From Movie Morlocks: Impact (1949)

Today is troubled marriage day on TCM, with three movies in particular, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, and Impact, topping the bill as the triumvirate of doomed love triangles mixed with murder and suspense. In the noir tales of the forties, husbands and wives often found themselves in danger from the other one. The biggest and best of these, Double Indemnity, leaves all competitors behind but it doesn’t mean these three don’t have plenty to offer as well, with Impact most likely being the least known. There’s a reason for that, or should I say several reasons, including a lackluster lead and rather dull direction but it has just enough going for it, just enough, that I think it deserves at least a little attention on this day of murderous marriages.

PLOT SPOILERS BEGIN

Impact begins with a quite silly and needless intro screen showing a dictionary while the word “impact” appears on the screen and a narrator intones its definition as it refers to two people impacting each other’s lives. The gears then shift to Walter Williams (Brian Donlevy) talking to a board of directors about the factories he needs to keep the business humming. He’s going to drive to Denver to open some new factories that evening and wants to take his wife along for the ride. His wife, Irene (Helen Walker), doesn’t want to go because she has other, more nefarious, plans instead. See, she’s planning on killing her husband that evening.

Walter, despite all evidence to the contrary, believes his wife loves him and the only reason she doesn’t want to go with him to Denver is because she has a toothache, a toothache she’s faking so she can set her plan in motion. The plan is simple: Her lover, Jim Torrance (Tony Barrett), will pose as her cousin, Chip, who needs a ride to Denver. She’ll ask Walter to give him a lift and then, somewhere along the way, Jim will kill Walter and dump the body. Jim attempts to do this when he gets Walter out of the car under the guise of the car having a flat tire. At this point, if you have any familiarity at all with how these things work in noir you probably already know this murder doesn’t exactly go off without a hitch. In fact (and this is why there’s a spoiler alert up top) it doesn’t go off at all. Jim bashes Walter in the head with a tire iron but doesn’t land a good hit as another car comes around the corner just as it’s happening. Then he quickly dumps Walter’s body down the embankment when a Bekins moving truck shows up offering to help with the flat. Jim then races away and promptly hits a gas truck which explodes, killing him instantly and burning his body beyond recognition. Walter, meanwhile, pulls himself out of the embankment, temporarily confused as to where he is, sneaks a ride in the back of the moving truck.

At this point, the great Charles Coburn enters the movie as Detective Quincy who goes to tell Irene that her husband died in an explosion when he collided with a truck. Irene is not broken up at all, leading Quincy to remark on how well she’s taking it. The main thing she wants to know, but can’t say to the detective, is where in the hell is Jim. She figures Jim must have put Walter in the car and collided it with the truck, though she doesn’t know how. Walter, at this point in Nevada, reads about his death and figures he’ll stay dead since his wife clearly didn’t love him anyway and set him up for murder. Since the would be murderer died in the truck accident, he figures it’s even and starts a new life as Bill Walker. From there, believe it or not, it only gets more complicated (this is only about a third of the way into the movie) and the movie serves up twists, turns and a final act courtroom scene that brings the movie to its slightly heavy-handed but satisfying conclusion.

PLOT SPOILERS END

Like I said above, the movie isn’t as well known as other murderous marriage noirs out there and there’s a couple of reasons. One, and primarily, the direction, by Abbott and Costello director Arthur Lubin, is unimaginative and dull. His camera sits and watches, without interesting framing, while scenes scripted as tense are shot nonchalantly and edited in the same pacing and manner as other expository scenes containing no tension. I suspect the reason is the Abbott and Costello movies he directed. When you have comedic talents like those two, you don’t detract from their performance by adding anything to the equation but watching them. Here, though, a little more could have been used. The second reason ties in with the first. Brian Donlevy was a good actor but didn’t have the kind of screen presence or charisma necessary to carry a movie without some help. It’s why he was so good in so many supporting roles for most of his career. Here, Lubin bolts the camera down and watches, as if Donlevy’s antics are going to light up the screen like Abbott and Costello.

So why am I mildly recommending this one? Because of that plot! Because of the twists and turns. Because the story is a good one and should be better known. Because Charles Coburn is always a pleasure to watch. Because it has Anna May Wong in a seemingly inconsequential role as their maid that later turns out to be of grave consequence. Because whenever an evil wife plots to kill her husband and fails, there’s plenty of dark, seedy entertainment to be had. Impact isn’t a great noir but it’s a good one and a forgotten one. I’m glad TCM’s showing it.

New from Movie Morlocks: Raw Deal

If there’s one subset of movies that not only doesn’t require a big budget and big stars but actually benefits from lower budgets and lesser known stars, it’s film noir. It doesn’t mean you can’t have great noirs of the big budget variety, and we have, from The Maltese Falcon to Out of the Past and dozens in between, before, and after. It just means that sometimes noir can function exceedingly well when done on the cheap. One of the best noirs of the forties is Anthony Mann’s Raw Deal. In the best decade ever for noir, it stands out even among the greats. That it didn’t get the recognition it deserved at the time now feels like Anthony Mann’s other raw deal.

All noirs take place in another world. They take place in a world filled with shadows, broken dreams, dangerous men, and even more dangerous women. The great thing about noir is that the best of them feel like horror movies as much as crime movies. Raw Deal is no different. Its opening shots, of Joe Sullivan (Dennis O’Keefe), in the visiting room at the prison, talking with social worker, Ann (Marsha Hunt), the music strikes an eerie tone, a minor organ note, held as it wavers, like the kind one hears in a horror movie when the hero is lost in the woods and danger approaches. The lighting of the scene is ghost-like, muted light and soft focus, and the angle of the shot, a forced perspective as we look down the table behind Joe and Ann, is ominous. It’s a great opening and sets the feel for the movie, a feeling of being trapped that the isolated visiting room conveys perfectly.

Here’s the setup: Joe’s in prison because he took the fall for Rick Coyle (Raymond Burr) and Ann, the social worker, visits him regularly in an attempt to rehabilitate him. Pat (Claire Trevor) is Joe’s girl and comes to him with a plan setup by Rick to break Joe out of jail. Only Rick doesn’t actually want Joe out. As he reveals to his right hand man, Fantail (John Ireland), he’s expecting Joe to get killed in the jailbreak, at which point he won’t have to worry about Joe finding out he double-crossed him. He’s even greased some of the guards at the prison to make sure Joe doesn’t make it. Problem is, Joe makes it. Pat drives the getaway car but only gets as far as the suburbs because the gas tank got hit with bullets from the break and all the gas has leaked out. That’s when Joe gets the idea to kidnap Ann and her car to head out of town, on their way to meet up with Rick. This puts the three of them together in one of the great noir triangles, where the femme fatale may be Pat or Ann, or both. The film builds to a climax as taut as any thriller you’re likely to see with a few twists of plot along the way and a moral choice by Pat that’s framed as beautifully as anything I’ve ever seen.

Anthony Mann gained a reputation for lean, muscular filmmaking, a reputation he built quickly in the forties. What does that mean exactly? Well, in Raw Deal, it means he took characters not fleshed out by monologues and dialogue, with only hints of backstory, and working with extraordinary cinematographer John Alton, crafted characters out of light and shadow, and story out of cuts and cues. While the Pat character narrates the movie, sometimes in the present (“we’re driving to the coast…”), sometimes in the past (“I felt a little confused…”), she reveals little about anything. Her narration is just another way to set the mood rather than tell the story. With Mann, action is the story.

This comes into play in a remarkable fight in a taxidermy shop about two thirds of the way through the movie. The nets that cast shadows over the room, the animal silhouettes in the corners, the sounds of anger and pain as the three men fight and one of the women looking on, deciding whether to use that gun or not, is a masterpiece of story advancement. Things happen in this scene without words that take the plot, the characters and what they represent in entirely different directions.

John Alton lights the movie as well as any noir out there. Raw Deal contains shots that feel like they could have come from an Orson Welles film and, in fact, film historian David Meyer favorably compared the movie’s look to Citizen Kane. Remarkably, Bosley Crowther gave the film a negative notice upon its release and other critics followed with mixed feelings. I’m not one to routinely dismiss Bosley Crowther, even as he is something of an easy target for modern cinephiles, a white elephant’s patron, if you will, because I actually think he, like almost every other critic in history, had great moments of insight as well as numerous occasions of movie blindness. This would be one of them. How Crowther could not see in the first ten minutes is, quite frankly, beyond my comprehension. Raw Deal looks great and moves along in an uneasy advancement towards a doomed finale, the kind of doomed finale you know must come with any great noir. It must be lamented that any noir this good, while lacking the kind of reputation afforded other noirs of far lesser quality, got a deal perfectly evoked by its very title. A raw deal, indeed.

New Noir News The Oscars, Jean Renoir, Raymond Chandler, Auteurism, and Budd Boetticher’s The Killer is Loose (1956)

The Killer Is Loose 1956 The Oscars, Jean Renoir, Raymond Chandler, Auteurism, and Budd Boetticher’s The Killer is Loose (1956)

In a 1954­ interview Jean Renoir said of Hollywood: “Don’t go thinking that I despise “B” pictures; in general I like them better than big, pretentious psychological films they’re much more fun. When I happen to go to the movies in America, I go see ‘B’ pictures. First of all, they are an expression of the great technical quality of Hollywood. Because, to make a good western in a week, the way they do at Monogram, starting Monday and finishing Saturday, believe me, that requires extraordinary technical ability; and detective stories are done with the same speed. I also think that “B” pictures are often better than important films because they are made so fast that the filmmaker obviously has total freedom; they don’t have time to watch over him.”

Raymond Chandler in 1948 in an acid essay on the Oscars, and 20 years before Pauline Kael wrote ‘Trash, Art, and the Movies’, framed his critique by saying of the motion picture “that its transitions can be more eloquent than its high-lit scenes, and that its dissolves and camera movements, which cannot be censored, are often far more emotionally effective than its plots, which can.”  Though he didn’t spell it out it, Chandler was clearly highlighting the artistic choices made by the director of a film.

Not until the 1950s did the enfants terribles of Le Cahiers du Cinema develop the insights broached by Chandler. American film academic and writer Justus Nieland in a piece foreshadowing tonight’s Oscars titled ‘Auteurism and the Genius of the Market’ and published last week in The New York Times, writes:

“This logic of aesthetic judgment, in which films and their directors mutually ratify each other’s greatness has, of course, auteurist roots. The word persists today because a group of film critics in the 1950s hashed out a “politique des auteurs” that discerned, among the industrial products of American mass culture, signatures of a presiding, singular artist like Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, Fritz Lang or Nicholas Ray, among others. This Romantic view of expression, with its abiding myths of freedom, style and personality, sought to solve the problem of how industrially produced and distributed mass entertainment might also be art. But auteurism was also a category of reception, allowing cinephiles to sift and sort, and value and hierarchize, the films and directors to which they had access. In France and elsewhere in the 1950s, that meant seeing Hollywood cinema as a cultural sign of the economic and political power of the U.S… If the Oscars are important, then the best director award is the most important not just because it rewards the work of gifted nominees (and this year’s are an estimable bunch), but because the name of the director remains, for better and worse, contemporary film culture’s way of organizing knowledge about film artistry and its relation to markets and consumers. This says as much about what persists in our fantasies of aesthetic agency as it does about the strategies of the corporate present that shape, and limit, our power to discern the best.”

Hollywood ‘B’ movies of the 40s and 50s were production line ‘filler’. But for the reasons identified by Renoir and Chandler, and despite being made quickly and on the cheap, they sometimes transcended their humble aims and by virtue of the craft and artistry (of mostly journeymen film-makers) made a claim to being considered as art.

One such ‘B’ movie is The Killer is Loose made in 1956 by United Artists and directed by Budd Boetticher, who after completing this film went on to make six cult Westerns that established his auteur status.

The Killer is Loose is not a great movie nor is it even particularly good. The plot is by this late stage of the classic noir cycle more of the same police procedural that noir largely devolved into as the War years receded.  A gormless war veteran working as a bank teller provides inside information for a heist, and when he is cornered by police in his apartment and his innocent wife is accidently shot dead by a police detective in the shootout that ensues, swears vengeance on the wife of the cop. After a couple of years he escapes from detention and heads onto a bloody path to the cop’s wife.  The climax is a stakeout at night in suburbia.

Strong performances from Wendell Corey as the disturbed killer and Joseph Cotton as the cop, and Rhonda Fleming as the hapless wife, don’t quite overcome the inertia of the scenario and plot-holes that most likely derive from keeping the running time to 73 minutes. The score is dramatic in the wrong places, better dialog is not hard to find, and the ending is predictable but what unshackles the movie is the consummate direction and editing. Strong depth of field outside and long fluid takes inside.  The climax is a master-class in editing for suspense. Even daylight scenes have a tension that subverts otherwise normal life in the suburbs. A journey on a crowded brightly bus at night holds a palpable existential terror.

In November last year The New Yorker film critic Rich Brody named the recent archive release of the The Killer is Loose as his DVD of the Week, writing that “Boetticher… saw violence everywhere and was sensitive to its ambient horrors, even when unleashed with principle. This movie, with its focus on crime and punishment—and on the private lives of police officers and criminals alike—redefines the very idea of the war at home.”

Brody’s video review of The Killer is Loose is featured below.

 

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New Noir News FilmsNoir.Net’s Top 25 Films Noir

My top 25 films noir by year of release. Ranking them would be arbitrary as there is little if anything between them.  For my full listing of essential films noir click here.

port of shadows FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir Port of Shadows 1938 France Aka Le Quai des brumes. Fate a dank existential fog ensnares doomed lovers Jean Gabin and Michèle Morgan after one night of happiness.
the maltese falcon FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir The Maltese Falcon 1941 US Bogart as Sam Spade the quintessential noir protagonist. A loner on the edge of polite society, sorely tempted to transgress but declines and is neither saved nor redeemed.
double indemnity FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir Double Indemnity 1944 US All the elements of the archetypal film noir  are distilled into a gothic LA tale of greed, sex, and betrayal.
murder my sweet FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir Murder, My Sweet 1944 US (Aka Farewell, my Lovely) The most noir fun you will ever have. Raymond Chandler’s prose crackles with moody noir direction from Edward Dmytryk.
the big sleep FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir The Big Sleep 1946 US Love’s Vengeance Lost. Darker than Dmytryk’s Murder, My Sweet. Bogart is tougher, more driven, and morally suspect.
ride the pink horse FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir Ride the Pink Horse 1946 US Disillusioned WW2 vet arrives in a New Mexico town to blackmail a war racketeer. Imbued with a rare humanity.
body and soul FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir Body and Soul 1947 US A masterwork. Melodramatic expose of the fight game and a savage indictment of money capitalism. Garfield’s picture.
out of the past FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir Out of the Past 1947 US Quintessential film noir. Inspired direction, exquisite expressionist cinematography, and legendary Mitchum and Greer.
the lady from shanghai FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir The Lady From Shanghai 1947 US Orson Welles’ brilliant jigsaw noir with a femme-fatale to die for and a script so sharp you relish every scene.
t men FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir T-Men 1947 US Mann and Alton offer a visionary descent into a noir realm of dark tenements, nightclubs, mobsters, and hellish steam baths.
act of violence FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir Act of Violence 1948 US Long-shot and deep focus climax filmed night-for-night on a railway platform: the stuff noirs are made of.
foce of evil FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir Force of Evil 1948 US Polonsky transcends noir in a tragic allegory on greed and family. Garfield adds signature honesty and gritty complexity .
raw deal FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir Raw Deal 1948 US Sublime noir from Anthony Mann and John Alton. Knockout cast in a strong story stunningly rendered as expressionist art.
the set up FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir The Set-Up 1949 US Robert Ryan is great as washed-up boxer in Robert Wise’ sharp expose of the fight game. Brooding and intense noir classic.
the third man FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir The Third Man 1949 UK Sublime. An engaging cavalcade of characters in a human comedy of love, friendship, and the imperatives of conscience.
night and the city FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir Night And the City 1950 US/UK Dassin’s stark existential journey played out in the dark dives of post-war London as a quintessential noir city.
the asphalt jungle FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir The Asphalt Jungle 1950 US Quintessential heist movie transcends melodrama and noir. A police siren wails: “Sounds like a soul in hell.”
on dangerous ground FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir On Dangerous Ground 1951 US City cop battling inner demons is sent to ‘Siberia’. A film of dark beauty and haunting characterisations.
the prowler FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir The Prowler 1951 US Van Heflin is homme-fatale in Tumbo thriller. Director Losey is unforgiving. Each squalid act is suffocatingly framed.
the big heat FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir The Big Heat 1953 US Gloria Grahame as existential hero in Fritz Lang’s brooding socio-realist noir critique.
kiss me deadly FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir Kiss Me Deadly 1955 US Anti-fascist Hollywood Dada. Aldrich’s surreal noir a totally weird yet compelling exploration of urban paranoia.
rififi FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir Rififi 1955 France Dassin’s classic heist thriller culminating in the terrific final scenes of a car desperately careening through Paris streets.
the big combo FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir The Big Combo 1955 US “I live in a maze… a strange blind backward maze’. Obsessed cop hunts down a psychotic crime boss in the best noir of 50s.
the sweet smell of success FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir Sweet Smell of Success 1957 US DP James Wong Howe’s sharpest picture. As bracing as vinegar and cold as ice. Ambition stripped of all pretense.
odd against tomorrow FilmsNoir.Nets Top 25 Films Noir Odds Against Tomorrow 1959 US A work of art from Rober Wise. New York City and its industrial fringe are quasi-protagonists that harbor the angst and desperation of life outside the mainstream – sordid dreams of the last big heist that will fix everything.

 

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New Noir News Alan Fassioms on Dementia (1955): Beatnik Noir?

dementia 1955 1 Alan Fassioms on Dementia (1955): Beatnik Noir?

Dementia (1955 aka Daughter of Horror 57min)
Director/Writer – John Parker
Cinematography – William C. Thompson
Music – George Antheil

I’m sure the 50’s hep-cats and ‘seasoned’ film-noir enthusiasts among you will already know of this film. Nevertheless for a greenhorn like myself, I find it damn near impossible to simply watch something like Dementia and not say a few words about it; even if it is just to confirm, through the reader’s feedback, whether or not I’m clueless as to what defines art, missing the point all together, or that I’m simply a weirdo!

Dementia (or as it was later changed to: Daughter of Horror) is a very stylish and strange short film (ca. 57 mins) from deep within the archives of the 50’s avant-garde b-movies. In fact, most movie-buffs may know it more as the film being watched in the cinema, during that famous scene in the 50’s cult-classic, The Blob, rather than a movie of any cinematic significance. In fact, it’s believed that it was Jack H. Harris, producer of The Blob, who eventually bought the film from Parker and added the narration, renaming the movie Daughter Of Horror. This would make complete sense as Harris could then feature it in The Blob without hindrance. And the added narration, which can be heard in the background during The Blob’s famous cinema scene, serves well to intensify the suspense as The Blob approaches the screaming kids. Even the name ‘Daughter of Horror’ seems like it was added with The Blob in mind, as a poster for ‘Daughter of Horror’, and not ‘Dementia’, can also be seen for a split second during that scene.

dementia 1955 2 Alan Fassioms on Dementia (1955): Beatnik Noir?

This mostly ‘silent’, black and white film opens with a high-angle, night-time shot of a neon-lit street, when, after being invited by the narrator to come with him, ”into the tormented, haunted, half-lit night of the insane”, we are drawn slowly through an open window into a young lady’s bedroom, á la Orson Welles. On the bed lies the sleeping beauty squirming and clutching her bed-sheet tightly. Is she having a nightmare… or an erotic dream? Of this the audience is kept guessing, and from here on in, the tone is set for a private view into the young lady’s twisted and perverse psyche. After wakening from her dream-state, she takes a flick-knife from the drawer and ventures out onto the streets, where she encounters all forms of low-lives, debauchery and sexual depravity, all tied together by hallucination sequences that even have the viewer questioning ‘what is reality/ what is fantasy?’.

Although the film has strong ‘noirish’ elements (lighting, street scenes, atmosphere etc), it’s intrinsically expressionist in nature. Very reminiscent of works by German expressionist film-maker, Robert Wiene (The Cabinet of Dr Caligari). Though I’m sure French Impressionist aficionados will argue with this. And they would have every right to, as the film (whether intentional or not) also pays homage to the early, experimental works of the great Luis Buñuel. Either way, this will put into context for you, that this isn’t your average Sunday-afternoon matinee, but rather a performance art concept masqueraded as a film-noir. It also fits into the horror bracket. Although as a horror it struggles to hit its mark. Throw in some very jazzy underground scenes featuring the legendary West Coast jazz ensemble, Shorty Rogers and His Giants, (which along with the narrators voice and a some sound effects are the only sounds you hear, as the film has no spoken dialogue from the actors whatsoever) and you have yourselves a compelling and ambitious ‘Art-Noir’ film (eventually favouring this term over ‘Beatnik-Noir’!) that needs to be seen to be appreciated.

For those brave enough to give Dementia a chance, and once you get over the initial feeling that your watching an Ed Wood movie, you’ll be pleasantly surprised as to how skilfully director John Parker manages to pull off a project which, on paper, you’d swear was doomed from the start. Personally, I loved Dementia. But like I said at the beginning of this review, maybe I’m just a weirdo!

Alan Fassioms writes on film noir, expressionist cinema, and obscure silent films at his web site Dodgy Revolver, and you can follow him on Twitter.

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New Noir News Cry Terror! (1958)

Cry Terror Poster Cry Terror! (1958)

James Mason, Rod Steiger, and Inger Stevens got the star credits for Cry Terror, but Neville Brand, Angie Dickinson, and Jack Klugman also deserve acting kudos in this tautly directed b-noir thriller which boasts not one but three climaxes.

An innocuous middle-class family: mum, dad, and young daughter from the suburbs are kidnapped as part of an airline extortion caper. A bomb has been planted on a passenger plane and the would-be terrorists are demanding a cool half million to disable the device. The bomb’s triggering circuit was innocently built by TV technician Dad, and Mum will be used to collect the ransom if she wants to keep hubby and the kid from harm. The scenario is sufficiently novel and the tension wound tightly enough to sustain interest throughout. Never mind the plot has holes big enough to fly a jet-liner through, and that some almost absurd daring-do in an elevator shaft staggers belief.

For a movie that runs 96 minutes there are surprisingly vivid characterizations of the major players. This comes from nuanced performances, some good dialog and, unusually for a 50s police procedural, only sketch portraits of the cops involved.

Mason is the duped father, a rather cardigan-like hand-wringer who finds unforeseen (and incredible) fortitude later on. Stevens is in melodrama-overdrive as the hysterical yet (again incredibly) when-it-counts cool under pressure mother. Steiger dominates as the patently wacko yet methodical mastermind. His menace is that more scary as you couldn’t tell him from a bespectacled bow-tie wearing 50s bean-counter. Angie Dickens does very well as Steiger’s girlfriend and but-is-she-really?-that-ruthless accomplice.  Brand is particularly effective as the muscle of the gang with a convincing turn as a pill-popping sexual psychopath. When Stevens is held hostage by Brand in a suburban hide-out, a perverse sexual tension is played out with a lurid simmering violence that would have made 50s audiences very uncomfortable. The studio marketing suits played this angle up with promotion stills that exposed more of Stevens’ ample bosom than in the actual movie. Klugman is good as a pseudo-nasty but nervous henchman.

The three climaxes are more than competently filmed, edited and directed with a palpable tension by a journeymen crew, who deserve recognition: Andrew L. Stone, wrote and directed (Confidence Girl (1952), Highway 301 (1950)), Walter Strenge lensed, and Virginia L. Stone (Confidence Girl) edited. While the movie has the flat TV look of the period, the final dénouement in a subway station has an expressionist tone.

Definitely worth a look.

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New Noir: Free: Listen to 298 Episodes of the Vintage Crime Radio Series, Dragnet

dragnet radio

Before it was a film, and before it became a classic television series, Dragnet started out as a long-running radio show, airing from June 3, 1949, to February 26, 1957. One of the most influential crime drama shows from the 50s, Dragnet was the brainchild of Jack Webb, the actor, director and screenwriter who played the lead role of Sergeant Joe Friday. We best remember Joe Friday imploring female informants to provide “Just the facts, ma’am.” But, in actual fact, he never uttered precisely those words. “All we want are the facts” is what he really said. But I digress. Thanks to Archive.org you can now travel back to the 50s and listen to 298 episodes of the show, which was known for its realistic depiction of police work — the boredom, the drudgery, the danger, the occasional acts of heroism, and everything in between.

Note: There were 314 episodes in total. And Archive.org does not house the very first episode called “Robbery,” which first aired on June 3, 1949. That’s available here.

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Free: Listen to 298 Episodes of the Vintage Crime Radio Series, Dragnet is a post from: Open Culture. You can follow Open Culture on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and by Email.

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New Noir: Download Vintage Film Posters in High-Res: From The Philadelphia Story to Attack of the Crab Monsters

 

FreeVintagePosters.com offers “hundreds of high quality printable posters in advertising, travel, food/drink, art, movies, westerns, military, magic and much more.” You may have an interest in all those facets of human experience, but we imagine you’ll find especially appealing the site’s selection of high-resolution film posters, suitable for printing at home or elsewhere and hanging on walls in need of cinephilic flair.

Though the site’s collection slants toward classic American films, it also has sheets used to advertise them abroad. Whatever your taste, if you decide to head out to the print shop and commission a paper version of any of these image files in a larger size than you can print at home, do consult StandardPosterSize.net, which, true to its name, provides all manner of information on the various sizings of U.S. standard posters, metric standard posters, U.S. movie posters, and U.K. movie posters. If that sounds like a little too much hassle, you could always just download your favorite poster and set it as your desktop background.

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100 Greatest Posters of Film Noir

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