On a city’s mean streets, the boys join gangs at 15. Frankie leads the Hornets: he’s 18, seething, coiled. When a neighbor goes to the cops after seeing one of the Hornets with a zip gun, Frankie vows to kill the old guy, hatching a plan using Lou, who smiles and smokes, and “Baby,” the 15-year-old son of an immigrant shopkeeper. Ben Wagner, the social worker at a neighborhood settlement house, gets wind of the plan and tries to break through to Frankie. Frankie’s brother Richie, who’s about 12, worships and fears Frankie; he also figures out what his brother is up to. Is Frankie doomed to crash and burn at 18?
Quicksand (1950) Irving Pichel, Mickey Rooney, Jeanne Cagney, Barbara Bates, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Motor mechanic Dan Brady lacks funds for a heavy date with new waitress Vera, the type whose life’s ambition is a fur coat; so he embezzles twenty dollars from his employer. To make up the shortage, he goes in debt for a hundred. Thereafter, every means he tries to get out of trouble only gets him deeper into crime, while everyone he meets is out for what they can get.
Screaming Mimi (1958) Gerd Oswald, Anita Ekberg, Philip Carey, Gypsy Rose Lee, Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
Exotic dancer Virginia Wilson sees a man get shot moments after he tries to knife her in a shower, so she goes to Dr. Greenwood a psychiatrist for therapy. He falls in love with her and takes over her life, although she insists on continuing her career at the El Madhouse nightclub. The club’s tough owner is none other than Gypsy Rose Lee who plays ‘Gypsy’ and sings an incredibly bad song (“Put the Blame on Mame”) when Virginia is late one night. The traumatized Virginia is suspected of a series of murders. Each victim had purchased a contorted sculpture of a woman called the Screaming Mimi, which was created by her step-brother Charlie who was also responsible for shooting her attacker. It’s up to a handsome columnist Bill Sweeny to figure it all out.
This Side of the Law (1950) Richard L. Bare, Viveca Lindfors, Kent Smith, Janis Paige, Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery
David Cummings, a vagrant, is bailed out of jail by Philip Cagle, an attorney, who hires him to impersonate a missing millionaire, whose presence is necessary in order to distribute a $3,000,000 estate. Cummings’ masquerade involves fooling the missing man’s wife, his brother and the brother’s wife. Cagle, desiring to be rid of Cummings, sets actions in play which ends in murder, attempted murder and the entombment of Cummings. Can he dig his way out and set things right?
A Blueprint For Murder (1953) Andrew L. Stone, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters, Gary Merrill, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Two orphans, Polly and Doug, live with their stepmother Lynne; Polly collapses with the same mystery symptoms that killed her father. The kids’ visiting uncle, Whitney Cameron, is warned that the symptoms match strychnine poisoning, but that poisoners are seldom detected and rarely convicted. Sure enough, no case can be made against the obvious suspect; so what can Whitney do to save the next victim?
Cry Terror! (1958) Andrew L. Stone, James Mason, Rod Steiger, Inger Stevens, Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller
Yesterday Jim Molner was an ordinary guy. Today he’s a desperate man, frantically trying to save himself and his family, held hostage by a demented terrorist who’s demanding $500,000 not to detonate a bomb he’s planted on a domestic airliner.
The Long Night (1947) Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Anatole Litvak, Henry Fonda, Barbara Bel Geddes, Vincent Price
The credits fade onto a blind man tapping his way down the sidewalk,he enters a dingy boarding house and hears a shot fired in one of the upstairs bedrooms. A door opens from audience POV. A man tumbles out of the door and falls, slides and slithers down two flights of stairs and is dead when he hits the bottom. Then follows nearly 100 minutes of flashback and flashbacks-within-flashbacks about a veteran returing from the war, tired and disillusioned, only to find that he girl he loves has lied to him about her relationship with another man, and that man is sadistic, boastful and tauntful.
Harikomi / Stakeout (1958) Yoshitarô Nomura, Minoru Ôki, Takahiro Tamura, Seiji Miyaguchi, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) Fritz Lang, Dana Andrews, Joan Fontaine, Sidney Blackmer, Crime, Film-Noir, Drama
Investigative reporter Tom Garrett is on leave from his newspaper job to work on his second novel. As Tom is having problems writing that second book, his boss and future father-in-law, newspaper publisher Austin Spencer, suggests he write a non-fiction book on capital punishment in their state instead. Both Austin and Tom have long believed that the state district attorney, Roy Thompson, has been able to manipulate juries into rendering wrongful guilty verdicts leading to the deaths of innocent people on death row. The plan would be to plant evidence leading to a guilty verdict of an innocent person in a murder case, Tom to be that innocent person. Austin and Tom would document all that planted evidence, and make it public after the rendering of the guilty verdict to reverse that wrongful verdict and hopefully lead to discussion of the merits of abolishing capital punishment.
Born to Kill (1947) Robert Wise, Claire Trevor, Lawrence Tierney, Walter Slezak, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
In Reno a man kills a girl he likes and her boyfriend out of jealousy; it may not be the first time. A woman whose divorce has just come through finds the bodies but decides not to become involved. The two meet next day on the train to San Francisco unaware of this link between them. They are attracted to each other, and the relationship survives his marriage to her half-sister for money and status. It even survives the woman discovering that he was the murderer, though she may not realise how easily someone who has killed this way before can do so again.