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5 Film Noir Killer Classics (1949)

Cast: Edmond O'Brien, Edmond O'Brien, Pamela Britton, more...
Director: Rudolph Maté, Rudolph Maté
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Questar Entertainment
Genre: Film Noir, Vintage Noir, Crime
Running Time: 540 min.
    see additional details...

Synopsis
This collection contains the following titles on 6 discs:

  • D.O.A (1949)

    "I want to report a murder...mine." So begins D.O.A. Told in flashback, the story tells of how vacationing CPA Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien) becomes the recipient of a deadly poison known as iridium. Told by a doctor that he only has a few hours to live, Bigelow desperately retraces his movements of the previous 24 hours, trying to locate his murderer. Through the aid of his secretary Paula Gibson (Pamela Britton) (who doesn't know of her boss' imminent demise), Bigelow traces a shipment of iridium to a gang of criminals who've used the poison in the commission of a crime. Bigelow had been targeted because he'd notarized the shipment, which came from the chemical firm where he works. Though we know from the outset that Bigelow isn't long for this world, the film builds up an incredible amount of suspense towards the end, when master crook Holiday (William Ching) orders his crazed henchman (Neville Brand) to take Bigelow for "a ride." DOA was remade in 1988 with Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

  • The Stranger (1946)

    The Stranger is often considered Orson Welles' most "traditional" Hollywood-style directorial effort. Welles plays a college professor named Charles Rankin, who lives in a pastoral Connecticut town with his lovely wife Mary (Loretta Young). One afternoon, an extremely nervous German gentleman named Meineke (Konstantin Shayne) arrives in town. Professor Rankin seems disturbed--but not unduly so--by Meineke's presence. He invites the stranger for a walk in the woods, and as they journey farther and farther away from the center of town, we learn that kindly professor Rankin is actually notorious Nazi war criminal Franz Kindler. Conscience-stricken by his own genocidal wartime activities, Meineke has come to town to beg his ex-superior Kindler to give himself up. The professor responds by brutally murdering his old associate. If Kindler believes himself safe--and he has every reason to do so, since no one in town, especially Mary, has any inkling of his previous life--he will change his mind in a hurry when mild-mannered war crimes commissioner Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) pays a visit, posing as an antiques dealer. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

  • Detour (1945)

    Edgar G. Ulmer's Detour begins when hitchhiker Al Roberts (Tom Neal) accepts a ride from affable gambler Charles Haskell Jr. (Edmund MacDonald). When Haskell suffers a fatal heart attack, Roberts, afraid that he'll be accused of murder, disposes of the body, takes the man's clothes and wallet, and begins driving the car himself. He picks up beautiful but sullen Vera (Ann Savage), who suddenly breaks the silence by asking, "What did you do with the body?" It turns out that Vera had earlier accepted a ride from Haskell and has immediately spotted Roberts as a ringer. Holding the threat of summoning the police over his head, Vera forces Roberts to continue his pose so that he can collect a legacy from Haskell's millionaire father, who hasn't seen his son in years. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

  • Scarlet Street (1945)

    Masterfully directed by Fritz Lang, Scarlet Street is a bleak film in which an ordinary man, succumbs first to vice and then to murder. Christopher Cross (Edward G. Robinson) is a lonely man, married to a nagging wife. Painting is the only thing which brings him joy. Cross meets Kitty (Joan Bennett) who believing him to be a famous painter, begins an affair with him. Encouraged by her lover, con man Johnny Prince (Dan Duryea) Kitty persuades Cross to embezzle money from his employer in order to pay for her lavish apartment. In that apartment, happy for the first time in his life, Cross paints Kitty's picture. Johnny then pretends that Kitty painted to portrait, which has won great critical acclaim. Finally realizing he has been manipulated, Cross kills Kitty, loses his job, and because his name has been stolen by Kitty, is unable to paint. He suffers a mental breakdown as the film ends, haunted by guilt. Kitty and Johnny are two of the most amoral and casual villains in the history of film noir, both like predatory animals, completely without conscience. Milton Krasner's photography is excellent in its use of stark black-and-white to convey psychological states. Fritz Lang is unparalleled in his ability to convey the desperation of hapless, naive victims in a cruelly realistic world. ~ Linda Rasmussen, All Movie Guide

  • Too Late for Tears (1949)

    When Lizabeth Scott's husband Arthur Kennedy accidentally gets his mitts on $60,000 in stolen money, she insists that he keep the dough rather than turn it over to the authorities. Two-bit private eye Dan Duryea catches on to Scott's subterfuge, and demands that she turn the cash over to him. Scott persuades Duryea to split the money with her--then, determining that Kennedy might be too honest for everyone's own good, she murders her husband. To cover her tracks, Scott reports her husband as missing. This brings in yet another fly in the ointment: Don DeFore, the brother of Scott's first husband, who died under mysterious circumstances. The already knotted webs of intrigue become even more tangled before Scott's ironic comeuppance. Too Late for Tears was scripted by Roy Huggins, who later produced such TV detective series as The Rockford Files. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide




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