VCI Entertainment and Kit Parker Films present "Hammer Film Noir Vol. 2" (1952) --- (Dolby digitally remastered)...Film noir has sources not only in cinema but other artistic mediums as well...the low-key lighting schemes commonly linked with the classic mode are in the tradition of chiaroscuro and tenebrism, techniques using high contrasts of light and dark developed by 15th- and 16th-century painters associated with Mannerism and the Baroque...film noir's aesthetics are deeply influenced by German Expressionism, a cinematic movement of the 1910s and 1920s closely related to contemporaneous developments in theater, photography, painting, scultpture, and architecture...opportunities offered by the booming Hollywood film industry and, later, the threat of growing Nazi power led to the emigration of many important film artists working in Germany who had either been directly involved in the Expressionist movement or studied with its practitioners...Directors such as Fritz Lang, Robert Siodmak, and Michael Curtiz brought dramatic lighting techniques and a psychologically expressive approach to mise-en-scène with them to Hollywood, where they would make some of the most famous of classic noirs. Lang's 1931 masterwork, the German M, is among the first major crime films of the sound era to join a characteristically noirish visual style with a noir-type plot, one in which the protagonist is a criminal (as are his most successful pursuers). M was also the occasion for the first star performance by Peter Lorre, who would go on to act in several formative American noirs of the classic era.
First up we have "BLACKOUT" (1954) (87 min. B/W)...under director Terence Fisher, producer Michael Carreras, screenplay by Richard H. Landau, novel by Helen Nielson, Cinematographer Jimmy W. Harvey, music score by Ivor Slaney ...the cast includes Dane Clark (Casey Morrow). Belinda Lee (Phyllis Brunner), Betty Ann Davies (Alicia Brunner), Eleanor Summerfield (Maggie Doone), Andrew Osborn (Lance Gorden), Harold Lang (Travis), Jill Melford (Miss Nardis), Michael Golden (Inspector Johnson), Alfie Bass (Ernie) . . . . . our story has an exceptional cast, with one of my favorite film noir actors Dane Clark, who can get into more trouble in only a few reels of this flick...in this better than average "Brit Noir" our drifter Clark is up to his neck with a frame up, murder suspect, mind games, plus he needs to clear his name in this psychological thriller "Murder by Proxy" was the British title..the beautiful blonde Belinda Lee is throwing 500 pounds around and Clark is the pigeon...where did the blood on his coat come from, and who has been murdered, will he be left holding the bag...don't leave the theatre you're about to find out who's who in this classic film noir plot.
1. Dane Clark (aka: Bernard Zanville)
Date of birth: 26 February 1912 - Brooklyn, New York, USA
Date of death: 11 September 1998 - Santa Monica, California
2. Belinda Lee
Date of birth: 15 June 1935 - Budleigh Salterton, Devon, England, UK
Date of death: 12 March 1961 - near San Bernardino, California
3. Terence Fisher (Director)
Date of birth: 23 February 1904 - London, England, UK
Date of death: 18 June 1980 - Twickenham, London, England, UK
1. Scene selection
3. Photo gallery
4. Bonus comments: The World of Hammer Noir by Richard M. Roberts
Second on the double bill is a Lippert Picture release "STOLEN FACE" (1952) (72 min. B/W)....under director Terence Fisher, producer Anthony Hinds, screenplay by Martin Berkeley and Richard Landau, Walter Harvey (Cinematographer), musical score by Malcolm Arnold ....the cast includesPaul Henreid (Dr. Philip Ritter), Lizabeth Scott (Alice Brent/Lilly), Andre Morell (David), Mary Mackenzie (Lilly), John Wood (Dr. Jack Wilson), Susan Stephen (Betty), Arnold Ridley (Dr. Russell), Everley Gregg (Lady Harringay), Cyril Smith (Alf), Janet Burnell (Maggie), Grace Gavin (Nurse), Diana Beaumont (May), Alexis France (Mrs. Emmett), John Bull (Charles Emmett), Dorothy Bramhall (Miss Simpson), Richard Wattis (Wentworth) . . . . . our story has heroine Lizabeth Scott is playing a dual role, the good, the bad and the ugly...Paul Henreid is believable as the plstic surgeon who can't seem to do anything right, professionally or with his love life...can a different face change a person, or will trouble surface and begin to eat away at the players of this "Film Noir"...is love or murder in the future of the Hammer film crew...don't take another step, as you're eyes are about to be opened and the mystery right in front of your nose... . . .there's a great deal of entertainment here for all the film noir fans out there...all courtesy of VCI Entertainment, who in my humble opinion is the best there is in restoring early serials and features like this one.
1. Paul Henreid (aka: Paul Georg Julius Hernreid Ritter Von Wassel-Waldingau)
Date of birth: 10 January 1908 - Trieste, Austria-Hungary. [now in Italy]
Date of death: 29 March 1992 - Santa Monica, California
2. Lizabeth Scott (aka: Emma Matzo)
Date of birth: 29 September 1922 - Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of death: Still Living
Great job by VCI Entertainment and Kit Parker Films for releasing the "Hammer Film Noir Vol. 2" (1952), 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 with a top notch "Classic Film Noir" that only VCI Entertainment (King of the Serials) can deliver...just the way we like 'em!
Total Time: 159 mins on 2-DVD-Set ~ VCI Home Video KPF 552 ~ (7/25/2006)