Based on the files of the United States Department of Treasury. Commissioner Michael Barrows is an American Government Agent. On board a Coast Gaurd boat off the California coast he chases a ship. The Captain of the ship, the Kira Maru, panics and ruthlessly sends 100 Chinese slaves to a watery death. Barrows recovers a live preserver that tells him the ship is out of Shanghai. He travels there to track down the ship’s captain and discovers that these deaths point to a huge drug smuggling operation. In Shanghai, while searching for the captain of the Kira Maru, he becomes suspicious of a women, Ann Grant, believing she’s Jean Hawks the narcotics ringleader. He follows the narcotics trail “to the ends of the Earth” taking him from Shanghai to Cairo, Beirut and Havana to stop the drugs and the jean Hawks ring at the US border.
Gambler John Merrick (Frank Lovejoy) is the head of a bookie syndicate and the newspaper is crusading against him and the rackets, primarily because Merrick is in love with Felice Stuart (Joan Weldon), daughter of the newspaper publisher who can not break up the romance through persuasion. A senate committee investigating crime gets involved, the racketeers, other than Merrick who is a “nice guy”, strike back and kill a reporter, and Merrick’s own son, Jerry Merrick (Robert Arthur), commits suicide. Merrick, to his own disadvantage, helps bring down the syndicate. Since it is in black-and-white-, deals with crime and was an American-made film, some will call it “film noir” since that seems to be the current guidelines for putting a film in that, at one time limited-and-defined genre. It ain’t, and neither are most of the others currently so classified.
He Ran All the Way (1951) John Berry, John Garfield, Shelley Winters, Wallace Ford, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
The uptight and dumb small time thief Nick Robey and his partner and only friend Al Molin steal $10,000.00 from a man, but the heist goes wrong. Al Molin is killed by a policeman and Nick shoots him in the spine. He hides out in a public swimming pool and meets the lonely spinster Peggy Dobbs in the water. Nick uses Peggy to lie low. He offers a ride in a taxi to her and she invites him to her apartment, where she introduces her family to him. When Nick discovers that he killed the cop, he decides to use Peggy’s apartment as hideout to wait the police manhunt cool down. When Nick finds that Peggy loves him, he invites her to leave town with him and asks her to buy a used car. However, Nick cannot trust anybody and believes Peggy has betrayed him.
Walk Softly, Stranger (1950) Robert Stevenson, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Spring Byington, Crime, Film-Noir, Drama
A charming, smooth-talking gambler calling himself Chris Hale arrives in Ashton, home of the Corelli shoe factory. Claiming to have lived there as a boy, he soon ingratiates himself with the townspeople… including attractive heiress Elaine Corelli, wheelchair-bound since a recent accident. Chris, hoping to leave crime behind, seems to have excellent prospects; but of course, his past catches up with him…
Joe Sante wants to be the big man, and nobody is going stand in his way. In a world full of smoke, molls, shakedowns, muscle, and murder, Joe knows what he wants and how to get it. But can he disregard his poor old immigrant parents who are ashamed of his criminal life? Will he drag his sweet girlfriend into the life of the underworld? And most importantly, can Joe trust his mobster friends?
Deadline – U.S.A. (1952) Richard Brooks, Humphrey Bogart, Ethel Barrymore, Kim Hunter, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Ed Hutcheson, tough editor of the New York ‘Day’, finds that the late owner’s heirs are selling the crusading paper to a strictly commercial rival. At first he sees impending unemployment as an opportunity to win back his estranged wife Nora. But when a reporter, pursuing a lead on racketeer Rienzi, is badly beaten, Hutcheson is stung into a full fledged crusade against the gangster, hoping Rienzi can be tied to a woman’s murder…in the 3 issues before the end of ‘The Day.’
Whistle Stop (1946) Léonide Moguy, George Raft, Ava Gardner, Victor McLaglen, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Beautiful Mary returns to her small hometown after many years from Chicago wearing a mink coat and carrying an expensive cigarette case. Her arrival causes long standing enmities to surface between two of her old boyfriends, Kenny Veech, a loafing gambler, and debonair Lew Lentz, owner of a local nightclub. Their deep-seated animosity repeatedly results in antagonism and fights as they compete for Mary’s affections. Kenny’s friend Gitlo, a bartender in Lentz’ club, enlists Kenny in an aborted plan to rob Lentz of $15,000 in profits from sponsoring a local carnival. Lentz retaliates by framing both men for murder.
Vice Squad (1953) Arnold Laven, Edward G. Robinson, Paulette Goddard, K.T. Stevens, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
When a police officer is shot arresting a car thief, Captain Barnaby uses his skills and contacts to track down the culprits and uncovers a bank heist plan in the process. Barnaby has no qualms about bending the law to achieve his ends, including trumped up charges to persuade his only witness to cooperate or detaining some call girls to coerce their madam to help him. In the meantime he deals with everyday police business, juggling seemingly trivial matters with more serious ones.
Dead Reckoning (1947) John Cromwell, Humphrey Bogart, Lizabeth Scott, Morris Carnovsky, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Rip Murdock and Johnny Darke are en route to Washington when Johnny disappears and then turns up dead. Rip learns that Johnny had been accused of murder and sets out to find out what he can. He falls in love with Coral whose husband Johnny is supposed to have killed.
Underworld Beauty (1958) Seijun Suzuki, Michitarô Mizushima, Mari Shiraki, Shinsuke Ashida, Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
The moment he’s released from prison, the honorable gangster Miyamoto recovers the stolen diamonds he had stashed before getting pinched. When he returns to his haunt to make good by friend who took a bullet for him, he is diverted by the greedy boss Oyane and his insatiable taste for Miyamoto’s precious stones. Replete with film noir style, “Underworld Beauty” is one of Suzuki’s best nods to the American gangster genre.