I have a lot of movies piled up on both the DVR and my “To Be Watched” Shelves and a lot of those (12 so far) are film noirs that I’ve never seen. I had such a great time in August at the Noir City Film Festival, that I’ve decided to have my own “New Noir” fest.
Here’s the rundown (again, I’m not a scholar or reviewer, I’m just giving a few impressions. All of these summaries are bare boned by even bare boned standards and don’t do justice to the films. If you want more info, check IMDb) Also, I may play fast and loose with the use of the word “noir”:
Scandal Sheet (1952)
Directed by Phil Karlson. Screenplay by Ted Sherdeman, Eugene Ling and James Poe from a novel by the great Samuel Fuller. Starring Broderick Crawford, John Derek and Donna Reed.
Crawford plays an editor that turns a legit paper into a tabloid. He has some trouble with a woman and then his ace reporter, Derek, hunts down the details. Good performance by Crawford, bad performance by Derek. Good Newspaper Noir.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
Directed by John M. Stahl. Screenplay by Jo Swerling from the novel by Ben Ames Williams. Starring Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde and Vincent Price.
Gene Tierney plays a woman who won’t let anything get between her and her man; not her family, not his handicapped brother, not her own unborn child. This is Tierney’s movie, she received an Oscar nomination for her performance. In his book Dark City, Eddie Muller calls her “the most deranged femme fatale ever.” A little slow, but a good portrait of a bad person. Beautiful Technicolor cinematography.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Le Doulos (The Finger Man) (1962)
Written & Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. From a novel by Pierre Lesou. Starring Jean-Paul Bemondo, Serge Reggiani and Monique Hennessy.
A French noir about friendship and honor among thieves. Convoluted, I found it frustratingly hard to follow for the first hour, but the last forty-five minutes sorted almost everything out.
3 out of 5 stars.