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Clash By Night

Barbara Stanwyck , Robert Ryan , Fritz Lang    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 49.99
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Product Description

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Barbara Stanwyck plays a hardened woman returning from big-city life to her northern fishing village in this 1952 film noir. After deciding to settle down, she marries a simple man (Paul Douglas) but is wooed by another (Robert Ryan), a circumstance that turns what had been her choice into her trap. Director Fritz Lang (Metropolis, M, The Big Heat), working from a Clifford Odets story, teases out his pet themes about human beings ensnared in fate by their own impulses and in search of redemption. This is not one of Lang's masterpieces, but it is very good in an Anna Christie way. Stanwyck and Ryan, two indispensable figures in the noir genre, are tough as nails. --Tom Keogh

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Cannery Noir Feb. 5 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Although the emphasis here is on emotions rather than mayhem, fans of "Film Noir" will chew on Fritz Lang's "Clash By Night" with relish. What saves this film from becoming another weepy 50's melodrama are the cynical, tough-as-nails characters played by Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Ryan. They are the illicit lovers cuckolding hubby Paul Douglas' naive, easygoing Monterey Bay fisherman. Ryan brings a sweat-streaked, smouldering, "Streetcar Named Desire" intensity to all of his scenes with Stanwyck, who holds her own as a restless, world-weary housewife with a "been there done that" past. Stanwyck and Ryan play out thier furtive romantic scenes like rutting animals (this is pretty hot stuff by early 50's standards). Paul Douglas gives his career-best performance, particularly when he registers heartbreak, betrayal, and internal struggle between gentle demeanor and homicidal rage all in one pivotal scene ("ANIMALS! That's what you are...ANIMALS...!") Marilyn Monroe is excellent in a small but memorable role as Stanwyck's tomboyish sister-in-law. What makes this film unique in the Noir canon is that while there is a fair amount of violence, none of it is fatal in the literal sense. The only fatalities here are the characters' hopes, dreams and faith in humanity-now THAT's what I call Noir!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not great overall, but many great elements Dec 27 2002
Format:VHS Tape
As a whole, this is not one of better films by any of the participants, but nonetheless this film is fascinating on several levels, and there are plenty of good reasons to see this. First, Barbara Stanwyck once again proves she was almost incapable of being anything except exceptional. Hands down, while I personally prefer her in comedy, I nevertheless believe she was the greatest film noir actress of all time. She was also the greatest portrayer of "bad girls" film has seen. In CLASH BY NIGHT, she plays a burned out bad girl, almost the female equivalent of the aging gunfighter in a Western, tired of being called out by every young gun in every town. Stanwyck decides to marry Paul Douglas more because she is too exhausted to attempt anything else. Paul Douglas is superb in his role of the man who is in love with Stanwyck, only to find tragic disappointment. Robert Ryan is great as Douglas's friend who has tremendous chemistry with Stanwyck. Personally, I have always thought that Ryan should have had a much better career than he did. He was a superb actor with tremendous onscreen charisma. Although he had several memorable roles, he never seemed to have that one role that put him into the rank of the top actors in Hollywood. He had top shelf ability, but never quite made it to the top. Marilyn Monroe was still a year away from superstardom, but she was enormously attractive in her small role. Finally, the movie is worth seeing because it was directed by Fritz Lang. This is not major Fritz Lang, but it is an interesting addition to a formidable body of work.
The setting for the film is quite remarkable. In the 1940s and 1950s, very few films set on the West coast were not set in LA or San Francisco.
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4.0 out of 5 stars After the Clash--What? Dec 7 2002
Format:VHS Tape
The term 'film noir' may have been coined with CLASH BY NIGHT in mind. This gritty film explores an underside of relationships that often got overlooked even then. Barbara Stanwyck plays a jaded woman who left her small town fishing village ten years earlier to find some excitement that she felt sure was somewhere beyond the village limits. She loved vainly and was hurt more than once, all the while growing a thicker shell that she used to protect herself from further hurt. Then, one day she returns home, much to the surprise of her brother, played with a tough edge by Keith Andes, who makes it clear to her that he wishes she had never returned. The first part of the movie focuses on Keith Andes' relationship with a young, pre-star Marylin Monroe, who despite her second tier status shows the smart, brassiness that was to mark both her film persona and her personal life. Andes is the brute who likes to dominate his women; Monroe is the equally tough-talking short-haired blonde who can give as well as get. More than once she slaps Andes' face when he goes too far. By the start of the second half, the dramatic center reshifts back to Stanwyck, who decides that the honest love of a good but cloddish Paul Douglas is preferable to the sort of uncertainty that had marked her previous search for a foundation upon which she could build a life. Enter Robert Ryan, an alcoholic yet sexy man whose obvious sensuality resonates with a Stanwyck who is torn between the good yet boring Douglas and Ryan.
The movie, in its twin examination of the Andes-Monroe and Stanwyck-Douglas pairings, suggests that relationships often grow or flounder on the basis of the strength of the commitments involved.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Town Tramp Comes Home. June 2 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Interesting "little" 1950's film noir, with always terrific Stanwyck as the worn out bad girl who returns home, to what's left of her family, because she has nowhere else to go. Clifford Odets written morality tale, with as much dark, suggested sexual undercurrent as the early 1950's would allow. Set in the atmospheric California fishing coast, ala "Cannery Row". Especially interesting as early Marilyn Monroe vehicle. She is charasmatic and convincing as the simple and naieve but not stupid Peg, who is to marry Stanwycks characters brother, played by Keith Andes.Her innocent Peg is a perfect contrast to Stanwycks world-weary character. I always find Marilyns pre-star roles very interesting. Hind sight is 20/20, but to see her obvious talent and screen prescence, before she was an icon, it's easy to see that she was something special. She gives an excellant acting performance in this film, in which she was up against big-leaguers and old pros. This is the film M.M. was shooting when the news broke that she had posed for the then very scandalous nude calendar. Apparently the stars of this movie were getting irritated at all the focus on this little blonde girl, with one commenting "That blonde... is getting all the publicity!". Sometimes the "smaller" films can be more interesting than the big studio hits, and I consider this one of those. A moody, sensual movie, in the classic tradition of all those great black & white films of the 1940's & early '50's. Definatley worth a look.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Un grand film !!
Quel grand classique !! J'ai adoré. Barbara Stanwyck est extraordinaire. Marilyn Monroe se fait remarquer malgré qu,elle a un second rôle. Read more
Published 21 months ago by David
4.0 out of 5 stars "Sizzling performance by Stanwyck ... Firtz Lang (Director)"
RKO Radio Pictures presents "CLASH BY NIGHT" (1952) (105 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Returning to live with her brother, Joe (Keith Andes), at her... Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2011 by J. Lovins
3.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Drama of Lust and Betrayal
Fritz Lang in my opinion never did a bad film. His films were either great or very compelling, but never boring. Read more
Published on July 22 2009 by Moodywoody
4.0 out of 5 stars Stanwyck and Ryan are great together
"Clash By Night" is a great fifties movie. Barbara Stanwyck said in an interview once that she felt this movie came closest to exemplifying the European adult approach to... Read more
Published on April 26 2004 by Nancy Tannenbaum
3.0 out of 5 stars A very average soap opera; an unintended historical record.
This is the story of a woman who marries one man then falls for another. Nothing new here, and there's a lot of shouting in the process. Read more
Published on Dec 21 2002 by James Toy
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty melodrama
This is one of my favorite movies from the 1950's. Barbara Stanwyck is the tough-bitten prodigal daughter who returns to the fishing village of her youth after getting burned (not... Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars An Alpha Female "Must See"!
Babs Stanwyck at her usual best! This is a riveting classic, which also features a serious, fresh and believable Marilyn Monroe. Read more
Published on Dec 20 2001 by Mara McKeown
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must for any serious Marilyn Monroe Fan
If u like classic movies, chances are u will like this story. Some of the acting is a little much (Babara Stanwyck)but Marilyn Monroe gives a great performance here! Read more
Published on March 19 2000 by "zipppoo"
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