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Film Noir: The Dark Side of Hollywood (1943 - 1952)

Cast: Alexander Granach, Henry Fonda, John Ireland, more...
Director: Fritz Lang, Anatole Litvak, Anthony Mann, more...
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Kino
Genre: Classics, Classic Drama, Film Noir, Vintage Noir, Classic Crime

Synopsis
This collection contains the following titles on 5 DVDs:

  • Hangmen Also Die! (1943)

    Hangmen Also Die is set in Czechoslovakia during the Nazi occupation. Czech loyalist Brian Donlevy assassinates the vicious Gestapo leader Heydrich, then goes into hiding. The wounded patriot is sheltered by history professor Walter Brennan, who is already under surveillance by the Nazis thanks to his veiled classroom attacks on the Third Reich. Fifth columnist Gene Lockhart arranges for the professor and 400 other Prague citizens to be rounded up as hostages, to be killed if Heydrich's assassin is not revealed. Ultimately Lockhart himself is framed by the citizenry, giving the actor full scope to cringe and cower as only he could. Persuasively directed by Fritz Lang, Hangmen Also Die was based on a story by Lang and expatriate German playwright Bertold Brecht. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

  • The Long Night (1947)

    Based upon the French film Le Jour Se Lève, The Long Night opens in the in the midst of a dire situation: ex-serviceman Joe Adams (Henry Fonda) finds himself holed up in his apartment, surrounded by policemen who soon open fire in a relentless and determined manner. Adams has been accused of murder, and as his apartment is riddled with bullets, he flashes back to how this all came about. It began when Adams met Jo Ann (Barbara Bel Geddes), who, it turns out, grew up in the same orphanage at the same time as he. They soon fall in love, but things are complicated when a magician named Maximilian (Vincent Price) enters the picture. He tells Adams that he is Jo Ann's father, but that he doesn't want her to know this. Maximilian begins spending a lot of time with Jo Ann, which makes Adams feel vaguely unsettled. He discovers that Maximilian lied -- that he is not her father but is someone who has been trying to seduce her for a long time. Maximilian goes to Adams' apartment to taunt him, with the result that Adams shoots him, thus bringing about the current state of affairs. As Adams has been recalling all of this, a crowd has gathered, including Jo Ann. She leads the crowd in protesting the police's actions, and a riot brews. With tension continuing to rise, Jo Ann desperately tries to find a way to rescue the man she loves. ~ Craig Butler, All Movie Guide

  • Railroaded (1947)

    One of director Anthony Mann's earlier films, Railroaded features John Ireland as Duke Martin, a seedy criminal looking to skim off of his boss' money. Instead of making the extra cash by his usual means--a small gambling operation run by beautician Clara Cahhoun (Jane Randolph)--Duke (Ireland) chooses instead to hold up the beauty parlor at gunpoint. Things go awry, however, when the cops hear Calhoun's (Randolph) assistant scream in terror. In a spray of gunfire, both a policeman and Martin's partner in crime are killed. Meanwhile, a local delivery boy is accused of killing the police officer. Detective Mike Ferguson (Hugh Beaumont) is assigned to the case, and quickly begins to butt heads with Duke, who he realizes from the start is up to no good. ~ Tracie Cooper, All Movie Guide

  • Behind Locked Doors (1948)

    Behind the locked doors of a mental institution resides crooked politico Judge Drake (Herbert Heyes), free from prosecution so long as he pretends to be crazy. To get the goods on Drake, private detective Ross Stewart (Richard Carlson) has himself committed to the asylum as a patient. Meanwhile, reporter Kathy Lawrence (Lucille Bremer), posing as Stewart's wife, acts as his liaison to the outside world. But when Drake figures out what's going on, he pulls strings to have Stewart meet with an "accident" during his stay at the institution. Ralf Harolde, who memorably portrayed a seedy psychiatrist in Murder My Sweet, contributes another excellent performance in Behind Locked Doors as a sympathetic attendant with Something To Hide. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

  • Sudden Fear (1952)

    Joan Crawford stars as wealthy San Francisco heiress Myra Hudson (Joan Crawford), a successful playwright who meets Lester Blaine (Jack Palance) while casting her new play in New York. They meet again on the train ride back, fall in love and marry. Unknown to Myra, Lester is seeing mistress Irene Neves (Gloria Grahame), whom he still loves and has married her only for her money. While looking through her study, Irene and Lester learn that Myra has made a will leaving only $10,000 a year to Lester (though if he remarries following her death he recieves nothing). Seeing that the will has not yet taken effect, they plot to kill Myra without noticing that Myra's dictating machine is on and recording their conversation. After listening to the conversation and spending a sleepless night, Myra goes to Irene's apartment and steals a gun. Irene then lures Lester to the apartment, intending to kill him. Losing her nerve, she flees the apartment with Lester chasing her. The film has an exciting and surprising climax as all meet unexpectedly during the chase. Joan Crawford gives a fine, if melodramatic performance, and Jack Palance is amazingly effective playing against type as a leading man. Despite a slow start, this is a fine suspense thriller that earned Oscar nominations for Joan Crawford and Jack Palance and a nomination for Charles B. Lang Jr. for his striking black and white photography. ~ Linda Rasmussen, All Movie Guide

    GreenCine Says: In a noir-ish mood? Check out Kino's new Dark Side of Hollywood set ($37.45), five movies including the underrated The Long Night, Anthony Mann's tough, taut Railroaded, and likely the best of the quintet, Sudden Fear with Joan Crawford, which GreenCine's DWoo called a "San Francisco treat." The box from Kino is part of "one of the best ongoing video series around," says Images Journal's Gary Johnson. The latest will hit you like a good slap to the face.




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