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Film Noir: The Dark Side of Hollywood [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Joan Crawford , Jack Palance , Anatole Litvak , Anthony Mann    DVD


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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
71 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 classic NOIRS from the studio vaults 24 July 2006
By F. Tarzi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Wow! Great deal! These films retail for $29.95 each. This collection includes great titles from great directors (Fritz Lang, Anthony Mann) and they star some of Hollywood's all time greats like Joan Crawford, Henry Fonda, Jack Palance and many more. Here's a little description for each film:

SUDDEN FEAR (1952) - STARRING JOAN CRAWFORD, JACK PALANCE & GLORIA GRAHAME - DIRECTED BY DAVID MILLER - NOMINATED FOR 4 ACADEMY AWARDS - SYNOPSIS: Joan Crawford turns in one of the most emotionally charged performances of her career as a playwright who must use her plotting skills to save her own life, in this beautifully crafted film noir thriller. On a train headed home to California, Myra Hudson (Crawford) falls in love with, and marries, actor Lester Blaine (Jack Palance) whom she has just fired from her most recent New York play. Back on her San Francisco estate, something evil appears to be lurking just beneath the surface of the couple's idyllic life. Enter Gloria Grahame as Palance's girlfriend (in a stunning performance the New York Times called "hard, brash and sexy."). Soon it is clear that they are after more than new scripts as they greedily scheme for Myra's money. Director David Miller (Lonely Are The Brave) guides the story with supreme confidence, assisted by gorgeous black and white cinematography and an excellent score by Elmer Bernstein, as Sudden Fear races towards its jolting climax. Nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Actress (Crawford) and Best Supporting Actor (Palance), Sudden Fear is the unbeatable combination of a lushly produced Joan Crawford melodrama and a drop-dead suspense thriller. They just don't make 'em like this anymore!

THE LONG NIGHT (1947) - STARRING HENRY FONDA, BARBARA BEL GEDDES & VINCENT PRICE - DIRECTED BY ANATOLE LITVAK - SYNOPSIS: An exciting rediscovery from the studio vaults, The Long Night is an emotionally gripping, visually dynamic film noir, in which Henry Fonda, at the peak of his career, delivers an unforgettable performance. Presented in an intricate web of flashbacks, The Long Night follows the fractured thoughts of Joe Adams (Henry Fonda), a factory worker pinned inside his third-floor apartment after gunning down a mysterious, dapper gentleman (Vincent Price). Joe's memories, often containing flashbacks within flashbacks, reconstruct the events leading up to the shooting, revealing his romance with a quiet young girl (Barbara Bel Geddes), his less-romantic involvement with a worn-out showgirl (Ann Dvorak) and the varied twists of fate which drove Joe to murder. In staging this remake of Marcel Carné's Le Jour Se Leve (France, 1939), the producers of The Long Night imported not only the story, but the look of poetic realism that made the original so haunting. At once dismal and magical, the world of The Long Night was unlike anything Hollywood had yet imagined, and laid the groundwork for the dark and gritty (but highly stylized) imagery that became the trademark of film noir.

HANGMEN ALSO DIE (1943) - STARRING BRIAN DONLEVY, ANNA LEE & WALTER BRENNAN - DIRECTED BY FRITZ LANG - NOMINATED FOR 2 ACADEMY AWARDS - SYNOPSIS: Pursued by the Germans after the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, Dr. Svobonda (Brian Donlevy) enlists the aid of a young woman (Anna Lee) who is oblivious to the lethal crosscurrents that surround her. As she learns more about the mysterious doctor, she grows aware of the involvement of her father (Walter Brennan) and fiance (Dennis O'Keefe) in the resistance, and soon finds herself entangled in the revolution's secret operations. Much of the nightmarish quality of Hangmen Also Die is attributable to playwright Bertolt Brecht, who co-scripted the film with Lang, and legendary cinematographer James Wong Howe (Hud), who cloaks every conrner in shadow and endows the film with an almost tangible sense of claustrophobia.

RAILROADED (1947) - STARRING JOHN IRELAND, SHEILA RYAN & HUGH BEAUMONT - DIRECTED BY ANTHONY MANN - SYNPOSIS: Anthony Mann, who took the suspense of film noir to dizzying heights with his movies T-Men and Raw Deal, brings his talents to the hard-boiled detective thriller with Railroaded. When a policeman is killed attempting to thwart a holdup, Detective Mickey Ferguson is assigned to the case. The case becomes personal, though, when the kid brother of Mickey's sweetheart is named as the gunman. Determined to find the truth, Mickey goes searching for clues and comes up with notorious gangster Duke Martin, played by John Ireland (Spartacus, Gunfight At The OK Corral). What follows is a blood-and-thunder extravaganza filled with betrayal and suspicions, handguns and hostages, and a climactic nightclub showdown. Mann directs Railroaded with a precision and elegance that betrays its low-budget production, and John Ireland's cold-blooded performance is backed up by a talented (if unknown) cast, including Hugh Beaumont (Ward of television's Leave It To Beaver) and Shelia Ryan

BEHIND LOCKED DOORS (1948) - STARRING RICHARD CARLSON, LUCILLE BREMER & TOR JOHNSON - DIRECTED BY BUDD BOETTICHER (SEVEN MEN FROM NOW) - SYNOPSIS: A shadowy sanitarium provides the claustrophobic stage for sadism, paranoia and murder in this classic film noir from director Budd Boetticher (Tall T, Comanche Station). In a plot that clearly foreshadowed Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor, private detective Ross Stewart (Richard Carlson) checks himself into a mental hospital in an attempt to locate a corrupt judge hiding from justice. But before Stewart can reveal the truth, his true identity is discovered and he becomes a victim of his own ruse. With the help of a deranged punch-drunk ex-prizefighter (Tor Johnson of Plan 9 From Outer Space), the doctors at La Siesta Sanitarium concoct a plan to make Stewart a permanent resident. And the only person who shares Stewart's secret, the only one who can rescue him from certain death, is the scheming woman who sent him there (Lucille Bremer). A bare-bones, low-budget B thriller from Hollywood's "Poverty Row," Behind Locked Doors cleverly compensates for its budgetary limitations by bathing its sets in darkness. This visual spareness is perfectly suited to Boetticher's terse, hard-edged style, making the film a nightmarish ride through the halls of insanity and an ingenious, effective example of American film noir.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tight, sharp, taut--classic film noir 17 Nov 2001
By LGwriter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The short (73 minutes) of this film is not a problem at all; Anthony Mann's direction is so strong that there's no wasted moment. While some films noir suffer from being overly stiff (cf. The Big Combo), this one's fluidity is definitely in evidence. John Ireland is the standout here, but the two female leads--Sheila Ryan and Jane Randolph--are almost as good. A real plus, plotwise, is the 'good girl' falling (at least temporarily) for the bad guy.
Similarly, the 'bad girl' ultimately turns good. These reversals, coupled with the bad guy's peculiar behavior (the infamous perfuming of his bullets) and an unusual shoot-out in a long-after-closing bar full of upside-down barstools make for an interesting film.
Hugh Beaumont's good guy cop is a well-matched foil to John Ireland's Duke Martin, whose occasionally drunk girlfriend meets with Beaumont, near the end, to rat out what she thinks is her two-timing boyfriend.
Definitely one of the better films noir on DVD.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A MOVIE THAT IS NOT SEEN IS A DEAD MOVIE 26 Aug 2000
By Daniel S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
[I]f you're not a huge fan of both Anthony Mann and the Film Noir genre,
you won't be interested at all in RAILROADED. BUT YOU WILL BE WRONG !
You will miss John Ireland in the role of a sexual perverted bad guy
who likes to perfume his bullets before killing ; in RAW DEAL, another
Anthony Mann's movie shot one year later that you can find in the DVD
standard courtesy of the Roan Group, you will also find one of these
degenerated killers, this time impersonated by a vicious Raymond
Burr.
You will also miss the long bare hands fight between Jane
Randolph and Sheila Ryan, very unusual in Hollywoodian productions of
that period. And there are numerous other anthology scenes that you
will miss.
So make your choice but don't forget that there is only a
scene access as bonus feature if you want to consider Anthony Mann's
RAILROADED as
A DVD for your library.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT MOVIE 1 Oct 2000
By "ravenbrooks_2000" - Published on Amazon.com
John Ireland is sensational in this movie, as always. He is one of the best actors ever, and it is sad he is not remembered that way. RAILROADED and RAW DEAL are both wonderful showcases for his talent. I reccommend any movie with John Ireland in it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short B-Noir with Memorable Villains. 3 July 2005
By mirasreviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"Railroaded" is a low-budget film noir from director Anthony Mann that proves -as so many films of the classic noir era did- that you can pack more themes, character writing, and entertainment into a 72-minute B-movie than most modern extravaganzas that run over 2 hours and cost $100 million. "Railroaded" takes a direct approach. It's clear who the good guys and bad guys are, but the villains are something to see.

A beauty shop that houses an illegal gambling operation for a man named Jackland Ainsworth (Roy Gordon) is robbed by two men, leaving a police officer dead and one of the culprits critically wounded. The owner of the shop, Clara Calhoun (Jane Randolph), and her thuggish paramour Duke Martin (John Ireland), who committed the robbery, conspire to frame Steve Ryan (Ed Kerry), an innocent whose laundry truck was used in the getaway. Steve is arrested by police detective Mickey Ferguson (Hugh Beaumont), and the authorities are content to pin the job on him. But Steve's sister Rosie (Sheila Ryan) is convinced of his innocence and determined to prove it.

Determined, forthright Rosie and mild mannered detective Ferguson make a pleasant, adversarial, pair of sleuths. But "Railroaded"'s strength is its villains. John Ireland and Jane Randolph steal the show as amoral antagonists. Duke is a cold-blooded killer who perfumes his bullets. He's not smart, but he's meticulous and obsessive. The shootings are somehow startling, although not graphic. Clara is smarmy, alcoholic, and desperate. "Railroaded" is a nice little Freudian film noir. A knock-down drag-out brawl between good girl Rosie and bad girl Clara is a fun bonus.

The DVD (Kino Video 2000 release): This print of the film has some white specks, but no serious flaws. There are no bonus features apart from an awkward scene selection menu. Hit "menu" on your remote twice to get to it.
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