1,000 Noir Films (N)

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Title / Director / Year / Country
Naked Alibi
Naked Alibi
1954, USA, 86m, BW, Mystery-Crime-Police Detective Film
Screenplay Lawrence Roman, Gladys Atwater, J. Robert Bren (from the story Cry Copper by Gladys Atwater and J. Robert Bren) Producer Ross Hunter Photography Russell Metty Editor Al Clark Music Frank Skinner, Hans J. Salter Cast Sterling Hayden, Gloria Grahame, Gene Barry, Marcia Henderson, Max Showalter, Billy Chapin, Chuck Connors, Don Haggerty, Stuart Randall, Don Garrett.
"Naked Alibi is not a first-tier noir. It’s a B movie. No argument from this fan, but at the same time, simply because it’s a B film, low budget, stripped down to its bare bones, and relying on camera, plot and the main characters, well some film makers could learn a few things from this B film. Subtract big budget, special effects and gimmicks, and let’s see what’s left, and in Naked Alibi, shot in just one month, we have a clean, simple, surprisingly good noir… One of the reasons Naked Alibi works so well is its excellent casting. Hayden, Barry and Gloria Grahame make the perfect noir cocktail." - Guy Savage (Film Noir of the Week)
The Naked City
The Naked City 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1948, USA, 96m, BW, Mystery-Crime-Urban Drama
Screenplay Albert Maltz, Marvin Wald (from an unpublished story by Marvin Wald) Producer Mark Hellinger Photography William Daniels Editor Paul Weatherwax Music Miklos Rozsa, Frank Skinner Cast Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Dorothy Hart, Don Taylor, Ted De Corsia, House Jameson, Anne Sargent, Adelaide Klein, Grover Burgess, Tom Pedi.
"The Naked City may not be the first of its type, but its almost revolutionary union of actors and real people, on real streets, has inspired scores of films ever since. The camera crew worked inside a van equipped with a one-way mirror, enabling them to film the city while remaining invisible to passersby. New York, and New Yorkers, become the leading performers, the film's major attraction. The Naked City is a series of powerful scenes, first depicting the murder of a pretty, man-hungry, larcenous young model, and then detailing the efforts of the cops to sniff out her killers. Of course, they unravel the case, which culminates in a thrilling chase sequence across the Williamsburg Bridge from Manhattan's Lower East Side to Brooklyn." - Rob Edelman (Film Reference)
The Naked Kiss
The Naked Kiss Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
LATE NOIR (1960s)
1964, USA, 93m, BW, Melodrama-Crime
Screenplay Samuel Fuller Producer Samuel Fuller Photography Stanley Cortez Editor Jerome Thoms Music Paul Dunlap Cast Constance Towers, Anthony Eisley, Michael Dante, Virginia Grey, Patsy Kelly, Betty Bronson, Marie Devereux, Karen Conrad, Linda Francis, Barbara Perry.
"The Naked Kiss contrasts angelic children with unapologetic depravity, while capturing the tissue-like division protecting the former from the latter. Innocence and corruption live together beneath the harmonious, hypocritical surface of an idyllic-seeming American town, and while that situation may seem familiar now, thanks to the films and TV shows Naked Kiss helped inspire—Blue Velvet comes immediately to mind—familiarity has dulled none of the film’s force. The Naked Kiss was the second of two films Fuller made with Towers and Cortez as an independent writer, producer, and director in the early 1960s. It’s a tremendous effort, only slightly overshadowed by its 1963 predecessor, Shock Corridor." - Keith Phipps (A.V. Club)
The Naked Street
The Naked Street
1955, USA, 84m, BW, Drama-Crime-Mystery
Screenplay Maxwell Shane, Leo Katcher (from a story by Leo Katcher) Producer Edward Small Photography Floyd Crosby Editor Grant Whytock Music Emil Newman, Ernest Gold Cast Farley Granger, Anthony Quinn, Anne Bancroft, Peter Graves, Else Neft, Sara Berner, Jerry Paris, Mario Siletti, James Flavin, Whit Bissell.
"In The Naked Street, mob enforcer Phil Regal (Anthony Quinn), who regularly has men beaten and killed, is so frightened of the idea that his knocked-up kid sister Rosalie (Anne Bancroft) might have to raise a bastard child that he fantastically engineers the release of her beau (Granger) from the death house at Sing Sing. It is positively stunning to consider that audiences would empathize with the idea that a hardened, violent killer would go to such means to protect his sister and her child from the whispers and smirks of square-type citizens… This outrageous story twist is what makes The Naked Street so interesting, and the filmmakers’ failure to follow the melodramatic possibilities to the finish make it something of a disappointment." - Mark Fertig (Where Danger Lives)
The Narrow Margin
The Narrow Margin 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1952, USA, 70m, BW, Thriller-Crime-Police Detective Film
Screenplay Earl Fenton (from the unpublished story by Martin Goldsmith and Jack Leonard) Producer Stanley Rubin Photography George E. Diskant Editor Robert Swink Cast Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White, Queenie Leonard, Paul Maxey, Don Beddoe, Gordon Gebert, David Clarke, Peter Virgo, Harry Harvey.
"It wouldn't be difficult to come up with a list of great movies whose most exciting sequences take place entirely or partly on a train, but most moviegoers would be likely to overlook one of the best uses of the location, the RKO thriller The Narrow Margin. Too bad the film is largely forgotten today, because not only is it a first-rate example of the post-war film noir genre, it also takes place almost entirely on a train. Director Richard Fleischer exploits the narrow corridors and cramped compartments to maximum effect, heightening the sense of claustrophobia and the paranoia of being trapped without an exit. What's more, Fleischer uses the sound of the moving train continuously in the background which generates a certain driving tension." - Rob Nixon (Turner Classic Movies)
Natural Born Killers
Natural Born Killers
1994, USA, 119m, Col, Crime-Road Movie-Media Satire
Screenplay David Veloz, Oliver Stone, Richard Rutowski (based on a story by Quentin Tarantino) Producers Clayton Townsend, Don Murphy, Jane Hamsher Photography Robert Richardson Editors Brian Berdan, Hank Corwin Music Brent Lewis, Trent Reznor Cast Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., Tommy Lee Jones, Tom Sizemore, Rodney Dangerfield, Russell Means, Edie McClurg, Balthazar Getty, Joe Grifasi.
"Director Oliver Stone was no stranger to controversy when he set out to helm the phantasmagorical, media-fried story of serial-killer celebrity couple Mickey and Mallory Knox, played by Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis in career-peak performances. Alleged copycat killings and lawsuits (including one brought by author John Grisham) ensued. But the director's ruthless satire of American infotainment bloodlust – embodied by Robert Downey Jr.'s sleazeball tabloid-TV host Wayne Gale, his pre–Iron Man peak – stands the test of time. So, for that matter, does the film's hyperkinetic editing, surrealist imagery and Trent Reznor–curated soundtrack. It's incredibly Nineties, right down to the original story by Quentin Tarantino." - Sean T. Collins (Rolling Stone)
New York Confidential
New York Confidential Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1955, USA, 87m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay Clarence Greene, Russell Rouse (from the novel by Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer) Producers Clarence Greene, Edward Small Photography Eddie Fitzgerald Editor Grant Whytock Music Joseph Mullendore Cast Broderick Crawford, Richard Conte, Marilyn Maxwell, Anne Bancroft, J. Carrol Naish, Onslow Stevens, Barry Kelley, Mike Mazurki, Celia Lovsky, Herbert Heyes.
"It's a tough, violent picture that pulls no punches depicting a world of organized crime that reaches from dangerous New York street hoods to high echelons of corrupt power in Washington, D.C. It's also one of several '50s "criminal-exposé" noirs that were inspired by the organized-crime hearings of Sen. Estes Kefauver in 1950. Richard Conte is topnotch here as a young assassin named Nick Magellan who is pulled from his Chicago post to work for Charlie Lupo (Broderick Crawford), head of the New York division of ‘the syndicate’… The power of the mob is relentless, and the feeling of being trapped in its grasp lends a fatalism that ultimately reaches existential proportions and lands New York Confidential firmly in film noir territory. It's a powerful ride." - Jeremy Arnold (Turner Classic Movies)
Niagara 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1953, USA, 89m, Col, Thriller-Drama
Screenplay Charles Brackett, Richard Breen, Walter Reisch Producer Charles Brackett Photography Joseph MacDonald Editor Barbara McLean Music Sol Kaplan Cast Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters, Max Showalter, Don Wilson, Richard Allan, Denis O'Dea, Lurene Tuttle, Russell Collins, Will Wright.
"Henry Hathaway's hypnotic contemplation of two American monuments, Niagara Falls and Marilyn Monroe. This fulsome 1953 melodrama gave Monroe her first major role, and Hathaway can't seem to turn his camera from her, even as the action shifts to the ostensible star, Joseph Cotten. An action director, Hathaway isn't quite at home with this claustrophobic, motel-bound story of adultery and murder, but he gives it his all, most famously in the Freudian rampage that climaxes the film. Joe MacDonald's Technicolor photography makes a key contribution to the general tone of hysteria." - Dave Kehr (Chicago Reader)
Night and the City
Night and the City 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1950, USA-UK, 101m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay Joe Eisinger, Austin Dempster (from the novel by Gerald Kersh) Producer Samuel G. Engel Photography Mutz Greenbaum Editors Nick DeMaggio, Sidney Stone Music Franz Waxman Cast Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers, Hugh Marlowe, Francis L. Sullivan, Herbert Lom, Mike Mazurki, Stanislaus Zbyszko, Charles Farrell, Ada Reeve.
"This is a key noir film... Night and the City is one of the strongest examples of film noir expressionism and it presents London as an urban hell - a world of dark shadows, desperate individuals and derelict buildings. Tourist landmarks such as Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, along with other parts of the city, were transformed into a consistent vision of urban hell, a perfect encapsulation of a dark, threatening world permeated by betrayal, fall guys and moral corruption. Dassin was also attracted to the film’s overarching theme based on the destructive effect of money and ambition and Night and the City is one of the toughest, bleakest films ever produced by a major Hollywood studio." - Geoff Mayer (Film Noir of the Week)
Night and the City
Night and the City
1992, USA, 105m, Col, Drama-Crime
Screenplay Richard Price (based on the novel by Gerald Kersh) Producers Irwin Winkler, Jane Rosenthal Photography Tak Fujimoto Editor David Brenner Music James Newton Howard Cast Robert De Niro, Jessica Lange, Cliff Gorman, Alan King, Jack Warden, Eli Wallach, Barry Primus, Gene Kirkwood, Gerard Murphy, Clem Caserta.
"It's symptomatic of this vastly inferior 1992 remake of Jules Dassin's 1950 film noir, transplanted from London's East End to lower Manhattan, that the title is no longer evocative of the film itself, most of which seems to take place in the daytime. Still, it's an improvement over producer Irwin Winkler's debut feature as a director, Guilty by Suspicion, if only because this time out Robert De Niro offers a somewhat more resourceful performance—as a small-time lawyer hoping to make a financial killing with a boxing match. The basic problem here is that everybody from Winkler to screenwriter Richard Price to the talented supporting cast (Jessica Lange, Cliff Gorman, Alan King, Jack Warden, Eli Wallach, and Barry Primus) tries too hard, grabbing us by the lapels and hollering at us, spelling everything out in neon." - Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader)
Night Editor
Night Editor
1946, USA, 68m, BW, Crime-Drama-Police Detective Film
Screenplay Harold Jacob Smith (from the radio program by Hal Burdick and the short story Inside Story by Scott Littleton) Producer Ted Richmond Photography Burnett Guffey, Philip Tannura Editor Richard Fantl Music Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Cast William Gargan, Janis Carter, Jeff Donnell, Coulter Irwin, Charles D. Brown, Paul E. Burns, Harry Shannon, Frank Wilcox, Robert Kellard, Johnny Calkins.
"A genuine B movie (it times out at 65 minutes) with a more generous budget than usual. Based on a radio series, it was designed to launch film series that never materialized (thus the extra studio attention). The result is a punchy little thriller with William Gargan as a compromised cop in a case that could ruin his career and Janis Carter as a hard-bitten society beauty who gets her kicks by being really, really bad. It may be short on style but the low budget gives the night scenes a dark austerity and the web of lies and corruption gives it a real noir dimension of cheap, tawdry lives." - Sean Axmaker
Night Has a Thousand Eyes
Night Has a Thousand Eyes
1948, USA, 80m, BW, Mystery-Thriller
Screenplay Barré Lyndon, Jonathan Latimer (from a novel by Cornell Woolrich) Producer Endre Bohem Photography John F. Seitz Editor Eda Warren Music Victor Young Cast Edward G. Robinson, Gail Russell, John Lund, Virginia Bruce, William Demarest, Jerome Cowan, John Alexander, Richard Webb, Onslow Stevens, Roman Bohnen.
"Night Has a Thousand Eyes is a somewhat lesser-known noir-ish thriller that, despite some flaws, packs quite a punch. Those who insist that a film remain tightly within the boundaries of its perceived genre will have problems with Night, as its main element -- that a man could indeed possess some sort of psychic power that enables him to foresee the future -- may be too "fantastic" for them to accept. Certainly, it adds a different tone to much of the proceedings, making this a noir that is creepy and eerie, rather than simply tense. Director John Farrow does a masterful job of blending these disparate tones, and the result is taut, exciting, and suspenseful. John F. Seitz's shadow-laced cinematography is of enormous help in capturing the film's particular mood, as is the evocative Victor Young score." - Craig Butler (Allmovie)
The Night Holds Terror
The Night Holds Terror
1955, USA, 86m, BW, Crime-Drama-Thriller
Screenplay Andrew L. Stone Producer Andrew L. Stone Photography Fred Jackman Jr. Editor Virginia L. Stone Music Lucien Cailliet Cast Jack Kelly, Hildy Parks, Vince Edwards, John Cassavetes, David Cross, Eddie Marr, Jack Kruschen, Joyce McCluskey, Jonathan Hale, Barney Phillips.
"The Night Holds Terror may be far from one of the best known movies that falls under the category of "film noir," but it seems true aficionados of the style value it nearly as much as its more famous siblings; Quentin Tarantino personally selected it for screening in the first Quentin Tarantino Film Fest in Austin, Texas, in 1996… The plot may sound familiar, covering the same basic ground as the more prestigious release from the same year, William Wyler's The Desperate Hours… But while that award-winning major studio release, based on a novel and a play, has a more literary and stage-bound quality, The Night Holds Terror is a true low-budget noir programmer, one with a grittier authenticity, attributable primarily to its producer-director-writer Andrew L. Stone, a bona fide auteur of B movies. - Rob Nixon (Turner Classic Movies)
Night Moves
Night Moves Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1975, USA, 95m, Col, Mystery-Detective Film
Screenplay Alan Sharp Producer Robert M. Sherman Photography Bruce Surtees Editor Dede Allen Music Michael Small Cast Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, Edward Binns, Harris Yulin, Kenneth Mars, Janet Ward, James Woods, Anthony Costello, John Crawford, Melanie Griffith.
"Released in 1975, near the end of Arthur Penn's most productive period (which began in 1967 with Bonnie and Clyde), this haunting psychological thriller ambitiously sets out to unpack post-Watergate burnout in American life. Gene Hackman plays an LA detective tracking a runaway teenager (Melanie Griffith in her screen debut) to the Florida Keys while evading various problems of his own involving his father and his wife. The labyrinthine mystery plot and pessimistic mood suggest Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald, and like them screenwriter Alan Sharp has more than conventional mystery mechanics on his mind. One of Penn's best features; his direction of actors is sensitive and purposeful throughout." - Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader)
The Night of the Hunter
The Night of the Hunter
100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1955, USA, 93m, BW, Thriller-Crime
Screenplay James Agee, Charles Laughton [uncredited] (based on the novel by Davis Grubb) Producer Paul Gregory Photography Stanley Cortez Editor Robert Golden Music Walter Schumann Cast Robert Mitchum, Lillian Gish, Shelley Winters, Peter Graves, Billy Chapin, James Gleason, Sally Ann Bruce, Evelyn Varden, Don Beddoe, Gloria Castillo.
"The Night of the Hunter—the first film directed by Charles Laughton and also, sadly, the last—is among the greatest horror movies ever made, and perhaps, of that select company, the most irreducibly American in spirit. It’s about those venerable American subjects fear, sex, money, and religion, and for the beleaguered children who are its heroes, salvation comes at the end of a long, drifting journey down a river: our old native idea of finding the way to someplace better... Maybe the most radical aspect of The Night of the Hunter, and its least appreciated virtue, is its sense of humor. More conventional horror movies overdo the solemnity of evil. The monster in The Night of the Hunter is so bad he’s funny. Laughton and Mitchum treat evil with the indignity it deserves." - Terrence Rafferty (The Criterion Collection)
The Night Runner
The Night Runner
1957, USA, 79m, BW, Thriller-Drama
Screenplay Gene Levitt (from a Cosmopolitan magazine story by Owen Cameron) Producer Albert J. Cohen Photography George Robinson Editor Albrecht Joseph Music Frank Skinner, Heinz Roemheld Cast Ray Danton, Colleen Miller, Merry Anders, Eddy Waller, Robert Anderson, George Barrows, Irwin Jay Berniker, Willis Bouchey, Marshall Bradford, Alexander Campbell.
"In the The Night Runner (curiously titled because it takes place mostly in broad daylight), Danton plays Roy Turner, ex-mental patient. Turner is a victim of bureaucracy, cut loose by his doctors and unprepared to cope with the world. As an examination of the merits of the system which set the mentally ill free without any sort of support structure, The Night Runner is a failure, laughably so when compared to a film such as 1961’s The Mark with Stuart Whitman and Rod Steiger. Despite the attempt to be taken seriously, The Night Runner is B-exploitation that plays more like a bedtime story told to frightened children… If The Night Runner doesn’t score points as a social exposé film, it’s hardly more successful as a thriller." - Mark Fertig (Where Danger Lives)
Night Without Sleep
Night Without Sleep
1952, USA, 77m, BW, Mystery-Drama
Screenplay Elick Moll, Frank Partos (based on a story by Elick Moll) Producer Robert Bassler Photography Lucien Ballard Editor Nick DeMaggio Music Alfred Newman, Cyril J. Mockridge Cast Linda Darnell, Gary Merrill, Hildegard Knef, Hugh Beaumont, Mae Marsh, Ben Carter, William Forrest, Steven Geray, Louise Lorimer, Joyce MacKenzie.
"Apart from the blackly ironic ending which seems a long time coming, it is the richly chiaroscuro lighting of Night Without Sleep and its gradually building mystery elements that satisfy noir expectations. That the mystery grows through a succession of flashbacks adds another layer of genre familiarity… Night Without Sleep is overly talky and static, with the flashbacks providing most of its movement, and Merrill's lugubrious and enervating persona as Broadway composer Morton doesn't help." - Roger Westcombe (Film Noir: The Encyclopedia)
Nightfall Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1957, USA, 78m, BW, Crime-Drama-Thriller
Screenplay Sterling Silliphant (from the novel by David Goodis) Producer Ted Richmond Photography Burnett Guffey Editor William Lyon Music George Duning Cast Aldo Ray, Brian Keith, Anne Bancroft, Jocelyn Brando, James Gregory, Frank Albertson, Rudy Bond, George Cisar, Eddie McLean, Lillian Culver.
"This 1957 noir masterpiece by Jacques Tourneur stars Aldo Ray as a man fleeing a private investigator and Anne Bancroft as the barroom acquaintance who agrees to help him. Ray's past is revealed gradually in a series of flashbacks, which are intercut with the couple's flight and the investigator's pursuit; by developing each narrative in a parallel space or time, Tourneur movingly articulates the theme of a character trapped by his history. The images have a smooth, almost liquid quality, the high-contrast lighting of most noirs replaced by a delicate lyricism that takes the natural world as the norm. Tourneur links this naturalism to Ray's growing observational skills ("I know where every shadow falls," he says), but it also contrasts with the story's acute paranoia." - Fred Camper (Chicago Reader)
1956, USA, 89m, BW, Crime-Drama-Thriller
Screenplay Maxwell Shane (from the short story by Cornell Woolrich) Producers Howard Pine, William C. Thomas Photography Joseph Biroc Editor George Gittens Music Herschel Burke Gilbert Cast Edward G. Robinson, Kevin McCarthy, Connie Russell, Virginia Christine, Rhys Williams, Gage Clarke, Marian Carr, Barry Atwater, Meade 'Lux' Lewis, Billy May.
"Maxwell Shane's Nightmare, a re-make of Shane's more successful 1947 melodrama, Fear in the Night, is a tautly paced little programmer in which Robinson and co-star Kevin McCarthy do the best they can with a contrived, patently unbelievable narrative. Robinson, in particular, imbues what he's doing with a stern dignity, even though the screenwriter (director Shane, in this case) doesn't provide him with top notch material. McCarthy plays Stan, a New Orleans jazz musician who can't shake the feeling that he's killed somebody. A very realistic dream, in which he stabs a man and stashes the body behind a mirrored door, haunts him. He also woke up with blood on his wrist and thumbprints on his throat, which you don't usually get from simply catching a few Z's." - Paul Tatara (Turner Classic Movies)
Nightmare Alley
Nightmare Alley 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1947, USA, 111m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay Jules Furthman (from the novel by William Lindsay Gresham) Producer George Jessel Photography Lee Garmes Editor Barbara McLean Music Cyril J. Mockridge Cast Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray, Helen Walker, Taylor Holmes, Mike Mazurki, Ian Keith, Julia Dean, James Flavin, Roy Roberts.
"Noir, by its nature, is defined by despair and disillusionment. Yet few Hollywood noirs are as despairing, or as darkly glittering, as Nightmare Alley... Nightmare Alley has come to be considered one of the gems of film noir, and for good reason. The picture was directed by Edmund Goulding, a Hollywood veteran whose talents seemed to lean more toward melodrama (Of Human Bondage, Dark Victory). But he keeps Nightmare Alley taut and tensile-the picture never flags or droops; its foreboding undercurrent is beautifully sustained, from the moment very early in the story when Power's Stanton expresses his curiosity about a sideshow geek, a man who tears the heads off chickens with his teeth in exchange for a daily ration of booze." - Stephanie Zacharek (Turner Classic Movies)
99 River Street
99 River Street Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1953, USA, 83m, BW, Drama-Crime
Screenplay Robert Smith, John Payne [uncredited], Phil Karlson [uncredited] (from an unpublished story by George Zuckerman) Producer Edward Small Photography Franz Planer Editor Bud Small Music Arthur Lange, Emil Newman Cast John Payne, Evelyn Keyes, Brad Dexter, Frank Faylen, Peggie Castle, Jay Adler, Jack Lambert, Glenn Langan, Eddy Waller, Ian Wolfe.
"Our hunger for the real noirs of the postwar era has, it seems, only grown with time. Phil Karlson's 99 River Street is a perfect example - a neglected, un-canon-ized nitty-gritty indie that stalks unceremoniously through a world of black-hearted bad news and spiraling fate, where the meaningful heyday of the war and its homefront promise has given way to lostness and bloodletting... The screenplay is woven like a web, and the wonderful thing about noir is that the intricate fatalistic plotting isn't just clever entertainment but meaningful. The tighter the story's noose pulls, the more it expresses a philosophical, proletariat truth about American life in the mid-century - its broken dreams and capitalistic fears and wounded pride. The powerful mistrust that radiates from 99 River Street (and most noirs, and all of Karlson's) isn't just story-stuff, it's social commentary." - Michael Atkinson (Turner Classic Movies)
No Country for Old Men
No Country for Old Men Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
2007, USA, 122m, Col, Crime-Drama-Thriller
Screenplay Ethan Coen, Joel Coen (based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy) Producer Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin Photography Roger Deakins Editor Ethan Coen, Joel Coen Music Carter Burwell Cast Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald, Garret Dillahunt, Tess Harper, Barry Corbin, Stephen Root, Rodger Boyce.
"No Country for Old Men is as good a film as the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, have ever made, and they made Fargo. It involves elements of the thriller and the chase but is essentially a character study, an examination of how its people meet and deal with a man so bad, cruel and unfeeling that there is simply no comprehending him… This movie is a masterful evocation of time, place, character, moral choices, immoral certainties, human nature and fate. It is also, in the photography by Roger Deakins, the editing by the Coens and the music by Carter Burwell, startlingly beautiful, stark and lonely." - Roger Ebert (RogerEbert.com)
No Escape
No Escape
1953, USA, 76m, BW, Crime-Drama-Mystery
Screenplay Charles Bennett Producer Hugh Mackenzie, Matt Freed Photography Benjamin Kline Editor Roy Livingston Music Bert Shefter Cast Lew Ayres, Sonny Tufts, Marjorie Steele, Lewis Martin, Gertrude Michael, Charles Cane, Renny McEvoy, Bobby Watson, James Griffith, Robert Bailey.
"Also known as City on a Hunt, No Escape stars Lew Ayres and Marjorie Steele as mixed-up victims of circumstance. John Tracy (Ayres), a drunken songwriter, has reason to believe that he's murdered artist Peter Hayden (James Griffith). So does Pat Peterson (Steele), a blue-collar girl whom Hayden had tried to seduce… The twist ending isn't much of a surprise, but it's still crammed with suspense. No Escape represents a rare directorial effort by screenwriter Charles Bennett, whose previous scripting credits include several Alfred Hitchcock thrillers." - Hal Erickson (Allmovie)
No Man of Her Own
No Man of Her Own Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1950, USA, 98m, BW, Romance-Drama
Screenplay Catherine Turney, Sally Benson (based on the novel I Married a Dead Man by William Irish [Cornell Woolrich]) Producer Richard Maibaum Photography Daniel Fapp Editor Alma Macrorie Music Hugo Friedhofer Cast Barbara Stanwyck, John Lund, Jane Cowl, Phyllis Thaxter, Lyle Bettger, Richard Denning, Henry O'Neill, Milburn Stone, Carole Mathews, Harry Antrim.
"As befits a film based on a novel by the "father of noir," Cornell Woolrich, No Man of His Own is a relentlessly dark and tense drama, with only dabs of the leavening humour to be found in most of Leisen's better-known work. From the claustrophobic opening, Leisen and his scriptwriters, in conjunction with cinematographer Daniel L. Fapp, emphasise again and again how hemmed-in Helen (Stanwyck) feels, how cruelly limited her range of options... Though the story occasionally requires more than the usual suspension of disbelief, Stanwyck convinces at every stage in Helen/Patrice's hazardous journey, with crucial support from Lund as "her" brother-in-law Bill – their interaction successfully steering No Man of Her Own from melodrama through noir-thriller until it reaches a satisfyingly hard-won final berth in the realms of romance." - Neil Young (Film Lounge)
No Questions Asked
No Questions Asked
1951, USA, 80m, BW, Thriller-Drama-Crime
Screenplay Sidney Sheldon (based on a story by Berne Giler) Producer Nicholas Nayfack Photography Harold Lipstein Editor Joseph Dervin Music Leith Stevens Cast Barry Sullivan, Arlene Dahl, George Murphy, Jean Hagen, Richard Anderson, Moroni Olsen, Danny Dayton, Dick Simmons, Howard Petrie, William Phipps.
"Although the opening sequence of No Questions Asked vividly establishes the movie as a noir through such stylistic conventions as dark, wet streets seen from disconcerting angles; an alienated, fugitive character; voiceover narration; and flashback — its primary thrust is in the narrative exploration of the symbiotic relationship of Steve (Sullivan) and Ellen (Dahl). If Ellen is an archetypal femme fatale, Steve is every bit as archetypal a film noir protagonist. Like others before him, he suffers from a fatal inability recognize the difference between good and bad in women." - Mark Fertig (Where Danger Lives)
No Way Out
No Way Out Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1950, USA, 106m, BW, Social Problem Film-Crime Drama
Screenplay Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Lesser Samuels Producer Darryl F. Zanuck Photography Milton Krasner Editor Barbara McLean Music Alfred Newman Cast Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier, Linda Darnell, Stephen McNally, Mildred Joanne Smith, Harry Bellaver, Stanley Ridges, Dotts Johnson, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis.
"Not the Kevin Costner feature or the Alain Delon Mafia thriller, but a much better movie—Joseph L. Mankiewicz's hard-hitting, action-packed 1950 melodrama about a young black doctor (Sidney Poitier in his film debut) and a white gangster (Richard Widmark) who provokes a race riot after Poitier fails to save his brother's life. Made long before such a theme was fashionable in Hollywood, this benefits from Mankiewicz's flair for snappy dialogue and strong performances by the leads and secondary cast." - Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader)
No Way Out
No Way Out
1987, USA, 116m, Col, Thriller-Crime
Screenplay Robert Garland (based on the novel The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing) Producers Laura Ziskin, Robert Garland Photography Alun Bollinger, John Alcott Editor Neil Travis Music Maurice Jarre Cast Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Sean Young, Will Patton, Howard Duff, George Dzundza, Jason Bernard, Iman, Fred Dalton Thompson, Leon Russom.
"Kevin Costner, suffering as nobly here as in The Untouchables, plays a naval officer hired by the secretary of defense (Gene Hackman), whose mistress he has been unwittingly sharing. While credited as an adaptation of Kenneth Fearing's novel The Big Clock (which was made into a movie in 1948, directed by John Farrow), this taut thriller adds so many twists of its own it might be more appropriately cross-referenced with The Manchurian Candidate, even though it isn't nearly as daffy or as mercurial. Cornball Dolby effects aside, it's the kind of intricately plotted suspense film with juicy secondary parts (Will Patton, George Dzundza, Iman, Howard Duff) that used to be churned out in the 1940s." - Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader)
Nobody Lives Forever
Nobody Lives Forever
1946, USA, 100m, BW, Crime-Drama-Romance
Screenplay W.R. Burnett Producer Robert Buckner Photography Arthur Edeson Editor Rudi Fehr Music Adolph Deutsch Cast John Garfield, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Walter Brennan, Faye Emerson, George Coulouris, George Tobias, Robert Shayne, Richard Gaines, Richard Erdman, James Flavin.
"Nobody Lives Forever is a minor film noir, not a great film but one that is definitely worth a viewing, especially for devotees of the genre and/or John Garfield fans... Despite its failings, Forever works, thanks to Jean Negulesco's stylish direction, Arthur Edeson's atmospheric and evocative cinematography and its cast. Negulesco clearly enjoys telling this story, making sure he captures odd moments of telling detail here and there, and Edeson's work adds emotional heft to key scenes. As the lead, Garfield is in his usual fine form, a tough guy who can't help but be done-in by the innate decency that lurks deep within him. Geraldine Fitzgerald is a beautiful match for him, a blend of naivete and sophistication that is utterly disarming." - Craig Butler (Allmovie)
1946, USA, 88m, BW, Mystery-Crime-Drama
Screenplay Jonathan Latimer, Joan Harrison [uncredited] (from an unpublished story by Frank Fenton and Rowland Brown) Producer Joan Harrison Photography Harry Wild Editor Elmo Williams Music Leigh Harline Cast George Raft, Lynn Bari, Virginia Huston, Joseph Pevney, Myrna Dell, Mabel Paige, Edward Ashley, Walter Sande, Bern Hoffman, Queenie Smith.
"This quick-paced, fun and at times clichéd noir has a couple of standout performances from George Raft as Lt. Joe Warne, a detective who breaks every rule and also lives with his mom, and Lynn Bari as Frances Ransom, a mink-wearing femme fatale with a quick tongue. The two have real chemistry and their performances carry the film where the plot fails. Warne is obsessed with a suicide case that he's positive is murder. He loses his job and punches out another cop while relentlessly pursuing the case. It's never explained why he's so obsessive, but it's a page torn from too many cop dramas and in this case it's a bit over-the-top, but also played for laughs." - Hal Erickson (Allmovie)
The Silk Noose (USA title)
1948, UK, 72m, BW, Crime-Drama-Mystery
Screenplay Richard Llewellyn (based on his play) Producer Edward Dryhurst Photography Hone Glendinning Editor David Newhouse Music Charles Williams Cast Carole Landis, Joseph Calleia, Derek Farr, Stanley Holloway, Nigel Patrick, Ruth Nixon, Carol van Derman, John Slater, Leslie Bradley, Reginald Tate.
"Richard Llewellyn's adaptation of his own play is something of a transatlantic compromise. Calleia, a vicious Mafia-style gangster nastier than Edward G Robinson ever was in his heyday, heads a profitable black market racket in post-war Soho, throwing vicious tantrums and pursuing his hedonistic pleasures (ex-girlfriends get knuckledustered and dumped in the Thames) while his partner, a cheery Cockney wide-boy (Patrick), takes care of the business end… Taking the whole thing by the scruff of the neck, the talented Gréville turns it into something rich, strange and rather wonderful. His boldly stylised direction, backed by Hone Glendining's expressionistic lighting and the daringly over-the-top performances (Calleia and Patrick are both marvellous), gives this grippingly black yet bleakly funny thriller an almost Wellesian edge." - Tom Milne (Time Out)
Nora Prentiss
Nora Prentiss
1947, USA, 111m, BW, Melodrama
Screenplay N. Richard Nash, Philip MacDonald [uncredited] (from an unpublished story by Paul Webster and Jack Sobell) Producer William Jacobs Photography James Wong Howe Editor Owen Marks Music Franz Waxman Cast Ann Sheridan, Kent Smith, Robert Alda, Bruce Bennett, Rosemary DeCamp, John Ridgely, Robert Arthur, Wanda Hendrix, Helen Brown, Rory Mallinson.
"Smart-talking Ann Sheridan, still under contract at Warners but already beginning the long slide that would land her on Another World in the 60s, provides most of the oomph in this noirish 1947 melodrama about illicit romance in San Francisco. An uptight physician and family man (Kent Smith) treats a cynical nightclub singer who's been hit by a cab (Sheridan) and soon finds himself fabricating excuses about staying late at the office so he can slip down to Fisherman's Wharf and catch her act. Vincent Sherman directed this absorbing programmer, from the days when you could still bum a smoke off your doctor while lying on the examining table." - J.R. Jones (Chicago Reader)
Notorious 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1946, USA, 101m, BW, Romantic Mystery-Thriller-Spy Film
Screenplay Ben Hecht, Clifford Odets (based on a story by John Taintor Foote) Producer Alfred Hitchcock Photography Ted Tetzlaff Editor Theron Warth Music Roy Webb Cast Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern, Leopoldine Konstantin, Reinhold Schunzel, Moroni Olsen, Ivan Triesault, Alexis Minotis, Wally Brown.
"Notorious is, along with Shadow of a Doubt, the greatest of the films Hitchcock made in his first decade in America. Indeed, I have no inclination to disagree with François Truffaut when he cites Notorious as the single work that provides the fullest representation of Hitchcock’s art... From the ravishingly lit close-ups at the racetrack to the gloriously smooth, expansive crane shot that begins the suspenseful party sequence, Hitchcock seems to be in love with the world he is creating. Shot after shot simply takes our breath away. For the first time in a Hitchcock film, the camera achieves a lush romanticism equal to its wit, elegance, and theatricality—as it will be in his greatest later films." - William Rothman (The Criterion Collection)
Nowhere to Go
Nowhere to Go
1958, UK, 97m, BW, Drama-Crime
Screenplay Kenneth Tynan, Seth Holt (based on the novel by Donald MacKenzie) Producer Michael Balcon Photography Paul Beeson Editor Harry Aldous Music Dizzy Reece Cast George Nader, Maggie Smith, Bernard Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Bessie Love, Harry H. Corbett, Andree Melly, Beckett Bould, Arthur Howard, Noel Howlett.
"A realistic noir thriller in an American tradition that was then coming to an end, it has none of Ealing's Little Englishness, respect for authority or sense of community. Its plot turns on a violent Canadian charmer (George Nader) robbing a wealthy woman (silent Hollywood star Bessie Love) of her valuable coin collection, going to jail, being sprung by his devious partner in crime and going on the run. This bleak, downbeat film is devoid of pity, its only warmth coming from an emotionally bruised upper-middle-class young woman (Maggie Smith impressively fresh and touching in her first film role) who helps the antihero. Not exactly a masterpiece, Nowhere to Go is vigorous and unsentimental. We can now see it as foreshadowing the French new wave, both stylistically and in the use of an improvised modern jazz score." - Philip French (The Guardian)
100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) The 100 Most Cited Noir Films
Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
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