Captain Spaulding on Skull Island

More New Noir, the Final Films

October 12th, 2009

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Saturday 10-10-9

House by the River (1950)

Directed by Fritz Lang.  Screenplay by Mel Dinelli from a novel by A. P. Herbert.  Starring Louis Hayward, Lee Bowman and Jane Wyatt.

A man kills his maid and his brother helps him get rid of the body.  Afterwards, things go well for the killer, but not so well for the brother.  Gothic noir in a similar vein to Night of the Hunter.  I almost never say this, but it was a little too short, it seemed to be missing… something.  I heard about this one from the Film Noir Foundation’s newsletter (Support the Film Noir Foundation!).

3 out of 5 stars.

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Sunday 10-11-9

Dangerous Crossing (1953)

Directed by Joseph M. Newman.  Screenplay by Leo Townsend from a radio play by John Dickson Carr.  Starring Jeanne Crain, Michael Rennie and Carl Betz.

A woman boards a luxury liner for a transatlantic honeymoon.  She’s accompanied by her new husband… or is she?  Another “Fox Film Noir” that’s not really noir, but it is an excellent Twilight Zone-ish mystery/thriller.  I really liked this one: the story, the performances, the foggy cinematography, even the sound design.

4 out of 5 stars.

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Monday 10-12-9

The 14th Film in this 14 Day Festival.

The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947)

Written & Directed by Felix Feist.  From a novel by Robert C. DuSoe.  Starring Lawrence Tierney, Ted North and Nan Leslie.

A young businessman gives a ride to a bank robber on the lam, trouble ensues.  I love hitch-hiker stories, and this is a good one.  I’m also fascinated by actor Lawrence Tierney – he broke a couple guy’s jaws in bar and alley fights over the years, in 1948 he kicked a cop and punched another one 8 years later, he pulled a knife on Jerry Seinfeld and tried to start fights with all of his fellow actors on Reservoir Dogs.  Quentin Tarantino said that this movie summed up what it was like knowing Tierney: “You let him into your life and he makes your life a living Hell.”

4 out of 5 stars.

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So that’s it.  The festival hit a few bumps along the way, but it ended strong.  And the “To Be Watched” Shelves are a little bit lighter… until I start pulling Horror Movies for Halloween, that is.

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