night (1967), Dillinger (1973), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)).

07%2BPrivate%2BProperty%2B1960.jpg Ann (Manx) The blond housewife Ann is played by Kate Manx the then wife of the director. She's sort of a mix of Stella Stevens and Barbara Eden. Another stock film noir veteran Jerome Cowan (The Maltese Falcon (1941), Moontide (1942), Street of Chance (1942), Deadline at Dawn (1946), The Unfaithful (1947), Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948), Scene of the Crime (1949)) plays a schlub salesman Ed who stops for gas at the filling station. Robert Wark plays Roger, Ann's husband and Jules Maitland plays the filling station owner.

08%2BPrivate%2BProperty%2B1960.jpg Ed (Cowan) We first spot Duke and Boots when they are climbing up a small bluff from a foggy beach onto the blacktop.  “The Rock” a distinct road cut into the California Coast Range at the edge of Malibu rises as a hazy backdrop. Waves ominously break against the shore. The two either spent the night sleeping on the beach or where taking a midday dip. They cross the traffic to the Veltex station and bum some pop and cigarettes from the attendant (Maitland).

When Boots tells Duke about a wall calendar he saw in the station with a scantily clad girl wearing just a cowboy hat, Duke asks him if he's getting ready for a woman yet. Boots whines that Duke always steals the girl he wants, the last one being that redhead in the orange grove, so Duke promises to get him a woman, but not after questioning his manhood with the taunt "what are you waiting for a rich sugar daddy?"

An appliance salesman from Sacramento, Ed Hogate, drives up in his '54 Buick Skylark for gas. Boots and Duke begin to wash his windows and pump him for a ride into The City Of Angels. While so engaged with Ed, Ann drives up. Ann is curvaceous and cute. Duke asks Boots if she'll do for a woman. Boots says yes. Duke and Boots convince Ed to not only give them a ride but to tail Ann as she drives towards her home. When Ed wants to end the game and make his turn for Wilshire Blvd., Duke and Boots convince him to keep following the blond. They do this by threatening him with a switchblade that Boots pulls out of his pocket.

The boys get Ed to drop them off up the street, just after Ann pulls into her driveway. The two next break into the vacant house next door. From a second floor window the two begin to spy on Ann's comings and goings. The two voyeurs peep down on her when she skinny dips in her pool or sunbathes out on her patio.



Duke begins a plan to seduce Ann pretending to be an on the skids landscaper, who lives in his truck while looking for work. He shows up at her door whenever her husband leaves on his various business trips.

Duke slowly wears Ann's defences down by preying on her sympathies. Working in Duke's favor is the fact that her workaholic husband fails to appreciate her "ribbons and her bows". He shuns her advances, as she tries to get him to pay more attention to her sexual needs. This makes her ripe for plucking. Ann's frustrations in the film are semiotically depicted, at one point while speaking to her husband she strokes a burning (phallic) candlestick, later aroused by Duke she repeats the deed with the round stem of a plant. Other images also repeat, her husband's doffed tie she places around her neck as later she does the same with Dukes's belt. Is she subconsciously signifying that she is property?

Dukes plan is to get her hopelessly defenceless, sexually aroused, and liquored up enough to take her next door to empty house drop her on a mattress and let Boots rape her. At 79 min Private Property speeds along quickly down the highway to Noirsville.




Corey Allen's silver tongued devil Duke, is easily convincing as a womanizer, but you don't have to wonder why he never gained traction after this performance, the film opened without Code approval, was condemned by the Legion Of Decency and got slim to none distribution. Warren Oates underplays the malleable simple minded sexual neophyte Boots. Oates specialized most of his career in playing hopeless lowlifes doomed to wallow in eternal misery, always getting the poop end of the stick. Kate Manx excels as Ann with her portrayal ranging from "I Dream Of Jeannie" perky to that of sweet quiet desperation for the attention of her husband. Again one wonders how her career may have went if the film had had a regular release. Four years later she committed suicide, a waste.

So, does the title refer to trophy wife Ann, the house and pool, or the whole gaudy tinseltown world that only the others, the "elites" can inhabit?

Images are digital camera caps of the newly restored Cinelicious Pictures from a TCM premiere. 7/10


Full review with more caps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/01/private-property-1960-psychological.html

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White Sands (1992) Andy of Mayberry meets Marv and Jules

Deputy Sheriff  Ray Dolezal (Willem Dafoe) has a dead body and a half million dollars sitting at the edge of the Rio Grande Gorge in the New Mexico desert.

So begins White Sands a Film Soleil Noir directed by Roger Donaldson (The Getaway (1994)) and written by Daniel Pyne (Miami Vice (TV Series)1984 - 1986)). Cinematography was by Peter Menzies Jr. (The Getaway (1994)), and music by Patrick O'Hearn.

The film stars Willem Dafoe (To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), Wild at Heart (1990)) as Ray Dolezal, Mickey Rourke (Body Heat (1981), Angel Heart (1987), Barfly (1987), Sin City (2005), Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)), as Gorman Lennox, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Scarface (1983), Slam Dance (1987)) as Lane Bodine, Samuel L. Jackson (Ragtime (1981), Sea of Love (1989), Goodfellas (1990), True Romance (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), Hard Eight (1996), Jackie Brown (1997), ) as Greg Meeker, M. Emmet Walsh (Midnight Cowboy (1969), Serpico (1973), Blade Runner (1982), Blood Simple (1984)) as Bert Gibson, with James Rebhorn as Agent Flynn, Maura Tierney as Noreen, Beth Grant as Roz Kincaid, and Mimi Rogers as Molly Dolezal.

The film is initially captivating, the body, discovered by an Apache helicopter pilot hauling two amateur archaeologists, is lying in an adobe ruin, with his brains blown out. Coroner Bert Gibson declares "It's a suicide," made even more probable with the discovery of a half million dollars in an attache case. The banter between Gibson and Dolezal about Dolezal's new cowboy hat is amusing. This reprises later at the autopsy where a phone number is discovered on a piece of wax paper as part of the undigested stomach contents. The dead man is named Spencer.


  Dolezal (Dafoe) and Gibson (Walsh)
Normally in Classic Noir the protagonist starts to make stupid decisions that propel the film down the road to Noirsville. In White Sands though there are way too many of these implausibilities to believe. Combined that with interesting but un important characters that appear then just vanish and unnecessary plot complications and you have a film that goes a bit off the rails.







23%2BWhite%2BSands%2B1992.jpg Arms Dealer, (Fred Thompson) lt.

Dolezal, posing as Spenser, calls variations of surrounding area codes plus the number and when he finally gets a connection he is instructed to go to a meeting set up at a motel. So what does he do?

He leaves his wife and son and drives off in his highly conspicuous blue 1966 Chevrolet Corvette, with a half million bucks without any backup to the meeting, implausibility number 1.

At the motel he is robbed by two women and instructed to meet a man named Gorman Lennox at a restaurant. FBI agent Greg Meeker intercepts Dolezal and informs him that Spenser was an undercover agent, an FBI mule carrying money for a payment. Since Dolezal has carelessly lost the money, Meeker tells Dolezal to posing as Spenser to recover the money or help arrest Lennox.

Dolezal meets Lennox (Rourke in a "That's one fine coat you're wearing" long coat) and his deal broker Lane Bodine. Since Lane knew Spencer she knows that Dolezal is an imposter, but since she gets a percentage of the deal she lets him slide implausibility number 2.

The money is for illegal arms. Needing more money when the arms merchants renege on the original deal, Dolezal has to romance Lane so she will attract rich humanitarian donors to fund the increase asking price on the deal implausibility number 3.

 Willem Dafoe puts in a good performance but there is a lot of hesitation evident in which way the director wanted to go. M. Emmet Walsh's character is built up nicely then disappears entirely from the rest of the film, Dolezal's wife and son are treated likewise. Later two apparent lesbian goons assault Dolezal in a motel room then also are never really part of the film except as background. There are a lot of dead ends. Expectations are dangled in front of us but never followed through. White Sands, New Mexico, BTW, makes a very brief appearance in the last 5 minutes, what's up
with that? 

It probably would have worked better if it would stayed a bit simpler. The sum is not as good as it's parts, there was a good film in there someplace. 6.5/10 Full review with more screen caps here http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/01/white-sands-1992-andy-of-mayberry-meets.html
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The Fallen Idol (1948) Kid Noir

Directed by Carol Reed (Odd Man Out (1947), The Third Man (1949), The Man Between (1953)) and based on the short story "The Basement Room", by Graham Greene. The Screenplay was by Graham Greene with additional dialogue by Lesley Storm and William Templeton. The excellent cinematography was by Georges Périnal (Blood Of A Poet (1932), and the music was by William Alwyn (The Long Memory (1953), A Night To Remember (1958).

The film stars Ralph Richardson (Our Man in Havana (1959)) as Baines, Michèle Morgan (Port of Shadows (1938) Le quai des brumes (original title)) as Julie, Sonia Dresdel (The Clouded Yellow (1950)) as Mrs. Baines, Bobby Henrey as Philippe, Denis O'Dea (Odd Man Out (1947), Niagara (1953)), as Chief Inspector Crowe, and Jack Hawkins (The Cruel Sea (1953)), as Detective Ames.

00%2BThe%2BFallen%2BIdol.jpg Philippe (Henrey) The Fallen Idol tells its story through Philippe, the nine year old son of a French diplomat. His mother has been very sick and with his father's diplomatic duties keeping him often away, Philippe has the run of a huge diplomatic embassy in the off hours.  His fantasy world consists of a pet snake named MacGregor, which he carries with him in the private living area above the palatial great rooms.

His playhouse is the whole of the embassy with its many levels, rooms, and passageways. Philippe spies down upon all, from behind shadowy staircase banisters, through room high windows, and the private resident balconies. Secrets are learned from bits of conversations eavesdropped on phone calls and staying up past his bedtime.


Philippe idolizes Baines his father's butler. Baines keeps the boy entertained with tall tales of his harrowing exploits in Africa, shooting lions in hunting safaris, quelling restless natives, etc., etc. However, Baines is just a fanciful story teller who is unhappily married to a shrew of a wife who keeps the embassy household staff terrorised.

06%2BThe%2BFallen%2BIdol.jpg Julie (Morgan ) and Baines (Richardson)
Baines is in love with Julie another member of the embassy staff, and when Philippe follows Baines to a cafe after work and finds Baines and Julie together, Baines tells him that Julie is his niece. After Baines has a fight with his wife over Julie, she accidentally falls two stories to her death from a window sill at the end of a landing where she went to spy on Baines and Julie. Her body lays near the bottom of a staircase. Philippe witnessed the beginning of the fight at the top of the stairs, and assumes that Baines has murdered her by pushing her down the stairway. Philippe runs off into Noirsville




  Mrs. Baines (Dredsel) 




When the police investigations begin, Baines tries to keep Julie out of it, and Philippe attempts to help Baines, but all these clumsy evasions and lies only get Baines into hot water with Scotland Yard. It looks like murder.

Richardson's Baine is great as the likeable, efficient, head of the household staff, and he's sort of a surrogate father figure for Philippe. Dresdel as the jealous sourpuss wife is truly vile. Morgan plays Julie both sweet and weepy. Henrey plays the impressionable Philippe to perfection, he is both innocent and trusting, there are no false notes. The rest of the cast are equally enjoyable to watch, the two washer women of the household staff, a London bobby, a lady of the night, and the detectives of Scotland Yard.

The cinematography of the flee in the night through the cobblestone streets of London will remind you of similar sequences in Vienna in The Third Man

The only other Kids Noir that readily comes to mind is The Window (1949), these two films would make great introductions to children to the Noir style. 8/10


Review with more screencaps from the Criterion DVD here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-fallen-idol-1948-kid-noir.html

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Fright (1956) Fringe Noir - Lost Noir


We can call it a Psychological Noir, a Fringe Noir, a Tail Fin Noir "C" movie cheapo. Shot in Hunters Point and Long Island City, New York. It's a film mistakenly dumped into the horror genre, probably because it's director, (who BTW is the brother of director Billy Wilder), finished his career making SiFi and Creature Features.

Directed by W. Lee Wilder (The Glass Alibi (1946), The Pretender (1947), Once a Thief (1950), The Big Bluff (1955)) and written by his son Myles Wilder. Music was by Lew Davies, cinematography was by J. Burgi Contner.

The film stars Eric Fleming (Rawhide TV Series (1959–1965) as Dr. James Hamilton, Nancy Malone as Ann Summers, Frank Marth (Telefon (1977)) as George Morley, Norman McKay as Inspector Blackburn, Humphrey Davis as Prof. Charles Gore, and and Ned Glass (The Damned Don't Cry (1950), Storm Warning (1951)) as the Taxi Driver.

The tale starts with the escape of a mass murderer George Morley (Marth) from a Welfare (Roosevelt) Island mental hospital. Morley is able to evade the cops and gets across the small bridge to Long Island City.


Welfare (Roosevelt) Island escape
Making his way South along the East River he eventually gets to the Pennsylvania Railroad Powerhouse on 2nd Street and 50th Avenue in Hunters Point.

04%2BFright%2B1956.jpg 50th Avenue with Pennsylvania RR Powerhouse, Hunters Point, NY  He runs East up to Vernon Blvd., then he backtracks North to the Queensboro Bridge. He's spotted, caught in a searchlight. Morley is cornered on the pedestrian walkway at night by NYPD. Police activity causes a massive traffic jam and a crowd of rubberneckers. In a standoff Morley threatens to jump. Police Inspector Blackburn (McKay) with a bullhorn tries to talk him out of it.

05%2BFright%2B1956.jpg The corner of 50th Avenue and Vernon Blvd.




Into this scene walks Dr. James Hamilton (Fleming), a Park Avenue psychiatrist (who apparently was stuck in traffic). Hamilton offers to see if he can talk Morley down. Using the police spotlight shining in Morley's eyes and the power of suggestion Hamilton is able to diffuse the situation. While this is all going on a young woman Ann Summers (Malone) caught in a taxi finds herself equally affected by Hamilton's authoritative voice and the power of suggestion.


14%2BFright%2B1956.jpg Ann Summers (Malone) lt.

Summers begins to stalk Hamilton, wanting him to take her case. She has frequent blackouts, not remembering where she goes during those periods. Hamilton, who finds himself attracted to her is reluctant at first. He caves. Under hypnosis he discovers that Ann has a split personality, her other self being the German speaking Austrian Baroness Mary Vetsera, who was involved in the Mayerling Incident. The Mayerling Incident was the apparent murder–suicide of Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria and Vetsera. However, from a recording of his hypnosis session with Ann, Hamilton's friend and colleague European historian Prof. Charles Gore, who speaks fluent German tells Hamilton that she is speaking imperfect German, hardly what a reincarnation of the Baroness would speak.

Interestingly the whole Mayerling angle storyline is no doubt injected into the film through the Wilder family's Austrian roots.

When Ann disappears again Hamilton tracks down her guardian, who tells him that as a child Ann was taken care of by an Austrian governess. This governess related the story of the Mayerling Incident to an impressionable Ann.

In order to bait Baroness Vetsera/Ann back to reality, Hamilton feeds the tabloids the story that mass murderer Morley is the reincarnation of Crown Prince Rudolf. He hypnotizes Morley into believing he is Prince Rudolf with the cooperation of the NYPD .

18%2BFright%2B1956.jpg Hamilton Hypnotising
19%2BFright%2B1956.jpg Ann/Vetsera
Other Noirs that dealt with hypnotism, Fear in the Night (1947), and Whirlpool (1950), are better known but Fright, fits in nicely with them in a low budget sort of way. Another film that I just recently watched The Hypnotic Eye (1960), is also very noir-ish but it actually does cross over line into the horror genre, whereas Fright does not. Fright is part of a double bill DVD from Alpha Home Entertainment, worth a watch for real New York City location Noir aficionados. 6/10

Review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/02/fright-1956-fringe-noir-lost-noir.html

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Stark Fear (1962) Hokie Okie Oil Patch Noir


Directed by Ned Hockman his only film. Written by Dwight V. Swain. The absolutely horrible music was by Lawrence V. Fisher and John Williams (Valley of the Dolls (1967), Images (1972), Star Wars (1977)). Cinematography was by Robert Bethar.

The film stars Beverly Garland (D.O.A. (1950), The Glass Web (1953), New Orleans Uncensored (1955), The Desperate Hours (1955), Sudden Danger (1955)) as Ellen Winslow, Skip Homeier (Black Widow (1954), Cry Vengeance (1954)) as Gerald Winslow, Kenneth Tobey (He Walked by Night (1948), The File on Thelma Jordon (1950), Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950), Angel Face (1953), Cry Terror! (1958), Marlowe (1969) ) as Cliff Kane Hannah Stone as Ruth, and George Clow, Paul Scovil, Edna Newman, John Arville, Cortez Ewing, Barbara Freeman, Darlene Dana Reno.

Oklahoma City. Ellen Winslow (Garland) is unhappily married to abusive, sadistic, alcoholic, possible latent ****, momma's boy, total wacko, husband Gerry (Homeier). It's Gerry's birthday and Ellen has bought him a birthday cake and a new lace bra to spice up their relationship. Gerry is extremely ticked off that Ellen agreed to work for for is past business rival Cliff Kane (Tobey). Cliff develops oil fields with his senior business partner Joe Vincent. When Gerry sees the new bra he assumes she bought to to flirt with Cliff. Gerry makes Ellen call Cliff to tell him she's quitting her job.

03%2BStark%2BFear.jpg Ellen (Beverly Garland)
07%2BStark%2BFear%2B1962.jpg Gerry (Skip Homeier) Gerry and Ellen then engage in some makeup sex only Gerry stops, coitus interruptus. Has he got "plumbing" problems? He announces to Ellen that he's getting a divorce for his birthday accusing her of being a tramp. After Ellen runs out of the house Gerry disappears. When Ellen inquires at Gerry's office as to his whereabouts, she discovers from his boss that he has taken a month’s unpaid vacation.

Ellen, trying to find Gerry before he gets himself fired traces, through their mutual friend Ruth, Gerry's old girlfriend Elizabeth "Liz" Cromwell. Liz Cromwell apparently operates what looks like a cat house for roughnecks. Liz gives Ellen the first big shock when she tells her that Gerry is not from Pennsylvania as he told her but from Quada, Oklahoma. Ellen also finds out that Gerry's best friend is Harvey Suggett. So now she has a place to look and a contact.

Unfortunately, Ellen, is taken for "new talent" by the leering Johns at Liz's Cat House. A fight breaks out and Chief, a half Cherokee, half Polack roughneck is the victor and Ellen becomes the spoils. Ellen is about to be "plowed" but resourcefully she breaks a handy bottle of booze in Chief's face and makes her escape.

15%2BStark%2BFear%2B1962.jpg fleeing the whorehouse
Ellen heads off to Quada hoping to find either Gerry or Harvey. She's a fish out of water in Quadda, a bit too sophisticated for the backwater flyspeck. She finds Harvey who, though married, is a drunk and a notorious womanizer.  Harvey takes Ellen to the town graveyard to supposedly "show her something". He tries to seduce her.

That evening Ellen is surprised by an angry Gerry who again calls her a tramp and threatens her. She jumps out of her car and is chased by both Gerry and Harvey. It's Harvey who catches her. He forces her into his truck and takes her to a Cherokee Pow Wow, a "stomp dance" he calls it. Ellen escapes but is again caught in the nearby town graveyard and raped brutally by Harvey, while Gerry looks on from his mother's grave.




29%2BStark%2BFear%2B1962.jpg Harvey **** Ellen on a grave Ellen overcomes this traumatic experience by going full bore into her work for Cliff. This brings them very close together and a mutual attraction is very much evident when they take a break to visit Cliff's home town the resort /tourist trap Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Ellen however, cools the emotional embers down because she still feels that it's her fault that her marriage to Gerry failed.

32%2BStark%2BFear%2B1962.jpg Cliff (Tobey) and Ellen Everything of course all goes to Noirsville, when Gerry arranges a bit of deadly mischief at the El Nora Motel.





30%2BStark%2BFear%2B1962.jpg Gerry (Homeier) watching the rape of Ellen from his mother's tombstone
Beverly Garland is very convincing as the confused, and conflicted wife who takes all the blame on herself for her failed marriage. Probably part of the confusion can be attributed to director Ned Hockman working on his first and only feature. Skip Homeier, to me anyway, in every thing I've ever seen him in, looks like a complete nut case, much like Lee Van Cleef always had an aura of evil in his beady eyed stare, Homeire emits a radiation of lethal lunacy. Kenneth Tobey's Cliff is decent as Ellen's paramour. He always played a second fiddle in "A" pictures, he's not really leading man material but with the whole film being set in Oklahoma we are not Hollywood after all, Dorothy, we are in "B" and "C" wood. Hannah Stone as Ruth also nails your typical homely MidWest busybody girlfriend, you could run into her type, typically as a waitress, in any beanery in the 50s, 60s and 70s. some of her lines are unintentionally hilarious.

Stark Fear is also unique in that it may be the only noir to ever feature a Native American Pow Wow in it's plot. The score sounds like it should be the background music for a travelog of some Bavarian Oktoberfest.  The film is a curiosity, a guilty pleasure, worth a watch but nothing essential 6/10.

Screencaps above are from thre Oldies.Com video, its part of a double bill with Fright. It is also available from Something Weird Video's Six Weird Noir DVD. Full review with screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/02/stark-fear-1962-hokie-okie-oil-patch.html
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Flesh and Lace (1965) Kinky Dive Bar Noir


A cheap masterpiece of the sleazy side of Noir, in what could not be more appropriate, an independent "B" feature, shot somewhere in the bowels of NYC.


05%2BFlesh%2Band%2BLace%2B1965.jpgGo Go Dive Bar


Flesh and Lace has been pigeonholed into the genre of film dubbed Sexploitation and it's small sub genre "The Roughie". But now, looking back on it, through the lens of time, you will see that it will easily surpass in feel and cinematic style most modern Film Noir trying to achieve that very zeitgeist of the late 50s early 60s. The real deal is always better than an imagined recreation of the past, rough edges, warts and all.


What stood out as exploitive then, is commonplace R fare now, today's films just have bigger budgets better actors and are more polished. Other than T&A there is no sex in Flesh and Lace and just like during the Classic Noir era, it's what's implied that's more effective than what is shown. It doesn't get any noir-er than this, even the "hero" is a warped sleazeball.


Flesh and Lace would make a good double bill with Aroused (1966) another great New York City late Noir. 7/10


A P.S., One thing you have to keep in mind when exploring the Sexploitation catch all genre, especially when searching for reviews is that reviewers reviewing Sexpliotation are usually looking for just that sexploitation, films that are rated low, are so sometimes because they don't quite fit into this pigeonhole, those are the films that may be Noirs that just went over the edge. You can keep in mind the same when searching the Horror Genre for lost Noirs. A recent good example is the recently reviewed Stark Fear and Fright the first labeled on IMDb as a Drama/Thriller and the second labeled as a Horror.


*The full NSFW review with Screencaps from Something Weird Video's release here http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/02/flesh-and-lace-1965-kinky-dive-bar-noir.html

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The Asphalt Jungle: probably my 10th viewing or something. One of the best heist movies out there, for sure.


A group of criminals get together to rob a jewelry store, and things start to fall apart for them. The movie does give viewers a glimpse into the personal lives of the criminals (some characters are focused on more than others).


SPOILERS AHEAD (Does this forum have spoiler tags I can use?)


I'm completely convinced that the lawyer's assistant, that Brannom fellow, would have betrayed him if he hadn't been shot dead. He was the one with the gun. The lawyer wouldn't have been able to do anything about it if Brannom had gotten it into his head to take off with ALL the jewelry.


Also, I think that the lawyer hadn't been laid by the blonde. She drew away from him pretty quickly when he tried to kiss her. He got cracking on tracking down some money right after she walked away from him - straight into the bedroom without inviting him in. That was motivation enough for him to get a hold of some money. 

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Lured (1947):


A killer is on the loose, targeting attractive young women. The friend of one of the victims (Lucille Ball) wants to help to find her friend's killer. She joins the police force and she has to answer every ad in the paper where a man wants to meet a woman. Dangerous work, but she's willing to trap the killer. She encounters various situations, including some romance.


Great film and I love Boris Karloff in a brief but memorable role!


Highly recommended.

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Lured (1947):


A killer is on the loose, targeting attractive young women. The friend of one of the victims (Lucille Ball) wants to help to find her friend's killer. She joins the police force and she has to answer every ad in the paper where a man wants to meet a woman. Dangerous work, but she's willing to trap the killer. She encounters various situations, including some romance.


Great film and I love Boris Karloff in a brief but memorable role!


Highly recommended.


Lured is a fine film with an interesting cast.    Both Ball and Coburn are known more for comedic roles but they do fine here in straight roles.    Love everything George Sanders did in his stellar career and there is good chemistry between Ball and him (something I wasn't sure would 'work' when I first heard about this film).


Then we have Karloff.   Memorable performance as well as ruse.   (well at least I believe at first that Karloff had to be the killer, since, well,  he is Karloff)!

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A Gun, a Car, a Blonde (1997) New Age Noir




Here is nice enjoyable Neo Noir. A film that I've never heard of, that is surprisingly not listed in the American noir bible, i.e., Film Noir The Encyclopedia by Alain Silver, Elizabeth M. Ward, James Ursini, and Robert Porfirio.


The film was brought to my attention by a fellow aficionado or should we say "aficionoirdo," who gave me the heads up on this title on the recently demised IMDb message boards .


A Gun, a Car, a Blonde has slipped under the "Noirdar," while quite a few really questionable titles apparently make the grade. One has to wonder if some inclusions are something like Noir-ola (promoters trying to cash in on the Noir bandwagon) reminiscent of the equivalent payola record business scandal.


The film is sort of a tongue-in-cheek riff on The Singing Detective (1986), Hammett (1982), also possibly Slaughterhouse Five (1972), and an homage to Classic Film Noir like The Woman in the Window (1944), and a few others, with a pinch of TV's The Twilight Zone thrown in for good measure.


Directed, produced and written by Stefani Ames (along with Tom Epperson The Gift (2000), One False Move (1992). The cinematography was by Carlos Gaviria and the excellent melodious jazz score was by Harry Manfredini and Frank Palmieri.


The film stars Jim Metzler (River's Edge (1986), Delusion (1991), L.A. Confidential (1997)) as Richard Spragins / Rick Stone, Victor Love as Bobby / The Black Chinaman, Kay Lenz (Breezy (1973)) as Peep / Madge, Norma Maldonado (Breaking Bad TV Series (2008–2013)) as Adele / Bunny, John Ritter (Sling Blade (1996)) as Duncan / The Bartender, Andrea Thompson (NYPD Blue TV Series (1993–2005)) as The Blonde / "Angel Puss" Jade Norfleet, Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade (1996), U Turn (1997), A Simple Plan (1998)) as two bit greaseball Syd / Detective Charles "Monk" Moler, Paul Parducci as Bear / "Pickle Puss" Petrovich, Time Winters as Ed / Catalina Eddie, Paula Marshall as Deborah / Girl In Photograph, and Vann Johnson as The Singer.



Richard and Peep (Lenz)


Richard (Metzler) was living the American Dream, as a well to do California "retread tire czar". His hillside house in what looks like Inceville, has a view of PCH, (The Pacific Coast Highway), and Will Rogers State Beach. Spinal cancer (currently in remission) has confined him to a wheelchair, made him a paraplegic, lost him his wife and most of the joys of life. He is cared for by his health care specialist Bobby (Love), his housekeeper Adele (Maldonado), and his only living relative, sister Penelope "Peep" (Lenz). He spends all his time viewing vintage Films Noir on cable 24/7 and either agonizing in horrific pain, doped up on painkillers "trapped in a marshmallow" he calls it, or sucking on tar bars, boozing it up, and being annoyed by his busybody sister.


 His long time buddy and good friend Duncan (Ritter), (who makes a living finding vintage "dream" cars for wealthy collectors, i.e., doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc., etc.), tells him to seriously cut down on the smoking and hooch. Duncan is also into the New Age Movement. He plies Richard with exotic cure-all concoctions and tells him to experiment with a sort of mind hypnosis called Objectification Therapy.


Duncan: You remember what Milton said?

Richard: Milton who?

Duncan:  Milton Berle, Milton who.... John Milton, "the mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven."


A%2BGun%2BA%2BCar%2BA%2BBlonde%2B1997%2BFilm Noir 24/7


This trance like state involves the imagineering in his mind of alternate self in a parallel universe. Duncan tells him that "you are not you anymore, you are somebody else minus the suffering. Richard is hard to convince thinking that his life has become a ghastly joke. That night though, while watching a Film Noir, Richard talks/dreams/hypnotizes himself into being a hard boiled private detective living in a Black & White, Noir, 1960s City Of Angels, or as Rick says in voice over narration, "Everyone has an angle in The City of Angles", and all of his employee's, friends, neighbors, and family take on fanciful alter egos in his new Noir cosmos.


A%2BGun%2BA%2BCar%2BA%2BBlonde%2B1997%2BI'm a detective named Rick Stone


The next day on his terrace Richard peeps on a beautiful blonde in a bikini sunbathing on her back porch. She is a new neighbor and Richard is transfixed while watching her apply lotion. This mysterious blonde neighbor in one reality becomes Mrs. Jade Norfleet in the other.


The film sort of strobes back and forth between these two realities. Detective Rick Stone Private Eye is hired by the overtly sexy Mrs. Jade Norfleet to find out who is trying to kill her, while Richard is dealing with his self inflicted deterioration and his sister Peep's increasingly intrusive behavior.



Mrs. Jade Norfleet (Thompson)


The film even goes one step beyond when he wakes up one night in Richard's reality, and he can again walk, he goes out on his seaview terrace and is joined by his wife Deborah (Marshall) who asks what's the matter? Richard tells her that he dreamt that he was very, very sick and couldn't walk anymore. Is it all a dream within a dream? This imagery is double downed upon even further within Richard's Rick Stone parallel reality when Mrs. Jade Norfleet, tells him that she dreamt that she was peeped on while sunbathing in her backyard echoing Richards experience on his terrace.


Stefani Ames has crafted a fun, knowing, and entertaining film to watch especially for fans of Classic Noir. A Gun, a Car, a Blonde lovingly tickles a bit of humor out of Richards reconstruction of what he imagines are Rick Stone's hard boiled dialog and voice overs. If you watch it cold turkey without a lot of Film Noir in your viewing experience the dialog may sound a bit cheesy, but it's actually supposed to be that way.


Rick Stone:You're driving a '59 Cadillac, driving, driving, driving down a sunny rotten street in the City Of Angles...


Jade Norfleet (speaking to Detective Monk Moler and Rick Stone): How do you two know each other?

Rick Stone: Well one day I lifted up a rock and Monk's looking up at me blinking in the sun.


After making love to Jade out in her backyard.


Rick Stone: It's a funny thing about me, I get really starved after a roll in the hay.

Jade Norfleet: And that's what it was to you, a roll in the hay?

Rick Stone: Nah you're right, it was grass.


Richard's desperate escape from reality is into his personal reflection of a reflection, the Hollywood Noir world depicted through the 40s, 50s and early 60s, re invigorates him. He gets the courage to take care of business.


It's interesting to watch as his everyday interactions with employee's, friends, neighbors, and family are all entwined, reshuffled, and finally Twilight Zoning their way to Noirsville.







The Black Chinaman (Love)


A%2BGun%2BA%2BCar%2BA%2BBlonde%2B1997%2BDuncan (Ritter) as the bartender



Monk (Thornton) and Pickle Puss (Parducci) 



Rick Stone (Metzler)


Jim Metzler's performance is excellent, he displays a nice range from from the desperate housebound recluse Richard, to hardboiled cool as Rick. Andrea Thompson's Jade gives off a Barbara Stanwyck/Phyllis Dietrichson vibe, oozing sex appeal. Kay Lenz is appropriately grating as trashy slutty Peep, and no good as the "been around the block a lot" femme fatale Madge. Billy Bob Thornton plays Syd as a dopey hayseed huckster and Monk as a rotten crooked cop. Victor Love's convincing live in nurse Bobby is genuinely caring, his addiction for Chinese Food sparks his conversion, by Richard into a Chinese restaurant owning gangster the Black Chinaman. Watch also for Vann Johnson's cabaret torch song sequence, she's great.


A Gun, a Car, a Blonde is a film for Noiristas. The screencaps are from the Echo Bridge

DVD June 22, 1999 release. This DVD can be had for pennies plus the cost of shipping from Amazon. Entertaining 7/10


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Lured is a fine film with an interesting cast.    Both Ball and Coburn are known more for comedic roles but they do fine here in straight roles.    Love everything George Sanders did in his stellar career and there is good chemistry between Ball and him (something I wasn't sure would 'work' when I first heard about this film).


Then we have Karloff.   Memorable performance as well as ruse.   (well at least I believe at first that Karloff had to be the killer, since, well,  he is Karloff)!


I prefer Lucille Ball in this film to her comedy roles. Coburn could handle any sort of role - very versatile actor!


Good point about Sanders. Teaming him up with Ball might seem like an odd match, but it worked. (I loved in in All About Eve, by the way.)


Karloff's character seemed suspicious at first, but soon I realized that he wasn't the killer. His character was nuts, but I always thought that the killer was someone who could appear normal with the general public. It had to be someone who wouldn't be so obvious. Karloff was a red herring, and an obvious one at that. Still, I absolutely love the 10 minutes or so that we get to see him in the film.

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The Love Statue (The Love Drug) (1965) The Beat Turns On

Dig this. There's this struggling loft dauber in The Village named Tyler, he's kept in bread by this angel, Lisa, a leotard dancer grooving her stuff at The Bitter End Café down around the corner.

Tyler is a snagged stag. This chick Lisa is jazzing it with Tyler, whenever she makes the scene at the loft. This arrangement of lustful convenience with no real love, has both Tyler and Lisa blowing their jets.

Tyler's creativity is not the only thing he's struggling with apparently his sex life with Lisa is also sputtering. They have another row. Things get rough and Lisa hits him over the head with a vase. Lisa tends to his wounds, sticks a wad of bills in his hand, puts on her rags and splits. Tyler runs up to the roof and screams that he doesn't want her money. He throws the wad of cash down to the street. Lisa struts back and picks it up out of the cobblestones and tells Tyler to pick her up after her set.

Love%2BStatue%2B01.jpg Tyler (Ratray) and Lisa (Seay)
Love%2BStatue%2B09.jpg "I don't want your money"
Stan, Tyler's crazy sculptor buddie drops by schlepping buckets of clay. He's a sort of cheep creep. He got evicted from his studio and needs a place to crash. Tyler gives him shelter from the storm.
Love%2BStatue%2B17.jpg "Tyler you're getting some style." After helping him carry in his clay, Tyler heads down to The Bitter End Café. At the cafe he catches Mashiko (actually Hisako "Choco" Tsukuba - was in 1964 "Big In Japan") a Japanese torch singer doing her number.


The Beats are cool with her and her song thinking she's The End even though they can't dig a word. Tyler is spotted by some of his friends and waved over to their table.


Bitter End Buddy: What's the kick?
Tyler: Hey you know same old thing.
Josh: Lisa huh? Our little sex symbol putting you down?
Tyler: Nothing seems to be going right. I can't paint, I can't do anything. I feel Like I'm being smothered, you know what I mean?
Josh: Yea I'm hipped man you're bugged, and I know what you need.
Tyler: What's that?
Bitter End Buddy: Nothing, Josh was just jiving, aren't you Josh?
Josh (to the stage): Hey Mashiko come over here.
Bitter End Buddy: Why don't you cool it man.
Josh: Buddy don't sweat it. Come over here honey, Mashiko I'd like you to meet Ty. Honey you were groovy. Honey our boy Ty here has a problem, you think we could sort of help him out? Guide him up the path to eternal freedom.
Bitter End Buddy: Why don't you lay off.
Josh: Why don't you lay off Batman, I'm just looking out for Ty's welfare. Ty's got problems and we're all concerned right, ain't that right Mashiko? He needs a release and it's up to us to show our brothers the light. Dig me.
Tyler: Come on cut it out.
Josh: You need a new dream right? New revelations, put yourself in old Daddy Josh's hands.
Mashiko: You wish to experience new horizons make you feel the power of the earth and of the sky.
Bitter End Buddy: The sky above and the mud below.
Tyler: Hey what is all this jive?
Mashiko: In my world dreams become true.
Josh: Anamorphic images.
Bitter End Buddy: Dig my man Webster.
Josh: Mythic revelations.
Tyler: Hey ah, maybe I'm drunk but I don't get what you're rapping about at all.
Josh: LSD
Tyler: LS what?
Mashiko: LSD it's the newest thing in dreams.

Love%2BStatue%2B78.jpg LSD the newest thing in dreams Bitter End Buddy: Instant psychoanalysis babe.
Tyler: Aaay, if you're talking about what I think you're talking about, no you got the wrong pigeon, I like my nightmares just the way they are.
Josh: Man you don't know until you get (snaps fingers) turned on yourself.
Tyler: Ah you're pushing Josh, I said forget it.
Mashiko: If you should change your mind. You can reach me anytime (gives him her card).

Tyler splits the table, content on being a just a juicehead. He orders a double from Arnie a waiter. Lisa comes on doing her "leo-tart" dance shaking her buns of steel booty hypnotically for the beats. Tyler, now drunk, stops the dance and asks the audience "now that you've seen the merchandise do I have any bids." Lisa kicks him off the stage and walks right over him.

Love%2BStatue%2B25.jpg Lisa's "leo tart" dance
Tyler, stumble/stomps out of the café, later, sloppy drunk he's passed out along an iron fence on a Greenwich Village street. In what may be the first depiction of a predatory gay pick-up, a homosexual man tries to take advantage of Tyler offering him a tar bar/kick stick and asking him if he'll let him "help" him back up to his apartment. It's sort of an attempted date rape without the date. Tyler's not that drunk figures it out and begs off.

The Predator Gay Pickup


Later Lisa drifts up to the loft and she and Tyler, after an attempt at sex, have another war of words. Lisa verbally castrates him and Tyler throws her out.

Frustrated, Tyler remembers Mashiko's offer, and finds her card and the address to her pad. He runs out of the loft passing Stan on the stairs who is bringing a model up to pose. At Mashiko's there's an acid party going on, there Tyler makes it with Mashiko and drops acid he turns on, tunes in, and drops out.

Love%2BStatue%2B42.jpg Acid Party
Three days later at the loft Stan has finished a sculpture of a goddess in clay. Lisa is desperately questioning him frantic about Tyler's disappearance, thinking she should call the fuzz. Stan tells her not to worry.

Tyler has been on a three day acid trip. Mobile again, but still tripping, he stumbles out of Mashiko's into The Village and he hallucinates his way back to the loft (accompanied by a crazy bongo leitmotif) where he imagines that Stan's clay sculpture comes alive, and that he has made love to her.

He finally comes down when laying on the floor of the loft, Lisa pokes him awake with her high heel. Lisa tells him that she has been terribly worried, then she tries to embrace him, but Tyler rejects her, telling her that "it's over Lisa." He takes off out of the loft and heads up to Central Park free from manipulating Lisa and high on life. Lisa is stunned and incensed.
Lisa comes back down to the loft later while Tyler is still out traipsing about Central Park and destroys everything even Stan's precious sculpture. Stan arrives back at the loft sees all the destruction and totally freaks out killing Lisa with his knife. When Tyler finally gets to the loft he finds Lisa's body amongst the wreckage. He panics and flees into the city.

Wandering about lower Manhattan slightly dazed, he spots Stan's model and follows her down into a subway station, onto an uptown train. Desperate he finally convinces her to help him, telling her to call if she hears from Stan.


When Stan finally calls she sets up a rendezvous at Central Park. When Tyler confronts Stan, he pulls his knife and abducts his model, dragging her into his lead sled and taking off upstate for a little dam in Noirsville.


The Love Statue is an interesting and curious melange of Breakfast at Tiffany'sThe Man With The Golden ArmStakeout On Dope Street, and Lost Weekend. Capturing that curious fringe time between the end of The Beats and the beginning of The Age Of Aquarius. A non union film, The Love Statue was shot guerilla style on the streets of New York, it also captures nicely the Greenwich Village Art Scene and NYC circa 1965.  Durston informs us that the films original title "The Love Drug" could not be used because theater managers would not put it on their marquees. It's a "C" picture throughout showing some humorously pathetic attempts at some "European" style but it's a film with a lot of heart. Some of the performances and sequences are well done others are lacking in ability or clunky, but it's still a fun watch.

Directed by David E. Durston, written by David E. Durston and Robert A. Poore. Cinematography was by Amin Q. Chaudhri, Music by Sandy Barnett (musical director), and Rudy Traylor (music editor).  The film stars Peter Ratray as Tyler, Tyler, Beti Seay as Lisa, Harvey J. Goldenberg as Stan, Nancy Norman as The Model, Gigi Darlene as The Statue, Hisako Tsukuba as Mashiko, Coleman Younger as Nick, Mario DeRosa as Gay guy on street, and Liz Otto as Loud woman at bar.

Peter Ratray reminds me of Matt Damon, his performance is excellent. Harvey J. Goldenberg has an aura of Woody Allen, he's quite funny when he's critiquing Tyler's work. Beti Seay's Lisa gives off a Laura Petrie, Mary Tyler Moore vibe, but it's her evil twin. The uncredited actor who plays Josh the pusher is quite good also. Hisako Tsukuba couldn't speak a word of English so her lines are all done phonetically, but it adds to the overall "spaciness" of her character. Director Durston in the extras on the DVD tells us that he did indeed drop acid prior to directing the film in order to give it authenticity.

Apparently the film had some added sexploitation scenes inserted once The Motion Picture Production Code was canned. The Secret Key has restored the film to it's original premier version. The Love Statue, according to Durston had a two week original run. A curious artifact 6/10.


Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-love-statue-love-drug-1965-beat.html

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Diaboliques (1955):


My second viewing (last time was about 10 years ago). A wife and the hubby's mistress cook up a plan to murder the hubby. Later, the body vanishes.


This is a great example of an impossible crime, but I admit that I had some suspicions about the ending when I first saw this movie.


Highly recommended.

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Mirage (1965) Big Budget Bust


1965 Neo Noir thriller directed by Edward Dmytryk (Murder, My Sweet (1944), Cornered (1945), Crossfire (1947), The Sniper (1952)). Screenplay was by Peter Stone. Cinematography was by Joseph MacDonald (The Dark Corner (1946), Call Northside 777 (1948), The Street with No Name (1948), Panic in the Streets (1950), Fourteen Hours (1951), Niagara (1953), Pickup on South Street (1953), House of Bamboo (1955)). Music was by Quincy Jones (The Pawnbroker (1964), In Cold Blood (1967)).

The film stars Gregory Peck (Spellbound (1945), Cape Fear (1962)), Diane Baker, Walter Matthau (Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1957), Charley Varrick (1973)), George Kennedy Leif Erickson, Walter Abel, and Kevin McCarthy.

A lower Manhattan skyscraper has a blackout. David Stillwell (Peck) an accountant decides to leave by the darkened stairs rather than wait for the lights to come back on. He meets a woman Shela (Diane Baker) on the landing, She seems to know him but he does not know her. Alarmed, she flees down from the street level into a sub-basement.




Splattered on the pavement outside is the body of peace activist Charles Calvin (Walter Abel) an apparent suicide. When Stillwell returns to the stairwell, there is no sub-basement. A man coveralls in the building's power plant, Willard (George Kennedy), tells him to leave.


At Stillwell's apartment, a stranger, Lester (Jack Weston), pulls a gun on him. He orders Stillwell to go meet "the Major" and to take his briefcase with his papers. Stillwell swings his briefcase at the gun man catching him off guard. He knocks him out and dumps him in a janitorial closet out in the hall.


Reporting this assault to NYPD he gets agitated by basic questions about his background information. He storms out and finds a psychiatrist, Dr. Broden (Robert H. Harris). He realizes he has no memory, Broden tells him that amnesia for two years without being aware of it is impossible.

Stillwell sitting by Columbus Circle spots a sign for the AAA Detective Agency. In the office is Ted Caselle (Walter Matthau). He tells Stillwell that he's his first case. With Caselle's and Shela's help Stillwell begins to remember and piece his life back together.






The film is a bit of a mess, it's never explained why Stillwell thinks he was an accountant, when he really was a research scientist, or why he thinks he has an office where there is none. It's almost as if the creators couldn't make up their minds which way to go, or they left some key parts of the novel that would have explained all this out. 1966's Mr. Buddwing also set in Manhattan with James Garner does the amnesia trope way better.

The whole love story with Shela has zero chemistry and feels both rushed and tacked on. There is some nice noir-ish cinematography that bookend the piece and good NYC location work but for a noir way too much in the middle seems to be either on what looks like Hollywood sets or shot in broad daylight. It's a film where nothing seems to gel. Screencaps are from the Universal DVD. Worth a watch if you can rent it 6/10.


Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/03/mirage-1965-big-budget-bust.html

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The Seventh Juror (1962 French):


A man murders a local woman and her partner is arrested for the crime. The man (the killer) is selected to be on the jury for the partner's trial.


I've seen this film about 3 or 4 times in the past month. Terrific noir-thriller with a memorable final line.

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I love that film. I've seen it a few times this winter season!


I love the cast: Lucille Ball, Charles Coburn, George Sanders, and I adore Boris Karloff in his brief role. All the others were great, too.

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EDIT: sorry, not sure why this post came through twice.




I love that film. I've seen it a few times this winter season!


I love the cast: Lucille Ball, Charles Coburn, George Sanders, and I adore Boris Karloff in his brief role. All the others were great, too.

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Brainstorm (1965) Is He or Isn't He?


Directed by William Conrad (My Blood Runs Cold (1965), Two on a Guillotine (1965), Naked City TV Series (1958–1963), 77 Sunset Strip TV Series (1958–1964)). himself a veteran actor in Classic Noir, i.e., (The Killers (1946), Body and Soul (1947), Sorry, Wrong Number (1948), Tension (1949), Cry Danger (1951), The Racket (1951), 5 Against the House (1955)). Written by  Mann Rubin (screenplay), and Lawrence B. Marcus (story). Cinematography was by Sam Leavitt (Crime in the Streets (1956), The Defiant Ones (1958), Anatomy of a Murder (1959), The Crimson Kimono (1959), Cape Fear (1962)) and music by George Duning (Gilda (1946) stock music, Blind Spot (1947), The Big Heat (1953), The Lineup (1958), Screaming Mimi (1958), Naked City TV Series (1958–1963));

The film stars Jeffrey Hunter (Fourteen Hours (1951), Man-Trap (1961)) as Jim Grayam, Anne Francis (Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Girl of the Night (1960)) as Lorrie Benson, Dana Andrews (6 Classic Noir ) as Cort Benson, Viveca Lindfors (Backfire (1950), This Side Of The Law (1950)) as Dr. Larstadt, Kathie Browne (City of Fear (1959)) as Angie DeWitt, and Strother Martin (The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Scandal Sheet (1952), Kiss Me Deadly (1955), The Big Knife (1955), Harper (1966)) as Mr. Clyde.

Jim Grayam (Hunter), a brilliant moon rocket systems research analyst for Benson Industries "an Einstein from the East", is driving back from the lab in the San Fernando Valley late at night. He comes upon a car parked upon a railroad crossing.



Inside the car is a beautiful woman Lorrie Benson (Francis). A train is fast approaching the doors are locked and the woman is not responding to his frantic attempts to awaken her. Grayam in desperation grabs a rock, breaks the window, and drives off the crossing just before the streamliner roars through.


Brainstorm%2B1965%2B10.jpg Jim Grayam (Hunter)
Brainstorm%2B1965%2B11.jpg train's a-coming
He opens her purse, checks her I.D. finds out her name is Lorrie Benson and that she lives in Beverly Hills. He drives her to her hilltop mansion.

Brainstorm%2B1965%2B17.jpg "everything that belongs to me stays mine." 
 Cort Benson (Dana Andrews ) and  Lorrie Benson (Anne Francis)
When Lorrie comes to she announces that she finally got the courage up to attempt suicide. She is distraught because her husband is a manipulating sadist. "everything that belongs to me stays mine." Cort Benson (Andrews) her husband and Jim's boss, offers Jim a reward of $1,000 for saving his wife's life. Jim rejects the money. Tell his boss at the lab that "he likes to earn his money, not stumble upon it by accident." Lorrie call him up thanking him for the other night and telling Jim that he really shook up her husband who she states "thought everyone had a price tag."

When Lorrie begins to take a serious shine to Jim, Cort begins a campaign of discreditation (has a woman claim that he has been making obscene phone calls) and subterfuge that questions Jim's mental stability that actually does have some basis from an incident from Jim's past. It appears to his coworkers that he's having a nervous breakdown.

The Company orders that Jim is evaluated by Dr. Elizabeth Larstadt (Lindfors), a therapist. She does some tests and finds him to have a volatile personality. Jim figures that he'll outsmart them all and begins a personal campaign to fake temporary insanity so that he can murder Benson, in a sort of demented impulse, escape the murder charge and have Lorrie and her millions to himself.

Brainstorm%2B1965%2B23.jpg Dr. Elizabeth Larstadt (Lindfors)
Arrested, charged, tried, and declared insane he's shipped off to a mental institution whose head headshrinker is Dr. Elizabeth Larstadt. Thinking now that he'll play along with Larstadt and gradually convince her that he's cured, Jim is stunned when Lorrie comes to visit the institution and tells him that she can't see him anymore.  He is then really sent off the deep end to Noirsville when he watches her embrace and kiss her husband's chauffeur through a barred window.



Brainstorm%2B1965%2B27.jpg Mr. Clyde (Martin)
Brainstorm%2B1965%2B29.jpg   Screencaps are from the Warner's On Demand DVD, Conrad delivers a straightforward noir tale with a few stylistic flourishes 7/10.


Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/03/brainstorm-1965-is-he-or-isnt-he.html

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Angel Heart (1987) Neo Noir Masterpiece




"There's just enough religion in the world to make them hate one another but not enough to make them love." 


It's been a good half dozen years since I last screened Angel Heart and I was amazed at how incredibly rich the cinematography was and sumptuous the set decoration. The film is striking in how well it recreates in a Classic Film Noir like milieu both Manhattan and New Orleans circa 1955.


Directed brilliantly by Alan Parker (Midnight Express (1978), Mississippi Burning (1988)), the screenplay was written by Alan Parker and was based on William Hjortsberg's novel of the same name. The striking cinematography was by Michael Seresin (Come See the Paradise (1990)). The Production Design was by Brian Morris (Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)). The Art Direction was by Armin Ganz and Kristi Zea Goodfellas (1990), The Silence of the Lambs (1991)). The set  decoration was by Robert J. Franco (Night and the City (1992)) and Leslie A. Pope (After Hours (1985), Matewan (1987), Ironweed (1987), Catch Me If You Can (2002)). The excellent film score for Angel Heart was produced and composed by South African composer Trevor Jones (Sea of Love (1989), Dark City (1998)), with saxophone solos by British jazz musician Courtney Pine. The soundtrack also features several great blues and R&B performances, including "Honeyman Blues" by Bessie Smith, and "Soul on Fire" by LaVern Baker. Brownie McGhee performed the songs "The Right Key, but the Wrong Keyhole" and "Rainy Rainy Day". Also featured is Dr. John's Zu Zu Mamou' The sound editing was by Eddy Joseph.




The film stars Mickey Rourke (Body Heat (1981), Diner (1982), Barfly (1987), White Sands (1992), Sin City (2005), Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)) as Harry Angel, Robert De Niro (The Godfather: Part II (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), Cop Land (1997), Jackie Brown (1997), ) as Louis Cyphre, Lisa Bonet as Epiphany Proudfoot, Charlotte Rampling (The Night Porter (1974), Farewell, My Lovely (1975), The Verdict (1982)) as Margaret Krusemark, Stocker Fontelieu (Obsession (1976), Pretty Baby (1978), ) as Ethan Krusemark, Brownie McGhee (A Face in the Crowd (1957)) as Toots Sweet, Michael Higgins (Terror in the City (1964), Wanda (1970)) as Dr. Albert Fowler, Elizabeth Whitcraft (Goodfellas (1990)) as Connie, Charles Gordone as Spider Simpson and Dann Florek as Herman Winesap.


Screenshot%2B%25286798%2529.pngHarold Angel,(Rourke) PI


Angel Heart is essentially a PI flick, but this PI has one foot in reality and one foot in the supernatural. It's all right there up front for the audience. An attorney, Herman Winesap (Florek) calls a Second Avenue based private detective Harold R. Angel (Rourke) on a missing persons case. Winesap's client is Louis Cypher (De Niro), otherwise known as Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Beelzebub, Satan, Old Scratch,The Devil. Angel goes to the address of a Black pentecostal church up in Harlem to meet them and hear the details of the case.



Louis Cypher (DeNiro)


John Liebling was a crooner at the beginning of his career. Liebling was deep into VooDoo witchcraft with his fortune teller gal pal Margaret Krusemark. It was Liebling and Krusemark who summoned up Cypher. Cypher offered a contract, it's the usual "deal with the Devil", I give you fame and fortune you, quid pro quo, give me your soul. Liebling agrees, changes his name to Johnny Favorite, cuts a few grooves, and breaks into the big time with a few hit records.


Pearl Harbor gets bombed, Johnny gets drafted, gets sent on a USO tour and gets wounded. He's shell shocked, has amnesia, and he's facially wounded enough to have to have had reconstructive surgery. He's supposed to be living in a sanitarium up in Poughkeepsie. However, when Cypher and Winesap are in the vicinity they go to check on Liebling and find out that he's not there. Cypher offers Angel $5,000 dollars to find Liebling/Favorite.


Even though we all know about Cypher (during their meeting though, all of the above is represented as a straight business contract nothing is mentioned about Liebling's soul), Angel, who keeps announcing that he's "from Brooklyn" has got to be one of the dumbest Brooklyn PI's to ever walk the planet. It's either that or like your typical New Yorker he's just gonna think that Cypher is just one eccentric nut job in a city full of them, and he's not gonna believe what all his intuitions are telling him.




Angel drives up to Poughkeepsie and does some sleuthing. Chatting up a nurse who shows some attraction to him, he gets her to show him Liebling's file. He was released in 1943, a backdated transfer record has recently been added by a physician named Albert Fowler, (eagle eye Angel notices the discrepancy because it was signed with a ballpoint pen).


Angel looks up Fowler in the phone book, drives to his house, breaks in, and does a toss. In the refrigerator he sees a shelf stocked with morphine, the doc is a junkie. When Fowler returns Angel braces him about Liebling. Fowler tells him Liebling was released to a man and his daughter with the last name of Kelly and that they were going to take him back home down South. He tells him that he can go cold turkey for a while until his memory gets better. We see Angel drag Fowler up to a bedroom and lock him in.






At the click of the key lock the screen goes dark, then we see the shadow of a slowly turning fan, the fan slowly stops and then begins to turn in the opposite direction. This visual "fan" trope is repeated again and again in various forms during the course of the film. Another visual trope is various dark shadowy corridors where gates slide open or shafts with descending elevators that cascade light upon dark walls. Still another is of a woman shrouded all in black.


Angel is hanging out in a diner, an ashtray at his side is filled with butts he's been there a few hours. When Angel goes back to Fowler's he grabs a ampule of morphine and runs upstairs to the bedroom. Upon unlocking the door Angel finds Fowler with his brains blown out.


Angel reports back to Cypher, he tells him what Fowler confessed to and that later Fowler killed himself. Angel indicates to Cypher that he wants no part of death and is done with the investigation. Cypher counters that he will pay someone else five G's to find him.  Angel is from Brooklyn and five G's is five G's, he accepts the case. 


From Angel's journalist gal pal Connie, he gets the lead that Johnny Liebling/Favorite's old bandleader Spider Simpson ( Gordone) is up in an old folks home in Harlem.


From Spider he gets two names Toots Sweet (McGhee) a blues guitar player who went back to New Orleans, and a fortune teller in Coney Island named Madam Zora who was Johnny's girlfriend. A trip to Coney Island discovers that Madam Zora was in reality Margaret Krusemark (Rampling) a wealthy Louisiana socialite.


After again reporting to Cypher Angel heads South on the Southern Crescent arriving in New Orleans and Noirsville.










Harold Angel plays it throughout like your classic wise cracking hard boiled detective, but unexplained flashbacks and dreams continually haunt him, he's a bit at times on the bewildered side. He's also feeling that a noose is tightening around his neck as he suspects that Johnny Liebling is following him around, murdering his contacts, and leaving clues framing him to the police authorities.


*If you've never seen this film it's best to stop reading here, spoilers ahead.*


It's not revealed until the end that Cypher, deviously, has all along been having Angel search for himself. Glen Gray's 1937 song "Girl of My Dreams" is a recurring song performed by the unseen character Johnny Favorite and it becomes a haunting leitmotif for Harold/Johnny.


The trope of the shadowy corridors are passages to the memories of his past before the possession of his identity and soul by Johnny Liebling. These hallways and mazes are revealed as slowly reopening.


When Angel finally confronts Kelly/Krusemark in a bayou gumbo hut he admits that he and Margaret were the ones who helped Favorite leave the hospital. He also explains that before all this happened Liebling/Favorite was a high priest, a VooDoo magician who sold his soul to Satan in exchange for stardom. Liebling, though, thought he could beat the Devil. He had discovered an ancient rite where he could hide his identity from Satan. In 1943 Liebling and the Krusemarks kidnapped a young soldier and performed the satanic ritual in a Times Square Hotel, slicing him open and devouring his still beating heart. Liebling/Favorite was next supposed to drop out of sight and the resurface as Harold Angel the soldier he murdered. Liebling though was then himself drafted, gets a head injury, and sent home and eventually up to Poughkeepsie as a head case.  Hoping to jump start Liebling's memory the Krusemarks hijacked Johnny back to Times Square where they loose him in the New Years Eve crowd. Instead of resurfacing as Johnny in possession of Harold Angel's body and soul, it's Harold who emerges in somewhat control Johnny's body but with a new face.


The other two visual tropes, the shrouded woman that Harold/Johnny tries to approach is probably meant to symbolize FATE. The shots of revolving fans that slowly stop and then revolve in the opposite direction symbolizes Satan rewinding Harold/Johnny's actions. Where Harold thought he was just interrogated his leads, Johnny under the influence of Satan's guiding hand was murdering them, covering his tracks and indeed framing Harold. This rewinding is echoed by Harold, when he is making his tape recorder report to Cypher, he rewinds and records over his statements to change/withhold some information.


Supernatural and fantasy based Noir have been around since the beginning. During the Classic Film Noir Era films like Alias Nick Beal (1949), Repeat Performance (1947), The Amazing Mr. X (1948), Fear in the Night (1947), The Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948), Nightmare (1956), covered roughly the same territory, there are probably a few more. You can possibly even include It's a Wonderful Life (1946) for the Noir-ish sequence and Val Lewton's The Seventh Victim (1943).


Mickey Rourke's performance is both intense and mesmerizing. It's Mickey's movie all the way, he won a Jupiter Award for Best International Actor for this performance and for A Prayer for the Dying (1987). Robert DeNiro's Cypher is both humorously playful and seriously foreboding. Lisa Bonet torches the screen and her child star roots with her sensual portrayal as Epiphany Proudfoot. Charlotte Rampling, and the rest of the talented cast are all excellent. 


Kudo's to production designer Brian Morris and the set decorating team who did an exemplary job recreating both New York and New Orleans dressing and cladding every single storefront and draining all primary colors within sight of the camera to get the films distinctive monochromatic look. It's a Noir visual treat. Screencaps are from the Artisan DVD. 10/10


Full review with more and some NSFW screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/03/angel-heart-1987-neo-noir-masterpiece.html

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Why Must I Die? (1960) Forgotten Noir

C noir Directed by Roy Del Ruth (Red Light (1949)), Screenplay was written by Richard Bernstein, Herbert G. Luft ( The Naked Kiss (1964)) and George Waters. Cinematography was by Ernest Haller (Blues in the Night (1941), Mildred Pierce (1945), Deception (1946), The Unfaithful (1947), The Come On (1956), Plunder Road (1957), The 3rd Voice (1960), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)). Music was by Richard LaSalle.

The film stars Terry Moore (Mighty Joe Young (1949), Gambling House (1950), Shack Out on 101 (1955)), as Lois King, Debra Paget (Cry of the City (1948), House of Strangers (1949), Fourteen Hours (1951)), as Dottie Manson, Bert Freed (Boomerang! (1947), Black Hand (1950), 711 Ocean Drive (1950), No Way Out (1950), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), Detective Story (1951), Twilight of Honor (1963)) as Adler, Juli Reding (Vice Raid (1960), Tormented (1960)) as Mitzi, Lionel Ames as Eddie Rainey, Phil Harvey (Touch of Evil (1958)) as Kenny Randall, Fred Sherman as 'Red' King, and Sid Melton (White Heat (1949), Hi-Jacked (1950)) as Morrie Waltzer.

why%2Bmust%2BI%2Bdie%2B1960%2B01.jpg Lori King (Moore)
Lori King is a torch singer at The Cockatoo nightclub. She has been so popular that she has been signed on for another month. Originally from the Midwest she keeps her past under wraps. Her father Red (Sherman) is a con serving time, but he's soon to be released. She's trying to make a new life for herself. Her boss, Kenny Randall, (Harvey) has the hots for Lori.

Enter Eddie Rainey (Ames), the ex partner of her father. He tells Lori that he's going to tell the prison authorities enough dirt on Red to extend his sentence to life, if she doesn't help Eddie and his female accomplice, safe cracker Dottie Manson (Paget), rob The Cockatoo's wall safe.

why%2Bmust%2BI%2Bdie%2B1960%2B07.jpg Dottie (Paget) Lori is also worried about what Randall will think about her shady past. All Lori has to do is give Eddie the key to the front door. Their plan is to send the nightwatchman a thermos of drugged coffee as a "gift" from Lori. Once he's knocked out Dottie will let herself into the club and blow the safe. Eddie will act as the lookout.


When Randall goes, after hours, to the club on the night of the planned heist he interrupts Dottie emptying the safe. She guns him down in his office with the gun she got from Lori's apartment and scoots. Lori who was trying to contact Randall also heads for the club. She discovers Randall, and her gun. The watchman comes to and stumbles upon Lori bending over Randall with the gun in her hand.



The police put Lori on the hot seat, she tells them what happened, but since they can't find either Eddie or Dottie, they pin the murder on her. In the meantime Dottie double crosses Eddie and takes off with all the loot. Eddie is destitute and living in a dump with a floozie Mitzi (Reding) on Bunker Hill.

Lori is tried and convicted and sentenced to death row at a prison in Noirsville awaiting the electric chair.


why%2Bmust%2BI%2Bdie%2B1960%2B18.jpg Mitzi (Reding)










Why Must I Die? is low rent, and chuckle inducing at times. During the robbery Dottie and Eddie communicate with walkie-talkies as big as fireplace logs. Terry Moore is functionally somewhat believable as Lori, and she signs a few forgettable numbers, but Debra Paget's "mad ****" Dottie has a bigger pair than partner in crime Eddie. She is way way over the top. Dottie blows the nightclub safe in stilettos and capri pants, then tells Eddie over the walkie-talkie "so long sucker", and hysterically, with the money in her greedy little hands, sprints off away from the getaway car and dumbstruck Eddie.

Eddie, puts the pedal to the metal and tries to run her over, but crashes into a back alley wall. Later, Dottie, has burned through the take from The Cockatoo. Desperate she holds up a liquor store. During the robbery she panics and shoots a blind newsboy in the back, who innocently walked in to deliver the papers. When the clerk asks why , she tells him that "he can talk, he can yell copper, can't he."

The rest of the cast is adequate. Noir vet Freed is good as Adler and Juli Reding's Mitzi provides more eye candy than either of the leads.

This film is mildly entertaining, if not taken too seriously, but it's not a must watch. It does have nice surprise ending, I'll give it that much. 6/10


Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/03/why-must-i-die-1960-forgotten-noir.html

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Girl Of The Night (1960) New York Call Girl Noir

Surprisingly good Psychological Woman's Neo Noir with an Oscar worthy performance by Anne Francis. Based on the book "The Call Girl: A Social and Analytic Study" by Dr. Harold Greenwald it was a doctoral dissertation on the psychology of prostitutes. Published in 1958.

Directed by Joseph Cates (Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)), the screenplay was written by Ted Berkman (Murder on Diamond Row (1937), The Green Cockatoo (1937), Short Cut to Hell (1957)) and Raphael Blau (Edge of Fury (1958)). The films cinematography was by Joseph C. Brun (Walk East on Beacon! (1952), Edge of the City (1957), Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)), and the music was by Sol Kaplan (Trapped (1949), 711 Ocean Drive (1950), The House on Telegraph Hill (1951), Niagara (1953) and, The Burglar (1957)).


The film stars Anne Francis (Rogue Cop (1954), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Forbidden Planet (1956), The Satan Bug (1965), ) as Bobbie, Lloyd Nolan (veteran of & Classic Noir) as Dr. Mitchell, Kay Medford (The Undercover Man (1949), Guilty Bystander (1950), A Face in the Crowd (1957), BUtterfield 8 (1960)) as Rowena Claiborne, John Kerr as Larry Taylor, Arthur Storch as Jason Franklin, Jr., James Broderick as Dan Bolton, and Eileen Fulton as Lisa.

Girl%2BOf%2BThe%2BNight%2B1960%2B06.jpg Bobbie and Dr. Mitchell (Nolan) Girl Of The Night tells the story of Robin "Bobbie" Williams (Francis) a relatively "low mileage" call girl. When we first view her she is running terrified through the streets of Manhattan. A taxi cab picks her up and the driver takes her to her address. In the same building there is the office of Dr. Mitchell, who agrees to take a look at her, even though he is a psychologist. She tells Mitchell that she is a prostitute.

Dr. Mitchell is intrigued by all this and asks Bobbie if she'll agree to regular sessions on the couch... get your minds out of the gutter. Bobbie accepts the offer and we begin to hear and see her story in both audio and visual flashbacks.



Bobbie's sugar daddy "finesse pimp" is her "boyfriend" Larry (Kerr). He was supposed to watch out for weirdo S&M johns, but instead of accompanying Bobbie to the job decided to sit in cocktail bar and chat up a potential new "stable" gal named Lisa (Fulton). 


Rowena Claiborne (Medford) sort of the Madam of the call girl operation schedules the various tricks. Bobbie and new turnout Lisa are sent on a "date" with two business men of of whom is the out of town client of the other. When the out of town client leans a bit too heavily on new girl Lisa, he finds out that the girls are hookers. He begins to torment Lisa.  She freaks out and accidentally backs away and over a balcony falling quite a few stories to her death.



Bobbie is stunned when Larry gets angry with her for letting Lisa screwing up "date."  He roughs her up and she decides to leave the biz. She gets a job as a file clerk and with Dr. Mitchell's help begins to lead a normal life.

The film employs numerous sessions of questions and answers with Dr.Mitchell to reveal to the audience how a broken childhood, an absentee father, and being violated on a regular basis with a delivery boy who paid her off in candy, contributed to her present situation. Through all his help Bobbie begins to understand that her attraction to Larry is motivated by disgust and hatred. By giving Larry the money she makes, she sees him as lower than herself on the human trash heap.








It's all in all a pretty interesting film with quite a bit of insight into the sex worker business. The film is exceptional when you remember it was produced when the Motion Picture Code was still enforced. Anne Francis really gives an Oscar worthy performance. Lloyd Nolan plays the analyst to perfection. John Kerr as Bobbie's manipulating, suave, alcoholic pimp is equally good he reminds me of Steve Franken who played Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. in "The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis" (1959–1963). Kay Medford who deals with life's unpredictabilities by staying heavily "on the sauce", she is equally convincing as the crumbling madam coasting on the down side of life.

Dark, uncomfortable, and at times noirish you can see why Girl of the Night disappeared from the cultural consciousness in the uptight 50s early 60s it was a bit ahead of it's time, then but the same film would need to be a bit more exploitive for today's audiences. It deserves way more recognition. Screencaps are from the Warner's Archive collection. A Café au lait Noir 7-8/10.


Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/03/girl-of-night-1960-new-york-call-girl.html

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Tonight I'll be watching Elevator to the Gallows, which I've seen a number of times and enjoyed each time. A younger fellow has been carrying on with his much older boss' younger wife and they come up with a plot to kill the boss/husband and to make it look like suicide. From then on, things start to go downhill for them and interesting for me.


Wonderful French 1950s noir with a touch of comedy to it!

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Twilight Of Honor (1963) What if "Anatomy Of A Murder" had went Noirsville?


"Any man whose wife turns him in is better off dead."
Directed by Boris Sagal (Mike Hammer TV Series (1958–1959), Johnny Staccato TV Series (1959), Mr. Lucky TV Series (1959–1960), Peter Gunn TV Series (1958–1961), The Twilight Zone TV Series (1959–1964), Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV Series (1955–1962)). The screenplay was written by Henry Denker based on the novel by Al Dewlen. The excellent cinematography was by Philip H. Lathrop whose credits include camera operator on (The Raging Tide (1951), Touch of Evil (1958), Hammett (1982)), and as cinematographer for (Mr. Lucky TV Series (1959–1960), Peter Gunn TV Series (1958–1961), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Experiment in Terror (1962), Lonely Are the Brave (1962), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), The Americanization of Emily (1964), Point Blank (1967)). Music was by Johnny Green (They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)).

The film stars Richard Chamberlain as David Mitchell, Nick Adams (Rebel Without a Cause (1955), I Died a Thousand Times (1955), Hell Is for Heroes (1962)) as Ben Brown, Claude Rains (Moontide (1942), Casablanca (1942), Angel on My Shoulder (1946), Deception (1946), The Unsuspected (1947), Rope of Sand (1949), Where Danger Lives (1950)) as Art Harper, James Gregory (The Naked City (1948), Nightfall (1956), The Big Caper (1957), The Manchurian Candidate (1962)) as Norris Bixby, Joey Heatherton (My Blood Runs Cold (1965)) as Laura Mae Brown, Pat Buttram as Cole Clinton, Joan Blackman as Susan Harper, Jeanette Nolan (The Big Heat (1953), Psycho (1960)) as Amy Clinton, Edgar Stehli (Boomerang! (1947)) as Judge James Tucker, Bert Freed (Black Hand (1950), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), 711 Ocean Drive (1950), No Way Out (1950), Detective Story (1951), Why Must I Die? (1960)) as Sheriff B.L. 'Buck' Wheeler, and Linda Evans as Alice Clinton.

Twilight of Honor is a courtroom drama along the lines of Anatomy of a Murder (1959). Otto Preminger's film deals with a service man (Ben Gazzara) accused of killing a popular backwoods Michigan resort owner who the defense (James Stewart) claims allegedly rapped his wife (Lee Remick). The state prosecutors (George C. Scott and Brooks West) are determined to impinge the reputation of the service man's wife, claiming that her revealing attire (she went around "bare legged") and intense sexuality signified her as a woman of loose morals. The fact that both the service man and his wife were heavy boozers also enters into the equation.

Twilight of Honor begins with the Big Sky, a plane, a twin engine job, like the one in "Sky King" tracks across it. It's a Western Neo Noir. We see with eyes used to reading Western codes what looks like a lynch mob. It is, just updated to the 20th Century.  A cut to the aircraft and the sheriff is dragging USAF vet Ben Brown (Adams) out of the plane like a dog on a chain. He's wanted for the murder and robbery of a rich and beloved native New Mexican scion, Cole Clinton (Buttram). Brown is brought into Clinton's Durango County seat hometown for arraignment before a grand jury. That lynch mob atmosphere is duplicated with another angry crowd at the courthouse. David Mitchell (Chamberlain) a local attorney is appointed by Judge Tucker (Stehli) to defend Brown. Norris Bixby (Gregory) the state's special prosecutor has ambitions. He wants to use the case to run for governor. Mitchell's old friend and law associate Art Harper (Rains) is a renowned retired attorney. He encourages the seemingly in over his head, and very discouraged Mitchell to agree to take on the case. Mitchell hasn't tried a case in three years. Harper with some sort of heart condition will act as Mitchell's mentor.


At the county jail Mitchell meets Ben's cheap, shapely, slutty, round-heels wife Laura-Mae (Heatherton). Laura-Mae ratted out her own husband Ben. Mitchell also find out that after his arrest Ben signed a confession. When Mitchell questions Ben about his confession he tells him that it was made under coercion and that the document he signed left out parts of his original statement.


When Mitchell and Harper conduct a research of New Mexico’s criminal code, they discover No. 12-24 which provides that a husband is innocent if he kills another man whom he discovers in the act of adultery with his wife.

Mitchell and Harper's monumental task now, is to convince a jury that is made up of friends, business associates, club members, and acquaintances that their favorite son Cole Clinton was a lecherous adulterer.

What makes Twilight Of Honor different from Anatomy Of A Murder and tips the film directly into Noirsville is the use, by director Boris Sagal, of vivid and extremely lurid true and false story flashbacks of the sleazy details of the Ben-Laura-Mae-Cole Clinton relationship that lead up to the death of Cole Clinton.






Richard Chamberlain in one of his first major roles does an adequate job as David Mitchell he's no Jimmy Stewart, he actually pull it off. Claude Rains in one of his last screen appearances is effective and touching as Art Harper, though he's relegated more to the background. James Gregory is doing his big blowhard schtick to perfection and Jeanette Nolan as the conniving widow are both convincing in their supporting roles. Arch Johnson is nicely slimey as the Palomino Bar bartender, and Pat Buttram is in the movie role of a lifetime as the sleazy rancher Cole Clinton trolling watering holes for young ****. Other early 60s TV staples are glimpsed in minor roles, Gene Coogan, Chubby Johnson, Burt Mustin, and Henry Beckman. The two standouts for me are Nick Adams, and in her big screen debut Joey Heatherton.


Nick Adams was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, he plays, docile, bewildered, desperate, defeated, demoralized, betrayed, dumb, calculating and vicious, however I've read that many of his most intense scenes were cut from the final released version, and he subsequently lost to actor Melvyn Douglas for his role in Hud (1963). They should have left his parts in. They probably sacrificed his screen time to beef up the Chamberlain/ He could have been a contender but sadly life gave him a one way ticket to Palookaville.

Joey Heatherton's first role as a dramatic actress came in 1960 when she guest starred on TV's Route 66, in Twilight of Honor as Femme Fatale Laura-Mae Brown she displayed an eye catching and incredibly sizzling aura of sleazy eroticism. She sort of had a shooting star career, she either peaked just a bit too soon, or Hollywood didn't know how to take advantage of her, too bad. She was a bonafide sex symbol and had mainly a television career appearing in countless variety shows. If the film had been made five years later after the demise of the Motion Picture Production Code, one can guess what heights she would have achieved in this, she had it.

Don't get me wrong, Anatomy Of A Murder is the better film, but Twilight Of Honor is the Noir-er one. It only makes me speculate how much better (from a Noir point of view, of course) both films may have been had former had flashbacks of Laura Manion's (Lee Remick) encounter with Barney, and the later had a more accomplished late Classic Film Noir actor in the lead. Better yet the film would have been even more up to date if it was told from the Browns POV from the get go. This film needed more Adams, Heatherton, Buttram, New Mexico, West Texas, and less everyone else.


The soundtrack was adequate nothing special, however all the sequences showing Laura-Mae dancing at the juke box would have been much better if they had used actual hits from the time, i.e., Blue Velvet/Bobby Vinton, Sugar Shack/Jimmy Gilmer And The Fireballs, The Lion Sleeps Tonight/The Tokens, etc., etc., rather than the elevator type music that was used. Screencaps are from the Warner's Archive Collection DVD 7/10.


Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/03/twilight-of-honor-1963-what-if-anatomy.html

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