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Hammer Film Noir Collector's Set 1-3 [DVD] [1952] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Paul Henreid , Lizabeth Scott , Ken Hughes , Patrick Jenkins    DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £13.37
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Hammer Film Noir Collector's Set 1-3 [DVD] [1952] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + Hammer Film Noir Collector's Set 2: 4-7 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + Icons of Suspense: Hammer Films [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Actors: Paul Henreid, Lizabeth Scott, André Morell, Mary Mackenzie, John Wood
  • Directors: Ken Hughes, Patrick Jenkins, Reginald Le Borg, Sam Newfield, Terence Fisher
  • Writers: Alexander Paal, Frederick Knott, Guy Elmes
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Collector's Edition, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Vci Video
  • DVD Release Date: 29 Aug 2006
  • Run Time: 464 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,099 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unknown Hammer, worth a look 14 Mar 2007
In 1950, before Hammer made a name for itself with a memorable horror output, it set up a deal with American producer Robert L. Lippert to make a dozen or so low budget crime dramas, all of which were to be shot in the UK. In all the arrangement lasted for some five years, and utilised the fading star qualities of such past-their-sell-date American talent such as Dane Clark, Paul Henreid, Lizabeth Scott and George Brent, as well as leading British character actors.

Largely forgotten by now by film historians, this newly restored American release, the first three volumes of which are handily gathered in this well presented collector's boxset, is well worth investigating. It has to be said immediately that it is an uneven set, and none of the films are of the front rank, being issued originally on the bottom half of double bills. But it is never less than entertaining, and overall a good peg up from the dispiriting British 'quota quickies' that usually surface as examples of the British B-thriller genre on late night TV, at least in the UK. Hammer may not have established itself as a memorable producer of noir on the basis of this transatlantic deal, but the results have been unfairly neglected (being the basis of only a passing reference in the official history of the studio for instance).

Criticism of the films, apart from focusing on their small budgets and hand-me-down leads, has generally dwelt on the success or otherwise of transplanting an American hardboiled genre into a different soil. Certainly the first of those made under the new arrangement The Last Page (aka: Man Bait, 1952) is example.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hammer Before Horror - Part 1 1 April 2010
Before hitting paydirt in 1954 with the science fiction saga THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT to be followed by the worldwide success of their color Frankenstein and Dracula films, Hammer made a series of low budget film noirs in the early 1950s using their other name, Exclusive Films. These films were co-financed by American B producer Robert Lippert who gave Hammer an up and coming or on their way down American star so the films could play on double bills here as well as in England. Each film was shot over the period of a few weeks and were directed by such American B movie stalwarts as Reginald Le Borg and Sam Newfield as well as up and coming directors like Ken Hughes (CROMWELL) and the man primarily responsible for Hammer's later success, Terence Fisher. This is Volume 1 in a two volume set from VCI which offers these early film noirs. They are also available as double feature single DVDs. All prints utilize the American titles

Unlike the American film noirs, these British offerings could almost be called "film blancs" because of the surprising number of happy endings. The shadowy photography, lurid music, and femme fatales are all there along with the double and triple crosses, mistaken identity and illegal activities you would expect but more often than not, the heroes come out of it pretty much unscathed. Of the 6 movies in this set, 3 are directed by Terence Fisher (MAN BAIT, BLACKOUT, A STOLEN FACE). They turn out to be the most stylish with crisp editing and more imaginative camerawork than the other three (BAD BLONDE, THE GAMBLER AND THE LADY, HEAT WAVE). All the leading men are Americans (Dane Clark, Paul Henreid, George Brent, Alex Nicol) as are most of the "bad girls" (Barbara Payton, Lizabeth Scot, Hillary Brooke).
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5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING VALUE 18 May 2014
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Hard to believe I got all these films for such a good price. And they are of excellent quality too. So much so, I bought another set.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
121 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CRIME AND ECSTASY IN BRITISH SHADOWS 23 May 2006
By Ray K. Sibul - Published on
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If you don't care for Hammer horror, perhaps Hammer noir will please you.
Schemes that eventually backfire and send the noir characters to their doom or near doom is the unrelenting charm of these little British crime thrillers from the fifties.
Vci Video has now released 6 of these British noirs in an impressive set of 3 DVDs. The collection includes the following films with their catchy B-movie titles: BAD BLONDE (1953); MAN BAIT (1952); STOLEN FACE (1952); BLACKOUT (1954); GAMBLER AND THE LADY (1952); and HEAT WAVE (1954).
Of course, black-and-white low-keyed cinematography underscores the shadow friendly environment in all of these moody films.
The always nervous Dane Clark is here twice (in two films), cooking up something. Diana Dors, Barbara Payton, Lizabeth Scott, Naomi Chance, Belinda Lee, and Hillary Brooke: all these blond ladies become fatally attractive again. And besides Dane Clark, there are also George Brent, Paul Henreid, Alex Nicol, and Tony Wright in the lineup of fall guys.
These well made low budget films received second feature billing, below the main attraction in American movie theaters throughout the fifties, and were released here in the US by Lippert Pictures. Ironically, those second features on the lower half of double bills, very often turned out to be much more interesting (and inventively done) than were the higher budget presentations that overshadowed them. By the way, I am also enchanted by the strikingly attractive poster art of the noir titles decorating the double feature disc labels in the Hammer noir collector's set. Lippert Pictures often put out the most magnificently colorful (and sometimes delightfully gaudy) posters to entice the movie going public. Some of this movie paper is now much in demand by collectors, and is hard to find.
Visual melodramatics lend enormous strength and much flavor to the scheming and shadowy action in every one of the films in the set. Some visually dramatic displays, however, are absolute knockouts. Note, especially, GAMBLER AND THE LADY's wonderfully bizarre, over-the-top ending (poor Dane Clark!).
We finally have the opportunity to enjoy and own these long neglected and mostly forgotten Hammer/Lippert noirs in very good condition. I really do think this is paradise in low-key black and white. What more could one ask?!
Without hesitation, 5 stars to this great set at such a bargain price to boot!
52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Movie Collection - Poor Packaging and Presentation 1 July 2006
By Moviefanatic - Published on
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The selection of movies is FANTASTIC! Only The Stolen Face has been previously released in the UK. I could not stop watching them. We should be greatful to VCI for bringing these titles out of obscurity. Hopefully, they will continue this trend in the future. I have only one complaint - presentation and packaging. Frankly, I was quite shocked when I opened the case which was quite thick. I thought there would be three individually packaged DVDs inside the case with great poster art as has been shown on the cover pages of the individual releases. Unfortunately, once I opened the case, I saw the three DVDs stacked together on one spindle. The DVDs were not individually packaged and there was absolutely no poster art except the one on the cover page. VCI did a great job of presenting these great titles to us and I wish they put a little more care towards the presentation and packaging.
67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Hammer & VCI Film Noir Collection of Six Classic British Noir (1950's) " 27 Aug 2006
By J. Lovins - Published on
VCI Entertainment and Kit Parker Films present "Hammer Film Noir Collector's Set, Vol. 1-3" (1952) --- (Dolby digitally remastered)...Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe Hollywood crime dramas that set their protagonists in a world perceived as inherently corrupt and unsympathetic...Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s...Film noir of this era is associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography, while many of the prototypical stories and much of the attitude of classic noir derive from the hardboiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Depression...the term film noir (French for "black film"), first applied to Hollywood movies by French critic Nino Frank in 1946, was unknown to most of the American filmmakers and actors while they were creating the classic film noirs..the canon of film noir was defined in retrospect by film historians and critics; many of those involved in the making of film noir later professed to be unaware at the time of having created a distinctive type of film.

First up we have "BAD BLONDE" (1953) (81 min. B/W)...under director Reginald Le Borg , producer Anthony Hinds, book author Max Catto, screenplay by Guy Elmes and Richard H. Landau , music score by Ivor Slaney ...the cast includes Barbara Payton (Lorna Vecchi), Frederick Valk (Giuseppe Vecchi), John Slater (Charlie Sullivan), Sid James (Sharkey), Tony Wright (Johnny Flanagan), Marie Burke (Mother Vecchi), Selma Vaz Dias (Mrs. Corelli, Vecchi's sister), Enzo Coticchia (Mr. Corelli), George Woodbridge (Police Inspector), Bettina Dickson (Barmaid), John Brooking (Barnes) . . . . . our story based on a novel by Max Catto is very close to "The Postman Always Rings Twice", but this time the male lead is a boxer...Barbara Payton is blackmailing Tony Wright into killing her husband Frederick Valk, will he go through with it...only the final scene will tell, Valk is a scene stealer and gives it all he's worth.

Second on the collection is a Lippert Picture release "MAN BAIT (1952) (84 min. B/W)....under director Terence Fisher, producer Anthony Hinds, screenplay by James Hadley Chase and Frederick Knott, musical score by Frank Spencer ....the cast includes George Brent (John Harman), Marguerite Chapman (Stella Tracy), Raymond Huntley Clive Oliver), Peter Reynolds (Jeffrey Hart), Diana Dors (Ruby Bruce), Eleanor Summerfield (Vi), Meredith Edwards (Inspector Dale), Harry Fowler (Joe, clerk), Conrad Phillips (Detective Todd), Nelly Arno (Miss Rosetti, clerk), David Keir (Mr. Quince, clerk), Eleanor Bryan (Mary Lewis, clerk), Isabel Dean .(May Harmon), Jack Faint (Club Manager), Harold Goodwin (Frank, the waiter) . . . . . our story involves blackmail and murder with George Brent who runs a bookstore where employee Marguerite Chapman is in love with him...but wait there is more, a sexy untrusting good-looking Diana Dors who also works in the bookstore who has eyes for her boss...Brent has an invalid wife who needs an operation abroad and so cashing an insurance policy to pay for the operation everything seems like it will pan out, hold on it gets better, as Dors sees a good for nothing Peter Reynolds shoplifting, but doesn't tell boss...Dors and Reynolds become close, Reynolds has Dors blackmail Brent when he kissed her in a moment of letting his guard down...what will he do, can he keep this away from his wife Isabel Dean, can Chapman help him clear himself as Dors is found murdered and Brent is the prime suspect...all in all the best performance in this film noir is Diana Dors, completely natural and believable . . . . .there's a great deal of entertainment here for all the film noir fans out there...all courtesy of VCI Entertainment, who in my humble opinion is the best there is in restoring early serials and features like this one.

Third feature on the bill we have "BLACKOUT" (1954) (87 min. B/W)...under director Terence Fisher, producer Michael Carreras, screenplay by Richard H. Landau, novel by Helen Nielson, Cinematographer Jimmy W. Harvey, music score by Ivor Slaney ...the cast includes Dane Clark (Casey Morrow). Belinda Lee (Phyllis Brunner), Betty Ann Davies (Alicia Brunner), Eleanor Summerfield (Maggie Doone), Andrew Osborn (Lance Gorden), Harold Lang (Travis), Jill Melford (Miss Nardis), Michael Golden (Inspector Johnson), Alfie Bass (Ernie) . . . . . our story has an exceptional cast, with one of my favorite film noir actors Dane Clark, who can get into more trouble in only a few reels of this this better than average "Brit Noir" our drifter Clark is up to his neck with a frame up, murder suspect, mind games, plus he needs to clear his name in this psychological thriller "Murder by Proxy" was the British title..the beautiful blonde Belinda Lee is throwing 500 pounds around and Clark is the pigeon...where did the blood on his coat come from, and who has been murdered, will he be left holding the bag...don't leave the theatre you're about to find out who's who in this classic film noir plot.

Fourth film is a Lippert Picture release "STOLEN FACE" (1952) (72 min. B/W)....under director Terence Fisher, producer Anthony Hinds, screenplay by Martin Berkeley and Richard Landau, Walter Harvey (Cinematographer), musical score by Malcolm Arnold ....the cast includesPaul Henreid (Dr. Philip Ritter), Lizabeth Scott (Alice Brent/Lilly), Andre Morell (David), Mary Mackenzie (Lilly), John Wood (Dr. Jack Wilson), Susan Stephen (Betty), Arnold Ridley (Dr. Russell), Everley Gregg (Lady Harringay), Cyril Smith (Alf), Janet Burnell (Maggie), Grace Gavin (Nurse), Diana Beaumont (May), Alexis France (Mrs. Emmett), John Bull (Charles Emmett), Dorothy Bramhall (Miss Simpson), Richard Wattis (Wentworth) . . . . . our story has heroine Lizabeth Scott is playing a dual role, the good, the bad and the ugly...Paul Henreid is believable as the plstic surgeon who can't seem to do anything right, professionally or with his love life...can a different face change a person, or will trouble surface and begin to eat away at the players of this "Film Noir" love or murder in the future of the Hammer film crew...don't take another step, as you're eyes are about to be opened and the mystery right in front of your nose... . . .there's a great deal of entertainment here for all the film noir fans out there...all courtesy of VCI Entertainment, who in my humble opinion is the best there is in restoring early serials and features like this one.

Fifth feature we have "THE GAMBLER AND THE LADY" (1952) (72 min. B/W)...under director Pat Jenkins, director, producer and screenplay by Sam Newfield, producer Anthony Hinds , book author Max Catto, screenplay by Guy Elmes and Richard H. Landau , Walter Harvey (Cinematographer), music score by Ivor Slaney ...the cast includes Dane Clark (Jim Forster), Naomi Chance (Lady Susan Willens), Meredith Edwards (Dave Davies), Thomas Gallagher (Sam), Eric Pohlmann (Arturo Colonna), Anthony Forwood (Lord Peter Willens), Kathleen Byron (Pat), Martin Benson (Tony, Pat's dance partner), George Pastell (Jacko Spina), Julian Somers (Licasi, club manager), Max Bacon (Max), Mona Washbourne (Miss Minter), Jane Griffiths (Lady Jane Greer), Anthony Ireland (Richard Farning), Enzo Coticchia (Angelo Colonna) . . . . . our story opens with Dane Clark a casino owner opening as gambling house right in the middle of the mob locals, which doesn't set well with either side...wanting to climb the ladder of the English upper class, he falls in love with one of them...are the upper class accepting or laughing at him, is he in danger of losing his business, friends and even his life...wonderful scenes from Dane Clark in this crime dama mixed with various themes of celebrity status, betrayal and suspense . . . .there's a great deal of entertainment here for all the film noir fans out there...all courtesy of VCI Entertainment, who in my humble opinion is the best there is in restoring early serials and features like this one.

Sixth and final feature is another fine Lippert Picture release "HEAT WAVE" (aka: "The House Across the Lake") (1954) (68 min. B/W)....under Director / Book Author / Screenwriter Ken Hughes, producer Anthony Hinds, Jimmy W. Harvey (Cinematographer), musical score by Ivor Slaney ....the cast includes Alex Nicol (Mark Kendrick), Hillary Brooke (Carol Forrest), Susan Stephen (Andrea Forrest), Sid James (Beverly Forrest), Alan Wheatley (Inspector MacLennan), Paul Carpenter (Vincent Gordon), Hugh Dempster (Frank), Peter Illing (Harry Stevens), John Sharp (Mr. Hardcastle), Joan Hickson (Mrs. Hardcastle), Gordon McLeod (Doctor Emery), Monti DeLyle (Head Waiter), Cleo Rose (Abigail), Howard Lang (Inspector Edgar), Harry Brunning (Railway Porter) . . . . .our story has Alex Nicol who has experienced down and out luck all his life...Hillary Brooke who can manipulate men within her life even murder...Brooke is about to be cut out of her husbands will and has no time for him to die of natural causes...both actors and supporting cast are convincingly good, with outstanding direction and screenplay by Ken Hughes...this post war film noir sets the bar high for other films to measure up to.

1. George Brent (aka: George Brendan Nolan)
Date of birth: 15 March 1899 - Shannonsbridge, County Dublin, Ireland
Date of death: 26 May 1979 - Solana Beach, California
2. Hillary Brooke (aka: Beatrice Peterson)
Date of birth: 8 September 1914 - Astoria, New York, USA
Date of death: 25 May 1999 - Bonsall, California
3. Diana Dors (aka: Diana Mary Fluck)
Date of birth: 23 October 1931 - Swindon, Wiltshire, England, UK
Date of death: 4 May 1984 - Windsor, Berkshire, England, UK
4. Terence Fisher (Director)
Date of birth: 23 February 1904 - London, England, UK
Date of death: 18 June 1980 - Twickenham, London, England, UK
5. Paul Henreid (aka: Paul Georg Julius Hernreid Ritter Von Wassel-Waldingau)
Date of birth: 10 January 1908 - Trieste, Austria-Hungary. [now in Italy]
Date of death: 29 March 1992 - Santa Monica, California
6. Ken Hughes (aka: Kenneth Graham Hughes) (Director)
Date of birth: 19 January 1922 - Liverpool, England, UK
Date of death: 28 April 2001 - Los Angeles, California
7. Reginald Le Borg (Director)
Date of birth: 11 December 1902 - Vienna, Austria-Hungary (now Austria)
Date of death: 25 March 1989 - Los Angeles, California
8. Belinda Lee
Date of birth: 15 June 1935 - Budleigh Salterton, Devon, England, UK
Date of death: 12 March 1961 - near San Bernardino, California
9. Sam Newfield (aka: Samuel Neufeld)
Date of birth: 6 December 1899 - New York, New York, USA
Date of death: 10 November 1964 - Los Angeles, California
10. Alex Nicol (aka: Alexander L. Nicol Jr.)
Date of birth: 20 January 1916 - Ossining, New York
Date of death: 29 July 2001 - Montecito, California
11. Barbara Payton (aka: Barbara Lee Redfield)
Date of birth: 16 November 1927 - Cloquet, Minnesota
Date of death: 8 May 1967 - San Diego, California
12. Lizabeth Scott (aka: Emma Matzo)
Date of birth: 29 September 1922 - Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of death: Still Living

1. Scene selection
2. Trailers
3. Photo gallery
4. Bonus comments: The World of Hammer Noir by Richard M. Roberts

Great job by VCI Entertainment and Kit Parker Films for releasing the "Hammer Film Noir Collector's Set, Vol. 1-3" (1952), digital transfere with a clean, clear and crisp print...looking forward to more of the same from the '40s and '50s vintage...order your copy now from Amazon or VCI Entertainment, stay tuned once again with a top notch "Classic Film Noir" that only VCI Entertainment (King of the Serials) can deliver...just the way we like 'em!

Total Time: 457 mins on 3-DVD-Set ~ VCI Home Video KPF 554 ~ (8/29/2006)
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just ok. 11 Feb 2007
By Coronet Blue - Published on
Verified Purchase
A good introduction to "B" films. These are late 1940's (actually from the 50s) dramas with some noir elements. The films look great--as if they haven't been seen in 50 years--which is probably the case, since they're not too exiting.

I won't give a running commentary like some reviewers but I thought Heat Wave was pretty fair. The story is essentially the same as The Postman Always Rings Twice but its well done and not as slow as the other films. Hillary Brook, who went on to superstardom with Abbott & Costello, was quite a dish and gives a great performance.

Dane Clark, a prominent figure in many Hammer/VCI movies is perfectly adequate but like the movies themselves, a bit lightweight. Robert Mitchum he ain't.

All in all, good transfers and a lot of content for the money. Or course there is better noir available (even from VCI, for example Blond Ice) and I know of at least one Hammer non-horror film that's quite good, The Four Sided Triangle.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Noir, British style 24 Nov 2006
By mrliteral - Published on
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Back in the `30s and `40s, many movie studios had their specialties. Warner Bros. was known for its gangster and "social problem" films; MGM did the musicals, and Universal did the monster movies. Later, in the `50s and `60s, Britain's Hammer Films got a reputation for being a good horror house, starting with The Curse of Frankenstein and continuing for a couple of decades of Frankenstein, Dracula and other movies. Before Curse of Frankenstein, however, Hammer didn't yet have the horror identity and during this time, it made other types of films, including crime movies. The Hammer Film Noir collection brings together six such movies from the early 1950s; while not really awful, they do demonstrate that Hammer Films's strengths were elsewhere.

Bad Blonde features Barbara Payton as the title character, married to a wealthy but slovenly middle-aged boxing manager. In a story that more than slightly resembles The Postman Always Rings Twice, she seduces a boxer and convinces him to murder her spouse. As with many of these of this films, the English actors come off a bit stiff; certainly John Garfield and Lana Turner did this same plot better. The second film on the first disc is Man Bait in which George Brent gets entangled in a blackmail attempt and is later framed for murder; in the hands of a Hitchcock, this innocent-man-wrongly-accused plot is a classic; in lesser hands, however, it is merely passable.

The second disc has Stolen Face, a strange mix of Pygmalion and a crime story. A plastic surgeon, unable to be with the woman he loves, alters the face of a female convict to look like his love and then marries her. Unfortunately, cosmetic surgery doesn't take the crook out of the girl. This film features the most familiar faces for American viewers: Paul Henreid of Casablanca fame (and who also was involved with a different sort of double identity movie with The Scar) and Lizabeth Scott from Too Late For Tears and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. Unfortunately, their skills don't completely save this movie which has a rather flaky ending which relies on an accident.

The other movie on this disc is the best in the set, Blackout, which features Dane Clark as a down-on-his-luck American in London who wakes up after a drunken bender to find he is married to a beautiful and wealthy woman. Of course, she has something up her sleeve, and when her father turns up dead, he winds up on the run. Clark's wise-cracking character helps elevate this film above the others in this set.

Clark is also in The Gambler and the Lady on disc three as one of the title characters (hint, he's not the lady). He's a minor gangster trying to go legit and gain acceptance from who he considers his social betters. His pretensions alienate his dancer girlfriend even as he starts going out with a member of the nobility (the Lady of the title). He also gets entangled with more serious mobsters who are trying to muscle into his territory. Though not as good as Blackout, this movie is also improved by Clark. The final film, Heat Wave, is basically the same story as Bad Blonde, except the lead character is a writer instead of a boxer.

With the exception of the four-star Blackout, all these others rate from a low three stars to a high three stars. The extras in the set are relatively minor: a few trailers, some minor commentaries (typically less than five minutes a movie) and some brief biographies/filmographies. Overall, this set rates three stars. It's not bad stuff, but for good film noir, you need to go elsewhere. This set is really only for die-hard fans of the genre who want to see some movies that are relatively obscure.
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