On the eve of his marriage, a young man’s fiance disappears. He hires a private detective to help him track her down, but soon finds himself entangled in a web of lies, intrigue and murder revolving around his fiance’s dead ex-husband and his wealthy, corrupt family.
You Can’t Get Away with Murder (1939) Lewis Seiler, Humphrey Bogart, Gale Page, Billy Halop, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Johnnie learns crime from petty thug Frank Wilson. When Wilson kills a pawnbroker with a gun stolen from Johnnie’s sister Madge’s fiance Fred Burke, Fred goes to Sing Sing’s death house. Wilson uses all the pressure can to keep Johnnie silent, even after he and Johnnie themselves wind up in the big house.
Deadline at Dawn (1946) Harold Clurman, Susan Hayward, Bill Williams, Paul Lukas, Film-Noir, Mystery, Romance
Alex, a sailor on leave, recovers from a drink-induced blackout with a large sum of money belonging to Edna Bartelli, a b-girl who invited him home to “fix her radio.” He tries to return it with the reluctant aid of June Goth, a sweet but oh-so-tired dance hall girl; they find Edna murdered. Not quite sure he didn’t do it himself, Alex and June have four hours in the dead of night to find the real killer before his leave ends. Their quest brings them into contact with a sleazy kaleidoscope of minor characters; clues get more and more tangled…
Chicago Calling (1951) John Reinhardt, Dan Duryea, Mary Anderson, Gordon Gebert, Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
Bill Cannon (Dan Duryea) loses everything to alcohol: his job, his family, his self-respect. Soon after his wife and daughter leave him, he receives word his little girl has been injured in a car accident outside Chicago. His wife will call later with news, but Bill’s short the $53 he needs to keep his phone from being disconnected. Filled with anguish, he heads out onto the Los Angeles streets to find some way to come up with the cash. As his character encounters expected cruelty and unexpected kindness, Duryea takes what might have been mere melodrama and turns it into a perceptive examination of one shattered soul.
A young girl is raped while coming home from work. The trauma of the attack turns her away from her parents and her fiancé, and, unable to face society, she runs away and, using an assumed name, takes a job on an orange ranch. A young clergyman takes an interest in her, although she won’t confide in him. When a ranch hand tries to kiss her, she relives her terrifying experience and nearly kills him. She is arrested but when her identity is established and the facts of her case are brought forth, the clergyman convinces the court that it is society that should shoulder the blame. He helps rebuild her faith and send her back to her parents and fiancé.
The Glass Key (1942) Stuart Heisler, Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Brian Donlevy, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
In this slick updating of Dashiell Hammet’s crime novel, political boss Paul Madvig (Brian Donlevy) falls for reform politician Ralph Henry’s attractive daughter Janet (Veronica Lake), despite the caution of his best friend, Ed Beaumont (Alan Ladd). Paul’s efforts to disassociate himself from the criminal underworld backfire, however, when he is accused of murdering Janet’s disreputable brother, and a casino owner Paul had offended sends his sadistic thugs after Ed in revenge.
The Unfaithful (1947) Vincent Sherman, Ann Sheridan, Lew Ayres, Zachary Scott, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Chris Hunter kills an intruder and tells her husband and lawyer it was an act of self-defense. It’s later revealed that he was actually her lover and she had posed for an incriminating statue he created.
In a Lonely Place (1950) Nicholas Ray, Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy, Film-Noir, Mystery, Drama
When a gifted but washed-up screenwriter with a hair-trigger temper – Humphrey Bogart, in a revelatory, vulnerable performance – becomes the prime suspect in a brutal Tinseltown murder, the only person who can supply an alibi for him is a seductive neighbor (Gloria Grahame) with her own troubled past. The emotionally charged In a Lonely Place, freely adapted from a Dorothy B. Hughes thriller, is a brilliant, turbulent mix of suspenseful noir and devastating melodrama, fueled by powerhouse performances. An uncompromising tale of two people desperate to love yet struggling with their demons and each other, this is one of the greatest films of the 1950s, and a benchmark in the career of the classic Hollywood auteur Nicholas Ray.
Highway 301 (1950) Andrew L. Stone, Steve Cochran, Virginia Grey, Gaby André, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Time Without Pity (1957) Joseph Losey, Michael Redgrave, Ann Todd, Leo McKern, Drama, Crime, Mystery, Film-Noir
Alec Graham is sentenced to death for the murder of his girlfriend Jennie, with whom he spent a weekend at the English country home of the parents of his friend Brian Stanford. Alec’s father, David Graham, a not-so-successful writer and alcoholic who has neglected his son in the past, flies in from Canada to visit his son on death row. Alec repudiates his father’s attempts for a final reconciliation. David Graham, convinced of his son’s innocence and, despite his preoccupation with himself and his own alcoholism, mounts a last-ditch effort to find the true murderer in the 24 hours remaining until the planned execution. Graham encounters the wealthy and famous car manufacturer Robert Stanford, tyrant at home and in the office and an apparent womanizer, Stanford’s young, curiously troubled wife Honar, their ill-at- ease son Brian, himself disturbed by his parents’ relationship, and Vicky Harker, a young, brainless secretary at Stanford’s factory who has been climbing up the career …