Women from Headquarters (1950)

US / 47/60 minutes / bw / Republic Dir: George Blair Assoc Pr: Stephen Auer Scr: Gene Lewis Cine: John MacBurnie Cast: Virginia Huston, Robert Rockwell, Barbra Fuller, Norman Budd, Frances Charles, K. Elmo Lowe, Otto Waldis, Grandon Rhodes, Jack Kruschen, Bert Conway, Marlo Dwyer, Sid Marion, John DeSimone, Gil Herman, Leonard Penn.

A cross between an efficient little B-feature police procedural and a promotional/recruitment video (so to speak) for the LAPD and its supposedly woman-friendly policies.

Virginia Huston as Joyce.

Joyce Harper (Huston) has served her country overseas in uniform, but now she’s back and she just can’t hold down a steady job: “I came back to a world I didn’t fit into.” She rooms with Ruby Cain (Fuller), whom she’s looked after for the past decade or so, since Ruby was orphaned at age 12. Like any big sister, she’s aghast at the man the kid’s taken up with:

Joyce: “Wake up, Ruby. You’re just the glamorous little girl he likes to pet, spoil and fool around with. He gets a kick out of his shady pals sizing you up.”

Quite right too: the man in question, Max Taylor (Budd), is a drug pusher, working for nightclub boss Joe Calla (Waldis). And, when Joyce is recruited by Sergeant Ann Rogers (Charles) to join the LAPD, Continue reading

Into the Night (1955 TVM)

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Jacques Tourneur directs a taut little noirish thriller!
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US / 26 minutes / bw / Revue, MCA, CBS Dir: Jacques Tourneur Pr: Leon Gordon Scr: Mel Dinelli Story: Charles Hoffman Cine: Ellsworth Fredricks (i.e., Ellsworth Fredericks) Cast: Eddie Albert, Ruth Roman, Dane Clark, Robert Armstrong, Jeanne Bates, Wallis Clark, Bill Fawcett, Nora Marlowe, Larry Blake, Bob Bice, Jerry Mathers.

An episode of the CBS drama series General Electric Theater (season 3, episode 32, for the benefit of completists), this Jacques Tourneur-directed outing manages to pack all the plot, characterization and suspense of an upper-drawer B-feature into half or less of the typical running time.

Helen Mattson (Roman) and husband Paul (Albert) are going away for a weekend’s vacation in Palm Springs, leaving Continue reading

Too Late for Tears (1949)

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Lizabeth Scott triumphs in an underrated noir classic!
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vt Killer Bait
US / 100 minutes / bw / Hunt Stromberg, UA Dir: Byron Haskin Pr: Hunt Stromberg Scr: Roy Huggins Story: Too Late for Tears (1947, originally serialized in Saturday Evening Post) by Roy Huggins Cine: William Mellor Cast: Lizabeth Scott, Don DeFore, Dan Duryea, Arthur Kennedy, Kristine Miller, Barry Kelley, Smoki Whitfield, David Clarke, Billy Halop.

Too Late for Tears - 0 opener

If there was any single movie or actor that set me off on the long and winding course toward writing A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir, Too Late for Tears was that movie and Lizabeth Scott was that actor.

I first watched the movie sometime in the early 2000s. Before that I’d written quite extensively on animation—in fact, I’d not so very long before seen publication of my book Masters of Animation—and on fantasy movies, for The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, edited by John Clute and myself. I’d been playing around with various ideas for more books on animation and/or the cinema of the fantastic, but then, for some reason—perhaps just because it came on TCM while I was sitting on the couch, who knows?—I found myself watching Too Late for Tears for the first time.

And it felt like coming home.

Of course, I’d watched countless films noirs before then, and liked them a lot—The BLUE DAHLIA (1946) was a particular favorite (have I ever mentioned my longtime crush on Veronica Lake?)—but Continue reading

o/t: oh, it’s New Year, is it?

Many thanks to everyone whose visits and comments through 2014 have made it seem worth my while continuing with Noirish. The year has seen a steady growth in the site’s traffic; golly, but I felt as if I was channeling Mitt Romney when I typed that.

It’s not a feeling I much wish to revisit.

Whateffer, as they say in my homeland, I hope everyone who visits this site regularly, occasionally or even (and here I’m stretching what little human sympathies I have) <i>never</i> has a great 2015. It’d be good, too, if the world as a whole had a great 2015, but that would involve US politics somehow ridding itself of its corruption and beginning to act in the interests of the American people, and of the planet.

Here are the movies about which I posted essays on <i>Noirish</i> during 2014. I’d hoped that each title would link to the relevant page, but the gods of WordPress decided that This Was Not To Be. The list includes the movie about which I’ll be posting tomorrow — a spiffy Japanese neonoir that you owe it to yourself to see.

January
Secret, The (1997 TVM)
Shadow, The (1933)
Tiger Bay (1934)
Wenn es Nacht Wird auf der Reeperbahn (1967)
Woman’s Secret, A (1949)
East, The (2013)
After Alice (1999)
Amateur Crook (1937)
American Gangster (2007)
Black Hand, The: True Story of a Recent Occurrence in the Italian Quarter of New York (1906)
Dead Man Down (2013)
Fat Man, The (1951)
Fear is the Key (1972)
Flirting with Fate (1916)

February
Girl in Gold Boots (1968)
Hotel Berlin (1945)
Hotel Noir (2012)
Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
Love the Hard Way (2001/2003)
Morton Thompson’s Not as a Stranger (1955)
Night Train (2009 DTV)
Public Eye, The (1992)
Secret Six, The (1931)
Stark Fear (1962)
Teckman Mystery, The (1954)
Call, The (2013)

March
In Cold Blood (1967)
In Cold Blood (1996 TVM)
Capote (2005)
Infamous (2006)
Case of the Missing Heiress, The (1949)
Circus of Fear (1966)
Circus Queen Murder, The (1933)
Dark Light, The (1951)
Double Identity (1990 TVM)
Floater, The (1961 TVM)
Ellery Queen and the Murder Ring (1941)
Evidence of the Film, The (1913)
Fat Man, The: The Thirty-Two Friends of Gina Lardelli (1959 TVM)

April
Felicia’s Journey (1999)
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Gangster Squad (2013)
Pris au Piège (1957 TVM)
Rikollinen Nainen (1952)
Stand Up Guys (2012)
Tiger Bay (1959)
White Trap, The (1959)
Drag-Net, The (1936)
Four Just Men, The (1939)

May
Anna-Liisa (1922)
Arsenal Stadium Mystery, The (1939)
Banker, The (1989)
Blood (2012)
Candlelight in Algeria (1944)
Convicted (1931)
Douce Violence (1962)
Engagement (2012)

June
Portrait of Jennie (1948)
Frosch mit der Maske, Der (1959)
Girl on the Run (1953)
Moderato Cantabile (1960)
Murder is News (1937)
Three Steps in the Dark (1953)
On Dangerous Ground (1951)
To Kill a Dead Man (1994)
Violent Moment (1959)
You Have to Run Fast (1961)

July
Young Captives, The (1959)
Spy in Black, The (1939)
Out of the Past (1947)
Awful Truth, The (1937)
Public Ransom, A (2014)
Alias Mary Smith (1932)
Baryshnya i Khuligan (1918)
Blind Alibi (1938)
Cage of Evil (1960)
Carrefour (1938)
Counselor, The (2013)

August
Emil und die Detektive (1931)
Bushwhackers, The (1952)
Game (2013)
Floating Dutchman, The (1952)
Geheimnis der Schwarzen Witwe, Das (1963)
Hell’s House (1932)
Something to Live For (1952)
Motel Blue (1997 DTV)
In a Lonely Place (1950)
Voice of Merrill, The (1952)
Ragazza del Lago, La (2007)

September
Ringer, The (1952)
Scarlet Web, The (1954)
Stolen (2009)
Stolen (2012)
Dødes Tjern, De (1958)
Suspect (1960)
Alibi, L’ (1937)
Anni (2011 DTV)

October
Black Widow (1954)
Boîte Noire, La (2005)
Marked Man (1996)
Confessions of a Psycho Cat (1968)
Crime Nobody Saw, The (1937)
Death at Broadcasting House (1934)
Down Three Dark Streets (1954)
Femme Fatale (2013)
Who Killed Aunt Maggie? (1940)
Girl who Dared, The (1944)

November
Hideout, The (1956)
Intruder, The (1933)
Labyrinth der Leidenschaften (1959)
Lizzie (1957)
Maison sous les Arbres, La (1971)
Manche et la Belle, Une (1957)
Midnight Episode (1950)
Missing Million, The (1942)
Night Boat to Dublin (1946)

December
Musta Jää (2007)
Phone Call from a Stranger (1952)
Pokrajina Št.2 (2008)
Premier Cercle, Le (2009)
Rossiter Case, The (1951)
Send for Paul Temple (1946)
Silenzio dei Prosciutti, Il (1994)
Sheng Dan Mei Gui (2013)
Special Investigator (1936)
Tantei Wa Bar ni Iru (2011)

Obviously most of these are borderline noir at best, and quite a few aren’t noir at all (but have some vague form of associational interest, even if only in my fevered brain); there’s a reason why this site has the title it does. I think I probably have the old/new balance about right, although this may be affected in the coming year as I attempt to cover more indies. Another factor is that I’d like to cover more of the noirish Bollywood movies; more non-anglophone movies in general.

I think what I need is two of me.