In this semidocumentary, an Alabama town is run by a crime syndicate that’s grown fat on prostitution and crooked gambling, directed at soldiers from Fort Benning across the river. Lawyer John Patterson, back from the army, is triggered by what he sees to join the reformers with a plan: to run his father Albert for state attorney general. The syndicate responds with escalating violence: is no one safe? Credits preceded by a “newscast” containing spoilers.
Loan Shark (1952) Seymour Friedman, George Raft, Dorothy Hart, Paul Stewart, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A vicious loan shark ring has been preying on factory workers. When several workers at a tire factory suffer violence at the hands of the loan sharkers, a union leader and the factory owner try to recruit ex-con Joe Gargan to infiltrate to the gang. At first Joe does not want to get involved, but changes his mind when his brother-in-law dies at the hands of a savage loan shark hood. Joe works his way into the mob, but in order to keep his cover, Joe can’t tell anyone what he is up to. This results in him being disowned by his sister and girl friend.
The Well (1951) Leo C. Popkin, Gwendolyn Laster, Richard Rober, Maidie Norman, Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
In a racially mixed American town, a 5-year-old black girl falls unnoticed into a hidden, forgotten well on her way to school. Having nothing better to go on, the police follow up a report that the child was seen with a white stranger, and rumors run wild. Before hapless, innocent Claude Packard is even found, popular hysteria has him tried and convicted. But Packard’s troubles pale by comparison as ever more inflated rumors uncap the well of racial tensions and mob violence. And young Carolyn Crawford, forgotten by most, is still missing…
Chubunka is the self-made head of the rackets in the sleazy boardwalk community of Neptune City, a low-rent version of Coney Island. He has become infatuated with a sultry nightclub chanteuse and lavishes her with gifts and attention, spending money on her that might better go to maintaining his hold on his operation. His obsession with her, as well as his pride, clouds his judgment as Cornell, a much more ruthless hoodlum, moves in on Chubunka’s territory, bribes and threatens his associates, and compromises his operation. As if in a Greek tragedy, the petty gangster’s weaknesses conspire to cause his downfall.
Dust Be My Destiny (1939) Lewis Seiler, John Garfield, Priscilla Lane, Alan Hale, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Embittered after serving time for a burglary he did not commit, Joe Bell is soon back in jail, on a prison farm. His love for the foreman’s daughter leads to a fight between them, leading to the older man’s death due to a weak heart. Joe and Mabel go on the run as he thinks no-one would believe a nobody like him.
Strangers in the Night (1944) Anthony Mann, William Terry, Virginia Grey, Helene Thimig, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A lonely, mentally unbalanced woman invents a fictitious daughter and has the “daughter” write to a Marine stationed in the South Pacific. When the soldier returns back to the States, he goes to look up his pen pal, and is told by the “mother” that the daughter has moved away. An acquaintance of the women tells the soldier the truth, and in a rage the “mother” kills her. In order to cover up that crime, she realizes she must kill the soldier, too.
The House on 92nd Street (1945) Henry Hathaway, William Eythe, Lloyd Nolan, Signe Hasso, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Preface: a stentorian narrator tells us that the USA was flooded with Nazi spies in 1939-41. One such tries to recruit college grad Bill Dietrich, who becomes a double agent for the FBI. While Bill trains in Hamburg, a street-accident victim proves to have been spying on atom-bomb secrets; conveniently, Dietrich is assigned to the New York spy ring stealing these secrets. Can he track down the mysterious “Christopher” before his ruthless associates unmask and kill him?
Malaya (1949) Richard Thorpe, Spencer Tracy, James Stewart, Valentina Cortese, Adventure, Drama, Film-Noir
After living abroad for several years, journalist John Royer returns to the United States just after the U.S. enters World War II. His boast that he could easily smuggle rubber, a key wartime natural resource, out of Malaya has him tasked with doing just that. He manages to get someone from his past, Carnaghan, sprung from Alactraz and together they head off to South East Asia posing as Irishmen. Once there, Carnaghan lines up some of his old cronies and with Royer and a few plantation owners plans to smuggle the rubber out from under the Japanese army’s watchful eye.
Dangerous Crossing (1953) Joseph M. Newman, Jeanne Crain, Michael Rennie, Max Showalter, Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery
A young bride is set to begin her honeymoon aboard a luxury liner. Her happiness does not last when she finds that her husband has disappeared. Trouble is, no one else ever saw him board the ship with her and his name has mysteriously dropped from the passenger list.
The Sniper (1952) Edward Dmytryk, Arthur Franz, Adolphe Menjou, Gerald Mohr, Crime, Film-Noir, Drama
Apparently rejected by women all his life, a loner with a high-power rifle starts on a trail of murder. The police are baffled by the apparently random killings until their psychologist comes up with some ideas.