Captain Spaulding on Skull Island

New Noir part 4

September 1st, 2010

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Friday 8-27-10
Dark City (1950)
Directed by William Dieterle. Screenplay by Ketti Frings, Larry Marcus and John Meredyth Lucas. Starring Charlton Heston, Lizabeth Scott, Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, Ed Begley and Mike Mazurki.
Heston and some other bookies rip-off a guy for $5,000, the guy hangs himself and then they have to deal with the guy’s crazy brother seeking vengeance. A good one that is marred by too many nightclub songs by Scott and a lame ending. Heston’s first film.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Saturday 8-28-10
The House Across The Bay (1940)
Directed by Archie Mayo. Screenplay Myles Connolly and Kathryn Scola. Starring Joan Bennett, George Raft, Lloyd Nolan, Gladys George and Walter Pidgeon.
A gangster melodrama about a woman that accidentally frames her husband and sends him to Alcatraz. Nothing too outstanding, but it does include a good nightclub number about a Chihuahua.
2.5 out of 5 stars.

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Sunday 8-29-10……….BIG HOUSE TRIPLE FEATURE
I’ve actually seen all three of these, but each one only once and not since I got them on DVD.
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Each Dawn I Die (1939)
Directed by William Keighley. Screenplay by Norman Reilly Raine, Warren Duff and Charles Perry from the novel by Jerome Odlum. Starring James Cagney, George Raft and Jane Ryan.
Top of the line Warner Brothers prison movie. Newspaper reporter Cagney gets framed and sent to prison. Raft helps him on the inside and on the outside. Lots of twists and turns, many cliché by now, but they all work brilliantly.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
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Brute Force (1947)
Directed by Jules Dassin. Screenplay by Richard Brooks and Robert Patterson. Starring Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Yvonne De Carlo, Charles Bickford and Sir Lancelot.
Lancaster plans a prison break while dealing with sadistic guard Cronyn. Incredibly well-done with some philosophical touches and some nice flashbacks. Cronyn made a great weasel.
4 out of 5 stars.
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San Quentin (1937)
Directed by Lloyd Bacon. Screenplay by Peter Milne, Humphrey Cobb, Robert Tasker and John Bright. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Pat O’Brien and Ann Sheridan.
O’Brien is an army officer sent to whip the prisoners of San Quentin into shape. Bogart plays his #1 subject. A little too much “the army will make men of them” crap, but otherwise another good Warner Brothers prison picture,
3 out of 5 stars.

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Monday 8-30-10
Revanche (2008)
Directed by Gotz Spielmann. Screenplay by Gotz Spielmann. Starring Johannes Krisch, Irina Potapenko, Andreas Lust and Ursula Strauss.
A handyman that works at a brothel takes his prostitute girlfriend with him on a bank robbery, where a cop accidentally kills her. Is revenge far behind? Excellent moody existential noir from Austria.
4 out of 5 stars.

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Tuesday 8-31-10
The Burglar (1957)
Directed by Paul Wendkos. Screenplay by David Goodis from his novel. Starring Dan Duryea, Jayne Mansfield and Martha Vickers.
A group of thieves steal a necklace from a fake spiritualist and after that it all goes bad. Quirky direction and nice footage of Atlantic City in the mid-1950’s. It also doesn’t hurt that I always enjoy Dan Duryea and David Goodis is one of my favorite noir writers.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Wednesday 9-1-10
The Square (2008)
Directed by Nash Edgerton. Screenplay by Joel Edgerton and Matthew Dabner. Starring David Roberts, Claire van der Boom and Anthony Hayes.
Looks like I saved the best for last. A married man and a married woman plan to steal a fortune from the woman’s husband and then cover their tracks with fire. Needless to say all sorts of things go wrong, including a shark attack that destroys what could be the purest love in the film. Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! This is how noir is supposed to be.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

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So that’s it. 23 films over 21 days, 19 of them new to me with the standouts being “The Square,” “Revanche,” “The Burglar” and “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia” (and “Fly-By-Night” gets special mention, but it worked better as a screwball comedy than film noir). The “To Be Watched” Shelves are a little bit lighter. Now the next step is getting through some of the TV series we have on DVD.

To wrap up the proceedings the “Walmart Noir” anthology that I have a story in found a publisher.

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