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Added by Citizen Caine on 22 Feb 2013 12:31
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Film Noir - My Top 15

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People who added this item 320 Average listal rating (198 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.2


It's as near to perfection as films get. It's endlessly quotable, it contains some terrific performances, James Wong Howe does a monumental job with the photography yet again (as does Elmer Bernstein with the Jazz score) and it has probably one of the best endings of all time - love how Tony Curtis lies throughout the film and gets away with it, but when he tells the truth for once he's accused of lying! Curtis and Lancaster aside, the supporting cast are great too, particularly Emile Meyer as Hunsecker's 'fat friend.' And a smoking Susan Harrison. And we get to see plenty of New York which is always cool. I'd pick my favourite quotes but there's simply too many to choose from - brilliant stuff. Superb filmmaking.
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People who added this item 57 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.1
The Sniper (1952)


The movie that introduced me to film noir. I had never seen anything like it before and it made me ask myself questions I had never asked before. It seemed to transcend the period it was made, breaking all the rules. It's an absolutely breathtaking film with an incredible ending.
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People who added this item 739 Average listal rating (438 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8


Sublime. Whilst, on first viewing, I wasn't sure Joseph Cotten (who is an actor I greatly admire), was completely believable as the 'good Uncle Charlie', I came to realise that it doesn't really matter, it was never really the intention for him to start the film as a 'nice guy', that it was more about the naivety of his loving family. I fell in love with Teresea Wright as 'Young Charlie' and could understand how quickly Macdonald Carey's detective did as well. I feel it was unfair that Truffaut, in his Hitchcock book, critisised Carey as a poor casting choice as I think he did a very good job. He wasn't supposed to stand out from Cotten. Cotten himself is excellent playing Uncle Charlie with a cold steeliness and vice. I love the great little touches such as his encounter with the widow at the bank and of course his various outbursts throughout the film. Enjoyed Hume Cronyn and Henry Travers as well. In fact, the whole cast are great. Stand out scene? I personally love the scene where Cotten walks up the stairs and turns to see young Charlie, who looks at him, completely heartbroken. Wonderful film.
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People who added this item 387 Average listal rating (218 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.5
The Wrong Man (1956)


Henry Fonda is superb in this true story about Manny Balestrero, an innocent family-man with debt problems, who is falsely arrested for robbery and assault. The absorbing story aside, Vera Miles is brilliant as Balestrero's wife - and the first scene that she appears to be unwell in is genuinely chilling - aided by Bernard Herrmann's score. Anthony Quale is decent too as the lawyer assigned to help the couple. The technical work is fantastic too, with outstanding cinematography.
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People who added this item 33 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.2
Hell Drivers (1957)


Magnificent. First off, we have the top British cast of Stanley Baker, Sean Connery, Sid James, Gordon Jackson and David McCallum, (all who happen to be some of my favourite actors), as well as support from such legends as Peggy Cummings, William Hartnell, Herbot Lom, Jill Ireland and Wilfrid Lawson. But none compare to Patrick McGoohan (an upcoming favourite of mine) and his brilliant portrayl of the Irishman, 'Red', who is the driver to beat in a reckless race to see which of the haulage drivers can get the most runs in a day. Accepting the challenge of trying to beat Red, is the ex-con, Stanley Baker, who gives a very heroic and identifiable performance. It's an exciting, tense and brutal film, topped off with emotional scenes, such as the one's with Baker's brother, McCallum, whom Baker feels resposible for an accident involving an armed robbery. The black and white photography is atmospheric, with a great use of British icons, the post box and such.
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People who added this item 1056 Average listal rating (626 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.3
The Third Man (1949)


There's just something so absorbing about this film. For me, it's the shadows.
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People who added this item 97 Average listal rating (49 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.6


My favourite Preminger. Whilst I don't rate Dana Andrews in Laura, he does a very good job here as a beat-out cop who accidentally kills a murder suspect. The suspect? Gene Tierney's violent, alcoholic ex-hubby (Craig Stevens). Knowing the incident will ruin his career, Andrews tries to pin the blame on a local hood, brilliantly portrayed by Gary Merrill, but ends up falling for Tierney whose father is the main suspect for Stevens' murder. A very enjoyable noir, with a fine cast including Karl Malden and a great use of closeups. The occasional bursts of violence up the tension somewhat. Great film.
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People who added this item 99 Average listal rating (44 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.4
Brighton Rock (1947)


A tough, tense British gangster thriller with a superb Richard Attenborough who has a hell of a presence playing 'Pinkie' Brown, the leader of a group of mobsters, clearing up a murder racket. Caught up in the mess is the lovely Carol Marsh (who unfortunately died early this year) who falls for Pinkie, unaware that Pinkie is not in love with her. The working class struggle of post war Britain and devout Catholocism are both explored in detail here, along with a great supporting cast including old Bill Hartnell (who would go on to play a gangster again in Hell Drivers), lead up to a thrilling and harrowing climax. The change to the final scene, differing from the novel is a welcome addition. Truly unforgettable.
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People who added this item 1060 Average listal rating (637 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8


So many iconic images, but it's a film synonymous with it's murder scene.
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People who added this item 32 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.1
The Criminal (1960)


A tough prison drama that is rather frank in it's portrayal of brutal violence, an abusive prison system, sex and nudity, alcohol consumption, mental disorders and corruption. It gave the film something of a reputation and was subsequently banned in several countries. The sound quality of the print I watched was very poor, which made the film difficult to follow at times, but it certainly grabbed my attention with several standout scenes, most notably the wild party, the violent prison rebellion and the finale onboard a barge. But the film is at it's best whenever Cleo Laine's rendition of "Thieving Boy" is played. Haunting stuff. But the real reason to watch is Stanley Baker, who is quickly becoming one of my favourite actors after providing consistently excellent performances in the films of his I've seen - it's such a shame that so many of his films are hard to find. He plays an Irish inmate, who practically owns the place (he has Noel Willman's governor wrapped around his little finger), but comes into constant conflict with Patrick Magee's dissolute prison warden. He's released and duly takes part in the pre-planned robbing of cash, at a racetrack, that goes horribly wrong after he is betrayed and ends up lumped back in prison with fellow criminals after his blood, waiting to be paid off as the plot thickens and the inmates become even more unsettled. Sam Wanamaker and Grégoire Aslan are the other key performers of note and there's even a couple of Bond connections in the forms of Jill Bennett and Paul Stassino. And, as a sign of the times, there's plenty of British Imperialistic snobbery, as the inmates are made up almost entirely of Irishmen, Scots, Australians, West Indians and Italians, but few Englishmen. The location work is excellent too. A gripping and thematic, if talky and slightly dated film that has quite possibly the best and most resonant ending I've ever seen.
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People who added this item 52 Average listal rating (26 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Boomerang! (1947)


"It's been a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Wade."
"I know."

Cracking noir from Elia Kazan that not only offers up a compelling story (a true one at that) but thoughtful social commentary. Mirroring the Metropolitan Police in London, during the time of the Ripper murders, is the diminished, incompetent and ridiculed police force of Bridgeport, Connecticut, led by none other than Lee J.Cobb. Dana Andrews is the highly-rated detective in charge of an investigation into the death of a local priest, a much-loved father-figure to everyone who knew him. The script is ingenious and there are some great moments of tension (most notably where Andrews is willing to to be the guinea pig in the effort to prove that a gun cannot be fired at a certain angle.) but the film is really all about the cast. Arthur Kennedy turns in the best performance as the accused war veteran, Cara Williams is wonderfully full of herself (not to mention a total bitch!) and Ed Begley, in his cinematic debut, steals every damn scene he's in. There's a small part for Karl Malden too, although he's bizzarely left uncredited. Sam Levene deserves a mention too due to his part in the killer ending.
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People who added this item 60 Average listal rating (29 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 6.9
Whirlpool (1949)


Whirlpool has a very clever and well-written plot that gets well-respected Gene Tierney caught up in a shoplifting scandal that leads to murder and blackmail. José Ferrer makes an excellent villain, Richard Conte is decent as Tierney’s husband and there is good support from Charles Bickford and Rope’s Constance Collier. Preminger seems almost reliant on long sequences, which is by no means a criticism as the scene with Tierney hiding the recordings is magnificent. However, the confession scene and onwards proves to be the downfall of the film and the proceeding scenes seem overdone, (particularly when Tierney starts to remember everything) and the climax is almost a copy of Laura’s, even if it is tense. Still, there’s plenty to enjoy – the showdown between Ferrer and Conte is terrific.
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People who added this item 36 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7


Fantastic. San Francisco is used wonderfully here (magnificent views) and we get a sense of the everyday lifestyle. Anyway, Valentina Cortese plays a Polish concentration-camp survivor, who takes up the identity of her deceased friend and moves to her Xanadu-esque family home on Telegraph Hill, much to the annoyance of Fay Baker, who was looking after Cortese’s friend’s son and she soon becomes jealous of her and Richard Baseheart’s relationship which, well, hits the rocks as Cortese, filled with guilt of faking her identity, becomes paranoid that her husband is trying to kill her, after several mishaps and ‘accidents’. The cast are pretty good, William Lundigan is the standout probably, and the house is atmospheric thanks largely to the cinematography. And the twist here is better than Suspicion with a deadly glass of orange juice replacing milk used by Cary Grant. Top stuff.
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People who added this item 19 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.2


Another cracking British crime noir, unfairly slated simply because of it's stance alongside it's American and Italian genre counterparts. In a brutal tale of a London-based protection racket, Sean Connery, giving one of the most commanding and impressive performances of his career (at least from what I've seen), plays Irish tough-guy Paddy Damion, drafted in by syndicate leader Harry Foulcher (a brilliant Alfred Marks) to keep order amongst his new pub and club chains - with financial advice from sly mobster, Herbet Lom (ever dependable). It all goes arse over head when the syndicate splits, murder and gang warfare becomes rife, Connery struggles to look after his old mate (Kenneth Griffith) and his girlfriend (Olive McFarland) whilst having a fling with a smouldering Yvonne Romain, and John Gregson's beat-out cop(per) (old cliché but nevermind) is soon out to regain control of the streets. It's exciting, complex and provided a hit song for The Shadows. And as a tidbit, Hitchcock regular Frederick Piper makes an appearance. Good, thrilling stuff.
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People who added this item 132 Average listal rating (68 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.4
Force of Evil (1948)


A little gem of a movie, a taught, tense gangster thriller with a wonderful use of locations. The dialogue is also terrific :

“I am sensible. I am calm. I'll give you my answer calmly and sensibly, my final answer. My final answer is finally no. The answer is no! Absolutely and finally no! Finally and positively no! No! No! No! N - O!”

“All that Cain did to Abel was murder him.”

I could go on. The cast are great too; John Garfield is smooth, Marie Windsor is sultry, Thomas Gomez gives the best performance in the film and Beatrice Pearson is a total babe – shame she appeared in so few films. Not to sound too generic, but the best scenes are those involving guns - the kidnapping scene is masterfully directed. But you can’t go wrong with the long dialogue scenes, particularly those with Garfield and Pearson – pure poetry.
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Preminger's Laura didn't make the list. I don't rate it particularly.

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Comments

Posted: 4 years, 5 months ago at Feb 27 5:44
I seriously need to watch more of these! Your descriptions are great and make each movie seem so enticing and interesting.
Posted: 4 years, 4 months ago at Apr 3 1:10
I'd like to see all of these movies. Great list.
Posted: 4 years, 4 months ago at Apr 3 1:21
Nice, there are a few of these i still have to watch. More to add to my movie queue :)
Posted: 4 years, 4 months ago at Apr 3 8:00
I love noir, and I have only seen 4 of these. Thanks for giving me a few different ones to check out.
Posted: 3 years, 11 months ago at Sep 9 14:16
Magnificent list. I haven't seen 4 of these movies and I'm looking forward seeing them. Thank you...
Posted: 3 years, 5 months ago at Mar 19 19:13
i've watched the half of them and i think some of the others like The Sniper, Whirlpool and Frightened City seems very interesting. i'm surprise to not see on your list Touch Of Evil (1958) or Double Indemnity (1944) but i know that everyone as is own classic film noir. great list Caine

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