7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
VCI Entertainment and Kit Parker Films presents "FORGOTTEN NOIR 2" (Loan Shark (1952) & Arson Inc (1949) --- (Dolby digitally remastered)...featuring top performances from the '40s and '50s with outstanding drama and screenplays, along with a wonderful cast and supporting actors to bring it all together ... another winner from the vaults of almost forgotten Hollywood gems.
First up we have Lippert Pictures feature "LOAN SHARK" (1952) (79 mins/B&W) --- Under Seymour Friedman (Director), Bernard Luber (Producer), Eugene Ling (Screenwriter), Martin Rackin (Screenwriter), Joseph Biroc (Cinematographer), Al Joseph (Editor), Field M. Gray (Art Director) ----- the cast includes George Raft (Joe Gargen), Dorothy Hart (Ann Nelson), Paul Stewart (Donelli), Helen Westcott (Martha Haines), John Hoyt (Phillips), Henry Slate (Paul Nelson), William Phipps (Ed Haines), Russell Johnson (Thompson), Ben Baker (Tubby), Charles Meredith (Rennick), Harlan Warde (Lt. White), Spring Mitchell (Nancy), Margia Dean (Ivy), Ross Elliott (Norm), Robert Bice (Steve Casmer), Robert B. Williams (Scully), Lawrence Dobkin (Walter Karr), William Tannen (Rourke), Jack Daley (Borrower), Virginia Carroll (Netta), Mike Ragan (Maxie), George Eldredge (George), William "Bill" Phillips (Baski) . . . . . our story involves our hero George Raft an ex-con to infiltrate into the loan sharks operation ... the plus in this film is Dorothy Hart who is so beautiful you can't take your eyes off of her during any of her scenes ... will Raft's sister and girl friend see through his plans to bring the entire baddies to justice in this outstanding Lippert Production ... Paul Stewart as usual gives and outstanding performance, very much under rated actor, but he shines in this role ... great job by Cinematographer Joseph Biroc, who gives this film life beyond belief with every set shot ... if you're a fan of George Raft this outing is a winner and definitely for you --- first time on DVD!
1. George Raft (aka: George Ranft)
Date of birth: 26 September 1895 - New York City, New York
Date of death: 24 November 1980 - Los Angeles, California
2. Dorothy Hart
Date of birth: 4 April 1922 - Cleveland, Ohio
Date of death: 11 July 2004 - Arden, North Carolina
3. Paul Stewart (aka: Paul Sternberg)
Date of birth: 13 March 1908 - New York, New York
Date of death: 17 February 1986 - Los Angeles, California,
4. Robert L. Lippert (Producer)
Date of birth: 31 March 1909 - Alameda, California, USA
Date of death: 16 November 1976 - Unknown City & State
5. Seymour Friedman (Director)
Date of birth: 17 August 1917 - Detroit, Michigan
Date of death: April 2003 - Los Angeles, California
1. Loan Shark Commentary
2. Photo Gallery
3. Movie Trivia
4. "FBI Girl" (1951) (trailer) featuring Cesar Romero, George Brent, Audrey Totter, Tom Drake and Raymond Burr.
5. "Deadly Game" (1951) (trailer) (aka: Third Party Risk) featuring Lloyd Bridges and Simone Silva
Second on the double bill is a Robert L. Lippert Picture and Screen Guild release "ARSON, INC" (1949) (64 min/B/W) --- Under William A. Berke (Director),William Stephens (Producer), Art Caesar (Screenwriter), Maurice Tombragel (Screenwriter), Carl Berger(Cinematographer), Edward Mann (Editor) ----- the cast includes Robert Lowery (Joe Martin), Anne Gwynne (Jane), Marcia Mae Jones (Bella), Douglas Fowley (Fender), Edward S. Brophy (Pete), Byron Foulger (Peyson), Gaylord "Steve" Pendleton (Murph), Maude Eburne (Grandma), Lelah Tyler (Mrs. Peyson), William Forrest (Firechief), John Maxwell (Detective), Emmett Vogan (Night Watchman) . . . . . the director and screenplay give this plot line plenty of fast action with Robert Lowery in the title role and hero ... Lowery is an investigator of fires and goes deep into the trenches to find who's been setting the fires ... enters one of my favorite character actors Douglas Fowley and his menaces is right in there pitching all the way ... many real life fire equipment scenes incompass this tightly directed film by Wlliam Berke, totally blows you away and you forget this is on a film noir budget ... will Lowery unmask the culprits in time before the end credits, don't leave the theater you're about to find out in the last reel --- from the Original 35MM Negative First Time on Video or DVD! . . . . . all courtesy of VCI Entertainment, who in my humble opinion is the best there is in restoring early serials and film noir features like this one.
1. Robert Lowery
Date of birth: 17 October 1913 - Kansas City, Missouri
Date of death: 26 December 1971 - Hollywood, California,
2. Anne Gwynne (aka: Marguerite Gwynne Trice)
Date of birth: 10 December 1918 - Waco, Texas
Date of death: 31 March 2003 - Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
3. Douglas Fowley (aka: Daniel Vincent Fowley)
Date of birth: 30 May 1911 - The Bronx, New York
Date of death: 21 May 1998 - Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
4. William A. Berke (Director)
Date of birth: 3 October 1903 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Date of death: 15 February 1958 - Los Angeles, California
1. "Inside Lippert" (part one)
2. Photo Gallery
3. "The Man From Cairo" (1953) (trailer) featuring George Raft and Irene Papas
4. "Portland Expose" (1957) (trailer) featuring Ed Binns, Carolyn Craig and Frank Gorshin
Great job by VCI Entertainment for releasing the "FORGOTTEN NOIR 2" (Loan Shark (1952) & Arson Inc (1949), digital transfere with a clean, clear and crisp print ... .looking forward to more of the same from the '40s and '50s vintage ... order your copy now from Amazon or VCI Entertainment, stay tuned once again for "Forgotten Classic Film Noir" that only VCI Entertainment (King of the Serials) can deliver--- All My Heroes have been Gumshoe Detectives!
Total Time: 137 mins on DVD ~ VCI Home Video KPF-548 ~ (9/26/2006)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
"Forgotten Noir, Volume 2" includes two crime films from Lippert Pictures, Inc., the distribution and production company of the estimable Robert L. Lippert, who pioneered drive-in movies, multiplexes, and produced 246 films in 20 years. Both films involve undercover agents who infiltrate criminal operations. "Loan Shark" (1952) stars George Raft as a stoic tough guy determined to bring down the local loan shark who was responsible for his brother-in-law's murder. "Arson, Inc." (1949) is an inferior "police procedural" about a firefighter who infiltrates an arson ring to expose an insurance scam. My 3-star rating is an average of the two films. "Loan Shark" alone is very worthwhile for fans of post-war crime thrillers.
"Loan Shark" is an entertaining "crime thriller", as they were called, with both noir-ish and social conscience overtones. Made in 1952 but closer to the 1940s in style, it warns working class Americans against predatory loan sharks. After a stint in prison, Joe Gargen (George Raft) is living with his sister Martha (Helen Westcott) and her husband Ed. Joe turns down a job offer at the tire factory where everyone seems to work, because the General Manager asks him to use his street savvy to find out who is behind the heavy debts and beatings that employees are incurring at the hands of a loan shark. But when Ed is killed for trying to organize witnesses against the loan sharks, Joe decides to take up the challenge. He's so good at infiltrating the crooks that his family, and the audience, question his motives. A 56-year-old George Raft romancing young Ann (Dorothy Hart) is conspicuously odd, but Raft does a great sharp, laconic working man. 4 stars. (1 hour 20 minutes)
"Arson, Inc." is a mundane procedural that emulates many superior post-War docudramas in assuring the public that the authorities are working hard to maintain order and nab the bad guys, and showing us exactly how it's done. Los Angeles Fire Chief (William Forrest) introduces the story of a heroic young fireman, Joe Martin (Robert Lowery) of the Arson Squad. Joe investigates cases of suspected arson which are connected by an insurance underwriter named Fender (Douglas Fowley). Confident that Fender uses arson in complex insurance scams, Joe gains the confidence of a hood named Pete Prudy (Edward Brophs) to infiltrate the operation. There is nothing really wrong with "Arson, Inc." except that it is dull, cliched, one-dimensional, and nothing else. But a film has very little going for it if it can't keep my attention for one hour. 2 stars. (1 hour)
The DVD (VCI 2006): The prints are good. Bonus features for "Loan Shark" are: a Photo Gallery of 18 posters and stills, 5 pieces of Movie Trivia (text), bios and filmographies for George Raft and director Seymour Friedman (text), trailers for "FBI Girl" (2 min) and "Deadly Game" (1 min). There is supposed to be an audio commentary by Richard M. Roberts, but I couldn't get it to work on my disc. Bonus features for "Arson, Inc" are: "Inside Lippert, Part I" interview with Robert L. Lippert, Jr. about his father's life 1909-1949 (text), a Photo Gallery of 6 images, bios and filmographies of Robert Lowery, Anne Gwynne, and director William Berke (text), trailers of "Man from Cairo" (2 min) and "Portland Expose" (2 min). A major frustration with these features is that the photos and text are all very slow slide shows that cannot be sped up, so reading them is nerve-wracking.