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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Film Noir Classics: Volume 5 DVD Review

Film Noir Classics: Volume 5 DVD Review

Synopsis: Out of the vaults and into the light: a fascinating 4-Disc Set showcasing 8 genre gems rich with the intensity and diversity of noir! Disc 1 wreaks revenge, with Dick Powell on the hunt in Cornered and Steve Brodie on the lam in Desperate. Caught-in-the-act immediacy highlights Disc 2’s corruption exposé The Phenix City Story and the hostage drama Dial 1119. Disc 3 turns procedural with noir ace Charles McGraw bulldogging the perps of an Armored Car Robbery then turns to social-conscience filmmaking with Crime in the Streets (John Cassavetes and Sal Mineo star). An unfatale femme is rare in noir but invaluable when strong dames help their men out of jams, as do Disc 4’s Susan Hayward in Deadline at Dawn and Virginia Mayo in Backfire. Step into the shadows and suspense.

Review: We're talking guns, dancers, crime, women and an old world sensibility that you just don't see in film today.  This fifth collection in the Film Noir series by Warner Bros. has another great collection of retro film.  We get a lot of these types of collections at the Legion, but none like this one.  I started to watch these old films and I was drawn right into the world of yesterday.  It was so much fun to see these black and whites from the 1940s and 1950s. 

The collection is eight films on four discs and it doesn't disappoint.  If you enjoy retro film at all, then this set is for you!  Its definately a peek back into culture and the way movies were made during the WWII and post WWII era.

Cornered (1945):
From England to continental Europe to Buenos Aires, ex-RCAF pilot Dick Powell stalks the Nazi collaborator who murdered his bride. But one fact constantly surfaces during his quest: no one can describe the mysterious man. Joining Powell in the film shadows are the director and other key talent behind Murder, My Sweet of the year before.

Special Features:
Cornered trailer.

Runtime:           102 minutes
Rating: NR
Film Specs:       B&W 4x3 1.37 standard aspect ratio
Language:         English Mono
Subtitles:           English

Desperate (1947):
Desperate is the first of seven atmospheric noirs directed by Anthony Mann. Steve Brodie is a postwar every man who accepts what he thinks is an honest trucking job, only to find he’s the driver in a botched heist that puts Brodie and his bride (Audrey Long) on the run from the cops and the cons who planned the job (including chief thug Raymond Burr).

Runtime:              73 minutes
Rating:                 NR
Film Specs:          B&W 4x3 1.37 standard aspect ratio
Language:            English Mono
Subtitles:              English

The Phenix City Story (1955):
Corruption, brutality and vice plagued Phenix City, Alabama, for 100 years, so who would dare to change it? Based on real-life events and filmed on location in what was called Sin City USA, director Phil Karlson’s semi-documentary tells the jolting tale of those who risked their lives to bring the burg’s syndicate of thugs and murderers to justice.

RT:                      100 minutes
Rating:                 NR
Film Specs:          B&W 16x9 Widescreen 1.77
Language:            English Mono
Subtitles:              English


Dial 1119 (1950):
An asylum inmate escapes to the city, where he takes hostages at a local dive, guns down a bar employee and warns authorities his captives will be next if the doctor whose testimony first put him away doesn’t arrive within the hour. A bit of casting irony goes with the movie’s then-novel use of TV news coverage: actors Marshall Thompson, William Conrad, Keefe Brasselle and Leon Ames would have significant career ventures in television.

Special Features:
Includes Dial 1119 theatrical trailer.

RT:                      75 minutes
Rating:                 NR
Film Specs:          B&W 4x3 1.37 standard aspect ratio
Language:            English Mono
Subtitles:              English

Armored Car Robbery (1950):
Richard Fleischer directs this brute-force milestone about a deadly heist and the battle of wits and firepower between a fugitive gangster (William Talman) and his stripper moll (Adele Jergens) and a bulldog cop (Charles McGraw), out to avenge his partner’s death, who uses hidden microphones, lab work and his own well-honed instincts to close the net.

RT:                      68 minutes
Rating:                 NR
Film Specs:          B&W 4x3 1.37 standard aspect ratio
Language:            English Mono
Subtitles:              English

Crime in the Streets (1956):
Following a turf rumble with a rival group, a street gang leader (John Cassavetes) tells his gang to do what they’ve never done before: kill a snitch. Reginald Rose wrote and Don Siegel directs a jazz-riffing screen version of a tale first seen on TV and co-starring James Whitmore and Sal Mineo.

RT:                      91 minutes
Rating:                 NR
Film Specs:          B&W 16x9 Widescreen 1.77
Language:            English Mono
Subtitles:              English

Deadline At Dawn (1946):
A gangster’s sister lies dead. All clues point to sailor Bill Williams as the murderer. Slated to depart for duty at dawn, the swabbie, aided by good-hearted dime-a-dancer Susan Hayward and affable cabbie Paul Lukas, has mere hours to prove his innocence. The tangy Clifford Odets script is based on a novel by William Irish (pseudonym of Cornell Woolrich).

RT:                      83 minutes
Rating:                 NR
Film Specs:                   B&W 4x3 1.37 standard aspect ratio
Language:            English Mono
Subtitles:              English

Backfire (1950):

Vincent Sherman directs this gripping yarn about recovering war veteran Gordon MacRae’s quest to prove pal Edmond O’Brien innocent of murder. Aiding him is his resourceful nurse Virginia Mayo. And a secretive doctor, a lively undertaker, a desperate gambler, a dying witness and a haunting Viennese melody all lead them to a shocking climax.

RT:                      91 minutes
Rating:                 NR
Film Specs:          B&W 4x3 1.37 standard aspect ratio
Language:            English Mono
Subtitles:              English


Interest Range: Vintage Film, Noir Film