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The Film Noir Classic Collection: Volume 1
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Film Noir Classics Collection, The: Volume 1 (DVD) (5-Pack)
Some boxed sets claim to be definitive, but are haphazardly selected. Not this one. Four of the five titles here can legitimately lay claim to being essentials in the film noir canon, and the fifth, The Set-Up, is a terrific boxing picture with a strong noir atmosphere. If you're a fan of noir--or have no idea what it's all about--this collection is a treat.
Of course, none of these movies were made as "film noir." The term was coined later by French critics to describe the moody, anxious feel of postwar American movies, especially the genre that highlighted duplicitous dames and susceptible men lost in the criminal jungle. Indeed, the title The Asphalt Jungle conveys the edgy urban arena of these pictures. That film is John Huston's masterly 1950 account of a heist, with Sterling Hayden the disenchanted, noirish hero. Joseph H. Lewis's Gun Crazy (1949) is one of the most supercharged (and sexually perverse) of noir films, with John Dall and Peggy Cummins as young criminals in love. Murder, My Sweet (1944) is a straight adaptation of Raymond Chandler's novel Farewell, My Lovely. Amid the film's shadowy chiaroscuro, former musical comedy star Dick Powell makes a career-changing transition as Chandler's private dick, Philip Marlowe. Out of the Past puts Robert Mitchum (perhaps the quintessential noir actor) in trouble with gangster Kirk Douglas, complicated by classic femme fatale Jane Greer. Jacques Tourneur provides the evocative direction. And The Set-Up plays out an ingenious boxing tale in "real time," superbly enacted by (former boxer) Robert Ryan. --Robert Horton
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Gun Crazy, which film noir expert Eddie Muller refers to as "a noir Bonnie and Clyde," stars Peggy Cummins and John Dall. (To noir buffs, these two are major stars. To all others ...who?) The blatant sexuality of Dall's love for guns and Cummins love for ... well ... killing people is extraordinary for 1949, and today, the creepy carnality is still disturbing.
The masterpiece The Asphalt Jungle (1950) walks the line between gangster and noir, but with a young Marilyn Monroe and a studly Sterling Hayden, John Houston's tale of dishonor among thieves torches the screen with lust and violence.
The Set-Up, directed by Robert Wise way, way before The Sound of Music and starring Robert Ryan, is the personal favorite of both the director and the star. Filmed in real time, it's a 72 minutes tale of life before, during and after the boxing match that defines a fighter's life. It's all here --- the smoke-filled rooms, the bloodthirsty fans, the savagery in the ring, the delusional dreams of boxing's palooka world.
Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer heat up Jacques Tourneur's Out of the Past (1947).Read more ›
What a SENSATIONAL collection. The transfers are all new and sparkling. They look and sound terrific. Probably some dweeb on here may find a speckle or (I love this B.S.) an "age related artifact". but the truth is I've never seen any of these films presented so beautifully, and anyone who picks up this collection is in for a treat.
GUN CRAZY and OUT OF THE PAST are my two favorite film noirs. Period. They really define the genre. They are amazing, unique films from under-appreciated directors, Joseph H. Lewis and Jacques Tourneur. Amazing performances, great writing and superb direction.
The commentaries here are all quite fascinating, mostly from noir experts and scholars, but on THE SET-UP, Robert Wise himself is there to reflect on his own direction, aided by wise and insightful comments from none other than Martin Scorsese.
The box is nicely designed, but inside are five gorgeous keepcases with original poster art from each film. They look sensational.
...and at Amazon's bargain price, this comes out to about $7 a film. (I paid slightly more from a local retailer who put it out a little early, and it was more than worth it for me!). This is phenomenal film history, presented with class and panache, and at an irresistible price.
Once again Warner Brothers home video sets the standard for how to present classic films on DVD, leaving all the other companies in the dust!
The official Amazon reviewer sums it all up beautifully. Each one of these films is a true American masterwork, a definitive example of why film noir continues to captivate audiences as a unique style of filmmaking.
I've spent the better part of the last three days watching all five films, and then again exploring the commentaries. It's been an amazing experience. I've seen all these films before in battered condition, but each one of these DVDs present the motion pictures with stunning quality that brings out all the nuance in the gorgeous cinematography. Obviously a great deal of meticulous restoration as gone on here, and Warner Bros. should be proud of the fine work that they've put in to these releases.
They look so good, you could almost say they look like they were filmed yesterday....except I doubt anyone today could quite re-create the look of the way these films were shot as exqiuisitely today. Just wonderful.
Do yourself a favor, a get this collection. Settle down with Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Sterling Hayden, John Dall, Robert Ryan, and a bunch of hard-boiled dames like Jane Greer or Peggy Cummmins. Your life will never be the same!
Most recent customer reviews
If you're a lover of old movies, film noir and b movies, you'll love this set. I did! bleak, moody, filled with characters that make all bad choices.Published 15 months ago by dianne kuzniar
I don't care what anyone has to say about stunning visuals or some big name actor, give me a movie with a good plot and great directing every time! Read morePublished 15 months ago by Mayor Maynot
Great collection of great movies, great quality and condition.Published 17 months ago by traditionstoday_art
I'm shocked and dumbfounded!
Is it even... well, truly conceivable?
Do my eyes deceive? I mean, can it really be ....?
My gosh, yes .. yes, it really is! Read more
What a treat & great bargain this set is ! Three key classics,and two other outstanding Films Noir. Read morePublished on July 14 2004 by J. Baesel
Some boxed sets claim to be definitive, but are haphazardly selected. Not this one. Four of the five titles here can legitimately lay claim to being essentials in the film noir... Read morePublished on July 13 2004
...picture quality notwithstanding, this is a must own set. I'm a film noir fanatic, so if WB (and most other companies) keeps releasing them, I'll continue to buy them up.Published on July 8 2004 by Matt P.
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