Archive for category: Film Noir

Videophiled Classic: ‘Hangmen Also Die’ restored on Blu-ray and DVD

25 September, 2014 (07:31) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Editor

Hangmen Also Die (Cohen, Blu-ray, DVD) is Fritz Lang’s fictionalized take on a real-life historical event: the only successful assassination of a major Nazi commander by the underground resistance in occupied Europe. Reinhard Heydrich, who earned the nickname “The Hangman” for his brutality as Reichsprotektor of Czechoslovakia, was attacked in 1942 and died of his […]

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Videophiled Classic: ‘Hollow Triumph’ and more from Film Chest

3 May, 2014 (18:02) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Editor

When Film Chest began releasing their “restored” editions of public domain films a few years ago under the label HD Cinema Classics, they promised superior editions of film previously available in poor copies. After a launch fraught with mishandled restorations, they have finally delivered on the promise with three recent releases on DVD: Hollow Triumph […]

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Videophiled Essential: ‘Touch of Evil’ on Blu-ray

27 April, 2014 (12:42) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Noir, Film Reviews, Orson Welles | By: Sean Axmaker

Touch of Evil (Universal, Blu-ray) – Orson Welles’ baroque border town murder mystery is a wild masterpiece, a sleazy, grimy, jittery, and ultimately dazzling work of cinematic magic. It’s considered the last great film noir and the bookend to the true noir era. It was also Welles’s last attempt at a career in Hollywood before […]

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Videophiled Classic: ‘Cry Danger’ Restored and ‘Used Cars’ Revived on Blu-ray

17 April, 2014 (14:57) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

You can thank The Film Noir Foundation for the rediscovery of Cry Danger (Olive, Blu-ray, DVD), the independently-produced 1951 film noir developed by star Dick Powell as a follow-up to Pitfall (1948). Like a lot of films made outside of the studio system, it fell through the cracks and was only recently restored by UCLA […]

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MOD Movies: ‘The Big House,’ ‘5 Fingers,’ ‘Roadblock

13 April, 2014 (11:26) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Film Reviews, Pre-code Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

The Big House: Triple Feature (Warner Archive) is a special edition for the MOD (manufacture-on-demand) line. The 1930 The Big House, directed by George Hill, is the original men-in-prison drama in terms of the way it established the conventions. There’s the pecking order of tough guys behind bars, the culture of loyalty, the sniveling snitches, […]

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Blu-ray: ‘Man in the Dark’

10 March, 2014 (15:47) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Man in the Dark (1953) could be the working title of many a film noir, a genre that routinely casts shadows (literal and figurative) over its characters. In this case, the title is something of a pun, as criminal Steve Rawley (stolid, sturdy noir regular Edmond O’Brien) volunteers to undergo experimental brain surgery to curb […]

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Videophiled MOD Movies: ‘Cry of the City,’ ‘The Beast with Five Fingers,’ ‘Young America’ and Lee Tracy

2 February, 2014 (14:58) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Pre-code Cinema | By: Sean Axmaker

It’s been a few months since I’ve surveyed the MOD market – that’s the manufacture-on-demand line that Warner, Fox, and Sony currently present as a way to release films that the sales market no longer supports – and there have been a lot of releases in that time. Not all are ‘classic” in the essential […]

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DVD: ‘Cry of the City’

8 January, 2014 (11:17) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir | By: Editor

Robert Siodmak made more film noirs than any other director. It’s not like he set out to do so–they were considered crime thrillers and murder dramas by the studios and the term film noir was given to the shadowy subset long after Siodmak stopped making them–but he helped define the genre (or the style and […]

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MOD Movies: Watching the detectives – Philo Vance, The Falcon, and more

24 March, 2013 (12:14) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Created by author S.S. Van Dine in 1926, Philo Vance was a gentleman detective, a man of culture and high society manners, and he became one of the most popular screen sleuths of the thirties, before the invasion of the tough guy private eyes and hard boiled cops of novels and film noir. There were […]

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MOD Movies: Brahm’s Quartet

6 January, 2013 (11:54) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

John Brahm was part of the grand flight from Germany during Hitler’s reign. Born Hans Brahm, he trained on the stage and shifted to cinema, making his directorial debut in 1936 (a British remake of “Broken Blossoms”) and his Hollywood debut a year later. His legacy rests on a pair of early gothic film noirs, […]

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MOD Movies: The Dark Side of Jean Negulesco

22 July, 2012 (20:17) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Jean Negulesco is not the first name that comes up when discussing the great directors of film noir. In fact, it rarely comes up at all. The studio photographer turned director is still best remembered for glossy studio films like How To Marry a Millionaire (1953), Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), and Daddy Long Legs (1955). Even […]

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MOD Movies: ‘Crime Does Not Pay’ and other Hollywood Lessons

15 July, 2012 (09:20) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

“Once again, as the MGM crime reporter, it is my privilege to present to you another episode in our Crime Does Not Pay series.” MGM’s Crime Does Not Pay (Warner Archive) series numbered 50 dramatic short films between from 1935 to 1947, all running about 20 minutes, most serving as a training ground for up and […]

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The Big Heat

7 July, 2012 (15:17) | by Richard T. Jameson, Film Noir | By: Richard T. Jameson

[May 9, 1972, program note for a University of Washington Office of Lectures & Concerts Film Series, "Fritz Lang in America"] With the possible exceptions of Scarlet Street and parts of Fury, The Big Heat is the most corrosive of Fritz Lang’s films. Its very title sounds definitive of the darkly, sometimes loathsomely brilliant film noir, a class—if not precisely a genre—of […]

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MOD Movies: ‘Screaming Mimi’ and outliers of film noir

8 April, 2012 (23:35) | by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir, Film Reviews | By: Sean Axmaker

Screaming Mimi (Sony Pictures Choice Collection), directed by Gerd Oswald from a novel by Fredric Brown, is a real cult item in the film noir filmography, weird and lurid and kitschy, but fascinating all the same. Anita Ekberg stars as Yolanda, an exotic nightclub dancer who survives an attack from a serial killer and becomes much […]

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DVD/Blu-ray: Tokyo Drifter

10 January, 2012 (11:11) | Blu-ray, by Sean Axmaker, DVD, Film Noir | By: Sean Axmaker

Seijun Suzuki isn’t necessarily a familiar name to many fans of foreign cinema — he was practically unknown outside of Japan for decades — but in the early 1990s, his “rediscovery” stateside made him an instant cult hero to fans of genre cinema with maverick visions. Suzuki was nothing if not a maverick, a prolific […]

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