Movies & Music

Touch of Evil (1958)

"A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping and police corruption in a Mexican border town"

Touch of Evil (1958)
Adult Audiovisual DVD - Tou

"A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping and police corruption in a Mexican border town"
Orson Welles displays features of noir in films like Citizen Kane and The Lady of Shanghai, but this is considered by many to be the end of the original 'classic' period of noir films. Like most of Welles' pictures, studio meddling resulted in multiple versions of the film. One way to tell which you are watching: The famous opening sequence tracking shot originally had the credits running over it. The 1998 alternative version (re-cut from extensive notes made by Welles after shooting) puts these credits at the end, as intended, so that it doesn't distract from the amazing camerawork (IU Professor and noted Welles Scholar James Naremore helped with the reconstruction; participates in a commentary track on this anniversary DVD release).

Film Noir

Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

"Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister's romance with a jazz musician."

Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Adult Audiovisual DVD - Swe

"Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister's romance with a jazz musician."
The mood of noir oozes out of this film where Burt Lancaster's Hunsecker (reportedly based on the real-life actions of Walter Winchell) and Tony Curtis' Falco are just plain, horrible people. But the dialogue is to die for: "You're dead, son. Get yourself buried." See Lancaster in other noirs like: Criss Cross and The Killers.

Film Noir

Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

"A doomed female hitchhiker pulls Mike Hammer into a deadly whirlpool of intrigue, revolving around a mysterious "great whatsit".

Adult Audiovisual DVD - Kis

"A doomed female hitchhiker pulls Mike Hammer into a deadly whirlpool of intrigue, revolving around a mysterious "great whatsit".
Cold War-era noir, not-so-faithfully based on the Mickey Spillane novel (the author  famously hated the movie). It opens strong and has "perhaps the darkest anti-hero private detective in film noir". 'The great whatsit' would later be stolen from this for later films like Repo Man and Pulp Fiction. And I guarantee David Lynch has watched this movie more than once.

Film Noir

The Wrong Man (1956)

"In 1953, an innocent man named Christopher Emmanuel "Manny" Balestrero is arrested after being mistaken for an armed robber."
A personal favorite Hitchcock; the only film of his to be based-on-a-true story, plays with noir imagery to heighten the story of a man accused, well, wrongly. Interesting bit of trivia from IMDB: "The scene where Manny (Henry Fonda) is taken to prison was filmed in a real prison. As he is led to his cell , you can hear one of the inmates yell out "What'd they get ya for, Henry?", and a bunch of other prisoners laughing."

The Wrong Man (1956)
Adult Audiovisual DVD - Wro

"In 1953, an innocent man named Christopher Emmanuel "Manny" Balestrero is arrested after being mistaken for an armed robber."
A personal favorite Hitchcock; the only film of his to be based-on-a-true story, plays with noir imagery to heighten the story of a man accused, well, wrongly. Interesting bit of trivia from IMDB: "The scene where Manny (Henry Fonda) is taken to prison was filmed in a real prison. As he is led to his cell , you can hear one of the inmates yell out "What'd they get ya for, Henry?", and a bunch of other prisoners laughing."
See also: one of Hitchcock's own favorites: Shadow of a Doubt.

Film Noir

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

"A screenwriter develops a dangerous relationship with a faded film star determined to make a triumphant return."

Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Adult Audiovisual DVD - Sun

"A screenwriter develops a dangerous relationship with a faded film star determined to make a triumphant return."
Not the usual noir storyline, but this very insider Hollywood story has a very noir-like, infamous narration and plenty of shadows and mood. Director Billy Wilder said: "At first, you know, this was supposed to be a comedy." Photographed by John Seitz,  the same cinematographer Wilder previously used for Double Indemnity.
See also: Ace in the Hole (another Wilder film that uses noir tropes to tell a cynical tale of the media in a time when almost no one was doing that).

Film Noir

Gun Crazy (1947)

"A well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is."

Gun Crazy (1947)
Adult Audiovisual DVD - Gun

"A well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is."
Loosely inspired by Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, this features a remarkably well-shot, one-take bank robbery sequence. It was revealed much later that this noir classic was mostly written by then blacklisted Dalton Trumbo.

Film Noir

Kiss of Death (1947)

"Nick Bianco is a small-time crook who gets caught during a jewel heist. When he rats out his partners, one seeks revenge."

Adult Audiovisual DVD - Kis

"Nick Bianco is a small-time crook who gets caught during a jewel heist. When he rats out his partners, one seeks revenge."
Richard Widmark's psychopathic supporting performance here, in his screen debut, is beyond descripition. See Widmark also playing a racist psychopath, forced to be treated by a doctor played by Sidney Poitier, in the slightly noir-ish No Way Out.

Film Noir

Out of the Past (1947)

"A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames."

Out of the Past (1947)
Adult Audiovisual DVD - Out

"A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames."
"Superb example of film noir due to its complex, fatalistic storyline, dark cinematography, and classic femme fatale". Robert Mitchum would make several decent noirs, Jane Greer is one of the most iconic noir femme fatales of all-time, and Kirk Douglas appears in one of his earliest roles (after a bit in the noir-like The Strange Love of Martha Ivers).

Film Noir

Laura (1944)

"A Police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating."

Adult Audiovisual DVD - Lar

"A Police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating."
Based on the Vera Caspary novel, this film is a mystery; it's a descent into dream logic; it's, in a way, a precursor to a masterpiece like Vertigo that similarly and (not-so) subtly explores male fantasy. Director Otto Preminger would later make several other noirs like: Whirpool (also with Gene Tierney), Where the Sidewalk Ends, even Daisy Kenyon has some of that famous lighting.

Film Noir

The Big Sleep (1946)

"Private detective Philip Marlowe's hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love."

The Big Sleep (1946)
Adult Audiovisual DVD - Big

"Private detective Philip Marlowe's hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love."
Here Bogart plays that other iconic private detective (previously depicted by Dick Powell in Murder, My Sweet, a few years earlier), from the Raymond Chandler novel of the same name. The joke goes that no one can really follow the plot of this film, because how it all plays out it technically makes no sense, but that doesn't keep us from enjoying the journey. Director Howard Hawks infuses some screwball romance into the mix with, the real-life wife of the star, Lauren Bacall, but he would never make another noir after this early one. For more Bogie & Bacall noir see: Dark Passage. The 1978 version, with Robert Mitchum, is also currently available on Hoopla.

Film Noir

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