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  #411  
Old 18th November 2016, 11:00 PM
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Brighton Rock (1947)

Just seen this for the very first time. I know i do love British film but i was surprised at how good this actually was.

Set in the seaside town of Brighton, the film showcases both the tourist charm of the time and the seedy underbelly. Surely it's one of the most sinister and violent (especially for the forties) crime films ever made in this country. Richard Attenborough's Pinkie Brown is the main reason. Thanks to an outstanding performance both from him and from Carol Marsh as the naive waitress who witnesses a murder and falls under Brown's almost hypnotic spell in the hope that he actually really does love her back. The scene as she practically begs Pinkie to make a voice recording for her so she can listen to it when he's away is genuinely shocking.

Even now after just the single viewing i can tell why Brighton Rock is one of the great crime films.

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  #412  
Old 19th November 2016, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Demdike@Cult Labs View Post
Brighton Rock (1947)

Just seen this for the very first time. I know i do love British film but i was surprised at how good this actually was.

Even now after just the single viewing i can tell why Brighton Rock is one of the great crime films.
I'm very glad you feel that way it is an outstanding film and, like you say, fairly shocking in its tone and content.
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  #413  
Old 25th November 2016, 10:24 PM
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Rome Express (1932)

Murder, art theft, blackmail and intrigue with a motley assortment of passengers on a train traveling from Paris to Rome.

Conrad Veidt and Cedric Hardwicke star in this superior piece of early British cinema here lovingly restored by Network and the BFI on dvd and bluray. A key piece of thirties cinema Rome Express has excellent production values and a script that mixes tension with a dash of humour making this the pioneer of train thrillers that would inspire a genre in itself. Indeed it was referred to by critics as 'the finest British film to date' on release.

Veidt, probably best known as Major Strasser in Casablanca, is excellent here. He's so shady Mexicans would take a siesta in his shadow, yet he's almost eclipsed by the stunning Esther Ralston as a silent movie star on a promotional tour, an actress whose beauty seems almost crystal like in the stunning black and white photography.

Remade in 1948 as the inferior Sleeping Car to Trieste, Rome Express is an early example of British proto-Noir and is well worth seeking out in the next Network sale. The film even comes with a delightful 24 page booklet, unusual for Network, but not for the BFI.



Conrad Veidt at his most dangerous
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  #414  
Old 6th July 2017, 12:28 PM
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Touch of Evil (1958)

Written, directed by, and co-starring Orson Welles, Touch of Evil is a tour-de-force of noir cinema. Planting us straight from the off in a Mexican border town as a car bomb goes off, the viewer is in the thick of the narrative with no build up.

With a plot than encompasses drug trafficking, prostitution, police corruption and Welles cast to die for - Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Marlene Dietrich, Dennis Weaver and Zsa Zsa Gabor, who appears briefly as the impresario of a strip club.

Welles direction is as uncompromising as the temperatures. A camera that's barely still, full of sweeping tracking shots and sweaty close ups, his police captain proves to be a nasty piece of work as Heston plays the hero - a Mexican which has been a source of contention to this day - but it's Janet Leigh who's put through the wringer in a series of set pieces at a roadside motel every bit as harrowing and scary as what is to come in 1960's Psycho.

Touch of Evil isn't an easy watch, it takes a while for the narrative to unfold but it's also fascinating being thrust into Welles investigation as we cling to snippets of information and try to unravel what's going on. It's thrilling stuff and possibly the last throw of the dice for classic noir.

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  #415  
Old 22nd August 2017, 12:29 PM
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Default Four Film Noir Classics get Pulped.

Some interesting blu ray releaes's that may be of interest-

The Dark Mirror / Secret Beyond the Door / Force of Evil / The Big Combo

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Film noir has had many influences. Long before the term was even coined, we had atmospheric studio-shot detective thrillers, whose characters gradually became more ambiguous, and whose locations started to take in the world outside (notably New York City). This collection showcases some classic examples.

In The Dark Mirror (1946), directed by Robert Siodmak (The Killers), a man is murdered and there s an obvious suspect, but she has an identical twin sister (both played by Olivia de Havilland, Gone with the Wind), and one of them has a cast-iron alibi. The perfect crime? A psychologist with a specialist interest in twin psychology delves into the heart of the mystery, at considerable risk to himself. In Secret Beyond the Door (1947), Fritz Lang (The Big Heat) adapts the Bluebeard legend with a dash of Daphne du Maurier s Rebecca. Shortly after their marriage, Celia (Joan Bennett, Suspiria) begins to suspect her architect husband Mark (Michael Redgrave, Dead of Night) of having a secret past, and wonders about the reason behind multiple rooms in his self-designed home, one of which is kept permanently locked. In Abraham Polonsky s Force of Evil (1948), an unscrupulous lawyer (John Garfield, The Postman Always Rings Twice) scents a personal fortune when he concocts a plan to merge New York City s numbers rackets into a single powerful and unbreakable operation, but reckons without his brother, who d rather stay independent. And in Joseph H. Lewis ultra-stylish The Big Combo (1955), Lieutenant Diamond (Cornel Wilde, The Naked Prey) is determined to bring down mob boss Mr Brown (Richard Conte, Thieves Highway). But Brown feels the same way, and is far less constrained by the law, leading to some wince-inducing set pieces (some involving a pre-stardom Lee Van Cleef).


Pulp Blu-ray
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A year after they d created one of the defining British gangster pictures with Get Carter, three Michaels writer-director Mike Hodges, producer Michael Klinger and star Michael Caine reunited for another crime picture, albeit with a more oddball flavour...

Caine plays Mickey King, a successful pulp novelist responsible for such titles as My Gun Is Long and The Organ Grinder, who is invited to ghost-write the autobiography of a mystery celebrity. His client turns out to be a former actor, played by Mickey Rooney, well-known for his gangster roles and real-life gangster connections but death is around the corner, and King finds his commission to be a lot more complicated than he first imagined.

A favourite of J.B. Ballard, Pulp has long existed in the shadow of its predecessor. Tonally, it could not be more different Get Carter never had the time for sight gags and one-liners but it s a real gem in its own right and fully deserving of a wider audience. This brand-new restoration from Arrow Films aims to right than wrong.
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  #416  
Old 22nd August 2017, 12:51 PM
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That boxset does look interesting and very appealing, but a purchase will depend on the price, whether it's likely to drop, and if the films will be released individually.
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  #417  
Old 22nd August 2017, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Nosferatu@Cult Labs View Post
That boxset does look interesting and very appealing, but a purchase will depend on the price, whether it's likely to drop, and if the films will be released individually.
I already have Secret Beyond the Door on dvd from Exposure Cinema so don't want the box set, but i aim to buy the individual releases of the others either on dvd or combo set.
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  #418  
Old 22nd August 2017, 10:49 PM
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Pulp!
This I like ...

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  #419  
Old 3rd November 2017, 10:43 PM
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Slightly Scarlet (1956)

An intriguing little Noir from the final days of RKO. Unusual in that Noir from the time was primarily black and white but this was shot in glorious Technicolor.

The film works on two levels. One is top level crime and corruption in the city, the second about a petty thief (Arlene Dahl) released on parole into her sister's (Rhonda Fleming) care and somewhere down the line these two plot strands become entwined.

Although unusual the colour photography really works especially when it comes to Fleming and Dahl, two stunning femme fatale red heads and clearly the slightly scarlet of the title. The colours used are imaginative and the use of light and shadow is at times Lewton esq. (I might not have used that description had it not been an RKO production)

All in all Slightly Scarlet is a decent if not top level example of the genre.
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  #420  
Old 23rd May 2018, 09:06 PM
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Bound (1996, The Wachowski Bros ... that's what it says)

Really?
Yes really. Tilly every inch the femme fatale imho. Like Fiorentino in The Last Seduction
Embroiling a working stiff into a nefarious scheme involving her clueless partner ... is also par for the course cough. Recommended.
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