1,000 Noir Films (R)

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Title / Director / Year / Country
Race Street
Race Street Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1948, USA, 79m, BW, Crime-Drama-Mystery
Screenplay Martin Rackin (based on a story by Maurice Davis) Producer Nat Holt Photography J. Roy Hunt Editor Samuel E. Beetley Music Roy Webb Cast George Raft, William Bendix, Marilyn Maxwell, Frank Faylen, Harry Morgan, Gale Robbins, Cully Richards, Mack Gray, Russell Hicks, Tom Keene.
"Director Edwin L. Marin and actor George Raft collaborated on a number of crime dramas starting with Johnny Angel and Nocturne for RKO… Race Street is a routine crime drama - George Raft plays a high-stakes bookie and a club owner Dan Gannin, William Bendix is his old friend and a police detective Barney Runson, Harry Morgan is his other friend Hal Towers who gets killed by a syndicate for Dan to swear vengeance. Marilyn Maxwell plays Dan's love interest and Gale Robbins plays his sister and sings a few songs. There is some impressive camera work, including the first song number with Gale Robbins floating over the club and the Hal's murder sequence, and noir atmosphere holds up till the very end." - Gregory Meshman (DVD Beaver)
The Racket
The Racket
1951, USA, 88m, BW, Crime-Police Drama
Screenplay W.R. Burnett, William Wister Haines (based on the play by Bartlett Cormack) Producer Edmund Grainger Photography George E. Diskant Editor Sherman Todd Music Constantin Bakaleinikoff Cast Robert Ryan, Robert Mitchum, Lizabeth Scott, William Talman, Ray Collins, Joyce MacKenzie, Robert Hutton, Virginia Huston, William Conrad, Walter Sande.
"The omens were good. Howard Hughes had produced the silent version of The Racket that sparked Hollywood's gangster cycle. John Cromwell had won his first movie chance with his performance in a Broadway revival of the original play. Mitchum plus Ryan looked a fail-safe powerhouse confrontation. But... Hughes' RKO was slowly running down; Cromwell was under greylist pressure from HUAC; and Mitchum got himself cast as a cop - representing goddam Society, no less! Softer than it should have been, then, but still dark enough to lose yourself in." - Paul Taylor (Time Out)
Rage in Heaven
Rage in Heaven
1941, USA, 85m, BW, Marriage Drama-Thriller
Screenplay Christopher Isherwood, Robert Thoeren (based on the novel The Dawn of Reckoning by James Hilton) Producer Gottfried Reinhardt Photography Oliver T. Marsh Editor Harold F. Kress Music Bronislau Kaper Cast Robert Montgomery, Ingrid Bergman, George Sanders, Lucile Watson, Oscar Homolka, Philip Merivale, Matthew Boulton, Aubrey Mather, Frederic Worlock, Francis Compton.
"Co-scripted by Christopher Isherwood from a novel by James Hilton, but still boasting a plot as murkily unconvincing as the English setting. Montgomery, blandly repeating his Night Must Fall characterisation (though further up the social scale), is a wealthy scion who goes all funny at full moon, marries his mama's companion (Bergman in her third Hollywood movie), and conceives a dotty revenge plot when he thinks he has grounds for jealousy. Even a strong cast can't make much headway on such soggy ground." - Tom Milne (Time Out)
The Raging Tide
The Raging Tide
1951, USA, 93m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay Ernest K. Gann (based on the novel Fiddler's Green by Ernest K. Gann) Producer Aaron Rosenberg Photography Russell Metty Editor Ted J. Kent Music Frank Skinner Cast Shelley Winters, Richard Conte, Stephen McNally, Charles Bickford, Alex Nicol, John McIntire, Tito Vuolo, Chubby Johnson, Minerva Urecal, Irvin Berwick.
"Director George Sherman, a journeyman who had made a string of b-Westerns over a long Hollywood career and a b-noir, The Sleeping City, the year before, maintains visual interest with solid direction. Aided by his DP, the great Russell Metty, Sherman fashions two truly inspired scenes. The opening noir sequence and the climax aboard the fishing trawler in a savage storm out on the Pacific. As we are in noir territory, redemption costs, and while there are melodramatic trappings to the scenario, the sincerity of the venture elevates the movie to something greater than the sum of its parts… There are faults to be sure. Plot holes and longuers which focus on peripheral characters, and some corny humor, but they all go with the territory." - Tony D'Ambra (FilmsNoir.net)
Railroaded! Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1947, USA, 71m, BW, Crime-Drama-Thriller
Screenplay John C. Higgins (from a story by Gertrude Walker) Producer Charles Reisner Photography Guy Roe Editor Louis Sackin Music Alvin Levin Cast John Ireland, Sheila Ryan, Hugh Beaumont, Jane Randolph, Ed Kelly, Charles D. Brown, Clancy Cooper, Peggy Converse, Hermine Sterler, Keefe Brasselle.
"This super-low-budget thriller by Anthony Mann was the last production of the Producers Releasing Corporation, the poverty-row studio that provided a home (of sorts) to Edgar G. Ulmer and several other bargain-basement auteurs. It's nice to know that PRC went out on an appropriately weird note: Mann's film, about a young woman who hires a private detective (Hugh Beaumont of Leave It to Beaver fame) to clear her brother of a phony robbery charge, combines extreme violence with an attenuated, self-conscious humor that could only have been lost on the grind-house audiences the film was intended for. Mann went on to some truly distinguished work in the 50s—centrally, his westerns with James Stewart—but all of Mann's early films display an infectious enthusiasm for the medium." - Dave Kehr (Chicago Reader)
Raw Deal
Raw Deal 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1948, USA, 79m, BW, Drama-Crime-Thriller
Screenplay Leopold Atlas, John C. Higgins (from a story by Arnold B. Armstrong and Audrey Ashley) Producer Edward Small Photography John Alton Editor Alfredo Gaetano Music Paul Sawtell Cast Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, Marsha Hunt, John Ireland, Raymond Burr, Curt Conway, Chili Williams, Regis Toomey, Whit Bissell, Cliff Clark.
"One of the great films noirs, directed by Anthony Mann in the first full flush of his creativity. Dennis O'Keefe stars as a small-time hood who breaks out of jail to get revenge on his double-crossing boss (a chuckling pyromaniac played by Raymond Burr). O'Keefe's floozy girlfriend Claire Trevor sacrifices everything to help him and his scheme, only to be thrown over when he meets nice girl Marsha Hunt. The violence, both physical and emotional, is still shocking, while Mann's tortured, gothic visual style throws up a world perfectly in its image." - Dave Kehr (Chicago Reader)
Rear Window
Rear Window Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1954, USA, 112m, Col, Thriller-Mystery
Screenplay John Michael Hayes (based on the short story It Had to Be Murder by Cornell Woolrich) Producer Alfred Hitchcock Photography Robert Burks Editor George Tomasini Music Franz Waxman Cast James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr, Judith Evelyn, Ross Bagdasarian, Georgine Darcy, Sara Berner, Frank Cady.
"Opening with a memorable shot of blinds rolling up like curtains on a screen, Hitchcock plants laid-up photojournalist James Stewart in a wheelchair facing a courtyard of open windows. Confined all day to his stuffy two-room apartment, Stewart passes the time by peering into his neighbor's private lives… Hitchcock proves again to be 'The Master Of Suspense,' but in Rear Window—and much of his other work, for that matter—he's the master of a lot more than that. Witness, for example, his suggestive use of offscreen space to piece together a murder without showing a single violent act. Or the subtle erotic charge that finally hits Stewart once Kelly leaves the apartment and crosses over into his voyeuristic gaze… In its perfect fusion of popular entertainment and high art, Rear Window ranks among Hitchcock's best." - Scott Tobias (A.V. Club)
Rebecca Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1940, USA, 130m, BW, Drama-Romantic Mystery-Gothic Film
Screenplay Joan Harrison, Robert E. Sherwood (from the novel by Daphne Du Maurier) Producer David O. Selznick Photography George Barnes Editor Hal C. Kern Music Franz Waxman Cast Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson, Nigel Bruce, Gladys Cooper, Reginald Denny, C. Aubrey Smith, Florence Bates, Melville Cooper.
“Well, it's not a Hitchcock picture," Alfred Hitchcock once told François Truffaut when asked about Rebecca, his first American film and the first in a series made for producer David O. Selznick (Gone With The Wind, A Star Is Born)… Shot like a horror film and featuring Olivier as one of the least sympathetic heroes in the Hitchcock canon, Rebecca's smart extrapolation on themes inherited from gothic thrillers and Brontë novels allows the director to begin with a suspenseful romance that barely keeps its subtext under the surface, and smuggle in a story of one woman's immersion into the sexual expectations of her era. Rebecca may not be a Hitchcock picture, but it's hard to imagine what we now think of as a Hitchcock picture without it." - Keith Phipps (A.V. Club)
The Reckless Moment
The Reckless Moment 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1949, USA, 82m, BW, Drama-Crime
Screenplay Henry Garson, Robert W. Soderberg (adapted by Mel Dinelli and Robert E. Kent from the story The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding) Producer Walter Wanger Photography Burnett Guffey Editor Gene Havlick Music Hans J. Salter Cast James Mason, Joan Bennett, Geraldine Brooks, Henry O'Neill, Shepperd Strudwick, David Blair, Roy Roberts, Jessie Arnold, Jack Baker, Pat Barton.
"Just as some critics favor Lang's midcentury American noirs over his famous German silent masterpieces, I prefer Ophuls' moment-in-the-sun Hollywood output, particularly his twin femme-noir home-runs of 1949, Caught and The Reckless Moment. The latter of the two may be, in fact, one of its decade's greatest forgotten movies, a stock melodramatic programmer (adapted from a Ladies Home Journal story, yet) that is reconceived and crafted with such deftness and attention to emotional detail that it shutters scores of contemporaneous noirs and dramas out of the memory. This was not how studio product was mass-manufactured in the immediate postwar years - here we see Ophuls, almost as far from his native element as he could be, find depths in the abyss of the American family virtually no filmmaker had before." - Michael Atkinson (Turner Classic Movies)
The Red Circle
The Red Circle Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
Le Cercle rouge (original title)
1970, France-Italy, 140m, Col, Thriller-Crime-Caper
Screenplay Jean-Pierre Melville Producer Robert Dorfmann Photography Henri Decaë Editor Jean-Pierre Melville Music Eric de Marsan Cast Alain Delon, André Bourvil, Yves Montand, François Périer, Gian Maria Volontè, André Ekyan, Pierre Collet, Paul Crauchet, Paul Amiot, Jean-Pierre Posier.
"Melville's special achievement was to relocate the American gangster film in France, and to incorporate his own steely poetic and philosophical obsessions. He described this, his penultimate film, as a digest of the nineteen definitive underworld set-ups that could be found in John Huston's picture of doomed gangsters, The Asphalt Jungle. Darker, more abstract and desolate than his earlier work, this shows, set piece by set piece, the breakdown of the criminal codes under which Melville's characters had previously operated. Even in the butchered version distributed in Britain (dubbed and cut to 102 minutes) it's worth seeing: the mood remains, as does the film's central sequence, a superbly executed silent jewel robbery in the Place Vendôme." - Chris Peachment (Time Out)
The Red House
The Red House Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1947, USA, 100m, BW, Thriller / Mystery-Thriller-Melodrama
Screenplay Delmer Daves, Albert Maltz [uncredited] (based on a novel by George Agnew Chamberlain) Producer Sol Lesser Photography Bert Glennon Editor Merrill White Music Miklos Rozsa Cast Edward G. Robinson, Lon McCallister, Allene Roberts, Judith Anderson, Julie London, Rory Calhoun, Ona Munson, Harry Shannon, Arthur Space, Walter Sande.
"If you go down to the woods today, you're bound for a big surprise: you won't find a picnic, however, but necrophilia, madness, incestuous longings, tyrannical possessiveness, and murder. Impossible to give an effective synopsis of the incredibly heavy plotting; but basically, when one-legged farmer Robinson's adopted daughter brings home a potential boyfriend, all manner of mysteries, scandals and sinister goings-on are let loose... Warped relationships are the norm in his weird but hardly wonderful world, and indeed even the film itself boasts a perverse pedigree: it's a pastoral, noir-inflected psychodrama with supernatural overtones, dealing chiefly with the thin line between healthy and sick sexuality. All very Freudian, in fact, and often very frightening, with Robinson in superb form as the patriarch tormented by his past." - Geoff Andrew (Time Out)
Red Light
Red Light
1949, USA, 83m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay George Callahan (from a story by Donald Barry) Producer Roy Del Ruth Photography Bert Glennon Editor Richard Heermance Music Dimitri Tiomkin Cast George Raft, Virginia Mayo, Gene Lockhart, Raymond Burr, Harry Morgan, Barton MacLane, Arthur Franz, Ken Murray, Stanley Clements, William Frawley.
“George Raft, playing a trucking company owner named Johnny Torno, spends the movie trying to track down a bible that was taken from the hotel room where his brother Jess (Arthur Franz), a former army chaplain, was murdered… Red Light contains some brutal scenes of violence, including a tour de force suspense sequence in a freight yard at night, in which a character is stalked and killed in a most memorable way… Red Light is beautifully shot and scored by Bert Glennon and Dmitri Tiomkin respectively. It maintains a dark, gloomy atmosphere throughout, mixing gritty location shooting and high-contrast interiors for a satisfying "noir" look and feel. It's hardly among the best noirs, but is certainly worthwhile." - Jeremy Arnold (Turner Classic Movies)
Red Rock West
Red Rock West Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1993, USA, 98m, Col, Crime-Thriller
Screenplay John Dahl, Rick Dahl Producer Sigurjon Sighvatsson, Steve Golin Photography Mark Reshovsky Editor Scott Chestnut Music William Olvis Cast Nicolas Cage, J.T. Walsh, Lara Flynn Boyle, Dennis Hopper, Craig Reay, Timothy Carhart, Dan Shor, Dwight Yoakam, Bobby Joe McFadden, Vance Johnson.
"Notwithstanding its cop-out upbeat ending, Red Rock West solidified the expert neo-noir credentials of John Dahl (The Last Seduction). A taut, nasty bit of crime-genre business, Dahl’s tale (co-written with brother Rick) is in most respects archetypal: After failing to find oil-rig work due to an injury, former marine-turned-drifter Michael Williams (Nicolas Cage) stumbles into a remote Wyoming bar and is promptly mistaken by the owner, Wayne Brown (the late, great J.T. Walsh), for the assassin he’s hired to kill his wife, Suzanne (Lara Flynn Boyle)… Blue-sky sunshine casts a harsh, judgmental light on the action at hand—and on its protagonist, embodied by Cage with a weirdo ruggedness that’s tinged with weary resignation regarding the messy course he’s charted for himself." - Nick Schager (A.V. Club)
Reign of Terror
Reign of Terror Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
The Black Book (alternative title)
1949, USA, 89m, BW, Historical Film-Drama-Costume Adventure
Screenplay Aeneas MacKenzie, Philip Yordan Producer William Cameron Menzies Photography John Alton Editor Fred Allen Music Sol Kaplan Cast Robert Cummings, Arlene Dahl, Richard Basehart, Richard Hart, Arnold Moss, Norman Lloyd, Charles McGraw, Beulah Bondi, Jess Barker, Ray Bennett.
"With shadowy corners, unsettling camera angles, rampant corruption and an icy femme fatale this neglected classic belies its historical setting to emerge as a kind of French Revolution noir. The source of its visual interest is the teamwork of two film noir masters, director Anthony Mann and cinematographer John Alton, in the third of their five films together. They had previously collaborated on the classic suspense films T-Men (1947) and Raw Deal (1948), so turning 18th-century Paris into a collection of mean streets came naturally to them. Some of the dark shadows were a matter of necessity. Producer Walter Wanger only allocated a small budget to this fictionalized tale of a heroic Frenchman, Charles D’Aubigny (Cummings), working with former love Arlene Dahl to end Robespierre’s (Basehart) dreams of dictatorship." - TCM Classic Film Festival
Reservoir Dogs
Reservoir Dogs Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1992, USA, 99m, Col, Crime-Thriller-Gangster Film
Screenplay Quentin Tarantino Producer Lawrence Bender Photography Andrzej Sekula Editor Sally Menke Music Karyn Rachtman Cast Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Christopher Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney, Randy Brooks, Kirk Baltz, Edward Bunker, Quentin Tarantino.
"A stunning debut from writer-director Quentin Tarantino, though a far cry from Stanley Kubrick's 1956 The Killing, to which it clearly owes a debt. Like The Killing, it employs an intricate flashback structure to follow the before and after of a carefully planned heist… Unlike The Killing, it never flashes back to the heist itself and leaves a good many knots still tied at the end… Our grasp of what's going on is always in flux, and Tarantino's skill with actors, dialogue, 'Scope framing, and offbeat construction is kaleidoscopic. More questionable are the show-offy celebrations of brutality… It's unclear whether this macho thriller does anything to improve the state of the world or our understanding of it, but it certainly sets off enough rockets to hold and shake us for every one of its 99 minutes." - Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago Reader)
Ride the Pink Horse
Ride the Pink Horse 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir)
1947, USA, 101m, BW, Crime-Drama-Mystery
Screenplay Ben Hecht, Charles Lederer (from the novel by Dorothy B. Hughes) Producer Joan Harrison Photography Russell Metty Editor Ralph Dawson Music Frank Skinner Cast Robert Montgomery, Wanda Hendrix, Thomas Gomez, Andrea King, Fred Clark, Art Smith, Richard Gaines, Rita Conde, Iris Flores, Grandon Rhodes.
"The oddly titled Ride the Pink Horse is one of the odder, but more intriguing, entries in the film noirs of the 1940s. The screenplay is overly convoluted and will lose some viewers, but its intricacy seems to derive from some greater purpose than to just keep the audience on its toes; it unsettles viewers even as it challenges them. Director Robert Montgomery and scenarists Ben Hecht, Charles Lederer, and Joan Harrison are creating a psychological mood piece, murky at times, but intentionally so... Horse has its flaws, but it's a powerful, provocative film that rewards repeated viewings." - Craig Butler (Allmovie)
1947, USA, 80m, BW, Adventure-Comedy-Melodrama
Screenplay Martin Rackin Producer Nat Holt Photography George E. Diskant Editor Philip Martin Music Joan Whitney, Roy Webb Cast Pat O'Brien, Anne Jeffreys, Walter Slezak, Percy Kilbride, Jerome Cowan, George Givot, Jason Robards Sr., Marc Krah, William Alland, Ernest Anderson.
"Riff-Raff is a routine RKO comedy-adventure movie that has a certain flair with snappy dialog and an engaging cast. It would be a stretch to call it a noir, but the opening sequence is so visually noir and accomplished that it should not be missed. The movie opens at an isolated air-strip late at night in pouring run, as a plane waits for a passenger who finally arrives late. This sequence running for 5 minutes is totally without dialog, and brilliantly establishes a mood of dark mystery. The kudos must go to DP George Diskant and first-time director Ted Tetzlaff, who formerly had a long career as a cinematographer starting in the silent era." - Tony D'Ambra (FilmsNoir.net)
Rififi Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
Du rififi chez les hommes (original title)
1955, France, 115m, BW, Crime-Thriller-Caper
Screenplay Auguste Le Breton, Jules Dassin, René Wheeler (from the novel by Auguste Le Breton) Producers René Bezard, Henri Bérard, Pierre Cabaud Photography Philippe Agostini Editor Roger Dwyre Music Georges Auric Cast Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel, Jules Dassin, Marie Sabouret, Janine Darcey, Claude Sylvain, Pierre Grasset, Robert Hossein, Magali Noël.
"Jules Dassin’s fatalistic caper flick, shot on the cheap on the streets of Paris in 1954, was the international success of 1955–56... Rififi did not invent the idea of French film noir. It was Jacques Becker’s Touchez pas au grisbi, released around the time that Rififi went into production, that provided a new model for the French crime film with its pungent evocation of a Montmartre criminal demimonde... But if Rififi did not invent a genre, it was nevertheless, thanks to Dassin, a unique synthesis. For the French, Rififi had Hollywood pizzazz; for Americans, it exuded continental sophistication; for both, it possessed an authoritative naturalism, albeit one suffused with a sort of American-in-Paris enthusiasm for Pigalle after dark. For the rest of the world, it had all of the above." - J. Hoberman (The Criterion Collection)
Riot in Cell Block 11
Riot in Cell Block 11 Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1954, USA, 80m, BW, Crime-Drama-Prison Film
Screenplay Richard Collins Producer Walter Wanger Photography Russell Harlan Editor Bruce B. Pierce Music Herschel Burke Gilbert Cast Neville Brand, Emile Meyer, Frank Faylen, Leo Gordon, Robert Osterloh, Paul Frees, Don Keefer, Dabbs Greer, Whit Bissell, Alvy Moore.
"Early in his career, Don Siegel made his mark with this sensational and high-octane but economically constructed drama set in a maximum-security penitentiary. Riot in Cell Block 11, the brainchild of producer extraordinaire Walter Wanger, is a ripped-from-the-headlines social-problem picture about inmates’ rights that was inspired by a recent spate of uprisings in American prisons. In Siegel’s hands, the film, shot on location at Folsom State Prison, with real inmates and guards as extras, is at once brash and humane, showcasing the hard-boiled visual flair and bold storytelling for which the director would become known." - The Criterion Collection
Road House
Road House 100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1948, USA, 95m, BW, Thriller-Drama-Crime
Screenplay Edward Chodorov (from an unpublished story by Margaret Gruen and Oscar Saul) Producer Edward Chodorov Photography Joseph LaShelle Editor James B. Clark Music Cyril J. Mockridge Cast Ida Lupino, Cornel Wilde, Celeste Holm, Richard Widmark, O.Z. Whitehead, Robert Karnes, George Beranger, Ian MacDonald, Grandon Rhodes, Jack G. Lee.
"A minor classic of forties film noir with major pleasures, Road House is an unusual, and unusually fascinating, variation on the genre. Instead of the usual urban jungle, this road house is decidedly rural, a bar and bowling alley in the thick forest outside of a small town near the Canadian border. Ida Lupino is Lily, the big city chanteuse who sashays into the joint, all scuffed cynicism and brassy attitude. She's the new "discovery" of the hopelessly smitten owner Jefty (Richard Widmark), who has discarded a string of similar sexy discoveries over the years... It's a handsomely made film with adult banter and a tough cookie with a tender center in British-born but thoroughly Americanized and streetwise Ida Lupino." - Sean Axmaker (Turner Classic Movies)
1951, USA, 73m, BW, Crime-Drama
Screenplay George Bricker, Steve Fisher (from a story by Richard Landau and Daniel Mainwaring) Producer Lewis J. Rachmil Photography Nicholas Musuraca Editor Robert Golden Music Paul Sawtell Cast Charles McGraw, Joan Dixon, Lowell Gilmore, Louis Jean Heydt, Milburn Stone, Peter Brocco, Barry Brooks, John Butler, Ben Cameron, Joseph Crehan.
"Roadblock is an ingeniously plotted and tautly directed film noir that has more twists and hairpin turns than a winding mountain road. From the opening title sequence, you know this is no run-of-the-mill B-movie; the credits roll down the screen at a slanted angle over the high beams of a car, traveling at night on a deserted road. Director Robert Aldrich possibly saw this and imitated it in the opening credits to Kiss Me Deadly (1955)... Directed by the relatively unknown Harold Daniels, Roadblock also benefits greatly from the crisp black and white cinematography of Nicholas Musuraca, no stranger to the film noir genre (Out of the Past (1947), The Woman on Pier 13, 1949), who gives the film an added touch of class." - Jeff Stafford (Turner Classic Movies)
Rogue Cop
Rogue Cop
1954, USA, 92m, BW, Crime-Police Drama
Screenplay Sydney Boehm (from the novel by William P. McGivern) Producer Nicholas Nayfack Photography John F. Seitz Editor James E. Newcom Music Jeff Alexander Cast Robert Taylor, Janet Leigh, George Raft, Steve Forrest, Anne Francis, Robert Ellenstein, Robert F. Simon, Anthony Ross, Alan Hale Jr., Vince Edwards.
"The year after writing The Big Heat, the story of an upright detective avenging his murdered wife, William McGivern published Rogue Cop, a more interesting variation, in which a corrupt detective avenges his murdered brother. Auteur principles being what they are, Fritz Lang's movie of the former is a classic, while Rowland's adaptation of the latter is little known, though dramatically it's tougher, more complex, more unpredictable. It also has Anne Francis playing, as it were, Gloria Grahame, which many will find an improvement, and an iconic, if dull Janet Leigh. The fashion for location filming having just ended, we are returned, unfortunately, to MGM's standing city-street set, though it's atmospherically shot by John Seitz." - Bob Baker (Time Out)
Rolling Thunder
Rolling Thunder Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1977, USA, 99m, Col, Drama-Action Thriller
Screenplay Heywood Gould, Paul Schrader (from a story by Paul Schrader) Producer Norman T. Herman Photography Jordan Cronenweth Editor Frank P. Keller Music Barry DeVorzon Cast William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Haynes, James Best, Dabney Coleman, Lisa Blake Richards, Luke Askew, Lawrason Driscoll, James Victor, Cassie Yates.
"John Flynn died in 2007 and never made enough movies; this one reminds us how good he was. Rolling Thunder was written by Paul Schrader and – like Sydney Pollack's The Yakuza, written by Schrader and his brother Leonard – it signposts themes and imagery that would obsess Schrader in his own movies: Vietnam veterans, samurai ethics, and orgasmic explosions of cathartically violent revenge… The reason you can discern the outlines of Schrader-to-come is because Flynn clearly listened to the advice of his mentor, producer-director Robert Wise, which was – in the short version at least – that the director serves the script, and subordinates his own creative ego." - John Patterson (The Guardian)
Romeo is Bleeding
Romeo is Bleeding
1993, USA, 108m, Col, Crime-Erotic Thriller-Black Comedy
Screenplay Hilary Henkin Producers Hilary Henkin, Paul Webster Photography Dariusz Wolski Editor Walter Murch Music Mark Isham Cast Gary Oldman, Lena Olin, Annabella Sciorra, Juliette Lewis, Roy Scheider, Will Patton, Michael Wincott, Ron Perlman, Dennis Farina, David Proval.
"Romeo Is Bleeding is choked with stylishness. It's a film noir for people who think the genre exists in order to overdose the audience on brittle-poetic dialogue, Edward Hopper-ish shadowscapes and artfully framed corpses. But it's not really a traditional noir in the manner of, say, Double Indemnity or Kiss Me Deadly. Its fanciness gives it away. The disjointed, self-conscious, over-the-top stylistics are supposed to make it seem avant-garde but mostly it's just annoying. The artsy clutter gets in the way of the crime story, which is pretty flimsy to begin with… Director Peter Medak, working from a script by Hilary Henkin, never finds the right tone for the film's scattershot larcenousness, so he jumbles a whole party-platter of tones. The mixture of comic and crude and burlesque never gels." - Peter Rainer (Los Angeles Times)
Rope Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1948, USA, 80m, Col, Crime-Drama-Psychological Thriller
Screenplay Arthur Laurents, Hume Cronyn (based on the play by Patrick Hamilton) Producers Alfred Hitchcock, Sidney Bernstein Photography Joseph Valentine, William V. Skall Editor William Ziegler Music Leo F. Forbstein Cast James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Joan Chandler, Cedric Hardwicke, Constance Collier, Douglas Dick, Edith Evanson, Dick Hogan, Alfred Hitchcock.
"Alfred Hitchcock's legendary 1948 experiment with a continuous-take cinema. The entire 80-minute film consists of only 10 or 12 shots, with the shifting emphases of Hitchcock's gliding camera taking the place of traditional montage techniques. The style is extremely claustrophobic and controlling, which matches the theme of the Patrick Hamilton play on which the film is based: two epicene young men (Farley Granger and John Dall) arbitrarily murder a college classmate, place his body in a trunk in the middle of their apartment, and then invite the victim's friends and family for a cocktail party. Hitchcock liked to pretend that the film was an empty technical exercise, but it introduces the principal themes and motifs of the major period that would begin with Rear Window." - Dave Kehr (Chicago Reader)
Rope of Sand
Rope of Sand Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1949, USA, 104m, BW, Adventure-Drama
Screenplay Walter Doniger Producer Hal B. Wallis Photography Charles Lang Editor Warren Low Music Franz Waxman Cast Burt Lancaster, Paul Henreid, Corinne Calvet, Claude Rains, Peter Lorre, Sam Jaffe, John Bromfield, Mike Mazurki, Kenny Washington, Miranda.
"Not really a film noir, but rather a pretty blatant grab at Casablanca's unique territory. Indeed, the two films share a producer in Hal Wallis, and he originally intended the picture as a vehicle for Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Instead, he settled for a bunch of Casablanca's supporting players: Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, and Peter Lorre. Burt Lancaster stars in Rope of Sand as Mike, a former hunter and tour guide who returns to Africa after two years in exile… Despite the obvious comparisons to its more famous predecessor, Rope of Stand still manages to stand on its own quite nicely… William Dieterle uses the exotic locale effectively, creating an isolated environment for his drama to play out. There's a few good twists and turns on the road to the end, and one awesome fistfight in a sandstorm that is well worth digging up all on its own." - Jamie S. Rich (DVD Talk)
Ruthless Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
1948, USA, 104m, BW, Melodrama
Screenplay Gordon Kahn, S.K. Lauren, Alvah Bessie [uncredited] (from the novel Prelude to Night by Dayton Stoddart) Producer Arthur S. Lyons Photography Bert Glennon Editor Francis D. Lyon Music Werner Janssen Cast Zachary Scott, Louis Hayward, Diana Lynn, Martha Vickers, Sydney Greenstreet, Lucille Bremer, Raymond Burr, Edith Barrett, Dennis Hoey, Joyce Arling.
"Often thought of as Ulmer’s Citizen Kane on the cheap, his study of American capitalism and runaway greed—scripted, without formal credit, by blacklisted writer Alvah Bessie—boasts the A-list acting talent of Zachary Scott and Sidney Greenstreet, both on loan-out from Warner Bros. Chronicling the rise and fall of Horace Vendig (Scott)—a tale lifted from the pages of Dayton Stoddart’s Prelude to Night—the film presents an archetypal man who craves and ultimately captures all that others have. Its core message, riddled with delicious cynicism, hasn’t lost any of its timeliness." - Noah Isenberg (Film Society Lincoln Center)
100 Essential Noirs (or the 100 films most often referred to as noir) The 100 Most Cited Noir Films
Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT) Recommended Viewing (by TSPDT)
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