My Top 10 Film Noir

Le Doulos (1962) (click for my full review)

m800 le doulos PDVD_010

The Third Man (1949)

screenshot-lrg-16

Synopsis: Set in postwar Vienna, Austria, “The Third Man” stars Joseph Cotten as Holly Martins, a writer of pulp Westerns, who arrives penniless as a guest of his childhood chum Harry Lime (Orson Welles), only to find him dead. Martins develops a conspiracy theory after learning of a “third man” present at the time of Harry’s death, running into interference from British officer Maj. Calloway (Trevor Howard) and falling head-over-heels for Harry’s grief-stricken lover, Anna (Alida Valli).

Night and the City (1950)

night-and-the-city

Synopsis: Londoner Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) is a second-rate con man looking for an angle. After years of putting up with Harry’s schemes, his girlfriend, Mary (Gene Tierney), becomes fed up when he taps her for yet another loan. His latest ploy, promoting an aging Greek wrestler, goes awry when the wrestler dies and everyone points the finger at Harry. Hiding out in a riverfront barge, Harry sees his grand ambitions spiral into a nightmare of fear and desperation as the underworld closes in.

Pickup on South Street (1953)

pickuponsouthstreet

Synopsis: In New York City, an insolent pickpocket, Skip McCoy (Richard Widmark), inadvertently sets off a chain of events when he targets ex-prostitute Candy (Jean Peters) and steals her wallet. Unaware that she has been making deliveries of highly classified information to the communists, Candy, who has been trailed by FBI agents for months in hopes of nabbing the spy ringleader, is sent by her ex-boyfriend, Joey (Richard Kiley), to find Skip and retrieve the valuable microfilm he now holds.

The Big Sleep (1946)

bdb3db4b43715dfb8a08c50da2b922e5

Synopsis: Private investigator Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) is hired by General Sternwood to help resolve the gambling debts of his wild young daughter, Carmen (Martha Vickers). Sternwood’s older daughter, Vivian (Lauren Bacall), provides assistance when she implies that the situation is more complex, and also involves casino owner (John Ridgely) and a recently disappeared family friend. As people linked to the Sternwoods start being murdered, Marlowe finds himself getting ever deeper into the case.

Out of the Past (1947)

Annex-Greer-Jane-Out-of-the-Past_01

Synopsis: The quiet life of small-town gas station owner Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) is interrupted when a figure from his shady past, small-time crook Joe Stephanos (Paul Valentine), recognizes him. Stephanos’ boss, crooked gambler Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas), had hired Jeff to track down Kathie Moffat (Jane Greer), a girlfriend who shot Whit and made off with $40,000 of his. Jeff and Kathie fell in love, but she left him to go back to Sterling, who now wants Jeff to settle a few old scores.

The Big Heat (1956)

1

Synopsis: A police officer seems to have committed suicide, but Detective Dave Bannion (Glenn Ford) thinks there’s more to the story. After talking to the man’s mob-connected mistress, Bannion discovers far-reaching corruption that leads all the way from the police station to kingpin Mike Lagana (Alexander Scourby). But when the policeman’s lover is killed, it becomes clear that crossing Lagana is a dangerous thing to do. Soon Bannion finds himself marked for death and his family in mortal danger.

The Woman in the Window (1945)

Annex - Bennett, Joan (Woman in the Window, The)_01

Synopsis: His family packed off to Maine, Professor Richard Wanley (Edward G. Robinson) is anticipating some quiet time alone. Then he meets Alice (Joan Bennett), the model for a portrait he admires, and can’t resist her offer of a drink. No sooner do they get to her place, however, than her jealous boyfriend arrives in a rage. Richard kills him in self-defense, and they decide to hide the body. Things go smoothly until Richard’s D.A. friend invites him to tag along on the investigation of his own crime.

Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

Elevator-to-the-Gallows-1

Synopsis: Florence (Jeanne Moreau) is married to the wealthy arms dealer Simon Carala (Jean Wall), but is carrying on a torrid affair with one of her husband’s employees, Julien (Maurice Ronet). Julien daringly climbs into Simon’s office on a rope, kills him and leaves unnoticed. However, Julien accidentally leaves the rope at the crime scene and realizes he must retrieve it. On his way out, he becomes stuck in the building’s elevator. But he soon finds that his bad luck is just beginning.

Laura (1944)

laura-portrait_andrews

Synopsis: In one of the most celebrated 1940s film noirs, Manhattan detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigates the murder of Madison Avenue executive Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) in her fashionable apartment. On the trail of her murderer, McPherson quizzes Laura’s arrogant best friend, gossip columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) and her comparatively mild fiancé, Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price). As the detective grows obsessed with the case, he finds himself falling in love with the dead woman.

Advertisements

5 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s