1,000 Noir Films (H)

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The Films: A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - Y
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Title / Director / Year / Country
Hammett
Hammett
NEO-NOIR / COLOUR NOIR
1982, USA, 97m, Col, Mystery-Crime-Drama
Screenplay Dennis O'Flaherty, Ross Thomas, Thomas Pope (from the novel by Joe Gores) Producer Fred Roos Photography Joseph Biroc, Philip Lathrop Editors Barry Malkin, Marc Laub, Randy Roberts, Robert Q. Lovett Music John Barry Cast Frederic Forrest, Peter Boyle, Marilu Henner, Roy Kinnear, Elisha Cook Jr., Lydia Lei, R.G. Armstrong, Richard Bradford, Sylvia Sidney, Samuel Fuller.
“A stylish, entertaining movie, starring Frederic Forrest (a dead ringer for Hammett, bar the height) as a drinking, smoking, coughing and typewriter-bashing writer lured back into detection by an old Pinkerton associate (Peter Boyle) and stumbling into the plot of The Maltese Falcon. A neo-noir classic, it looks like a series of Black Mask covers drawn by Edward Hopper, has a bluesy score by John Barry, dazzling sets by Dean Tavoularis (production designer on the Godfather trilogy) and is allusively cast (e.g., Elisha Cook from The Maltese Falcon as a Bay Area cabbie)." - Philip French (The Guardian)
Hangover Square
Hangover Square Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1945, USA, 77m, BW, Crime-Thriller
Screenplay Barré Lyndon (from the novel by Patrick Hamilton) Producer Robert Bassler Photography Joseph LaShelle Editor Harry Reynolds Music Bernard Herrmann Cast Laird Cregar, Linda Darnell, George Sanders, Glenn Langan, Faye Marlowe, Alan Napier, Frederic Worlock, J.W. Austin, Leyland Hodgson, Clifford Brooke.
"Hangover Square is John Brahm's near-masterpiece, a popular chiller that nevertheless did not attract the attention of more audience-friendly pictures like Robert Siodmak's The Spiral Staircase. This time aided by cameraman Joseph LaShelle, director Brahm runs wild with expressionistic visual effects, as when a madman is cued to kill by the loud noise of some piping falling off a wagon. The story apparently started out in a different direction but was steered by Darryl Zanuck into a "the same, but better" rehash of the basic The Lodger setup. Laird Cregar returns in the starring role, this time playing a sympathetic killer horrified by his own murderous acts, committed while in an amnesiac trance." - Glenn Erickson (DVD Savant)
The Harder They Fall
The Harder They Fall
1956, USA, 109m, BW, Sports-Drama-Crime
Screenplay Philip Yordan (from the novel by Budd Schulberg) Producer Philip Yordan Photography Burnett Guffey Editor Jerome Thoms Music Hugo Friedhofer Cast Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger, Jan Sterling, Mike Lane, Max Baer, Edward Andrews, Jersey Joe Walcott, Harold J. Stone, Carlos Montalban, Nehemiah Persoff.
"Understandably described as 'hard hitting' in a million plot synopses, The Harder They Fall is an entertaining but by-the-numbers social issue movie that bravely challenges the boxing rackets, as if they had just been invented in 1956. From the pen of Budd Schulberg, rewritten by mysterious Hollywood writer/front/wheeler-dealer Philip Yordan, and competently directed by the otherwise dull Mark Robson, this is an almost perfect Humphrey Bogart vehicle… The Harder They Fall plays so well because of its crisp writing and sharp acting. The various hoods and fight promoters are fun to watch, like the crooks in 30s gangster films… Somewhat dated, but extremely entertaining, The Harder They Fall is on the short list of great boxing pictures.” - Glenn Erickson (DVD Savant)
He Ran All the Way
He Ran All the Way Available on Blu-ray
1951, USA, 77m, BW, Drama-Crime-Thriller
Screenplay Dalton Trumbo, Hugo Butler (from the novel by Sam Ross) Producer Bob Roberts Photography James Wong Howe Editor Francis D. Lyon Music Franz Waxman Cast John Garfield, Shelley Winters, Wallace Ford, Selena Royle, Bobby Hyatt, Gladys George, Keith Heatherington, Norman Lloyd, Clancy Cooper, Vicki Raaf.
"A tense, claustrophobic thriller that is often overlooked in film noir retrospectives due to its relative obscurity, He Ran All the Way is an almost perfect example of the genre with its doomed protagonist, gritty, urban setting, and overall sense of futility and paranoia... In many ways, the sense of paranoia that pervades every frame of He Ran All the Way was real. John Garfield, director John Berry, and two of the screenwriters, Hugo Butler and Dalton Trumbo (who is uncredited), were already blacklisted by the industry at the time of He Ran All the Way due to their refusal to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee... He Ran All the Way would prove to be Garfield's final film; he died of a heart attack a year later, the cause partly attributed to the strain of being branded a communist sympathizer and blacklisted by the industry." - Jeff Stafford (Turner Classic Movies)
He Walked by Night
He Walked by Night 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1948, USA, 79m, BW, Thriller-Crime-Police Detective Film
Screenplay Crane Wilbur, John C. Higgins (with additional dialogue by Harry Essex from an unpublished story by Crane Wilbur) Producer Robert T. Kane Photography John Alton Editor Al DeGaetano Music Leonid Raab Cast Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Roy Roberts, Whit Bissell, Jack Webb, James Cardwell, Robert Bice, Reed Hadley, Chief Bradley, John McGuire.
"Inspired by the true story of Erwin Walker, a WWII hero who turned to crime and terrorized Los Angeles in 1946, He Walked By Night is a remarkable low budget, film noir thriller that is often overlooked in film studies of this genre. Besides Richard Basehart's chilling performance as a meticulous thief of electronics equipment who becomes a wanted cop killer, the film glistens with the stylized black and white cinematography of John Alton whose use of light has been compared to the lighting in Rembrandt paintings... Although Alfred L. Werker is credited as the director of He Walked By Night, most film scholars acknowledge Anthony Mann as the true creative force behind it. For reasons not documented, Mann took over the direction from Werker at a fairly early stage and you can see his distinctive imprint." - Jeff Stafford (Turner Classic Movies)
Heat
Heat Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
NEO-NOIR / COLOUR NOIR
1995, USA, 174m, Col, Thriller-Drama-Crime
Screenplay Michael Mann Producer Michael Mann, Art Linson Photography Dante Spinotti Editors Dov Hoenig, Pasquale Buba, Tom Rolf, William Goldenberg Music Elliot Goldenthal Cast Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Amy Brenneman, Wes Studi, Dennis Haysbert, Mykelti Williamson, Diane Venora.
“Michael Mann's masterpiece is a three-hour crime epic, a love/hate letter to the city of Los Angeles, a scathing Balzacian view of a society corrupt from top to bottom, and a vision of the universe as a space contested over by the fractious armies of crime and the law. Opening with a spectacular armoured-car robbery that degenerates into mass murder, Heat follows the consequences of the raid, the plans for its successor, the response of the police, led by detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and the consequences of it all for wives, families, girlfriends and innocent bystanders… Mann's equal sympathies for both sides are always evident. He also loves Los Angeles at night, and rarely has it been evoked as beautifully as it is here." - John Patterson (The Guardian)
Hell is a City
Hell is a City
BRIT-NOIR / LATE NOIR (1960s)
1960, UK, 98m, BW, Drama-Crime-Police Detective Film
Screenplay Val Guest (based on the novel by Maurice Procter) Producer Michael Carreras Photography Arthur Grant Editors James Needs, John Dunsford Music Stanley Black Cast Stanley Baker, John Crawford, Donald Pleasence, Maxine Audley, Billie Whitelaw, Joseph Tomelty, George A. Cooper, Joby Blanchard, Sarah Branch, Lois Daine.
"The versatile British journeyman Val Guest (1911-2006) began his prolific movie career in the 1930s writing scripts for comedies starring Will Hay and the Crazy Gang and was still directing in the 1980s. But his memorable films are genre pictures made in the late 50s and early 60s such as this realistic police procedural thriller, an unusual departure for Hammer, shot in black and white on gritty, unfamiliar Manchester locations. The formidable star is the toughest British actor of the day, Stanley Baker, just then embarking on a four-movie partnership with Joseph Losey… Guest's dialogue is abrasive and unsentimental, the editing (to a modern jazz score) rapid without being self-consciously smart, the accents mostly convincing." - Philip French (The Guardian)
Hell's Half Acre
Hell's Half Acre Available on Blu-ray
1954, USA, 90m, BW, Mystery-Action-Drama
Screenplay Steve Fisher Producer John H. Auer Photography John L. Russell Editor Fred Allen Music R. Dale Butts Cast Wendell Corey, Evelyn Keyes, Elsa Lanchester, Marie Windsor, Nancy Gates, Leonard Strong, Jesse White, Keye Luke, Philip Ahn, Robert Shield.
"Director John H. Auer and writer Steve Fisher collaborated on a couple of interesting films noir at Republic Pictures, the nifty police drama City That Never Sleeps and this interesting pulp fiction tale filmed in Hawaii… This moderately expensive Republic Picture comes very close to being a great film noir. For originality it can't be beat. It is unusual to see the expected generic double and triple-crosses carried out on sun-bathed streets, or in the dark of night with everyone wearing Hawaiian shirts, even the police detectives… Auer isn't a particularly distinctive director. Not all of Hell's Half Acre maintains the rising curve of tension, but he brings it to a very satisfying concoction." - Glenn Erickson (DVD Savant)
Hell's Island
Hell's Island
COLOUR NOIR
1955, USA, 84m, Col, Adventure-Melodrama
Screenplay Maxwell Shane, Phil Karlson [uncredited], John Payne [uncredited] (from an unpublished story by Jack Leonard and Martin M. Goldsmith) Producer William C. Thomas, William H. Pine Photography Lionel Lindon Editor Archie Marshek Music Irvin Talbot Cast John Payne, Mary Murphy, Francis L. Sullivan, Eduardo Noriega, Arnold Moss, Walter Reed, Sandor Szabo, Pepe Hern, Robert Cabal, Paul Picerni.
"Screenplay [from a story by Martin Goldsmith and Jack Leonard] unfolds in the Caribbean port of Puerto Rosario, where the adventuring twirls around the search for a missing ruby. Phil Karlson gives narrative a hard glossing in his direction, occasionally letting down his pace but generally delivering a briskly-told tale in which capable players lend realism to colorful characters… Payne socks over a hard-hitting role in excellent fashion, and Murphy takes on her first heavy role very competently. A top supporting cast is well fulfilled by Sullivan; Walter Reed, as his triggerman; Arnold Moss, seeking to help the heroine but murdered by her; Paul Picerni, her husband; and Eduardo Noriega, police inspector who helps Payne. - Variety
Hickey & Boggs
Hickey & Boggs Available on Blu-ray
NEO-NOIR / COLOUR NOIR
1972, USA, 111m, Col, Drama-Crime-Detective Film
Screenplay Walter Hill Producer Fouad Said Photography Bill Butler Editor David Berlatsky Music Ted Ashford Cast Bill Cosby, Robert Culp, Ta-Ronce Allen, Rosalind Cash, Lou Frizzell, Nancy Howard, Bernard Nedell, Isabel Sanford, Sheila Sullivan, Carmencristina Moreno.
"The first film from a Walter Hill script turns out to be as interesting for the assurance of Culp's direction as for Hill's contribution. Hickey & Boggs pairs television's I Spy team of Cosby and Culp as two down-at-heel private eyes caught in the crossfire of a very messy attempt to fence a suitcase full of banknotes. The laconic and cynical pair inhabit a familiar '70s noir thriller world where if you blink you miss a crucial plot point, and Cosby's relationship with his estranged wife and kid more than once threatens to turn sentimental. But the film scores with set pieces like the complicated shootout in a baseball park (where neither of them manage to hit anything), and many moments of fine throwaway humour. Peckinpah or Siegel couldn't have done it any more crisply." - Rod McShane (Time Out)
High and Low
High and Low Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
Tengoku to jigoku (original title)
LATE NOIR (1960s) / JAPANESE NOIR
1963, Japan, 142m, BW, Thriller-Crime-Drama
Screenplay Akira Kurosawa, Eijirô Hisaita, Hideo Oguni, Ryûzô Kikushima (based on the novel King’s Ransom by Ed McBain) Producers Ryûzô Kikushima, Tomoyuki Tanaka Photography Asakazu Nakai, Takao Saito Music Masaru Satô Cast Toshiro Mifune, Kyoko Kagawa, Tatsuya Mihashi, Tatsuya Nakadai, Isao Kimura, Kenjiro Ishiyama, Takeshi Kato, Takashi Shimura, Jun Tazaki, Yutaka Sada.
"Akira Kurosawa's masterful crime thriller High And Low is a tale of two movies: The first is a 53-minute potboiler set almost entirely in a single room, and the second a high-stakes police procedural that zigzags breathlessly from one lead to the next as it tightens the net on a suspected kidnapper. One of the remarkable things about the movie is how those halves interact, as the suffocating tension of confinement gives way to the open air... Through it all, Kurosawa analyzes the smallest possible details in laying out and cracking the case; in that sense, High And Low is like a proto-Zodiac in its obsessive tracking of every lead, no matter how obscure or unpromising." - Scott Tobias (A.V. Club)
High Sierra
High Sierra 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1941, USA, 100m, BW, Crime-Drama-Gangster Film
Screenplay John Huston, W.R. Burnett (from the novel by W.R. Burnett) Producer Hal B. Wallis Photography Tony Gaudio Editor Jack Killifer Music Adolph Deutsch Cast Humphrey Bogart, Ida Lupino, Alan Curtis, Arthur Kennedy, Joan Leslie, Henry Hull, Henry Travers, Cornel Wilde, Barton MacLane, Elisabeth Risdon.
"A momentous gangster movie which took the genre out of its urban surroundings into the bleak sierras, and in so doing marked its transition into film noir. It isn't just that Bogart's Mad Dog Earle is a man 'rushing towards death', infallibly doomed and knowing it, from the moment he is paroled and through the half-hearted hold-up to his last stand on the mountainside. He also in a sense wills his own destruction, his dark despair fuelled by the betrayal of an innocent, clubfooted country girl whose operation he pays for, and who casually abandons him as soon as she can 'have fun'. Terrific performances, terrific camerawork, terrific dialogue, with Walsh - who in fact reworked the material as Colorado Territory eight years later - giving it something of the memorable melancholy of a Peckinpah Western." - Tom Milne (Time Out)
High Tide
High Tide
1947, USA, 72m, BW, Mystery-Crime-Detective Film
Screenplay Robert Presnell Sr. (based on the story Inside Job by Raoul Whitfield, with additional dialogue by Peter Milne) Producer Jack Wrather Photography Henry Sharp Editor Stewart S. Frye Music Rudy Schrager Cast Lee Tracy, Don Castle, Julie Bishop, Anabel Shaw, Regis Toomey, Douglas Walton, Francis Ford, Anthony Warde, Argentina Brunetti, Wilson Wood.
"This 74-minute B-picture opens at the scene of an automobile accident, where Hugh Fresney (Lee Tracy, Bombshell) and Tim Slade (Don Castle) appear to be doomed. Most of the remaining film unfolds via flashback, and we learn that Slade was brought in by the hard-nosed news editor Fresney as a little protection against a mobster (Anthony Warde) Fresney has been investigating. Things get awkward quickly since Fresney’s boss has a wife (Julie Bishop, Sands of Iwo Jima) anxious to resume her past romance with Slade. What transpires only can be described as one of the nastiest double-crosses the wonderful world of noir has to offer." - Eric Somer (Film Noir Board)
High Wall
High Wall
1947, USA, 99m, BW, Thriller-Crime-Mystery
Screenplay Lester Cole, Sydney Boehm (from the novel and play by Alan R. Clark and Bradbury Foote) Producer Robert Lord Photography Paul Vogel Editor Conrad A. Nervig Music Bronislau Kaper Cast Robert Taylor, Audrey Totter, Herbert Marshall, Dorothy Patrick, H.B. Warner, Warner Anderson, Moroni Olsen, John Ridgely, Morris Ankrum, Elisabeth Risdon.
"1947 was a peak year for socially conscious movies about veterans returning from war and experiencing "personal adjustment problems." But film noir thrillers easily adapted the theme to encompass guys with more serious adjustments to make. Often these centered on unfaithful wives, or mental problems brought on by battle wounds as in the classic The Blue Dahlia... One of the more intelligent thrillers of this kind, MGM's High Wall gives star Robert Taylor a decent part to play and pairs him with Audrey Totter, one of the more effectively ruthless femme fatales. Unlike some other MGM noirs of the time, namely The Bribe, High Wall does more than go through the motions and throw a lot of dark shadows across the screen. Director Curtis Bernhardt taps the story and performances for all the suspense he can muster." - Glenn Erickson (DVD Savant)
Highway Dragnet
Highway Dragnet
1954, USA, 70m, BW, Crime-Drama-Road Movie
Screenplay Herb Meadow, Jerome Odlum, Tom Hubbard, Fred Eggers (from a story by U.S. Anderson and Roger Corman) Producer Jack Jungmeyer Photography John J. Martin Editor Ace Herman Music Edward J. Kay Cast Richard Conte, Joan Bennett, Wanda Hendrix, Reed Hadley, Mary Beth Hughes, Iris Adrian, Harry Harvey, Tom Hubbard, Frank Jenks, Murray Alper.
"I have a great deal of affection for Poverty Row film noirs, but more often than not I wish big stars would treat them like Kryptonite. 1954’s Highway Dragnet is a case in point. Richard Conte is reliable as ever, but Joan Bennett is done a great disservice, and devotees of hers would do well to stay as far away from this as she should have. The film’s “man on the run” premise is a cliché, but it’s the sort of cliché that got that way because it’s such great film fodder… Highway Dragnet is a watchable B-thriller, a thematic film noir with very little style (cinematographer John Martin only did westerns) and a few cringe-inducing moments — unmistakably Poverty Row — but should still be of interest to noir enthusiasts. But give the woman in the window a break. She deserves it." - Mark Fertig (Where Danger Lives)
Highway 301
Highway 301
1950, USA, 83m, BW, Crime-Drama-Gangster Film
Screenplay Andrew L. Stone Producer Bryan Foy Photography Carl Guthrie Editor Owen Marks Music William Lava Cast Steve Cochran, Virginia Grey, Gaby Andre, Edmon Ryan, Robert Webber, Wally Cassell, Aline Towne, Richard Egan, Edward Norris, William P. Lane Jr..
"1950’s Highway 301 is an unusually violent gangster film, a picture so counter to the spirit of the Production Code that one would think it had been filmed and released while the industry wasn't looking… The highway of the title refers to an interstate linking North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. The criminals in question are The Tri-State Gang, a band of vicious bank robbers from the early 1930s… Highway 301 is a polished Warners product filmed both on location and on the WB back lot, the familiar studio street sets that establish their own stylized reality. We follow the Tri-State Gang as it robs banks and an armored car. It's all basic stuff, but with the violence quotient turned way up… Highway 301 will delight hardcore gangster fans.” - Glenn Erickson (DVD Savant)
His Kind of Woman
His Kind of Woman Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1951, USA, 120m, BW, Crime-Thriller
Screenplay Frank Fenton, Jack Leonard (from the unpublished story Star Sapphire by Gerald Drayson Adams) Producer Robert Sparks Photography Harry Wild Editors Eda Warren, Frederic Knudston Music Leigh Harline Cast Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, Vincent Price, Tim Holt, Charles McGraw, Marjorie Reynolds, Raymond Burr, Leslie Banning, Jim Backus, Philip Van Zandt.
"A supreme oddity from Howard Hughes' RKO, which starts off with a relatively straightforward noir thriller plot - gambler Mitchum is pressurised under threat of violence to help exiled hoodlum Burr return to the States - and about halfway through turns into surreal parody. Mitchum has said that much of it was made up as the production went along, and certainly scenes such as his ironing of dollar bills, and the frequent innuendo-laden backchat with Russell, have an air of spontaneity. Funniest, however, is Price as a mad and conceited actor, given to spouting cod Shakespeare even at the most dangerous of moments. The thing, not unlike a taut, sadistic thriller peppered with incursions from the Monty Python crew, hardly hangs together; but it is excellently performed and directed, and remains an unforgettable delight." - Geoff Andrew (Time Out)
Hit and Run
Hit and Run
1957, USA, 87m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay Hugo Haas (based on a story by Herbert O. Phillips) Producer Hugo Haas Photography Walter Strenge Editor Stefan Arnsten Music Franz Steininger Cast Cleo Moore, Hugo Haas, Vince Edwards, Dolores Reed, Mara Lea, Pat Goldin, Carl Milletaire, Robert Cassidy, Dick Paxton, Julie Mitchum.
"Hit and Run is a virtual remake of Hugo Haas' first noir Pickup. The triad of older cuckolded man, young vibrant wife, and muscular romantic younger man, as old as the Arthurian myths, is here played with a few more outrageous twists: Frank (Edwards), the lover, runs over Gus' (Haas) twin brother by mistake; Gus then pretends to be his brother in order to torture the lovers, etc.; but the mood and effect is much the same as the original film, with one major change - the presence of actress Cleo Moore. Cleo Moore, as opposed to Beverly Michaels in the earlier film, is a much more sympathetic femme fatale… Consequently, the audience's sympathy for her is increased." - James Ursini (Film Noir: The Encyclopedia)
The Hitch-Hiker
The Hitch-Hiker 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1953, USA, 71m, BW, Drama-Crime-Thriller
Screenplay Collier Young, Ida Lupino (adapted by Robert Joseph from an unpublished story by Daniel Mainwaring) Producer Collier Young Photography Nicholas Musuraca Editor Douglas Stewart Music Leith Stevens Cast Edmond O'Brien, Frank Lovejoy, William Talman, Jose Torvay, Sam Hayes, Wendell Niles, Jean Del Val, Clark Howat, Natividad Vacio, Rodney Bell.
"Although made in the same year as Lupino's impressive weepie The Bigamist, this inhabits a totally different universe. Two men on a fishing trip pick up a mass-murdering hitcher (Talman), and are forced at gunpoint to drive him through Mexico until the fatal moment when he no longer needs them. Absolutely assured in her creation of the bleak, noir atmosphere - whether in the claustrophobic confines of the car, or lost in the arid expanses of the desert - Lupino never relaxes the tension for one moment... Taut, tough, and entirely without macho-glorification, it's a gem, with first-class performances from its three protagonists, deftly characterised without resort to cliché." - Geoff Andrew (Time Out)
Hollow Triumph
Hollow Triumph 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
The Scar (alternative title)
1948, USA, 83m, BW, Crime-Thriller
Screenplay Daniel Fuchs (from the novel by Murray Forbes) Producer Paul Henreid Photography John Alton Editor Fred Allen Music Sol Kaplan Cast Joan Bennett, Paul Henreid, Eduard Franz, Leslie Brooks, John Qualen, Mabel Paige, Herbert Rudley, Paul E. Burns, Charles Trowbridge, Ann Staunton.
"Not half bad, despite a loopy plot about a conman/thief hiding from pursuit who kills a look-alike psychiatrist and assumes his identity (conveniently skilled in surgery through interrupted studies, he is even able to reproduce a facial scar). The tension is kept ticking nicely by a flaw in the impersonation (working by mirror, he scars the wrong cheek), even more so by the fact that he unexpectedly inherits dire troubles from the dead man's past. Good supporting performances, a satisfyingly bleak ending, and absolutely stunning lighting and LA location shooting from John Alton.." - Tom Milne (Time Out)
The Hoodlum
The Hoodlum
1951, USA, 61m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay Nat Tanchuck, Sam Neuman Producer Maurice Kosloff Photography Clark Ramsey Editor Jack Killifer Music Darrell Calker Cast Lawrence Tierney, Allene Roberts, Marjorie Riordan, Lisa Golm, Edward Tierney, Stuart Randall, Angela Stevens, John De Simone, Tom Hubbard, Eddie Foster.
"The Hoodlum is a damned film, a doomed film, a cheap and rotten film about a cheap and rotten world, which begins with a rear-projection trip to the dark, forbidding city dump in a dilapidated jalopy, with career criminal Vincent Lubeck (Lawrence Tierney) looking dazed in the front seat as his brother Johnny (Edward Tierney) does the driving… It’s hard to imagine a more bleak, depressing, or unrelenting film than The Hoodlum. The film shocks even the contemporary viewer not only in its relentlessly downbeat story structure, but also in the cheapness of its execution, the complete absence of any directorial flourishes, and its utter absence of any sort of hope of redemption. Vincent Lubeck destroys everything and everyone he touches, and the film simply documents his downward spiral into the gutter, as he takes everyone who cares for him with him." - Wheeler Winston Dixon (Film Noir of the Week)
Hoodlum Empire
Hoodlum Empire Available on Blu-ray
1952, USA, 98m, BW, Crime-Drama-Gangster Film
Screenplay Bruce Manning, Robert Considine (from a story by Robert Considine) Producer Joseph Kane Photography Reggie Lanning Editor Richard L. Van Enger Music Nathan Scott Cast Brian Donlevy, Claire Trevor, Forrest Tucker, Vera Ralston, Luther Adler, John Russell, Gene Lockhart, Grant Withers, Taylor Holmes, Roy Barcroft.
"Hoodlum Empire decently serves as an entertaining, ungainly piece of quasi-noir, produced with some thoughtfulness by Republic Pictures (although it's weirdly overlit and artificial, often making it appear like a filmed stage production). At times, however, the film just about unravels due to the muddled way it's structured. It might as well be presided over by an over-caffeinated Oprah Winfrey, shouting "You get a flashback, and you get a flashback, and you get a flashback!" Yep, just about every major character here gets their own flashback, sometimes remembering scenes that they aren't even participating in (huh?)." - Matt Hinrichs (DVD Talk)
The Hot Spot
The Hot Spot Available on Blu-ray
NEO-NOIR / COLOUR NOIR
1990, USA, 130m, Col, Crime-Drama-Thriller
Screenplay Charles Williams, Nona Tyson (based on the novel Hell Hath No Fury by Charles Williams) Producer Paul Lewis Photography Ueli Steiger Editor Wende Phifer Mate Music Jack Nitzche Cast Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen, Jennifer Connelly, Charles Martin Smith, William Sadler, Jerry Hardin, Barry Corbin, Jack Nance, Leon Rippy, Virgil Frye.
"Adapted by Charles Williams and Nona Tyson from Williams’ 1953 novel Hell Hath No Fury, The Hot Spot takes place in a contemporary Texas town so sleepy and backward, it seems to have stopped evolving sometime around the Eisenhower administration… The Hot Spot is at its strongest when it forgets about plot altogether. The film’s leisurely pace is one of its greatest strengths in the early going, but when the plot finally kicks into high gear, the film’s shapelessness becomes problematic, and at 130 minutes, it feels too long. But though it overstays its welcome, its modesty is much of its grubby charm: It’s a nifty, nasty, sexy, and sometimes very funny little paperback of a movie that delivers its genre thrills with a light touch and an agreeable sense of its own lurid ridiculousness." - Nathan Rabin (The Dissolve)
The House Across the Lake
The House Across the Lake
Heat Wave (USA title)
BRIT-NOIR
1954, UK, 68m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay Ken Hughes (based on his novel High Wray) Producer Anthony Hinds Photography Walter J. Harvey Editor James Needs Music Ivor Slaney Cast Alex Nicol, Hillary Brooke, Sidney James, Susan Stephen, Paul Carpenter, Alan Wheatley, Peter Illing, Gordon McLeod, Joan Hickson, John Sharp.
"Heat Wave is one of many joint ventures engineered between American producer Robert L. Lippert and British Hammer Studios. These films combined American talent with a British cast to produce a series of B noirs that played in cinemas as second features… The basics of the plot are those commonly found in film noir and illustrate Divorce: Noir Style--a wife who enlists the muscle of another man to murder her nuisance of a husband… Heat Wave is certainly not a first tier noir, and it doesn’t even make the second tier, but as a third-rate noir, there are still observations to be made on what works and what doesn’t in this British noir: a tale of yet another morally weak male who becomes the tool of a wicked femme fatale." - Guy Savage (Film Noir of the Week)
House by the River
House by the River Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1950, USA, 88m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay Mel Dinelli (from the novel The House by the River by A.P. Herbert) Producer Howard Welsch Photography Edward Cronjager Editor Arthur Hilton Music George Antheil Cast Louis Hayward, Jane Wyatt, Lee Bowman, Dorothy Patrick, Ann Shoemaker, Kathleen Freeman, Peter Brocco, Jody Gilbert, Howland Chamberlain, Margaret Seddon.
"In House by the River, Lang brought the Gothic sensibility so prominent in Die Nibelungen and Destiny to America. The film, with its tale of the aftermath of a sordid small-town murder at the turn of the twentieth century, is an important link between the dark melodramas of forties Hollywood and Charles Laughton’s The Night of the Hunter (1955). As in Laughton’s film, the river is omnipresent visually, and its flow represents both the promise and the threat of time: everything passes, but some things resurface that should remain buried. In Lang’s hands, the “American Gothic” on display emanates not from the supernatural but from a keen sense of moral bankruptcy." - Harvard Film Archive
House of Bamboo
House of Bamboo Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
COLOUR NOIR
1955, USA, 102m, Col, Crime-Drama-Detective Film
Screenplay Harry Kleiner (based on his screenplay for Street with No Name, with additional dialogue by Samuel Fuller) Producer Buddy Adler Photography Joseph MacDonald Editor James B. Clark Music Leigh Harline Cast Robert Ryan, Robert Stack, Shirley Yamaguchi, Cameron Mitchell, Brad Dexter, Sessue Hayakawa, Biff Elliot, Sandro Giglio, Elko Hanabusa, Harry Carey Jr.
"Like the stately fan dance that suddenly segues into a jitterbugging shindig, the film's portrait of a ruthless, businesslike crime system is a wicked fusion of America and Japan that's contrasted with the protagonist's redemptive interracial affair, and an example of the iconoclastic filmmaker's ribald eye for cinematic collisions of characters and forms. A flurry of pulp vibrancy later mined by the Nikkatsu sagas of Seijun Suzuki and Koreyoshi Kurahara (with aspects further expanded in Fuller's The Crimson Kimono and Underworld, U.S.A.), it's a dazzling collection of screens brought down and lifted up and, above all, torn open—as befits an auteur-agitator forever bent on slamming together viewer and action." - Fernando F. Croce (MUBI Notebook)
House of Games
House of Games Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
NEO-NOIR / COLOUR NOIR
1987, USA, 102m, Col, Crime-Thriller
Screenplay David Mamet Producer Michael Hausman Photography Juan Ruiz-Anchia Editor Trudy Ship Music Alaric Jans Cast Lindsay Crouse, Joe Mantegna, Mike Nussbaum, Lilia Skala, J.T. Walsh, Steve Goldstein, Willo Hausman, Karen Kohlhaas, Jack Wallace, Ben Blakeman.
“A major touchstone for the current generation of moody neo-noirs, David Mamet's 1987 directorial debut House of Games brings a romantic sort of intrigue and mystery to the smoky back rooms where fortunes are lost to cardsharps and con artists. Mamet's story, about a psychiatrist who infiltrates this secret world, recalls the classic fable in which a frog reluctantly agrees to carry a scorpion across a river and winds up getting stung, causing both to drown. When the frog asks why, the scorpion replies, "It's in my nature”… The clipped tough-guy language, Juan Ruiz Anchía's rich chiaroscuro lighting, the layers of "short cons" and larger deceptions—they're all elements of a genre whose time had passed, but that Mamet was able to revive with effortless aplomb.” - Scott Tobias (A.V. Club)
House of Numbers
House of Numbers
1957, USA, 90m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay Don Mankiewicz, Russell Rouse (from the novel by Jack Finney) Producer Charles Schnee Photography George Folsey Editor John McSweeney Jr. Music André Previn Cast Jack Palance, Harold J. Stone, Edward Platt, Barbara Lang, Frank Watkins, Timothy Carey, John Cliff, John Close, John Conley, Richard H. Cutting.
"Arnie Ludlow (Palance) is doing life in San Quentin for killing a man in a fight… His wife Ruth (Lang) and twin brother Bill (Palance) move to San Francisco as part of a plan to spring Arnie… Though House of Numbers may be the least violent Big-House story ever produced, director Russell Rouse does not let the reins go slack. He twists the plot along to its surprisingly sedate conclusion, and brings it off. As director and screenwriter, Rouse usually had something a little different up his sleeve, at least when he was toiling in film noir. His (as screenwriter) D.O.A. remains one of the best-remembered films of the cycle." - Bill MacVicar (Film Noir: The Encyclopedia)
House of Strangers
House of Strangers Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1949, USA, 101m, BW, Family Drama-Psychological Drama
Screenplay Philip Yordan, Joseph L. Mankiewicz [uncredited] (from the novel I'll Never Go There Again by Jerome Weidman) Producer Sol C. Siegel Photography Milton Krasner Editor Harmon Jones Music Daniele Amfitheatrof Cast Edward G. Robinson, Richard Conte, Susan Hayward, Luther Adler, Paul Valentine, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Debra Paget, Hope Emerson, Esther Minciotti, Diana Douglas.
"Another neglected strike of film noir black lightning from the Fox archives, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's New Yawk saga reimagines King Lear as a Little Italy banking dynasty, with Edward G. Robinson (spitting real dialect) as the control-freak patriarch of a handmade savings and loan empire. It's a bitter pill, jammed with vintage tough-guy patois and glowering performances, notably from Richard Conte... Mankiewicz was an ace at shaping big, unpredictable, entertainingly written scenes—sometimes captured in single shots—and with script help here from Philip Yordan the desolate sense of genre is balanced with the novelistic size of the story and its locale-specific ethnic aura. In fact, this might be the first Hollywood film to take immigrant culture and identity seriously, and the erratically paved path to The Godfather began here." - Michael Atkinson (The Village Voice)
The House on 92nd Street
The House on 92nd Street Available on Blu-ray
1945, USA, 88m, BW, Spy-Drama-Thriller
Screenplay Barre Lyndon, Charles G. Booth, John Monks Jr. (from an unpublished story by Charles G. Booth) Producer Louis de Rochemont Photography Norbert Brodine Editor Harmon Jones Music David Buttolph Cast William Eythe, Lloyd Nolan, Signe Hasso, Gene Lockhart, Leo G. Carroll, Lydia St. Clair, Reed Hadley, William Post Jr., Harry Bellaver, Bruno Wick.
"Much touted at the time as the first of Louis (The March of Time) De Rochemont's documentary thrillers, made with the full cooperation of the FBI. It still works well enough, even though the breathless revelation of the hardware of counterespionage (hidden cameras, two-way mirrors, microfilm, etc) has become slightly old hat. More fascinating, given J. Edgar Hoover's personal interest in the project - he even appears on screen to introduce it - is the way the Nazi spy ring, foiled before they can get away with the secrets of the atom bomb, could be read as dirty Commies. The low-key performances contribute effectively to the sense of actuality, despite clumsy mistakes like having Signe Hasso masquerade none too convincingly in drag as the mysterious spymaster." - Tom Milne (Time Out)
The House on Telegraph Hill
The House on Telegraph Hill Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1951, USA, 93m, BW, Thriller-Psychological Drama
Screenplay Elick Moll, Frank Partos (from the novel The Frightened Child by Dana Lyon) Producer Robert Bassler Photography Lucien Ballard Editor Nick DeMaggio Music Sol Kaplan Cast Richard Basehart, Valentina Cortese, William Lundigan, Fay Baker, Gordon Gebert, Kei Chung, Steven Geray, Herbert Butterfield, John Burton, Katherine Meskill.
"Sandwiched between his Two Flags West and The Day The Earth Stood Still came this thriller from Robert Wise. As you might expect from the man who went on to direct West Side Story and The Sound Of Music it's a lavish affair but amid the melodrama are some subtle touches, the demands of an elaborate plot balanced by careful characterisation... With its sophisticated construction and eerie ambience there's much to appreciate in Wise's direction. However, it's Basehart's character that generates the tension and as Viktoria (Cortese) sifts through his past he's transformed from unctuous charmer to murderous monster. Not the most high profile of Wise's films but a rewarding, gothic-tinged thriller with more than a touch of Hitchcock about it." - Film4
Human Desire
Human Desire 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1954, USA, 90m, BW, Drama-Crime
Screenplay Alfred Hayes (from the novel La Bête Humaine by Émile Zola) Producer Lewis J. Rachmil Photography Burnett Guffey Editor Aaron Stell Music Daniele Amfitheatrof Cast Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford, Edgar Buchanan, Kathleen Case, Peggy Maley, Diane DeLaire, Grandon Rhodes, Dan Seymour, John Pickard.
"Fritz Lang set this 1954 film-noir adaptation of Émile Zola’s novel La Bête Humaine in the contemporary Midwest, replacing the novel’s look at congenital madness with pure animal lust... As in Jean Renoir’s 1938 version, the story is rooted in the hard work of railroad men (here, however, modern electric trains make speed and power look not fearsome but confidently normal). Though the action pivots on blackmail and murder, the heart of the movie is a regular guy’s struggle with the inner violence of sexual frenzy and the outer violence of war. With a coldly passionate eye, Lang contemplates the fray as it resolves itself in a heroic series of inactions—an ironic tribute to the sedentary comforts of home." - Richard Brody (The New Yorker)
Hunt the Man Down
Hunt the Man Down
1950, USA, 69m, BW, Crime-Mystery-Thriller
Screenplay DeVallon Scott Producer Lewis J. Rachmil Photography Nicholas Musuraca Editor Samuel E. Beetley Music Paul Sawtell Cast Gig Young, Lynne Roberts, Mary Anderson, Willard Parker, Carla Balenda, Gerald Mohr, James Anderson, John Kellogg, Harry Shannon, Cleo Moore.
"Hunt the Man Down is a snappy thriller from the RKO B-Team with Gig Young out in front of a cast of relative unknowns. A cheap, 68 minute quickie, it’s nevertheless an entertaining film that strays into the realm of film noir in unusual ways… The narrative structure of Hunt the Man Down is not uncommon. Somewhat similar to films such as 12 Angry Men, it paints a seemingly incontrovertible picture of the accused man’s guilt and then spends the lion’s share of the running time establishing, against all odds, his innocence… Hunt the Man Down is a crime programmer with little to speak on its behalf and likely to be forgotten quickly by most viewers. Yet I found its portrayals of postwar life to be rich in the brand of cynicism most often associated with film noir." - Mark Fertig (Where Danger Lives)
The Hunted
The Hunted
1948, USA, 88m, BW, Mystery-Crime-Detective Film
Screenplay Steve Fisher Producer Scott R. Dunlap Photography Harry Neumann Editor Richard Heermance Music Edward J. Kay Cast Preston Foster, Belita, Pierre Watkin, Edna Holland, Russell Hicks, Frank Ferguson, Joseph Crehan, Larry J. Blake, Ta'avale, Robert Earle.
"This was the second noir released under the Allied Artists banner to differentiate Monogram's cheap from upscale product, the first being The Gangster (1947), a far superior picture. Belita, an ice-skater Monogram hoped would be its answer to Sonja Henie, achieved 'stardom' only in a handful of Monogram films. Hard-boiled writer Steve Fisher was responsible for the screenplay for The Hunted, which is not up to his usual hard-boiled par because of the story's implausibility and everybody's sappy willingness to forgive and forget." - Art Lyons (Film Noir: The Encyclopedia)
100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) The 100 Most Cited Noir Films Available on Blu-ray Available on Blu-ray Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
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