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Forgotten Noir Collector's Set (Arson Inc. / Loan Shark / Portland Expose / Shadow Man / Shoot to Kill / They Were So Young) [Import]

George Raft , Dorothy Hart , Harold D. Schuster , Kurt Neumann    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

Price: CDN$ 32.65 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Package of Obscure Film Noir March 26 2007
By Kurt Harding - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Since I wasn't around when any of these films were current and because they are derided by many as "B" films and thus sank into obscurity, I had neither seen nor heard of any of these films when I bought the Forgotten Noir Collector's Set. As luck would have it, this set turned out to be money well spent. Though most of these films will never be considered classics, each of them is enjoyable in its own way.

Here are my favorites from most to least:

1)They Were So Young: Here is a film the topic of which is still of contemporary interest: White slavery. Though the national origins of today's white slaves lie chiefly in Eastern Europe, viewers will see that the false promises that lure impoverished and/or naive young women to seek employment abroad are much the same. This film is full of suspense, double-dealing, and official corruption. Recalcitrant girls who refuse to service wealthy clients are bundled off to service a rabble of coffee plantation laborers on an itinerant riverboat. But one girl refuses to play the game and with the aid of a man she had spurned, a little luck, and an undercover Brazilian agent she cracks the forced prostitution ring wide open. Well-acted, suspenseful and very believable. 5 stars.

2)Shadow Man:A fine English murder intrigue and long on noir. Well acted on all fronts. An ingenious story. 5 stars.

3)Shoot to Kill: Official corruption and double dealing are the name of the game. But fitting ends come to those who deserve them. Rival gangs of thugs seeking to control city are ruthless as is the district attorney to be whose overarching ambition leads ultimately to his deserved demise. 4 stars.

4)Portland Expose: A powerful national gang of crooks sweeps away the local petty one in a play for control of vice in Portland. One club owner in a desireable location is unwittingly sucked in when he allows the local gang to first get its foot in the door installing pinball machines. But the new gang wants to go all out:gaming, prostitution, and an increasing share of the profits. Union pickets(considered sacred at that time)then threats against his family ultimately bring the straight-laced club owner to heel. But he and his family are confronted by increasing danger including an attempted rape of the daughter by a convicted sex-criminal, a gang member who can't stay away from the "dollies". The enraged club owner fights back and with the help of some honest police officials and the muscle of some uncorrupted union leaders beats the crime syndicate. An excellent film which loses a star from the corny "civic-minded" Dragnet style intro and ending as well as the unbelievable scene in which the club-owner's daughter forgives a date who earlier suggested a tryst in a motel since she surely must "get around" because of the "wide-open" kind of establishment her family runs. C'mon, how much cornier can it get? A real woman would tell him to take a permanent hike after smacking his smirking face. 4 stars.

5)Arson Inc: More civic-minded fustian to introduce a story about a crime which is still common today. Fireman recently promoted to the arson unit goes deep underground to investigate a rash of fires, reported and unreported, that result in fraudulent insurance claims. The crime itself is everyday and its cost high, but the storyline here is a little dubious. Then there is the unwitting girlfriend who as always ends up in the middle of things and that corny grandmother who is just silly. Still, the movie is largely well-acted and often suspenseful. 4 stars.

6)Loan Shark: Payday loans can be deadly and this film shows just how deadly they can be. Never take one out! 4 stars.

Although four of these films received only four stars, I give the set five stars overall on the basis of price, quality of film transfer, the overall quality of my favorite two, and the general entertainment value of the collection. I will be sure to view each of these movies more than once and once you get this you will want to do the same.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the Noir-est, But Purty Durn Good March 6 2007
By Buxx - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a collection of six movies that most of us "Boomers" saw over and over again on TV in the early 1950s.

PORTLAND EXPOSE is the only real non-Lippert entree, and a fairly suspensful drama that was well ahead of the times as far as the material it was presenting...vice, corruption, attempted rape, etc.

THEY WERE SO YOUNG concerns the White Slave Trade in South America. It is of particular interest because it features an international cast, a young Raymond Burr, and Scott Brady...Brady sure looks a lot like Ray Liotta!

LOAN SHARK features a very mature George Raft as an ex-con infiltrating the money lending racket. You get to see how tires are made first hand as he works his way into the mob.

SHOOT TO KILL and ARSON INC. are perhaps the weakest link in this chain, but remain good watchable crime dramas, albeit short on the noir.

The real gem in this package is Cesar Romero in SHADOW MAN, an English made flick that features some nice plot twists, great acting all the way around, and a really nifty score, highlighted by harmoinca solos.

Of course, since this package comes from VCI you KNOW that the picture and sound quality will be superb.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Obscure but fun flicks June 23 2007
By mrliteral - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For every well-known movie in a genre, there seems to be a dozen more obscure films. That doesn't mean they're bad, just forgotten. Hence, we have Forgotten Noir with six movies that few prior to the DVD era would have ever seen. The Forgotten Noir Collector's Set - Series One has six such movies on three discs.

Disc One has Portland Expose and They Were So Young. Portland Expose is a fair-to-middling gangster flick taking place in Portland, Oregon (though except for some narrated bits at the beginning and end, could pretty much take place anywhere). The mob tries to take over the city, in particular one little lodge owned by the main character. This film has an early appearance by Frank Gorshin (most well-known as The Riddler on Batman) as a hoodlum with a thing for teenage girls. The second movie, They Were So Young, is a tale of white slavery in which young European beauties are flown to South America on "modeling assignments". One such girl tries to break free with the assistance of a mining engineer. Raymond Burr plays a shady millionaire.

Disc Two has Loan Shark and Arson Inc. In Loan Shark, ex-con George Raft (looking a little long-in-the-tooth to play a tough guy) goes undercover in a mob to bring down the killers of his brother-in-law. It also features Russell Johnson (the Professor on Gilligan's Island) as one of the crooks. Arson Inc. also is the tale of a guy going undercover, this time an arson investigator for the fire department who is out to foil an insurance fraud scheme.

Disc Three has Shadow Man and Shoot to Kill. Shadow Man stars Cesar Romero as the slightly shady owner of a night club who winds up being accused of the murder of his ex-lover, a snag in his own attempts to woo a married woman. Shoot to Kill is told mostly in flashback by the only survivor of a car crash which killed her husband - the District Attorney - and a fugitive. What led to the crash is a tale of mob wars and crooked politicians.

It'd be a little much to say that these are classics, but they are all decent, competently made movies. While if you were given a choice between Out of the Past or Loan Shark, you should always for the former, fortunately there's no reason you can't see both. Actually, these films are only borderline noir, but are more straight crime movies with some noirish elements, particularly in terms of lighting. But if you are a fan of these old movies and you've seen the big ones, here's a chance to see some more obscure stuff from that same era.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun little "lost gem" of B movie Film Noir Jan. 15 2005
By K. Bunker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie was a low budget B film when it was made in 1947, and now it's being distributed on DVD by the low budget Alpha Video. Therefor, it's not too surprising that the video and sound quality are abysmal. They probably weren't that great in 1947, and the print used for this DVD shows its age in spades, and Alpha Video doesn't have the budget to do any restoration work on their releases.

That said, I (contrary to another reviewer) found the movie watchable, and pretty darned interesting and entertaining to boot. A crooked assistant District Attorney frames one crime boss and is in cahoots with several others. He's assisted by his secretary/wife, who is one of the more fascinating female characters I've seen in Film Noir. Perky but iron-hard, pretty but razor-sharp, she's got more on the ball than any of the killers, bosses, politicians and reporters whose violent world she navigates. A Machiavellian tale is told, with fast and furious killings and more plot twists than you'd think could ever be squeezed into 64 minutes.

There's also a great boogie woogie piano piece played by Gene Rodgers as a musical interlude (albeit a little awkwardly inserted). All in all, a fine piece of entertainment and a terrific little "lost gem" of B movie Film Noir!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Your very own Late Late Late Show April 11 2008
By Lorenzo T. Magnificent - Published on Amazon.com
When I worked a late swing shift, I'd get home around 2am and flip the channels to find a movie that would entertain without requiring any deep thinking. A bonus would be recognizing a now-old actor (e.g., Frank Gorshin) in a younger role.
I no longer work swing, but occasionally desire some light-weight noir. This set fills the bill. Great for plane travel or any waiting room situation.
Story lines are standard. Shadow Man had the twist of being set in England. Portland Expose had Frank Gorshin play a great hood. Arson Inc. was on the hokey side but still entertaining. The only one that struck out for me was They Were So Young. Maybe because I can't picture Raymond Burr as any other character than Perry Mason.
The special features are weak. It seems they clipped the ending credits which was irritating.

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