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 flick...in 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"...is 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
SPECIAL BONUS FEATURES:
1. Scene selection
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)