Shield for Murder (1954) – 124

Shield for Murder (1954)

 

Welcome to today’s show, my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. So please subscribe when you are finished listening. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts.

Today’s movie is Shield for Murder (1954) and it is badass. Edmond O’Brien is amazing as a bad guy. Director Howard W. Koch managed a bunch of really tough guys and beautiful dolls in this late Film Noir. I was amazed that movies this good are just floating around out in the inter-webs.

I’ll stop gushing. We have quite a few show veterans so I’ll get going with them.

Actors

Returning

As I have already mentioned, the great actor Edmond O’Brien plays Detective Lt. Barney Nolan. O’Brien was first mentioned in Episode 30 – Birdman of Alcatraz (1962).

John Agar, a part of the John Wayne group was cast …

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Crime of Passion (1957) – 123

Crime of Passion (1957)

 

 

Welcome to today’s show, Crime of Passion (1957), my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. So please subscribe when you are finished listening. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts.
Today’s movie is Crime of Passion (1957). This classic Film Noir was directed by Gerd Oswald. It has an amazing cast featuring Barbara Stanwyck, Raymond Burr, Sterling Hayden, and King Kong’s love interest Fay Wray.

Eddie Muller in his intro to this film for Noir City called it a proto-feminist film where boredom drives a housewife to murder. But I think it was more blind ambition.

One of my favorite things about this movie is that it is a very different story. The plot is different and takes the viewer down an unexpected path. Okay, let’s jump right into the veteran actors.

Actors

Returning

Barbara Stanwyck …

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The Blue Gardenia (1953) – 115

The Blue Gardenia (1953)

 

Welcome to today’s show, The Blue Gardenia (1953), my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. So please subscribe when you are finished listening. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts.

Today’s movie is The Blue Gardenia (1953). Eddie Muller of Noir Alley said that viewers are divided into two camps concerning this Fritz Lang directed the film. The first group said it is a hidden masterpiece of his career while the second group thinks it is a throw away done for a paycheck. I am clearly in the second group. I wanted to like this movie very much with stars Anne Baxter, Richard Conte, and Raymond Burr. Not so much. It even had Superman George Reeves as a detective. It should have been great. However, there were truck size holes in the plot and the killer was obvious from the …

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The Set-Up (1949) – 113

The Set-Up (1949)

 

Welcome to today’s show, The Set-Up (1949), my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. So please subscribe when you are finished listening. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts.

Today’s movie is The Set-Up (1949). This film was based on a poem by Joseph Moncure March, about a black boxer with the stuff to be a champ but was never given the chance. A small piece of the poem reads:

Mean as a panther, Crafty as a fox, He could hit like a mule, And he knew how to box.
A dark-skinned jinx, With eyes like a lynx, A heart like a lion, And a face like the Sphinx.

Sounds like it may be the inspiration for “The Warriors Creed” by Dropkick Murphy as well.

Robert Ryan played washed up boxer Stoker. Ryan was covered …

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Great Femme Fatales of Film Noir

Glorida Grahame Femme Fatales

What are Femme Fatales?

Femme Fatales are easy to spot in a Film Noir but they are not that easy to define. They are much more complex than an attractive woman that leads men who love them to doom. It is easy to spot their traits like Roger Ebert did in the quote below, but it doesn’t capture it all. Are they woman the rebel against the norms of their era and seek a life free from the chains of traditional marriage or are they simply bad girls. These characters are what makes Film Noir great and they deserve much more credit. I have listed a dozen of the top Femme Fatales roles in the table below. Many more Femme Fatales deserve to be on the list. Roles played by Gloria Grahame, Lizabeth Scott, Marie Windsor, Carolyn Jones, and Anna May Wong deserve mention and will eventually have to expand the list.

Femme Fatale Traits – Low necklines, floppy hats, mascara, lipstick, boudoirs, calling the doorman by his …

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The Maltese Falcon (1941) – Episode 100

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

 

Welcome to today’s show, The Maltese Falcon (1941), my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts. Remember this show is completely free and independent. All I ask is that you jump over to iTunes and give me a review.

Today is a major milestone, 100 Episodes. I want to thank you for all the support that you have given me as I have endeavored to produce this podcast.

So, as I did for Episode 25, I will go with a Humphrey Bogart film. Today’s movie is a film noir classic The Maltese Falcon (1941) which I will go out on a limb and say this is maybe the best film ever made.

Humphrey Bogart played the main character Detective Samuel Spade The great Humphrey Bogart was covered in Episode 25 – Sahara (1943).

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The Big Heat (1953) – Episode 99

The Big Heat (1953)

 

Welcome to today’s show, The Big Heat (1953) is a classic film noir directed by Fritz Lang and starring Glenn Ford as a good cop and Gloria Grahame as a b-girl.

Actors

Glenn Ford plays the lead role of honest Det. Sgt. Dave Bannion. Ford was first covered in Episode 35 – Blackboard Jungle (1955)

The lovely Gloria Grahame played Debby Marsh. Grahame was talked about in Episode 53 – It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Jocelyn Brando played the role of Katie Bannion. This older sister of Marlon Brandon was born in 1919. Jocelyn grew up in Illinois and was plagued by her two alcoholic parents. She started working in theater in Omaha and debuted on Broadway at the age of 22.

Her first film role was in the China Adventure (1953). Her best-known film role is The Big Heat (1953). Jocelyn worked with her famous brother in The Ugly American (1963) and The Chase (1966).

Jocelyn was more successful on television. Her last film role …

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Forty Essential Film Noir Classics

Double Indemnity - Forty Essential Film Noir Classics

I have trouble stopping at 40 on this Forty Essential Film Noir Classics. I will continue to update the list as more movies are added.

I wanted to add a definition for Film noir, so I went to the great movie critic Roger Ebert.  I have shortened his definitions but included the link below so you can read the complete original.

1. A French term meaning “black film,” or film of the night.

2. Doesn’t mislead you into thinking there will be a happy ending.

3. Locations that reek of the night, of shadows, of alleys, of the back doors of fancy places.

4. Cigarettes. Everybody in film noir is always smoking. The best smoking movie of all time is Out of the Past, in which Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas smoke furiously at each other.

5. Women who would just as soon kill you as love you, and vice versa. This is priceless JEC.

6. For women: low necklines, floppy hats, mascara, lipstick, boudoirs, …

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Brute Force (1947) – Episode 93

Brute Force (1947)

 

Today’s movie is the film noir Brute Force (1947). It tells the tale of a group of prisoners that tell their story using a pin-up picture in their cell. It is noted that the inspiration and violence in this movie is in direct response to the Battle of Alcatraz, May 2-4, 1946[1]. At the federal prisoner in San Francisco Bay, the prisoner fought until their deaths even though their situation was hopeless. Ironically, Burt Lancaster, playing the role of Robert Stroud in Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), helped to end the Alcatraz escape attempt. Of course, this part of the movie is not based on historical fact.

The movie is social commentary on the rise of fascism and Nazism. The pin-up picture of the woman used in the film is said to be a composite of actresses Yvonne De Carlo, Ann Blyth, and Ella Raines, by painter John Decker[2]. I don’t see it.

Actors

This prison movie had a rather large cast included 10 actors …

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I Want to Live! (1958) – Episode 92

I Want to Live! (1958)

 

Welcome to today’s show, I Want to Live! (1958), my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts. Remember this show is completely free and independent. All I ask is that you jump over to iTunesand give me a review.

Today’s movie is I Want to Live! (1958). It is a gritty film noir that focuses almost exclusively on the female part of the story. The main character can be described as a femme fatale as she only brought down herself. This movie is driven by a lively jazz soundtrack. It highlights the differences between sweet jazz and legitimate or swing jazz. The lighting for mood is well done and should be watched carefully. Susan Hayward gives a masterful performance and won a much deserved best actress Oscar.

 Actors

Susan Hayward played the …

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Laura (1944) – Episode 91

Laura (1944)

 

Welcome to today’s show, Laura (1944), my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunesor follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts. Remember this show is completely free and independent. All I ask is that you jump over to iTunesand give me a review.

This is a very unusually film that is classified a film noir. The story follows a detective as he falls in love with a murdered woman. Director Otto Preminger added some odd homoerotic tension and many key noir elements are missing.

Let’s jump right in with the actors.

ACTORS

Dana Andrews was cast in the role of Det. Lt. Mark McPherson who falls in love with a dead woman. Andrews was first covered in Episode 4 – In Harm’s Way (1965).

Vincent Price played the role of Shelby Carpenter, a southern huckster that was engaged to …

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Ace in the Hole (1951) – Episode 89

Ace in the Hole (1951)

 

Welcome to today’s show, Ace in the Hole (19510), my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts. Remember this show is completely free and independent. All I ask is that you jump over to iTunes and give me a review.

Today’s movie is a film noir classic Ace in the Hole (1951). It is also known as The Big Carnaval (1951). Kirk Douglas plays a down and out newspaper man willing to do anything to get a big story. There are plenty of other corrupt people and a femme fatale.

Kirk Douglas plays down and out newspaperman Chuck Tatum. Douglas was first covered in Episode 4 – In Harm’s Way (1965).

Ray Teal was cast in the role of crooked Sheriff Gus Kretzer. Teal was covered in Episode 60 …

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Big Jim McLain (1952) – Episode 82

Big Jim McLain (1952)

Welcome to today’s show, Big Jim McLain (1952), my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts. Remember this show is completely free and independent. All I ask is that you jump over to iTunes and give me a review.

Today’s movie is the really, really, really bad Big Jim McLain (1952) featuring John Wayne, Nancy Olson, and James Arness. This movie is supposed to be a film noir and a political thriller. I don’t quite see it. The only thing good about this movie is that it so bad you will get a few chuckles.

It is the first movie in which John Wayne played a modern non-western lawman. He went on in later movies to play a few other modern crime stoppers.

ACTORS

John Wayne played the title role of …

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Sunset Blvd. (1950) – Episode 81

Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Welcome to today’s show, my name is John. As always you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the links to social media in the podcast show notes. You can also go to snarkymoviereviews.com to read notes, bios, and other random movie thoughts. Remember this show is completely free and independent. All I ask is that you jump over to iTunes and give me a review.

Today’s movie is Sunset Blvd. (1950). Sunset Blvd. (1950) is certainly one of the greatest movies in American film history. It is also one of the greatest film noirs of all time. At release, the film was nominated for 11 Oscars and received three. Time magazine stated, “Hollywood at its worst told by Hollywood at its best.” [1] This movie not only had faces, it had dialogue, storytelling, passion, and suspense. Told in noir fashion this film begins at the death of one of the two main characters. As the story is revealed the watcher is able …

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