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Film Noir - The Dark Side of Hollywood (Sudden Fear / The Long Night / Hangmen Also Die / Railroaded / Behind Locked Doors)
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The first great period of Anthony Mann's career was the string of blackly brilliant late-'40s thrillers and crimebusting movies--T-Men, Raw Deal, Border Incident, et al.--that marked the full flowering of film noir. We won't kid you: Railroaded was made just before Mann hit his spectacular stride--and just before the low-rent Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) evolved into the somewhat more prestigious Eagle-Lion. The rather plodding story line has to do with a young deliveryman's framing for a robbery and the incidental murder of a cop, and the slightly-at-cross-purposes efforts of his sister (Sheila Ryan) and a police detective (Hugh Beaumont, better-known as "Ward Cleaver") to clear him. Much more worthy of contemplation is the saturnine John Ireland as the principal evildoer, a small-time crook whose readiness to whack any number of people, innocent and guilty alike, gets creepier with each passing reel.
Mann hadn't yet teamed with cinematographer John Alton, and the lighting is generic--blah for the daylight scenes, merely murky for the night stuff. Still, it's gratifying to see that Mann on his own was already reaching for the occasional deep-focus composition, outré set piece (a shootout among upended stools in a darkened saloon), and surprising texture--like the close-up of a bullet hole in an alligator purse that announces a life lost, with chilling matter-of-factness, off screen and between scenes. --Richard T. Jameson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Long Night is probably the best film in this collection, though Sudden Fear would be a close second. The Long Night has great film noir atmosphere, but what is especially noticeable about this film is the exceptional performance by Henry Fonda. Generally not one of my favourite actors, he does however shine in this film with a very powerful performance. Vincent Price is excellent in his supporting role. Director Anatole Litvak does great work in this film, particularly in the way he keeps the suspense at a high level throughout the film.
Sudden Fear is one of Joan Crawford's better film noirs. It is the usual star vehicle for Crawford, but Jack Palance makes this film a cut above the rest. He is excellent as the duplicitous villain in this film, and is probably the most memorable part of it as well. It is also always a treat to have film noir icon femme fatale Gloria Grahame in the film also.
Hangmen Also Die should have been the best film in this collection one would assume since it was directed by the legendary Fritz Lang. Unfortunately, it is probably the least entertaining and interesting of his Hollywood films in my opinion. One problem with this film right off the bat is Brian Donlevy. As much as I like him as a supporting actor, he is simply not right for a leading role.Read more ›
If however you are a connoiseur of the dirtectors art you will get alot out of this movie. As Manny Farber correctly identified this is one of the best examples of the "Germanic Rigour" that Mann brings to his films regardless of the non-existent budget. There are several amazing compositions and camera angles that Mann pulls off in this tour-de-force, and all create an amazing rythym like a well oiled machine. This isn't one for the casual viewer, but it is worth watching to see one of the greatest of all American directors working his magic. One for the purists out there.
Similarly, the 'bad girl' ultimately turns good. These reversals, coupled with the bad guy's peculiar behavior (the infamous perfuming of his bullets) and an unusual shoot-out in a long-after-closing bar full of upside-down barstools make for an interesting film.
Hugh Beaumont's good guy cop is a well-matched foil to John Ireland's Duke Martin, whose occasionally drunk girlfriend meets with Beaumont, near the end, to rat out what she thinks is her two-timing boyfriend.
Definitely one of the better films noir on DVD.
you won't be interested at all in RAILROADED. BUT YOU WILL BE WRONG !
You will miss John Ireland in the role of a sexual perverted bad guy
who likes to perfume his bullets before killing ; in RAW DEAL, another
Anthony Mann's movie shot one year later that you can find in the DVD
standard courtesy of the Roan Group, you will also find one of these
degenerated killers, this time impersonated by a vicious Raymond
You will also miss the long bare hands fight between Jane
Randolph and Sheila Ryan, very unusual in Hollywoodian productions of
that period. And there are numerous other anthology scenes that you
So make your choice but don't forget that there is only a
scene access as bonus feature if you want to consider Anthony Mann's
A DVD for your library.
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