1,000 Noir Films (T)

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Title / Director / Year / Country
Talk About a Stranger
Talk About a Stranger
1952, USA, 65m, BW, Mystery-Drama
Screenplay Margaret Fitts (from the short story The Enemy by Charlotte Armstrong) Producer Richard Goldstone Photography John Alton Editor Newell P. Kimlin Music David Buttolph Cast George Murphy, Nancy Davis, Billy Gray, Lewis Stone, Kurt Kasznar, Anna Glomb, Katherine Warren, Teddy Infuhr, Stanley Andrews, Maude Wallace.
"David Bradley's flawed but fascinating study of a young boy's paranoid suspicions about his new neighbor plays like an early blend of Blue Velvet and The Good Son. Young Bobby Fontaine (Billy Gray of Father Knows Best) is sure something malevolent is happening beneath the quiet surface of his small town, and neither Bradley's direction nor the wonderfully sinister cinematography of John Alton do anything to convince the viewer that Bobby may not be right… That Bradley never really capitalizes on the possibilities owes more to the limitations of the source material (Charlotte Armstrong's short story The Enemy) than any flaws in Margaret Fitts' screenplay, but the film remains worthwhile as a hint of the directions in which the subgenre would later develop." - Robert Firsching (Allmovie)
The Tattered Dress
The Tattered Dress
1957, USA, 93m, BW, Courtroom Drama-Crime-Thriller
Screenplay George Zuckerman Producer Albert Zugsmith Photography Carl Guthrie Editor Edward Curtiss Music Frank Skinner Cast Jeff Chandler, Jeanne Crain, Jack Carson, Gail Russell, Elaine Stewart, George Tobias, Edward Andrews, Phillip Reed, Edward Platt, Paul Birch.
"The Tattered Dress is a good courtroom drama that doesn't quite reach the heights for which it aims. It also falls between a few too many stools -- it's noir-ish, but not really film noir; it's a legal thriller but ignores some legal niceties; and it's a serious drama that has something to say about society but does so in too facile a manner. As a result, Tattered gets stretched a little too thin for its own good… Still, even with these failings, Tattered is often gripping and almost always involving. Jack Arnold directs with a sure hand, leaping over some of the plot holes and playing up the strengths of the screenplay. He also utilizes the desert setting to make visual comments about the aridness of his lead character's life.” - Craig Butler (Allmovie)
The Tattooed Stranger
The Tattooed Stranger
1950, USA, 64m, BW, Drama-Crime-Mystery
Screenplay Philip H. Reisman Jr. Producer Jay Bonafield Photography William Steiner Editor David Cooper Music Alan Shulman Cast John Miles, Patricia Barry, Walter Kinsella, Frank Tweddell, Rod McLennan, Henry Lasko, Arthur Jarrett, Jim Boles, William Gibberson, William Alston.
"The Tattooed Stranger has few stylistic elements that would categorize it as a film noir. The characters are uncomplicated and the hunted killer remains a mostly off-camera threat. We stick with the cops all the way through. Neither the script nor the visuals suggest themes of alienation, anxiety or social sickness. Although we are always told in these proto-CSI police procedural movies that the science lab work is authentic, the clues followed here are more believable and less sensational than those in John Sturges' noir thriller Mystery Street from the year before… The Tattooed Stranger's low-key tone is its strength… Director Montagne doesn't build any great suspense but handles things in a matter-of-fact way. The people are likeable and even the non-actors come off fairly realistically.” - Glenn Erickson (DVD Savant)
Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
NEO-NOIR / COLOUR NOIR
1976, USA, 113m, Col, Psychological Drama-Crime
Screenplay Paul Schrader Producers Julia Phillips, Michael Phillips Photography Michael Chapman Editors Marcia Lucas, Melvin Shapiro, Tom Rolf Music Bernard Herrmann Cast Robert De Niro, Cybill Shepherd, Jodie Foster, Peter Boyle, Harvey Keitel, Leonard Harris, Martin Scorsese, Steven Prince, Diahnne Abbott, Albert Brooks.
"Some motion pictures produce the uncanny sensation of returning the spectator’s gaze. Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver—a movie in which the most celebrated line asks the audience, “Are you talkin’ to me?”—is one such film. It came, it saw, it zapped the body politic right between the eyes... Taxi Driver was a powerfully summarizing work. It synthesized noir, neorealist, and New Wave stylistics; it assimilated Hollywood’s recent vigilante cycle, drafting then-déclassé blaxploitation in the service of a presumed tell-it-like-it-is naturalism that, predicated on a frank, unrelenting representation of racism, violence, and misogyny, was even more racist, violent, and misogynist than it allowed." - J. Hoberman (The Village Voice)
Temptation
Temptation
1946, USA, 98m, BW, Drama-Thriller
Screenplay Robert Thoeren (based on the play Bella Donna by James Bernard Fagan, itself based on the novel Bella Donna by Robert Hichens) Producer Edward Small Photography Lucien Ballard Editor Ernest Nims Music Daniele Amfitheatrof Cast Merle Oberon, George Brent, Charles Korvin, Paul Lukas, Lenore Ulric, Arnold Moss, Ludwig Stossel, Gavin Muir, Ilka Gruning, Robert Capa.
"Period noir, set at the fin de siècle. Femme fatale Ruby Armine (Oberon), married to Egyptologist Nigel (Brent) in Cairo, out of boredom rescues ingenue Yvonne Dupont (Cloutier) from the clutches of blackmailing seducer Mahoud Baroudi (Korvin), only to become infatuated with him herself even as she discovers he's an homme fatal of snakiness far surpassing her own… Oberon vamps with great style but, despite some effective twists in the final act, this has little of the depth of the comparable The Letter (1940)." - John Grant (A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir)
Tension
Tension
1950, USA, 95m, BW, Thriller
Screenplay Allan Rivkin (from an unpublished story by John Klorer) Producer Robert Sisk Photography Harry Stradling Editor Albert Akst Music Andre Previn Cast Richard Basehart, Audrey Totter, Cyd Charisse, Barry Sullivan, Lloyd Gough, Tom D'Andrea, William Conrad, Tito Renaldo, Ray Bennett, Virginia Brissac.
"They aren't making 'em anymore like this 1949 melodrama by John Berry, and that's too bad. Richard Basehart plays a nebbish of a druggist who's married to a tough cookie (Audrey Totter); he slaves away on the night shift to buy her a little house in the suburbs, but she likes other kicks. She finds herself a boyfriend, and the Basehart character cracks... What sticks with you about the film is what a classic, prize-winning sap the Basehart character is, how pathetic and ill-considered are his dreams of domestic bliss, and how easily he's able to shift into a new and quite different identity. All in all, a good example of noirish post-war disillusionment - and it has Cyd Charisse and William Conrad, to boot." - Walter Addiego (San Francisco Examiner)
They Drive by Night
They Drive by Night Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1940, USA, 93m, BW, Drama-Crime
Screenplay Jerry Wald, Richard Macaulay (based on the novel The Long Haul by A.I. Bezzerides) Producer Mark Hellinger Photography Arthur Edeson Editor Thomas Richards Music Adolph Deutsch Cast George Raft, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino, Humphrey Bogart, Gale Page, Alan Hale, Roscoe Karns, John Litel, Henry O'Neill, George Tobias.
"This 1940 feature begins as a fast, growly proletarian drama of an independent trucker (George Raft) fighting to build his business, but breaks midway and becomes a high bourgeois melodrama about an ambitious woman (Ida Lupino) on trial for killing her husband. The switch may not make sense on first viewing, but director Raoul Walsh brings a thematic (and rhythmic) continuity to it: the same obsessional intensity that makes Raft an admirable figure in the first half is seen in the second, applied to Lupino, as something psychotic. Walsh may not have been directly responsible for the structure (the second half is a remake of an earlier Warners melodrama, Bordertown), but his personal response to the material puts it across." - Dave Kehr (Chicago Reader)
They Live by Night
They Live by Night Available on Blu-ray 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1948, USA, 95m, BW, Drama-Crime
Screenplay Charles Schnee (adapted by Nicholas Ray from the novel Thieves Like Us by Edward Anderson) Producer John Houseman Photography George E. Diskant Editor Sherman Todd Music Leigh Harline Cast Farley Granger, Cathy O'Donnell, Howard da Silva, Jay C. Flippen, Helen Craig, Will Wright, Marie Bryant, Ian Wolfe, William Phipps, Harry Harvey.
"This boy… and this girl… were never properly introduced to the world we live in." With those words, superimposed over images of Farley Granger and Cathy O’Donnell tenderly kissing, Nicholas Ray’s masterpiece They Live By Night—his debut feature, incredibly—declares its allegiance to poetry rather than realism, which is what sets it apart from the dozens of lovers-on-the-lam pictures that would follow in its footsteps. The film’s story is simple, even skeletal: After busting out of jail, Granger meets a nice (if unusual) girl, O’Donnell, and makes a concerted effort to go straight, which circumstances continually prevent. But Ray inflects every aspect of this primal, tragic narrative with overpowering strangeness and beauty, creating a private world for the couple that reinforces that arresting opening statement. " - Mike D'Angelo (A.V. Club)
They Made Me a Fugitive
They Made Me a Fugitive Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
I Became a Criminal (USA title)
BRIT-NOIR
1947, UK, 103m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay Noel Langley (from the novel A Convict Has Escaped by Jackson Budd) Producer Nat A. Bronstein Photography Otto Heller Editor Margery Saunders Music Marius-Francois Gaillard Cast Trevor Howard, Sally Gray, Griffith Jones, Rene Ray, Mary Merrall, Charles Farrell, Michael Brennan, Jack McNaughton, Cyril Smith, John Penrose.
"They Made Me a Fugitive may be a movie about crooks, but it's more than a gangster picture. It's a bona fide British-made film noir and features the fine, stylized direction of Alberto Cavalcanti, from a screenplay written by Noel Langley and based on the novel A Convict Has Escaped by Jackson Budd…” Aside from the violence men and women commit against each other, there's a rough and nihilistic quality to They Made Me a Fugitive that is a quality of noir as much as it is a reflection of the postwar malaise that this film perfectly captures. - Scott McGee (Turner Classic Movies)
They Made Me a Killer
They Made Me a Killer
1946, USA, 64m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay Daniel Mainwaring, Kae Salkow, Winston Miller (from a story by Owen Franes) Producers William C. Thomas, William H. Pine Photography Fred Jackman Jr. Editor Henry Adams Music Alexander Laszlo Cast Robert Lowery, Barbara Britton, Lola Lane, Frank Albertson, Elisabeth Risdon, Byron Barr, Edmund MacDonald, Ralph Sanford, James Bush, Paul Harvey.
"An obscure programmer that goes for just 64 minutes, They Made Me a Killer, is a tidy little thriller. An innocent guy is framed for a bank heist after a crooked dame sets him up, and faces a murder rap for the killing of a security guard and a cop. He makes a break at a hospital after a guy who could corroborate his innocence dies without making a statement to the cops. It is is non-stop action with a neat romantic interest, and an inventive technical ruse to get the evidence the guy needs to secure his freedom. The hospital escape scene is distilled noir. The fugitive slugs a cop in the back of the head with the cop’s gun, and then tips the bed with body of the guy that has just died still in it over another cop! He makes his final escape from a window after knock-out punching a female nurse in the face!" - Tony D'Ambra (FilmsNoir.net)
They Won't Believe Me
They Won't Believe Me Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1947, USA, 79m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay Jonathan Latimer (from an unpublished story by Gordon McDonell) Producer Joan Harrison Photography Harry Wild Editor Elmo Williams Music Roy Webb Cast Robert Young, Susan Hayward, Jane Greer, Rita Johnson, Tom Powers, George Tyne, Don Beddoe, Frank Ferguson, Harry Harvey, Wilton Graff.
"An effective film noir with a cult following, this 1947 adaptation of a pulp novel by Gordon McDonell stars Robert Young as a philanderer on trial for the murder of his rich wife. Under cross-examination he spills the sordid details of a secret life, including his plan to kill his wife and start anew with lover Susan Hayward. Although he tells the court that his wife died before he could follow through, they won't believe him. Cast against type, Young manages to be both creepy and sympathetic. Actor-turned-director Irving Pichel gets hard-boiled performances from a solid cast that also includes Rita Johnson and Jane Greer. Harry Wild's cinematography is expressionistic, and Jonathan Latimer's zinger-laden script snaps like James M. Cain." - Ted Shen (Chicago Reader)
Thief
Thief Available on Blu-ray
NEO-NOIR / COLOUR NOIR
1981, USA, 122m, Col, Crime-Drama-Thriller
Screenplay Michael Mann (based on the novel The Home Invaders by Frank Homier) Producer Ronnie Caan Photography Donald Thorin Editor Dov Hoenig Music Tangerine Dream Cast James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Willie Nelson, James Belushi, Robert Prosky, Tom Signorelli, Dennis Farina, Nick Nickeas, W.R. Brown, Norm Tobin.
"The contemporary American auteur Michael Mann burst out of the gate, his bold artistic sensibility fully formed, with Thief, his debut feature. James Caan stars, in one of his most riveting performances, as a no-nonsense ex-con safecracker planning to leave the criminal world behind after one final diamond heist, but discovering that escape is not as simple as he hoped. Finding hypnotic beauty in neon and rain-slick streets, sparks and steel, Thief effortlessly established the moody stylishness and tactile approach to action that would also define such later iconic entertainments from Mann as Miami Vice, Manhunter, and Heat." - The Criterion Collection
The Thief
The Thief
1952, USA, 85m, BW, Spy-Crime-Drama
Screenplay Clarence Greene, Russell Rouse Producer Clarence Greene Photography Sam Leavitt Editor Chester W. Schaeffer Music Herschel Burke Gilbert Cast Ray Milland, Martin Gabel, Rita Gam, Harry Bronson, Rita Vale, Rex O'Malley, John McKutcheon, Joe Conlin, Ray Stricklyn.
"A phone shrills, two bursts of three rings; the man on the bed (Milland) leaves his room; out in the night a waiting man (Gabel) lights a cigarette, throws down the empty packet, and vanishes... Rouse's movie is embarked on its challenge to tell the story of a spy without dialogue. There's an element of gimmickry here (even passers-by never say a word), but it's far outweighed by the tangible sense of a man isolated by his sense of fear (you never learn his motives), by the anonymity of his associates (all contact is by prearranged signal and at second remove), by the caution which edges into paranoia as things suddenly go wrong. Rouse's dispassionate, evenly-paced direction, abetted by Sam Leavitt's superb noir camerawork, strands Milland in a shadowy world of fellow-humans, any one of whom might spell disaster." - Tom Milne (Time Out)
Thieves' Highway
Thieves' Highway 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1949, USA, 94m, BW, Crime-Thriller-Drama
Screenplay A.I. Bezzerides (A.I. Bezzerides from his novel Thieves' Market) Producer Robert Bassler Photography Norbert Brodine Editor Nick DeMaggio Music Alfred Newman Cast Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese, Lee J. Cobb, Barbara Lawrence, Jack Oakie, Millard Mitchell, Joseph Pevney, Morris Carnovsky, Tamara Shayne, Kasia Orzazewski.
"Like the movie’s rattletrap trucks lurching down the highway as they carry way-too-heavy loads, the characters in Jules Dassin’s brilliantly volatile Thieves’ Highway struggle under psychological and moral baggage until they can lay their burdens down. Working from a novel and script by A.I. Bezzerides, Dassin made this swift, fluid melodrama in 1949, after Brute Force and The Naked City. Thieves’ Highway is his best American movie. It breathes the same air of risk and desperation as his made-in-Europe masterpieces, London’s Night and the City (1950) and the Paris-set Rififi (1954). But it has a rich sensuality all its own." - Michael Sragow (The Criterion Collection)
The Third Man
The Third Man 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
BRIT-NOIR
1949, UK, 104m, BW, Thriller-Mystery
Screenplay Graham Greene Producer Carol Reed Photography Robert Krasker Editor Oswald Hafenrichter Music Anton Karas Cast Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard, Paul Horbiger, Bernard Lee, Ernst Deutsch, Wilfred Hyde-White, Erich Ponto, Siegfried Breuer.
"In The Third Man—probably the greatest British thriller of the postwar era—director Carol Reed and screenwriter Graham Greene set a fable of moral corruption in a world of near-Byzantine visual complexity: the streets and ruins of occupied Vienna... This was the one time Reed, as a director, reached perfection; and he did it as much by assembling and marshalling a brilliantly talented company as by the power of his own vision. Together he and Greene—and Welles, Cotten, Howard, Valli, Karas, Krasker, Korda and all the others—created a portrait of postwar corruption and the death of idealism that has lodged ever since in our collective consciousness. Together, they made a rich, moody masterpiece of guilt, love, and ambivalent redemption." - Michael Wilmington (The Criterion Collection)
13th Letter
The 13th Letter
1951, USA, 85m, BW, Mystery-Psychological Thriller
Screenplay Howard Koch (from the story and screenplay Le Corbeau by Louis Chance) Producer Otto Preminger Photography Joseph LaShelle Editor Louis Loeffler Music Alex North Cast Linda Darnell, Charles Boyer, Michael Rennie, Constance Smith, Francoise Rosay, Judith Evelyn, Guy Sorel, June Hedin, George Alexander, Jacques Auger.
"Otto Preminger's 1951 remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's Le Corbeau (1943), a nasty noir thriller about a series of poison-pen letters that terrorize a small town, shifts the action to Quebec, where much of the film was shot. The original film courageously if covertly attacked the sleaziness of collaboration during the German occupation of France; Preminger's version, scripted by Howard Koch, projects a more generalized as well as sanitized misanthropy. But it's still one of his best efforts of the period—he's so adroit at raising doubts about all the characters that the denouement can't help but disappoint a little." - Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader)
36 Hours
36 Hours
Terror Street (USA title)
BRIT-NOIR
1953, UK, 80m, BW, Crime-Drama-Mystery
Screenplay Steve Fisher (based on his story) Producer Anthony Hinds Photography Walter J. Harvey Editor James Needs Music Ivor Slaney Cast Dan Duryea, Elsie Albiin, Gudrun Ure, Eric Pohlmann, John Chandos, Kenneth Griffith, Harold Lang, Jane Carr, Michael Golden, Marianne Stone.
"The movie is very light on the noir elements overall… This is more of a straight-forward innocent-man-on-the-run thriller than anything else. And it is half-decent at that, the movie doesn't hold interest enough throughout and at no point does it really give a sense of urgency to Rogers' (Duryea) predicament. Hammer noir's tend to be relatively light on the noir side, and this is not one of the better movies that Hammer Studios produced I'm afraid to say. It's okay enough to waste under an hour and a half with on a rainy evening, but don't expect greatness." - Reviews from the Bottom of the Barrel
THis Gun for Hire
This Gun for Hire 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1942, USA, 80m, BW, Thriller-Crime-Romantic Mystery
Screenplay Albert Maltz, W.R. Burnett (from the novel A Gun for Sale by Graham Greene) Producer Richard Blumenthal Photography John F. Seitz Editor Archie Marshek Music David Buttolph Cast Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Robert Preston, Laird Cregar, Tully Marshall, Mikhail Rasumny, Marc Lawrence, Pamela Blake, Harry Shannon, Frank Ferguson.
"A definitive opening: Alan Ladd's hired gun wakes in a seedy hotel, then, with the distracted air of a schizophrenic, pays visit to his victims, first gunning down the man, then the woman as she tries to hide behind the door. Ladd's unsmiling performance - the prototype of the killer as angel of death - employs a repertory of classic gestures: no wonder Melville and Delon lifted so much of this film for Le Samourai. The film's amorphous conspiracy plot (this in 1942) lacks the conviction of the terse introduction, but director Tuttle wisely concentrates on the set pieces and performances rather than the script's loose adaptation of Graham Greene's novel." - Chris Petit (Time Out)
This Side of the Law
This Side of the Law
1950, USA, 74m, BW, Drama-Mystery
Screenplay Russell S. Hughes (based on a story by Richard Sale) Producer Saul Elkins Photography Carl Guthrie Editor Frank Magee Music William Lava Cast Viveca Lindfors, Kent Smith, Janis Paige, Robert Douglas, John Alvin, Monte Blue, Frances Morris, Nita Talbot, Edgar Dearing, Michael Mark.
"This 1950 Warner Brothers offering is perhaps more of a gothic thriller than a true film noir but it has enough noirish elements to be worthy of consideration by noir fans. We start in true noir style with the hero in a great deal of trouble telling us how he got into the mess in a flashback that occupies most of the movie’s running time… Russell S. Hughes’ screenplay (from a story by Richard Sale) is pefectly serviceable. Director Richard L. Bare had a long if undistinguished career but he keeps the action moving along… This Side of the Law is an unassuming but thoroughly satisfying B-movie." - Classic Movie Ramblings
The Threat
The Threat
1949, USA, 65m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay Dick Irving Hyland, Hugh King Producer Hugh King Photography Harry Wild Editor Samuel E. Beetley Music Paul Sawtell Cast Michael O'Shea, Virginia Grey, Charles McGraw, Julie Bishop, Frank Conroy, Robert Shayne, Anthony Caruso, Don McGuire, Frank Richards, Michael McHale.
"Felix Feist is no auteur but he made some minor classics of the noir genre, notably The Devil Thumbs a Ride and Tomorrow is Another Day. Here he has a good story (if not always a great script) and a truly menacing heavy in Charles McGraw as death-row killer Red Kluger… We’re not talking lost masterpiece here; Feist is saddled with flat dialogue (“Now you know how a good detective works. When he finds something, he calls!”), generic sets and a cast of frankly non-charismatic leads (Michael O’Shea adequate as the cop hero, Robert Shayne a real stiff as his partner, and Frank Conroy almost a non-entity as the D.A..). But Virginia Grey is superb as a trampled flower of a showgirl and Feist allocates his limited budget cleverly, saving his resources for a few set pieces.” - Sean Axmaker (Parallax View)
Three Strangers
Three Strangers
1946, USA, 92m, BW, Drama-Crime-Thriller
Screenplay Howard Koch, John Huston Producer Wolfgang Reinhardt Photography Arthur Edeson Editor George Amy Music Adolph Deutsch Cast Sydney Greenstreet, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Peter Lorre, Joan Lorring, Robert Shayne, Marjorie Riordan, Arthur Shields, Rosalind Ivan, John Alvin, Peter Whitney.
"At first glance Three Strangers sounds like a gloss on The Maltese Falcon tricked out with some spiritualist mumbo jumbo. Happily, it turns out to be a much more accomplished piece of work. For lovers of unappreciated studio talent the movie is a treasure trove. Both Lorre and Greenstreet are given really meaty roles, and favorite Geraldine Fitzgerald gets to shine as well. The busy, eventful original screenplay is by John Huston (seems fitting) and Howard Koch… Three Strangers is tightly paced, fairly credible and packed with reversals of fortune and twists of fate. The point seems to be that people don't need magic Chinese idols to turn their lives into crazy puzzles. The movie is generous to its characters, especially Peter Lorre's. It's highly recommended." - Glenn Erickson (DVD Savant)
Tight Spot
Tight Spot
1955, USA, 97m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay William Bowers (based on the play Dead Pigeon by Lenard Kantor) Producer Lewis J. Rachmil Photography Burnett Guffey Editor Viola Lawrence Music George Duning Cast Ginger Rogers, Edward G. Robinson, Brian Keith, Lucy Marlow, Lorne Greene, Katharine Anderson, Allen Nourse, Peter Leeds, Doye O'Dell, Eve McVeagh.
"Based on a stage play, most of Tight Spot takes place in the same hotel room. Sort of a train-challenged reworking of the Fleischer classic The Narrow Margin, it's about a cop (Brian Keith) trying to keep a witness alive long enough to testify against the mob. Ginger Rogers is the sassy convict sprung to tattle on a top underworld figure… The problem with the film is Ginger Rogers, who may have used her clout to keep all of the attention on her character. Rogers seems to think she's acting in a comedy. Although the film has a sense of humor, Rogers plays her sassy felon too broadly and continually reaches for contact with the audience… The movie's suspenseful finish is unimpaired, but despite Phil Karlson's hard-edged direction, the movie feels like a compromise." - Glenn Erickson (DVD Savant)
Time Without Pity
Time Without Pity
BRIT-NOIR
1957, UK, 85m, BW, Crime-Drama-Mystery
Screenplay Ben Barzman (based on the play Someone Waiting by Emlyn Williams) Producers Anthony Simmons, John Arnold Photography Freddie Francis Editor Alan Osbiston Music Tristram Cary Cast Michael Redgrave, Leo McKern, Ann Todd, Paul Daneman, Peter Cushing, Alec McCowen, Renee Houston, Lois Maxwell, Richard Wordsworth, George Devine.
"An adaptation of Emlyn Williams' potboiling play Someone Waiting, about a young man wrongly convicted of murder (McCowen), and the last-minute hunt for the real killer by his dipsomaniac father (Redgrave). This was the first time Losey had filmed under his own name since the trauma of the blacklist, and it shows in the overstatement… By shifting the emphasis from thriller to anti-capital punishment pleading, Losey also strains the structure almost to breaking point. An undeniably powerful film, all the same, superbly shot by Freddie Francis and conceived with a raw-edged brilliance, right from the brutal opening murder." - Tom Milne (Time Out)
Timetable
Timetable
1956, USA, 79m, BW, Crime-Drama-Detective Film
Screenplay Aben Kandel (based on a story by Robert Angus) Producer Mark Stevens Photography Charles Van Enger Editor Kenneth G. Crane Music Walter Scharf Cast Mark Stevens, King Calder, Felicia Farr, Marianne Stewart, Wesley Addy, Alan Reed, Rodolfo Hoyos, Jack Klugman, John Marley, Robert Anderson.
"Unfortunately for anyone who hasn’t seen Time Table, it’s impossible to discuss without spoiling its big twist - so let’s get it out of the way right now (and don’t worry, the reveal occurs in the first half of the film): Stevens plays an insurance investigator who - here it comes - turns out to be the brains behind the very robbery he’s asked to solve. Although it’s an old saw that may bring to mind Double Indemnity, Time Table more closely resembles titles like Roadblock, Private Hell 36, and The Man Who Cheated Himself. It draws from a myriad of noir films rather than any one in particular. This much is certain: in spite of being a cinematic mutt, Time Table is an intriguing movie that deserves to be seen." - Mark Fertig (Where Danger Lives)
T-Men
T-Men 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1947, USA, 92m, BW, Crime-Thriller-Detective Film
Screenplay John C. Higgins (from an unpublished story by Virginia Kellogg) Producer Aubrey Schenck Photography John Alton Editor Fred Allen Music Paul Sawtell Cast Dennis O'Keefe, Alfred Ryder, Mary Meade, Wallace Ford, June Lockhart, Charles McGraw, Jane Randolph, Art Smith, Herbert Heyes, Jack Overman.
"T-Men, arguably the strongest picture from Mann's noir period, boasts a raw documentary feel that will remind some viewers of the classic TV series, Dragnet. But Mann's brilliant cinematographer, George Alton, gives the film a memorably stark look. Add a first-rate script by John C. Higgins, and Mann's almost intuitive command of the visual language of cinema, and T-Men is a surprisingly powerful B-picture, an urban crime drama for the ages. As always, Mann's sure sense of visual flair is virtually undetectable. Even in the stylized noir tradition, there's a naturalism to his storytelling, an emotional honesty that serves as the backbone of his work. Mann always generates steam while appearing to never break a sweat." - Paul Tatara (Turner Classic Movies)
Pickup
To Have and Have Not Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1944, USA, 100m, BW, Romance-Drama-Adventure
Screenplay Jules Furthman, William Faulkner (based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway) Producer Howard Hawks Photography Sidney Hickox Editor Christian Nyby Music Franz Waxman Cast Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan, Dolores Moran, Hoagy Carmichael, Dan Seymour, Marcel Dalio, Walter Molnar, Sheldon Leonard, Walter Sande.
"Director Howard Hawks made a bet with Ernest Hemingway that he could make a good movie out of his worst novel. I don't know who won or how much the bet was for, but my money is on Hawks. To Have and Have Not is a perfect companion piece to Casablanca, which is one of America's favorite movies. Casablanca is more beloved than To Have and Have Not presumably because Americans prefer sentiment over camaraderie… Although both movies are satisfying, To Have and Have Not leaves a more satisfying taste, precisely because Hawks isn't trying for any specific emotional effect other than friendship. The result is smooth filmmaking, in which the audience is able to relate to flawed characters and meet them halfway." - Jeffrey M. Anderson (Combustible Celluloid)
To Live and Die in L.A.
To Live and Die in L.A. Available on Blu-ray
NEO-NOIR / COLOUR NOIR
1985, USA, 116m, Col, Crime-Action-Drama
Screenplay Gerald Petievich, William Friedkin (based on the novel by Gerald Petievich) Producer Irving H. Levin Photography Robby Müller Editor Bud Smith Music Wang Chung Cast William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow, Debra Feuer, John Turturro, Darlanne Fluegel, Dean Stockwell, Steve James, Robert Downey Sr., Dwier Brown.
"Sure, the Reagan-era exoticization of painters and extras salivating over the cash they count are as dated as the Wang Chung synth score, but To Live and Die in L.A. is as urgent and exhilaratingly paced as anything William Friedkin's done. This raw, elaborately cynical 1985 action flick puts two FBI agents (William Petersen, John Pankow) on the trail of a counterfeiting artist (Willem Dafoe at his most slithery) obsessed with spending money. Some of the best crook-on-crook, cop-on-crook banter there ever was and John Turturro's best cursing in a motion picture… the six-lane rush-hour car chase that would make Popeye Doyle crash and burn… The only problem is that Friedkin would never get any better than this." - Wesley Morris (San Francisco Examiner)
Tomorrow is Another Day
Tomorrow is Another Day
1951, USA, 90m, BW, Crime-Mystery-Drama
Screenplay Art Cohn, Guy Endore, Felix E. Feist [uncredited] (from a story by Guy Endore) Producer Henry Blanke Photography Robert Burks Editor Alan Crosland Jr. Music Daniele Amfitheatrof Cast Ruth Roman, Steve Cochran, Lurene Tuttle, Ray Teal, Morris Ankrum, John Kellogg, Lee Patrick, Hugh Sanders, Stuart Randall, Bobby Hyatt.
"Doomed lovers on the run are a quintessentially noir archetype, combining the American romance of the outlaw with the poignant appeal of redemptive love. A powerful and little known variation is provided by legendary B film director Felix Feist (Donovan’s Brain, The Devil Thumbs a Ride) in one of his more sensitive and revealing pictures. The great Steve Cochran stars as a lonely convict just out of the pen and disoriented by the harsh logic of the outside world. Brief solace is found in his friendship with a taxi dancer (Roman)-- until her ex-lover turns up dead and the blame falls, inevitably, upon the innocent man. Haunting images of postwar Americana are vividly evoked throughout the film as specters of the dream denied the young couple." - Harvard Film Archive
Too Late for Tears
Too Late for Tears Available on Blu-ray
1949, USA, 99m, BW, Crime-Drama-Thriller
Screenplay Roy Huggins (from the Saturday Evening Post serialization of his novel) Producer Hunt Stromberg Photography William Mellor Editor Harry Keller Music R. Dale Butts Cast Lizabeth Scott, Don DeFore, Dan Duryea, Arthur Kennedy, Kristine Miller, Barry Kelley, Denver Pyle, Virginia Mullen, Richard Irving, George Mann.
"Too Late for Tears is a low-budget film noir that, if not quite a real gem, is a mighty good cubic zirconia. Coincidence is a noir staple, a not surprising fact when you consider that so many of these films deal on one level or another with the inexorability of fate; but some may find the level of coincidence in Tears a little off-putting. The screenplay also gets a little talky in places; this in itself is not bad, but the dialogue just misses having that little extra punch and crackle that the best noirs pride themselves on. Still, these little deficiencies don't seriously damage the film; and the plot, basic set-up and characters more than make up for these flaws... Byron Haskin directs with skill and creates fine tension and atmosphere, also making good use of location shots. Too Late for Tears is no Double Indemnity, but fans of such films will be delighted to come across it." - Craig Butler (Allmovie)
Touch of Evil
Touch of Evil 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1958, USA, 108m, BW, Thriller-Crime-Mystery
Screenplay Orson Welles (based on the novel Badge of Evil by Whit Masterson) Producer Albert Zugsmith Photography Russell Metty Editors Aaron Stell, Virgil W. Vogel Music Henry Mancini Cast Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Joseph Calleia, Akim Tamiroff, Marlene Dietrich, Dennis Weaver, Ray Collins, Mercedes McCambridge, Lalo Rios.
"Gather, darkness: Here is the inkiest, most fetid, most despairing Hollywood film ever, the noirest of the noirs, the blackest of cartwheels, a pain-haunted swoop made by Faust after everything else has been sold off and his foot has tripped into the abyss. Orson Welles's 1958 anti-masterpiece Touch of Evil isn't quite typically Wellesian—the past has no relevance, the literary sourcebook is pure Monterey Jack, and the nocturnal style is as unforgiving as a bone bruise. What it is is a note from the underground, a gout of bile from a diseased cosmic liver. Or it's Welles, attempting to resuscitate his career yet again, doing calisthenics with his camera and lights. Either way, it's a required experience." - Michael Atkinson (The Village Voice)
Touchez pas au Grisbi
Touchez pas au Grisbi Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
Grisbi (alternative title)
FRENCH NOIR
1953, France, 94m, BW, Crime-Drama-Gangster Film
Screenplay Albert Simonin, Jacques Becker, Maurice Griffe (based on the novel by Albert Simonin) Producer Robert Dorfmann Photography Pierre Montazel Editor Marguerite Renoir Music Jean Wiener Cast Jean Gabin, Rene Dary, Paul Frankeur, Lino Ventura, Paul Oettly, Jeanne Moreau, Dora Doll, Daniel Cauchy, Vittorio Sanipoli, Denise Clair.
"Jean Gabin is at his most wearily romantic as aging gangster Max le Menteur in the Jacques Becker gem Touchez pas au grisbi (Hands Off the Loot!). Having pulled off the heist of a lifetime, Max looks forward to spending his remaining days relaxing with his beautiful young girlfriend. But when Riton (René Dary), Max’s hapless partner and best friend, lets word of the loot slip to loose-lipped, two-timing Josy (Jeanne Moreau), Max is reluctantly drawn back into the underworld. A touchstone of the gangster-film genre, Touchez pas au grisbi is also pure Becker—understated, elegant, evocative." - The Criterion Collection
Trapped
Trapped
1949, USA, 78m, BW, Drama-Crime-Thriller
Screenplay Earl Felton, George Zuckerman (based on their story) Producer Bryan Foy Photography Guy Roe Editor Al DeGaetano Music Sol Kaplan Cast Lloyd Bridges, Barbara Payton, John Hoyt, James Todd, Russ Conway, Robert Karnes, Harry Antrim, Lucille Barkley, Lennie Burton, Robert Carson.
"A neat film noir in which US Treasury agents set out to catch a counterfeiter… All this is beautifully shot and will not disappoint noir fans with its superb lighting and stylish camerawork… The soundtrack is also a treat, with plenty of jazz, giving way to the essential full orchestra for the most dramatic sequences. The final chase takes place in a trolley car depot, allowing for the changes of level and the confined spaces which are also a requirement of this genre… I wouldn’t call this one a classic, but it’s worth seeing if you like this kind of thing. Lloyd Bridges makes an energetic hero, Barbara Payton is less of an actor but provides the melodramatic eye candy.” - Val Kermode (Eye for Film)
True Romance
True Romance Available on Blu-ray
NEO-NOIR / COLOUR NOIR
1993, USA, 116m, Col, Romance-Crime-Road Movie
Screenplay Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary [uncredited] Producer Bill Unger, Samuel Hadida, Steve Perry Photography Jeffrey Kimball Editor Christian Wagner Music Hans Zimmer Cast Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Bronson Pinchot, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Rapaport.
"From humble beginnings, this fast, freaky and extremely funny road movie scripted by Quentin Tarantino has become a modern classic… A rocket-fuel romance that rattles from Detroit to Hollywood as Slater’s comic-book geek and Arquette’s hooker with a heart steal a case of cocaine and hit the road… It’s so funny you can forgive Tarantino’s sleazy strain of nerd-boy wish-fulfilment. But it’s Scott’s direction that sets the whole thing on fire, lunging from heart-meltingly sweet to unbearably violent without breaking stride. And True Romance contains more crunchy punch-ups, genius casting choices (let’s not forget stoner Brad Pitt) and moments of real, honest emotion than Tarantino’s entire post-Pulp output put together. Giddy and glorious." - Tom Huddleston (Time Out)
Try and Get Me!
Try and Get Me! Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
The Sound of Fury (alternative title)
1950, USA, 85m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay Jo Pagano, Cy Endfield [uncredited] (from the novel The Condemned by Jo Pagano) Producer Robert Stillman Photography Guy Roe Editor George Amy Music Hugo Friedhofer Cast Frank Lovejoy, Lloyd Bridges, Richard Carlson, Kathleen Ryan, Katherine Locke, Adele Jergens, Art Smith, Renzo Cesana, Irene Vernon, Cliff Clark.
"Conceivably the most anti-American Hollywood picture ever made—I certainly can't think of any competitors—Cy Endfield's brilliant and shocking 1951 thriller (also known as The Sound of Fury) was adapted by Jo Pagano from his novel The Condemned, which was inspired by a lynching that occurred in California during the 30s... Apart from a moralizing European character who isn't really necessary, this is a virtually flawless masterpiece, exposing class hatred and the abuses of the American press (represented here mainly by Richard Carlson) with rare lucidity and anger. At once subtle and unsparing, this may be the best noir you've never heard of: Endfield's American career was cut short by the blacklist the year it was released." - Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader)
The Turning Point
The Turning Point
1952, USA, 85m, BW, Drama-Crime
Screenplay Warren Duff (from the story Storm in the City by Horace McCoy) Producer Irving Asher Photography Lionel Lindon Editor George Tomasini Music Miklos Rozsa, Victor Young Cast William Holden, Alexis Smith, Edmond O'Brien, Tom Tully, Ed Begley, Danny Dayton, Ted De Corsia, Don Porter, Neville Brand, Carolyn Jones.
"One of several good but undistinguished films that William Holden made between Sunset Boulevard and Stalag 17, The Turning Point is a fairly typical 1950s film noir, enlivened somewhat by its McCarthy-era setting. Unfortunately, Warren B. Duff's screenplay doesn't take advantage of this aspect of the story, settling instead for a fairly routine crime story with less than sparkling dialogue. William Dieterle's direction is also fairly routine, although both the direction and screenplay come alive during the big fire scene. The cast, including Holden and Alexis Smith, is solid, but nothing more, with one exception. That exception is Ed Begley, whose delicious villain has a fire and a life that the rest of the film lacks." - Craig Butler (Allmovie)
The Two Jakes
The Two Jakes
NEO-NOIR / COLOUR NOIR
1990, USA, 137m, Col, Drama-Crime-Mystery
Screenplay Robert Towne Producers Harold Schneider, Robert Evans Photography Vilmos Zsigmond Editor Anne Goursaud Music Van Dyke Parks Cast Jack Nicholson, Harvey Keitel, Meg Tilly, Madeleine Stowe, Eli Wallach, Ruben Blades, Frederic Forrest, David Keith, Richard Farnsworth, Tracey Walter.
"The Two Jakes, the long-awaited sequel to Chinatown, is unlikely to make any list of the best movies of the Nineties. It's an honorable failure, an attempt to deal with ideas (in a summer of idiocies), but the film keeps hammering points Chinatown expressed more subtly and powerfully… As a director, Nicholson is no Polanski. The atmosphere doesn't seep into the viewer's pores the way it did in Chinatown. You don't catch anything out of the corner of your eye; it's all thrust at you. As an actor, however, Nicholson is the film's only undiluted pleasure. The man can do more with an arched eyebrow than others can with a Shakespearean soliloquy. It's a reactive, un-Jokerish performance and a deeply felt one." - Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)
The Two Mrs. Carrolls
The Two Mrs. Carrolls Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1947, USA, 99m, BW, Thriller-Melodrama
Screenplay Thomas Job (based on a play by Martin Vale) Producer Mark Hellinger Photography Peverell Marley Editor Frederick Richards Music Franz Waxman Cast Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, Alexis Smith, Nigel Bruce, Isobel Elsom, Patrick O'Moore, Ann Carter, Anita Sharp Bolster, Barry Bernard, Colin Campbell.
"This is Bogart as the tormented artist with a psychotic edge and the film reminds us with angels of death on the canvases and a soundtrack punctuated with ominous echoes, peels of bells that build to a pounding pitch and sudden storms that toss timely thunderclaps into the drama... While not one of the best films of either of the stars [Bogart and Stanwyck]—the script (based on a stage play) treads familiar ground and Peter Godfrey’s direction is long on dramatic gestures and short on suspense and tension—it is a handsomely mounted and nicely acted piece, especially when the two Hollywood greats share the screen. And Bogart manages to humanize his psychosis and his character in his gentle way with his preternaturally sophisticated daughter (Ann Carter) and his commitment to the twisted logic of his muse." - Sean Axmaker
Two O
Two O'Clock Courage
1945, USA, 68m, BW, Mystery
Screenplay Robert E. Kent (from the novel Two in the Dark by Gelett Burgess) Producer Benjamin Stoloff Photography Jack MacKenzie Editor Philip Martin Music Roy Webb Cast Tom Conway, Ann Rutherford, Richard Lane, Lester Matthews, Roland Drew, Emory Parnell, Jane Greer, Jean Brooks, Bob Alden, Chester Clute.
"A so-so B-movie murder mystery directed by the future esteemed filmmaker Anthony Mann from a script by Robert Kent and a mystery story by Gelett Burgess. Two O'Clock Courage is a remake of Benjamin Stoloff's Two in the Dark (1936). In this film Stoloff goes from director to producer. Mann has added a great deal of comedy relief through use of his spirited supporting cast, that was not present in the original. Two O'Clock Courage follows in the vaunted tradition of 1930s whodunits. The film is photographed in a conventional style and lacks the overall grace the great cinematographer John Alton would give Mann's later more sophisticated 1940s film noirs." - Dennis Schwartz (World Movie Reviews)
Two of a Kind
Two of a Kind
1951, USA, 75m, BW, Thriller-Crime-Drama
Screenplay James Gunn, Lawrence Kimble (from a story by James Edward Grant) Producer William Dozier Photography Burnett Guffey Editor Charles Nelson Music George Duning Cast Edmond O'Brien, Lizabeth Scott, Terry Moore, Alexander Knox, Griff Barnett, Robert Anderson, Virginia Brissac, Kathryn Card, Claire Carleton, Louis Jean Heydt.
"A minor noir with a fun performance by Edmond O’Brien as a career bad boy, an orphan who scams his way through life until he’s drafted by Scott and her lawyer partner (Alexander Knox) in an inheritance scam involving a rich couple and a missing child from decades back. Yep, he’s posing as the long lost son, snatched away and left to grow up in a series of orphanages and juvenile detention centers until kismet (and a carefully plotted scheme) sweeps him back into their lives… It’s a soft-boiled noir with lots of tough-guy attitude from O’Brien (who delivers in spades) and an entertaining twist involving his unconventional romance with the niece of the old couple (Terry Moore), a sweetheart of a social activist who decides to make reforming O’Brien her new cause." - Sean Axmaker (seanax.com)
100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) The 100 Most Cited Noir Films Available on Blu-ray Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
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