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).
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!