The Walking Target (1960)

US / 74 minutes / bw / Zenith, UA Dir: Edward L. Cahn Pr: Robert E. Kent Scr: Stephen Kandel Cine: Maury Gertsman Cast: Joan Evans, Ronald Foster, Merry Anders, Harp McGuire, Robert Christopher, Berry Kroeger, Bill Couch, Norm Alden, James Callahan, J. Edward McKinley, William Fawcett, Guy Wilkerson, Harvey Parry.

A more than competent little crime outing that would certainly have been included in my Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir had it not flown below my radar; although its ending somewhat unexpectedly abjures the principles of noirish nihilism—I wouldn’t say it’s outright happy but it’s certainly hopeful—the rest of the movie, cinematography excepted, is full of noirish tropes. This is a film noir in all but recognition as such. I console myself with the fact that it’s managed to fly under all the other relevant radars, not just mine.

Ah, well, I can make amends now.

Nick Harbin (Foster) has done five years for a payroll heist that went horribly wrong: he was captured, his accomplice Jerry (Parry) was shot dead at the scene and his other accomplice, Sam Russo (Alden), was killed by the cops later when making an ill advised run for it.

Ronald Foster as Nick Harbin

The day of Nick’s release comes, and Warden John B. Haggerty (McKinley) warns him that, since he’s never divulged the location of the loot, he’ll be a Continue reading

Night Caller, The (1965)

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Noirish Science Fiction?
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vt Blood Beast from Outer Space; vt Night Caller from Outer Space
UK / 84 minutes / bw (though there’s also a later colorized release) / New Art, Armitage, Butcher’s Dir: John Gilling Pr: Ronald Liles Scr: Jim O’Connolly Story: The Night Callers (1960) by Frank R. Crisp Cine: Stephen Dade Cast: John Saxon, Maurice Denham, Patricia Haines, Alfred Burke, Warren Mitchell, Stanley Meadows, Aubrey Morris, Ballard Berkeley, Marianne Stone, Geoffrey Lumsden, Barbara French, Anthony Wager, David Gregory, Romo Gorrara, Robert Crewdson, John Carson, Jack Watson.

night-caller-0-opener

Some while back I came across a reference to this as an intriguing example of a film noir/science fiction crossover. I discovered I’d bought a copy of the thing years ago but never watched it, so out I dug it. And now, finally, the watching’s been done.

night-caller-3-somewhere

Three scientists at Falsley Park Government Radio and Electronic Research Establishment—they’re just “scientists,” with no specialties itemized—are working away one night at whatever it is non-specialist scientists do that involves a lot of idle oscilloscopes when one of their number, Ann Barlow (Haines), spots something 100 miles above the ground that’s approaching the earth at high speed—over 10,000 miles per hour, in fact. Luckily it slows down, and they’re able to pinpoint where it must have landed.

The other two of the trio are the team leader, Dr. Morley (Denham), and Dr. Jack Costain (Saxon). Ann, being female, is not an out-and-out scientist like the other two. Instead she’s “our analysis expert.” And departmental typist.

Next morning the three go out onto the moors in search of the mystery object, which Ann’s oscilloscope told them must be Continue reading

Red-Haired Alibi (1932)

US / 68 minutes / bw / Tower Dir: Christy Cabanne Pr: Sig Neufeld Scr: Edward T. Lowe Jr. Story: The Red-Haired Alibi (1932) by Wilson Collison Cine: Harry Forbes Cast: Merna Kennedy, Theodore von Eltz, Grant Withers, Purnell Pratt, Huntley Gordon, Fred Kelsey, Arthur Hoyt, Paul Porcassi, John Vosburgh, Shirley Temple, Marion Lessing.

Red-Haired Alibi - 0 opener

Lynn Monith (Kennedy), a native of Columbus, Ohio, and perfume-counter girl at the Hotel Savoy there, allows herself to be taken out for dinner at a nearby biergarten after work one night by suave hotel guest Trent Travers (von Eltz)—although she makes it clear this is going to be a strictly hands-off appointment. He tells her that, if ever she comes to New York City, he has a job for her.

Red-Haired Alibi - 1 Travers sounds Lynn out

Travers (Theodore von Eltz) sounds Lynn out.

A few months later the Hotel Savoy closes down and Lynn is out of a job. She comes to NYC and puts herself up at a swanky hotel she can ill afford. However, when she phones Travers’s home, his Continue reading