journey into noir

Join me in exploring the world of noir--movies whose characters are as grey as the shadows with which they're filmed.

I like my Scotch neat, my fashions retro, and my noir dark, drawing me into a world that follows its own dreamy logic. The movies should have a flawed hero whose integrity will be tested & found wanting, a beautiful dame with a secret, an intriguing plot with a MacGuffin or two, a gritty urban landscape that itself becomes a character--plus actors and a director who know what depth & ambiguity are.

This list includes my personal ratings & pocket-size reviews. Come with me for a walk on the noir side.
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1.
Blackmail (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
After killing a man in self-defence, a young woman is blackmailed by a witness to the killing. (85 mins.)
“ 7.5/10
I call this early-sound classic a proto-noir for its themes, its ambiguous characters, its high expressionistic style. (It also includes one of my favourite Hitchcock cameos.)

Hitchcock filmed in Germany in the mid-1920s, with the opportunity to observe FW Murnau directing first-hand. Many of Hitch's later films (The 39 Steps, Foreign Correspondent, Shadow of a Doubt, Strangers on a Train, Stage Fright, Vertigo, Psycho), though not true noirs, made fantastic use of what he learned there to create a cinematic style that was both influential & highly personal. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
2.
M (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt. (117 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
“ 9/10
One of the great films, however you classify it. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
3.
The Letter (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense, but a letter in her own hand may prove her undoing. (95 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
“ 8/10
Unforgettable performances from Bette Davis & James Stephenson, plus an intriguing story atmospherically filmed. The settings--especially the rubber plantation--are extremely effective. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
4.
Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
An aspiring reporter is the key witness at the murder trial of a young man accused of cutting a café owner's throat and is soon accused of a similar crime himself. (64 mins.)
Director: Boris Ingster
“ 6.5/10
An early true noir, complete with voiceovers, flashbacks, grubby settings, & lotsa diagonal shadows. There's a wildly lighted dream sequence that resembles a 1950s production number choreographed by Gene Kelly. Lorre's face--alternately jovial and ominously blank--is creepier even than that, & we're not surprised when he orders his hamburgers raw.

Cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca later shot several noiresque films at RKO for producer Val Lewton, as well as the noir classic Out Of the Past 1947. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
5.
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette. (100 mins.)
Director: John Huston
“ 10/10
The stuff dreams are made of, with pungent & colloquial dialogue to die for. Compelling cinematography by Arthur (Frankenstein 1931, Casablanca 1942) Edeson.

The same novel had been filmed twice previously, in radically different styles: The Maltese Falcon 1931 and Satan Met a Lady 1936 (which was also shot by Edeson). Watch those to understand the sheer brilliance of the work that made the 1941 version indelible. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
6.
Johnny Eager (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
District Attorney's daughter falls in love with a gangster the D.A. is trying to put in jail. (107 mins.)
Director: Mervyn LeRoy
“ 6/10
If this weren't listed as noir, I would never have guessed from the film's script & cinematography that it was. I had a tough time taking the story seriously. Van Heflin is very good here, though. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
7.
The Leopard Man (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A seemingly tame leopard used for a publicity stunt escapes and kills a young girl, spreading panic throughout a sleepy new Mexico town. (66 mins.)
“ 7/10
One of Val Lewton's RKO films of the 1940s, this contains many noirish elements. It also contains three of the most disturbing killing sequences you'll ever see on film. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
8.
The Seventh Victim (1943)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A woman in search of her missing sister uncovers a Satanic cult in New York's Greenwich Village, and finds that they may have something to do with her sibling's random disappearance. (71 mins.)
Director: Mark Robson
“ 7.5/10
Another of Val Lewton's shadowy urban dreams. The story doesn't matter nearly as much as the pervasive despair, & the excellent use made of the cityscape. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
9.
Double Indemnity (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions. (107 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
“ 9/10
Stanwyck & MacMurray are a dynamite package. But it's Edward G. Robinson's performance that sticks with me. The detailing is brilliant too: the ankle bracelet, the furnishings, that balcony overlooking the office workers.

Don't miss the 1973 parody "Double Calamity" from The Carol Burnett Show: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0536657/ ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
10.
Laura (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating. (88 mins.)
Director: Otto Preminger
“ 8/10
The mystery isn't all that mysterious. It's the mood, built from lighting, angles, and music, that makes this so great. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
11.
Murder, My Sweet (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
After being hired to find an ex-con's former girlfriend, Philip Marlowe is drawn into a deeply complex web of mystery and deceit. (95 mins.)
Director: Edward Dmytryk
“ 6.5/10
The singularly uncompelling Powell plays tough guy Marlowe in a typically Chandleresque farrago of a tale. Not great, but it does have its moments. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
12.
My Name Is Julia Ross (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Julia Ross secures employment, through a rather nosy employment agency, with a wealthy widow, Mrs. Hughes... (65 mins.)
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
“ 7/10
A most unusual noir, where the main character is female, the setting not urban or USA. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
13.
The Woman in the Window (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
When a conservative middle-aged professor engages in a minor dalliance with a femme fatale, he is plunged into a nightmarish quicksand of blackmail and murder. (107 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
“ 8.5/10
Stylish, subtle & intense noir with a controversial finale, that keeps its focus on characterization--most importantly, how Robinson's character views himself. Robinson & Bennett are excellent in an exciting yet oh-so-psychologically-plausible tale. Beautifully filmed by Milton Krasner & not to be missed. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
14.
Detour (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Chance events trap hitch-hiker Al Roberts in a tightening net of film noir trouble. (68 mins.)
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
“ 7.5/10
Engrossing, surreal--and utterly unique, with distinctive direction from Edgar (The Black Cat 1934) Ulmer. Savage is a wildcat, the most evil femme fatale ever. Don't miss this one. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
15.
Cornered (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Canadian flyer Laurence Gerard finds that his wife has been murdered by a French collaborator. His quest for justice leads him to Switzerland and Argentina. (102 mins.)
Director: Edward Dmytryk
“ 7/10
Noir with a dollop of espionage--it's quite exciting, with an adult attitude that still feels modern. The story takes one or two too many loops, but it's fast-paced & full of tension. Slezak is the stand-out in a good cast. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
16.
Conflict (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
An engineer trapped in an unhappy marriage murders his wife in the hope of marrying her younger sister. (86 mins.)
“ 6.5/10
Not one of Bogie's best; the plotting is not very complex, & there's no chemistry between him & Alexis Smith (who barely registered on me). However, it has some good moments, with nice atmosphere courtesy of foggy mountain roads and recurring symbols.

Hitchcock-related spoiler: Vertigo's McKittrick Hotel sequence almost certainly was borrowed from Conflict. Conflict itself owes an obvious debt to Gaslight 1940 (aka Angel Street) & Gaslight 1944. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
17.
Scarlet Street (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
When a man in mid-life crisis befriends a young woman, her venal fiancé persuades her to con him out of the fortune they mistakenly assume he possesses. (102 mins.)
Director: Fritz Lang
 
18.
The Big Sleep (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love. (114 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
“ 7.5/10
One of the most ridiculous plots ever to grace the screen, turned into art by Hawks's direction and some sizzling performances. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
19.
The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A married woman and a drifter fall in love, then plot to murder her husband. Once the deed is done, they must live with the consequences of their actions. (113 mins.)
Director: Tay Garnett
“ 7.5/10
The setting--so banal, so sinister--& cinematography sell this one for me. Overall the cast is strong; Hume Cronyn as the tricky defense attorney & Jeff York as a motorcycle cop with a cat fixation are particularly memorable.

Having said that, I admit this classic has its problems. Turner looks too wonderful, though usually in a suitably trashy way; both Garfield & Kellaway act her into a corner. The blackmail sequence is over the top & could easily have been cut. Worse still, the dialogue in the final scene is all but unactable.

Nonetheless, this is a movie that you must see. It's easy to understand why Postman was the top moneymaker of all the noirs. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
20.
The Blue Dahlia (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An ex-bomber pilot is suspected of murdering his unfaithful wife. (96 mins.)
Director: George Marshall
“ 6/10
Solid performances, but the plot requires a boatload of cringe-worthy coincidences to function. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
21.
The Stranger (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An investigator from the War Crimes Commission travels to Connecticut to find an infamous Nazi. (95 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
“ 7/10
The small town atmosphere is well-captured & contrasts in a satisfyingly sinister way with the moody cinematography. Yes, the plot is both simple & absurd, Welles chews quite a lot of scenery & Young's character is embarassingly unconvincing, but this is still a noir that kept me entertained all the way through.

It's also very Hitchcockian. There are moments when the film feels too much like Shadow of a Doubt 1943, with a climax reminiscent of both Blackmail 1929 & Saboteur 1942. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
22.
Gilda (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A small-time gambler hired to work in a Buenos Aires casino learns that his ex-lover is married to his employer. (110 mins.)
Director: Charles Vidor
“ 6.5/10
Too much Gilda, not enough crime. Hayworth is a knockout; Ford is adequate in a thankless role. The cinematography (by Rudolph Maté) is very atmospheric--although the film as a whole lacks any real Argentinean flavour. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
23.
Nocturne (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
In 1940s Los Angeles, when womanizing composer Keith Vincent is found dead, the inquest concludes it was a suicide but police detective Joe Warne isn't so sure. (87 mins.)
Director: Edwin L. Marin
“ 6/10
This script deserved a far better cast. The cinematography is excellent, especially the opening trick shot that appears to zoom from an aerial view of LA through a window & straight into a living room, where a pianist is playing. (To do this for real was impossible until the introduction of the Steadicam in the 1970s. Hitchcock wanted to do a similar shot for the opening of Psycho 1960; he & his long-time associate Joan Harrison--who produced Nocturne-- had long memories.) The biggest problem is Raft, for whom the word "wooden" is insufficient to convey how stilted & shallow his acting is here. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
24.
Deadline at Dawn (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
When a woman he meets is murdered, a soon-to-ship-out sailor has until dawn to find the killer, aided by a weary dance hall girl. (83 mins.)
Director: Harold Clurman
 
25.
Out of the Past (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames. (97 mins.)
“ 8/10
Really strong performances & excellent cinematography, compromised by a screenplay that bumps off too many characters. Essential viewing for noir fans. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
26.
They Won't Believe Me (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
During courtroom drama, philandering California stockbroker Larry Balantine, on trial for murdering his wife and girlfriend, takes the stand to explain those deaths as simply being accidents. (95 mins.)
Director: Irving Pichel
“ 7.5/10
I liked this immensely: Excellent actors in a strong story that builds slowly from the ordinary to the fantastical--and I didn't guess the startling finale. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
27.
Crossfire (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A man is murdered, apparently by one of a group of soldiers just out of the army. But which one? And why? (86 mins.)
Director: Edward Dmytryk
“ 7/10
I like a noir that challenges its audience to confront their own prejudices & decisions in life. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
28.
Dark Passage (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A man convicted of murdering his wife escapes from prison and works with a woman to try and prove his innocence. (106 mins.)
Director: Delmer Daves
“ 6.5/10
Utterly implausible from start to finish. A good POV camera, location shots in San Francisco, & swell sets make up for a lot, though. And who can resist Bogie & Bacall? ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
29.
High Wall (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
After a brain-damaged man confesses to murder and is committed, Dr. Ann Lorrison tries to prove his innocence. (99 mins.)
“ 6.5/10
A weak mystery, some pacing problems, plus a stunningly naive belief in 1940s-style psychiatry (sodium pentothal, anyone?)--yet I enjoyed this one, if only because Herbert Marshall is always a treat. Nice if not outstanding cinematography. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
30.
Kiss of Death (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
With his law-breaking lifestyle in the past, an ex-con, along with his family, attempt to start a new life, knowing a betrayed someone from the past is bound to see otherwise. (99 mins.)
Director: Henry Hathaway
“ 6/10
This one struck me as too extreme in many ways--too sentimental on the one hand (those adorable children rollerskating), too brutal on the other (the famous staircase scene). ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
31.
Lady in the Lake (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
The lady editor of a crime magazine hires Philip Marlowe to find the wife of her boss. The private detective soon finds himself involved in murder. (105 mins.)
“ 5/10
Gimmicky POV camera should make this feel fresh & modern--it doesn't; what we get instead is some of the most stilted dialogue reading I've ever endured. It doesn't help that Montgomery is an utterly charmless Marlowe. I hated the over-the-top a cappella chorale score. And, just like the novel, the plot twist can be seen coming from several miles away.

Skip this & rewatch The Big Sleep. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
32.
Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
While on the telephone, an invalid woman overhears what she thinks is a murder plot and attempts to prevent it. (89 mins.)
Director: Anatole Litvak
“ 7.5/10
Stanwyck in a bravura performance.

Here's a link to the Internet Archive's Suspense radio version starring Agnes Moorehead (#31 on the list): http://archive.org/details/SUSPENSE ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
33.
Key Largo (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A man visits his old friend's hotel and finds a gangster running things. As a hurricane approaches, the two end up confronting each other. (100 mins.)
Director: John Huston
“ 7.5/10
Fantastic cast in a memorable melodrama. Claire Trevor breaks my heart here. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
34.
The Third Man (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime. (104 mins.)
Director: Carol Reed
“ 9/10
In a class by itself.

Cartoon tribute: http://stripgenerator.com/strip/287759/philosophy-101-third-man/#main ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
35.
The Window (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
To avoid the heat of a sweltering summer night a 9 year old Manhattan boy decides to sleep on the fire escape and witnesses a murder, no one will believe him. (73 mins.)
Director: Ted Tetzlaff
“ 7/10
Very well-made B movie that evokes the claustrophobia & griminess of the city as it really is. The script & acting are merely serviceable--the suspense of the final 30 minutes is something far more special.

It's interesting to compare this movie, adapted from the 1947 short story "The Boy Cried Murder" by Cornell Woolrich, with Rear Window, which was adapted from a 1942 Woolrich story, "It Had To Be Murder." ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
36.
Impact (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A unfaithful wife plots with her lover to kill her husband, but the lover is accidentally killed instead. The husband stays in hiding, and lets his wife be charged with conspiracy. (111 mins.)
Director: Arthur Lubin
“ 6.5/10
Missing some noir elements--the cinematography is notably bland, for instance--but with a wonderful femme fatale. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
37.
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star's script only to find himself developing a dangerous relationship. (110 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
“ 9/10
Is it noir or is it horror? Or perhaps black comedy? Doesn't matter--this is one for the ages. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
38.
The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A major heist goes off as planned, until bad luck and double crosses cause everything to unravel. (112 mins.)
Director: John Huston
“ 8/10
Extremely grim, with one of the cruelest fade-outs ever. I didn't much care about the story; it was the acting & rich characterization that overwhelmed me. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
39.
Gun Crazy (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is. (87 mins.)
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
“ 7.5/10
Truly suspenseful, with an explosive performance from Cummins. The finale is haunting. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
40.
D.O.A. (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Frank Bigelow, told he's been poisoned and has only a few days to live, tries to find out who killed him and why. (83 mins.)
Director: Rudolph Maté
“ 7.5/10
Moody & exciting (and absurdly convoluted). ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
41.
Caged (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A naive nineteen year old widow becomes coarsened and cynical when she is sent to a woman's prison and is exposed to hardened criminals and sadistic guards. (96 mins.)
Director: John Cromwell
“ 7.5/10
Impressive performances all around, especially Parker & Moorehead. From script to lighting, it's unrelentingly grim, but distinctive & real. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
42.
Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Det. Sgt. Mark Dixon wants to be something his old man wasn't: a guy on the right side of the law. But Dixon's vicious nature will get the better of him. (95 mins.)
Director: Otto Preminger
“ 7/10
One of my favourites, though Tierney's character isn't very interesting. Has some convincingly realistic street scenes & a believable plot. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
43.
Quicksand (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
After borrowing $20 from his employer's cash register, an auto mechanic is plunged into a series of increasingly disastrous circumstances which rapidly spiral out of his control. (79 mins.)
Director: Irving Pichel
“ 6/10
Andy Hardy--er, Rooney--gets into trouble with the dubious help of a dame. Not bad, really, but also not truly noir with that feel-good finale. Some nice use of Santa Monica locations helps. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
44.
The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Two fishermen pick up a psychotic escaped convict who tells them that he intends to murder them when the ride is over. (71 mins.)
Director: Ida Lupino
“ 7.5/10
Well-acted throughout, closely following a true story about a spree killer who kidnaps two average guys. No phoney heroics or childishly clever dialogue--this is extremely believable & suspenseful. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
45.
Diabolique (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The wife and mistress of a cruel headmaster conspire to kill him; after the murder is committed, his corpse disappears, and strange events begin to plague the two women. (117 mins.)
Director: H.G. Clouzot
“ 9/10
I don't care if it is French-made & has a few supernatural touches. This is noir as it was meant to be--sordid settings, convoluted plot, complex characters with twisted psyches. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
46.
Nightfall (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Through a series of bizarre coincidences artist finds himself falsely accused of bank robbery and murder and is pursued by the authorities and the real killers. (78 mins.)
“ 7/10
Strikingly filmed, solid story, well-paced. The only flaw is that the characters aren't especially appealing. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
47.
The Burglar (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Dan Duryea and his cronies rob a fake spiritualist and then take it on the lam to Atlantic City. (90 mins.)
Director: Paul Wendkos
“ 6.5/10
Excessively stylized, which continually distracted me--as did the shifts in tone; it starts as almost comic, moves to caper, and then into one of those balletic, fatalistic finales. I did like the Atlantic City settings. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
48.
Vertigo (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her. (128 mins.)
“ 9/10
I see this as the ultimate Hitchcock noir (despite the colour cinematography). Human frailty, a man crushed by his own illusions, the fatal blonde. And the despair, as insinuatingly omnipresent as San Francisco fog.

Watch closely for the sequences deliberately lifted from The Wizard Of Oz 1939 & Conflict 1945--they're important clues. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
49.
Nowhere to Go (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Paul Gregory is sprung from jail in London by his accomplice after getting a stretch as expected for robbing a woman who falls for his charms... (89 mins.)
Director: Seth Holt
“ 7.5/10
Packs an awful lot of perfidy into 97 minutes--it's almost a black comedy of errors, evoked as one of those frustrating dreams where everything possible goes wrong. Yummy cinematography + a young & very lovely Maggie Smith. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
50.
Touch of Evil (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town. (95 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
“ 7/10
Opens with a spectacularly choreographed crane shot that is justifiably famous. But all the cinematographic legerdemain in the world can't rescue a plot whose twists make no psychological sense, nor characters who reach the edge of buffoonery and beyond. Miss Leigh shows off some very pretty lingerie, however. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
51.
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In a murder trial, the defendant says he suffered temporary insanity after the victim raped his wife. What is the truth, and will he win his case? (160 mins.)
Director: Otto Preminger
“ 7.5/10
Not a personal favourite of mine, but undeniably memorable. This isn't usually classified as noir, but I'd be happy to argue about that. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
52.
Chinatown (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder. (130 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
“ 8/10
I can never decide if this one is neo-noir or parody. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
53.
Body Heat (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman persuades her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband. (113 mins.)
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
“ 7.5/10
Sexy & compelling, despite the overly complicated plotline. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
54.
Dance with a Stranger (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A stormy relationship, complicated by the strictures of 1950s social class and gender roles, ends in death. Based on the life of Ruth Ellis, the last woman hanged in Britain. (96 mins.)
Director: Mike Newell
“ 8/10
Intensely seamy, steamy evocation of the 1950s, it takes us convincingly into a noir story that just happens to be true. Powerful performances from the three stars. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
55.
White Mischief (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A millionaire past his prime, and his young wife, arrive in Kenya circa 1940 to find that the other affluent British expatriates are living large... (107 mins.)
Director: Michael Radford
“ 7/10
Perverse neo-noir, set in an exotic world filled with bizarre characters & with a true-life noir murder mystery at its core. The music score is wonderful. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
56.
L.A. Confidential (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
As corruption grows in 1950s LA, three policemen - one strait-laced, one brutal, and one sleazy - investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice. (138 mins.)
Director: Curtis Hanson
“ 7.5/10
A little too slick, but fun in a warped kind of way. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
57.
A Fatal Inversion (1992 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
After Adam inherits a country house from his great uncle, he and his friend Rufus decide to spend the summer there instead of abroad... (60 mins.)
“ 8/10
A Ruth Rendell tale, made for TV with a distinctly noirish attitude. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
58.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A toon-hating detective is a cartoon rabbit's only hope to prove his innocence when he is accused of murder. (104 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
“ 8/10
Gleeful homage to what made noir great. ” - blue_sock_monkey
 
59.
The Band Wagon (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A pretentiously artistic director is hired for a new Broadway musical and changes it beyond recognition. (112 mins.)
“ 6.5/10
Included for the wonderful send-up of noir conventions, "The Girl-Hunt Ballet," danced with hardboiled humor by Fred Astaire & Cyd Charisse. ” - blue_sock_monkey