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Film Noir Collection Two (Collector's Choice, 5 discs) - DVD

Glenn Ford , Gloria Grahame , Edward Dmytryk , Fritz Lang    Unrated   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Return to the realm of smoke and shadows for Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics II, five largely overlooked stories of doomed heroes and double-dealing ladies, featuring the likes of Kim Novak, Fred MacMurray, Glenn Ford, Anne Bancroft, and legendary femme fatale Gloria Grahame, and each making their DVD debut. The top pick of the set is arguably 1957's Nightfall, a tense adaptation of David Goodis's novel by suspense master Jacques Tourneur (Out of the Past) that benefits from strong chemistry between leads Aldo Ray as the regular Joe pursued by bank robbers and Anne Bancroft as the model who falls for him, and an elastic story structure that keeps the viewer as disoriented as Ray in its frequent flashes to the past. Some, however, may argue the case for The Brothers Rico (1957) from Phil Karlson (The Phenix City Story)--like Martin Scorcese, who praises the film in one of the set's extras--with Richard Conte as a former Mob accountant forced to return to the organized crime world in order to save his brothers (Paul Picerni and James Darren), or Fritz Lang's Human Desire (1954), which reunited Lang with his Big Heat (1953) star, Glenn Ford, in a remake of Jean Renoir's La bête humaine (1938) that offers a sterling showcase for Gloria Grahame as the seductress who lures Ford into a plot to murder her husband (Broderick Crawford). The set is rounded out by Pushover (1954), a modest revamp of Double Indemnity with that film's star, Fred MacMurray, again displaying his knack for understated drama as a cop who falls for Kim Novak (in her movie debut), the girlfriend of the bank robber he's staking out, and City of Fear (1958), an entertaining B-thriller from Irving Lerner, who re-teams with his Murder by Contract star, Vince Edwards, as a tough con who unwittingly steals a canister of radioactive material and spreads death to everyone he meets.

Extras are light but informative; in addition to the three-minute Scorsese chat, there are brief discussions of noir style and tropes with actress Emily Mortimer and director Christopher Nolan (Inception), who riffs on themes of paranoia in noir and his appreciation for City of Fear. Original theatrical trailers for all five films are also included. --Paul Gaita

Product Description

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment And The Film Foundation Partner Once Again To Bring Five Films To Dvd For The First Time, Fully Restored And Remastered, In Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics Ii. In This Second Volume, Renowned Directors Fritz Lang, Phil Karlson, And Irving Lerner Are Joined By Jacques Tourneur And Richard Quine In Proving That Lust, Adultery, Greed, And Revenge All Adds Up To Cold, Calculated Murder. Film Noir Classics Ii Takes You On A Dark Journey Among Lowlifes And Mobsters, Cops And Gun Molls, And The Dimwitted, Hapless Pawns Who Forever Changed The Landscape Of Cinema, And Whose Doomed Paths Are As Disturbing Today As When They Were First Committed To Film.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Collection of Forgotten Film Noirs Jan. 3 2011
By Moodywoody TOP 500 REVIEWER
Verified Purchase
The first thing that struck me about this collection was the surprisingly high quality of these films. They are very well made, the direction and acting actually above average. Also, the stories in these films are unusually well constructed for a film noir, along with a high degree of character development. An excellent collection for any aficionado of the film noir style.

My favourite film in this collection is Human Desire. It stars the legendary Glenn Ford along with one of the queens of film noir from the 40's and 50's, Gloria Grahame. Their charisma along with the great direction of Fritz Lang make this film a special experience for any film noir movie buff. It has all the attributes of a great film noir (lust, betrayal, revenge, wonderful characters, etc), and a good solid story as a bonus. Special mention should go out to Broderick Crawford who gives a very powerful performance as the angry cuckolded husband.

My next favourite film is City of Fear, starring the largely forgotten but charismatic Vince Edwards. Unfortunately, his career flamed out relatively quickly, but I have been very impressed with his performance in this film, and another film noir of the time called Murder by Contract. There is something about this actor that captures the mood of 1950's film noir and society so effectively.

Finally, I would like to comment on Pushover. This film is particular remarkable because it introduces to us the beautiful actress Kim Novak. The film offers a solid performance by the legendary Fred MacMurray, in a performance somewhat reminiscent of Double Indemnity, as his character slowly but surely sees his criminal plan unravel to disaster.

One of the best collections of film noir I have ever come across
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grande anthologie de films noirs très noirs March 13 2012
By jonas
Difficile de faire mieux! Cinq films noirs très noirs qui vont d'un seul moyen (City of fear d'Irving Lerner) aux sublimes Brothers Rico (de Phil Karlson), Nightfall (d'après Goodis et du grandissime Jacques Tourneur), Human Desire (de Fritz Lang) en passant par le bon Pushover (de Richard Quine avec Kim Novak). Photo extraordinaire, mises en scène nerveuses pour des actions resserrées à l'invraisemblable efficacité: dire en 1 heure 15 l'esentiel et maintenir la tension à son comble. On reste pantois devant de tels cinéastes qui travaillant avec de petits budgets et des délais très courts réussissaient à façonner de telles oeuvres! Très bons remasterings pour cinq DVD qui comprennent quelques courts bonus (Scorsese toujours fringant et fin connaisseur). Attention: Zone 1 en anglais avec ss titres anglais seulement.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
126 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those new to the Columbia Studios style of film Noir: a comparison/synopsis June 27 2010
By turtley - Published on Amazon.com
I was very impressed by the 1st volume that Columbia released of their Film Noir titles: Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 1 (The Big Heat / 5 Against the House / The Lineup / Murder by Contract / The Sniper) This set promises just as much!

This Columbia set features 5 films (each on it's own separate disc):

*FAV* Human Desire (1954) 91 minutes
directed by Fritz Lang (ONE OF THE MASTERS!)
starring: Glenn Ford Glenn Ford & Gloria Grahame

The Brothers Rico (1957) 92 minutes
directed by: Phil Karlson
starring: Richard Conte, Dianne Foster, Kathryn Grant, Larry Gates

*FAV* Nightfall (1957) 78 mins
directed by: Jacques Tourneur (one of the masters!)
starring: Aldo Ray, Brian Keith, Anne Bancroft, Jocelyn Brando

City of Fear (1959)| 81 mins
directed by: Irving Lerner
starring: Vince Edwards, Lyle Talbot, John Archer, Steven Ritch

*FAV* Pushover (1954) 88 mins
directed by: Richard Quine
starring: Fred MacMurray, Philip Carey, Kim Novak, Dorothy Malone

If you've never seen a Columbia Film Noir before - here is what to expect: they are gritty, psychological; distinctive in a dark and claustrophobic visual style, their narrative are often come from deep rooted-anxiety, desperation and entrapment; they are focused on the crime itself. These are *Hard-boiled Detective Stories*

Compared to more familiar Fox Film Noirs (Laura (Fox Film Noir), Nightmare Alley (Fox Film Noir), Shock (Fox Film Noir), Where the Sidewalk Ends (Fox Film Noir), & Whirlpool (Fox Film Noir) which are very sleek & surround a central character: a "Dame"; Fox Film Noirs are twisted with themes of suspicion, betrayal, paranoia. The crime usually being an after-effect of greed and desires in a world whose morals have become unattractive and distorted or even disappeared altogether. Fox Film Noirs are sexy, hot ....with some crime thrown in.

In my opinion the simplest comparison I could make would be Columbia Film Noirs are more like the meat & potatoes of Film Noir; ie: Double Indemnity (Universal Legacy Series).. (the actual planning & tension in execution of the crime not the fast double talk) which was an Universal Studios release. vs. Fox Film Noir as a flambé dessert such as "The Postman Always Rings Twice": slick and sexy (a MGM/Warner Bros release).

They are both wonderful products - just with different style.

Film Noir was huge in the 40's - it was dark & edgy, something people could really sink their teeth into during the post-war era. The production code was being a bit more lenient after the horrors shown to the world during the war.

For your further study please consider looking up:

Great Noir Directors; Fritz Lang, Otto Preminger, Michael Curtiz, Jules Dassin, Orson Welles, Jacques Tourneur, Billy Wilder, Robert Siodmak, Rouben Mamoulian & one people don't think of much as a NOIR Director but he certainly was one of the best: Alfred Hitchcock.

Noir Literary sources: Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler, and W. R. Burnett.

examples of their work:
Hammett= The Maltese Falcon

James M. Cain= Double Indemnity (1944), Mildred Pierce (1945), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), and Slightly Scarlet (1956)

Raymond Chandler= Murder, My Sweet (1944; adapted from Farewell, My Lovely), The Big Sleep (1946), and Lady in the Lake (1947)--he was an important screenwriter in the genre as well, producing the scripts for Double Indemnity, The Blue Dahlia (1946), and Strangers on a Train (1951)

W. R. Burnett= Little Caesar (1929), During the classic era, his work, either as author or screenwriter, was the basis for movies now widely regarded as three of the most famous film noirs; High Sierra (1941), This Gun for Hire (1942), and The Asphalt Jungle (1950).[40]

If you go to [...] and search for year 1946 you can see the top movies released in 1946 - you'll actually see ALL the movies released and just how many of them were Noirs/ crime dramas! It's really impressive and may just turn you on to making a list of movies to watch!
Do this for 1956 or 1957 also to see more Columbia releases. :)

I hope my review has been useful especially to new fans of Noir and seasoned fans who were unsure of spending so much money on this box set; it really is worth it! If you are still uncertain - Give the first volume a try Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 1 (The Big Heat / 5 Against the House / The Lineup / Murder by Contract / The Sniper)- it can be found for a little bit less ($39) & then you'll be hooked on Columbia Film Noir, I know I am!

*FAV* before movie title denotes favorite film in set!
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Collection of Noir and Post-Noir Thrillers from Classic Noir's Waning Years. Sept. 15 2010
By mirasreviews - Published on Amazon.com
The five films featured in the Columbia Film Noir Classics II set were made as the classic film noir cycle was winding down, 1954-1959. These are not high noir, but most are solid films with noir themes and even some noir archetypes. If you're a casual noir fan, these films are neither the highest quality nor most exemplary of the noir style, so they may not be of much interest. If you're a more hard-core noir fan, this is a nice selection of moderate quality noir and noir-influenced thrillers from the mid-to-late 1950s. The social milieu here is very much post-War. If there is a dud in the bunch, it is "City of Fear", a thriller whose premise seems interesting enough but is rather flat.

"Human Desire" (1954) is a post-War American adaptation of Emile Zola's 1890 novel, directed by Fritz Lang. Korean War veteran Jeff Warren (Glen Ford) has just returned to his rail yard job, when a co-worker, Carl Buckley (Broderick Crawford), is fired for his violent temper. Carl's younger, comely wife Vicki (Gloria Grahame) is an old friend of owner, though, and Carl asks her to call in a favor. Too bad that Carl's temper is so easily ignited by jealousy. His actions leave him in a bind and Vicki stuck in a miserable marriage with no where to turn but to Jeff. This is a must-see for Gloria Grahame fans. The psychological games and cruelty are memorable, and Vicki is easily the most complex character. 4 stars.

"The Brothers Rico" (1957) is a post-noir thriller based on the story "Les Frères Rico" by Georges Simenon. It features a middle-aged Richard Conte as Eddie Rico, former mob accountant, now the proud owner of a successful legitimate laundry business. But Eddie's brothers Gino (Paul Picerni) and Johnny (James Darren) still work for the mob, and they have gotten themselves in deeper than Eddie would have liked. They're both on the run, in fear of their lives, after a hit job. Eddie turns to his old boss Sid Kubik (Larry Gates) to straighten things out. But Eddie has been out of the loop for a long time, and Kubik isn't what he thinks. Filmed in flat television lighting, but Eddie's anguish is palpable. 4 stars.

"Nightfall" (1957) is another post-noir thriller starring Aldo Ray as Jim Vanning, a man dogged by two trigger-happy thugs whom he had the misfortune to encounter while on a camping trip in Wyoming the previous winter. Things went wrong then, and they're going wrong again, as the thugs will do anything to find out where Vanning hid the loot that they lost in Wyoming. Director Jacques Tourneur presents Vanning's predicament partly in the present tense and partly in flashback. Anne Bancroft has a nice role as Marie, an unusually appealing late-1950s heroine, who falls for Vanning after he tries to protect her from his pursuers. It's only slightly noir, but two appealing stars and some well-conceived action scenes make this film a winner. 4 stars.

"City of Fear" (1959) might be most notable for its jazz score by Jerry Goldsmith, as it relies entirely on the score to create tension. Vincent Ryker (Vince Edwards) has escaped from San Quentin prison. He took with him a canister from the hospital's infirmary that he believed contained a pound of heroin. He heads for Los Angeles to reunite with his business associates and girlfriend June (Patricia Blair). But the contents of the canister is actually radioactive Cobalt 60, which will kill anyone with prolonged exposure. The police scour the city for Ryker and that canister, while the mayor contemplates evacuating the population. The premise is interesting enough, but the film never picks up speed or builds tension. 3 stars.

"Pushover" (1954) employs noir archetypes in a way that sometimes seems like a self-conscious imitation. Nevertheless, it's fun and even has its moments of introspection. Police detective Paul Sheridan (Fred MacMurray) falls for the curvaceous gangster's moll, Leona McLane (Kim Novak), whom he is trying to hit up for information on bank robber boyfriend Harry Wheeler (Paul Richards). Paul and his partner surveil Leona's apartment around the clock, waiting for Wheeler to show up. But Paul and Leona have made other plans: to abscond with the $200,000 from Wheeler's last bank job. This would be a run-of-the-mill noir from late in the cycle were it not for the film's focus on voyeurism, which gives it a little more edge and intellect than it would otherwise have. 4 stars.

The DVDs (Sony 2010): This is a 5-disc set with one movie per disc. There are some sparse bonus features but no audio commentaries. On the "Human Desire" disc, the actress Emily Mortimer comments on that film's emotions and what impresses her about it in "Terror and Desire with Emily Mortimer" (9 min). On "The Brothers Rico" disc, director Martin Scorsese talks about the film's tone and visual style in "Martin Scorsese on The Brothers Rico" (3 1/2 min). On the "City of Fear" disc, director Christopher Nolan talks about film noir at times of societal uncertainty in "Pulp Paranoia with Christopher Nolan" (6 min). All disks include an original theatrical trailer, and all offer subtitles in English SDH.
60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Columbia Film Noir Volume 2 CORRECTION May 3 2010
By Derek - Published on Amazon.com
I wanted to correct the 2 previous reviewers. In a Lonely Place IS NOT in this collection. If you notice the art work for the set you will see the title HUMAN DESIRE. I looked up the press release for this set on the web and it lists Human Desire, NOT In a Lonely Place. I gave this set 5 stars because I really like Human Desire which reunites Gloria Grahame and Glenn Ford who costarred together in The Big Heat. I will preorder this set just for that title. Please verify your information before posting a review; people do read them you know!!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FINE COLLECTION OF 50'S NOIR.... July 24 2010
By Mark Norvell - Published on Amazon.com
Although all the films contained here are worthy of a collection, the main reason I bought this set is 1954's "Human Desire"--- a remake of Jean Renoir's 1938 "La Bete Humaine" with Simone Simon from the story by Emile Zola. Fritz Lang reunited Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame from Lang's 1953 "The Big Heat" for this murder tale. While not packing the same punch as "Heat", the film still offers a compelling look at a sexy woman, Vicki (Grahame), trapped in a miserable marriage to brutish Broderick Crawford and ensnaring ex-GI Ford in a web of deceit and murder. Set at a dreary railroad yard, "Desire" offers an oppressive atmosphere and a heavy performance from Crawford as a murderously jealous husband. Grahame matches him as his younger,restless wife with her own agenda. Ford is the quiet, nice everyman drawn to Grahames' sultry allure. "Human Desire" had previously been available only in inferior form. Here, it looks great---a b&w treat of powerhouse acting and illicit schemes 50's style. I'm just not crazy about the current trend of packaging discs by stacking them. I just feel it's too easy for them to be damaged. Yet, there we are. Enjoy the whole set, but don't overlook "Human Desire".
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "In A Lonely Place" dropped from this release. Aug. 7 2010
By D. Wright - Published on Amazon.com
As the previous reviewer said, and to clear up arguments, "In A Lonely Place" is not in this set. It was originally announced in press releases as part of the set, but was dropped in favor of "Human Desire."

That being said, it would be better if people were to actually own titles prior to reviewing them.
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