Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2: City of Fear (1955)
City of Fear (1958): Irving Lerner (Murder by Contract) again directs Vince Edwards, this time as Vince Ryker, a convict who breaks out of prison with a canister of what he thinks is pure heroin, hoping to make a big score. But this white powder turns out to be a deadly radioactive substance called Cobalt-60. As Vince tries to sell the "heroin", he works through his sleazy contacts - all of whom are doomed by their greed and stupidity, with the police desperately trying to find him before he contaminates the whole city. The setting is the modern suburban landscape of Los Angeles, brilliantly photographed by Lucien Ballard (The Wild Bunch).
Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2: Human Desire (1954)
Human Desire (1954): Korean War veteran Jeff Warren (Glenn Ford) returns home to his old, familiar job as a railroad engineer, but he quickly succumbs to his boss's wife, Vicky Buckley (played with frank, unvarnished carnality by Gloria Grahame). Thus begins a tangled web of suspicion, sex and murder involving Vicky and her thuggish husband Carl (Broderick Crawford, in a display of brutish physicality). Directed by Fritz Lang, adapted from Emile Zola's La Bete Humaine (famously filmed by Jean Renoir in 1939), Human Desire evokes a powerful emotional landscape of envy, greed, lust and violent anger.
Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2: Nightfall (1957)
Nightfall (1957): Directed by Jacques Tourneur (Out of the Past), and drawn from one of the masterful, despairing novels of David Goodis, Nightfall is the tale of an innocent man trapped in a senseless and lethal web of seduction and crime. When a young man, an artist, is ensnared in a bungled robbery and murder; he flees from the killers who then relentlessly track him down in this taut thriller adapted for the screen by Stirling Silliphant (In the Heat of the Night). The cinematography by noir-specialist Burnett Guffey (In A Lonely Place, Human Desire, The Brothers Rico) ranges from the elegant, shadowy, neon-lit city to a vast and borderless winter landscape, ranking among his greatest achievements. Brian Keith, Aldo Ray, Anne Bancroft star in this masterpiece.
Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2: Pushover (1954)
Pushover (1954): Fred MacMurray, in a role reminiscent of his classic noir, Double Indemnity, plays one of the duty-bound cops who stake out the apartment of Lona McLane (Kim Novak), the girlfriend of a bank robber-killer. Paul Sheridan (MacMurray) gets close to the beautiful blonde in order to get the lowdown on her boyfriend and the stolen cash, but she turns on the heat and he falls for her, leading to a double-cross with fatal results. Directed by Richard Quine, screenplay by Roy Huggins (The Fugitive), with E.G. Marshall, Philip Carey and Dorothy Malone.
Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 2: The Brothers Rico (1957)
The Brothers Rico (1957): Eddie Rico (Richard Conte), a "respectable" businessman and husband, receives a call in the middle of the night from his former mafia boss. Eddie's deluded sense of loyalty allows him to agree to one last favor, pulling him back into the violence and terror of the mob and putting everything he loves in danger - including his wife (Dianne Foster), and brother (James Darren). Phil Karlson directs this cold, efficient noir, based on a story by Georges Simenon.
To rent Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics, Vol. 1 (The Big Heat / 5 Against the House / The Lineup / Murder by Contract / The Sniper), please click here.