To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide. John Reid has managed to pack over tantalizing DVD movie overviews into these pages. This is a real treasure trove of old favorites that you won't want to be without.
[PDF] Mystery, Suspense, Film Noir and Detective Movies On DVD: A Guide to the Best in Cinema
Most of the write-ups are black and white mystery, suspense film noir from the 30s, 40s and 50s. Here are just a few of my favorites just to get you in the mood to watch an old flick Overall, Mr. Reid, I thank you. Lesley Thomson. Into the Twilight Zone. Jean-Marc Lofficier. Jean Arthur. Jerry Vermilye.
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Fade to Black: Movie Obituaries. Paul Donnelley. Leonard Maltin. John Howard Reid. Hammer Films. Tom Johnson. Memorable Films of the Forties. Lynn Kear. The Sound of Silence. Michael G. Paula Cantu. Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors. Jerry Roberts. The Fox Film Corporation, Aubrey Solomon. Frances Hogan. Susan Shaw. Joan Duffy.
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Turner's House of Horrors. Michael H. Tokyo Vice. Jake Adelstein.
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The Films of Fay Wray. Roy Kinnard. Donald S Passman. Fred Flowers.
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The Tower of Babble. Its sweaty, unglamorous s aesthetic, bluesy score, and casting of actors like Richard Pryor seem miles away from how noir is typically conceived. But Blue Collar has the soul of noir. United by their anger, they decide to rob a safe at union headquarters, stumbling upon a conspiracy that rips their lives apart. It is one of the most impactful neo-noirs I have been introduced to in recent years for its consideration of anti-blackness, the crushing constraints of being the working poor, and its vision of the Rust Belt.
With neo-noir, the sexual indiscretions and politics between men and women — often subtext in previous decades — comes to the fore. Body Heat is a great example of how much this change affects the genre. But where that film has an air of chilliness, Body Heat is overheated and overwhelmed by sexual desire, free of any subtextual maneuverings. It follows an affair between an inept lawyer, Ned William Hurt , and a wealthy married woman with untold appetites, Matty Kathleen Turner. Mona Lisa has the two qualities essential to noir: atmosphere and psychologically astute character study.
This makes Mona Lisa sound lurid, but it shirks expectations. Each of the main characters are distinctive and beautifully acted, but it is Hoskins who is especially tremendous, earning his only Oscar nomination for this role. He distills what is so moving about the film: its portrayal of love as both a salve and potential weapon.
Black Widow synthesizes the two archetypes in the form of Catharine Theresa Russell , a methodical and highly intelligent femme fatale preparing herself for her next mark and kill. Investigator Alex Barnes Debra Winger is the kind of woman who reads obituaries in the morning with her coffee and carries herself with a sloppy lack of restraint, making her the antithesis of the seductive Catharine.
Black Widow is at its best when interrogating the ways these different women play off each other and how control shifts between them, creating a propulsive, striking tale. Each performance adds new dimensions to the otherworldly, scuzzy landscape of the film. Patric is a standout as a man not even at home in his own mind. Three con artists with warring appetites and motives intersect to fatal results: the sharp-eyed and venomous Lilly Anjelica Huston ; the son she had at a very young age, Roy John Cusack ; and his older girlfriend, Myra Annette Bening , forever using her sexual appeal to advance.
The film stars Mimi Rogers as a sexually voracious, somewhat emotionally distant woman who converts to Christianity when she comes across a sect that believes the rapture is imminent. Noir is not only a flexible genre, but one whose qualities have seeped into so many corners of film that its influence can be seen in surprising venues. The Rapture echoes noir in the particulars of its moral landscape, interest in sexuality, its existential quandaries, and its view of Los Angeles.
The city is brimming with hopeless malaise and hollow glamour. Directed by veteran actor Bill Duke, Deep Cover creates a paranoid and poetic fable that strikes at the heart of racial and economic unease in the s. Russell Stevens Jr. Along the way, Stevens meets a cast of colorful and selfish characters, including a memorably eccentric Jeff Goldblum. But he becomes racked with guilt over committing heinous crimes undercover, the collateral damage of which affects the very communities he wants to protect. And it simmers with intensity, thanks to the assured performances and direction. Black women have always operated in the margins of noir.
She has specific, moral reasons behind her involvement.
Lila is joined by her boyfriend, Ray Billy Bob Thornton , and ex-con Pluto Michael Beach on a crime spree that leads them to Arkansas, where most of the film takes place. The rural atmosphere opens the film up to fascinating new avenues, including a great performance from Bill Paxton as the small-town sheriff who shares a past with Lila. What makes One False Move such an engrossing film is how it shirks the empty pastiche of s and s noirs and instead uses the genre to confront issues of privilege, white guilt, and anti-blackness, with small-town grit.
Suture is a curiosity. More than any other film on this list, it represents my issue with how neo-noir often elides trenchant political and emotional concerns for an obsession with style. Writing, directing, and producing partners Scott McGehee and David Siegel have a design background — and it shows.
The black-and-white cinematography is stark and richly textured. Each frame has a sparse aesthetic, in which people are positioned in ways that gleam with a geometric elegance.
The plot concerns two half-brothers — the wealthy, white Vincent Michael Harris and working-class, black Clay Dennis Haysbert — who reconnect after the death of their father. They often make pronouncements about how uncanny their resemblance is, which is comically ridiculous, considering Clay is a dark-skinned black man and Vincent is as white as can be. It never taps into the intriguing surreality and potential political weight of its plot, but it is a strangely spellbinding tale thanks to the assured lead performances and visual ingenuity.
Yes, that Tom Cruise. Emotionally cold. Sexually voracious. Bridget Gregory, the harsh protagonist impeccably brought to life by Linda Fiorentino, is one of the most brutal femmes fatales within the annals of film noir. After she and her husband swipe nearly a million dollars in a pharmaceutical scam, Bridget runs off to a small town outside of Buffalo with the money and performs increasingly more terrifying actions to keep it.
Bigelow, along with screenwriters James Cameron and Jay Cocks, creates a Los Angeles in the closing days of that is pockmarked by crime and defined by a language all its own. Strange Days is a manic, sensory experience, which makes sense given its preoccupations with tackling a wide range of harrowing subject matters, including voyeurism, rape, and racial strife.