Monday, April 10, 2006

“Down these dark streets…”

Jaime Weinman at Something Old, Nothing New pointed me towards an interesting article by Jonathan Rosenbaum at entitled “Ten Overlooked Noirs.”  Jonathan lists each noir by category, noting a film that’s readily available on disc and one that is not.

It’s a very good read, and I love some of his choices for noirs that should be on DVD but aren’t: Ace in the Hole (1951), for example.  This underrated classic—directed by the one-and-only Billy Wilder—stars Kirk Douglas in one of his preeminent rat-bastard roles; that of an unscrupulous newspaperman who uses a man trapped in a cave-in to crawl his way back to the top of the print journalism game.  This corrosive film—dubbed by Paramount wags as “Ass in the Wringer”—was remarkably prescient in its examination of today’s media, and of course, it co-stars TDOY fave Jan Sterling as the man’s wife who has one of filmdom’s most memorably cynical retorts: “I don’t pray.  Kneeling bags my nylons.”  Someone mentioned a while back that they were finally going to release Hole—also known as The Big Carnival, its re-release title—on DVD but unfortunately that version is a documentary about the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Other “SBA’s” (should be available) noted by Rosenbaum include While the City Sleeps (1956), Fritz Lang’s better-than-it-ought-to-be account of the hunt for a serial killer by a team of reporters who spend most of their time getting sloshed in gin joints throughout the film’s running time, and The Sound of Fury (1950, a.k.a. Try and Get Me!), a movie that features OTR veteran Frank Lovejoy’s finest hour on the silver screen as a man who stupidly allows himself to become enmeshed in the schemes of a seriously-disturbed Lloyd Bridges (this flick was based on the events dramatized in Fritz Lang’s first American offering, Fury).  Another movie mentioned oh-so-briefly by Jonathan is The Phenix City Story (1955) a little-seen Phil Karlson docu-noir based on the corrupt Alabama town of the same name.  (I’d buy all these for a dollar!)

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