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3 items from 2012

Friday Noir: ‘The Big Combo’ comes up big where it counts

2 November 2012 4:41 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »


The Big Combo

Directed by Joseph H. Lewis

Written by Philip Yordon

U.S.A., 1955

A detective is obsessed with a case, tracking down either a killer or a thief which has eluded him for long enough for frustration to sink in. An antagonist who always has the perfect alibi to reinforce whatever fabricated story he might have to deflect suspicions. A beautiful dame, prized trophy of the criminal, becomes the apple of the detective’s eye, for good or ill. If these plot elements read as familiar, it is because they should. They have been utilized a countless number of times throughout cinematic history, especially in Hollywood. There is something about the combination of those three storylines that attracts viewers. Perhaps it is that each allows viewers to leave vicariously in some way or another depending on the individual. Such familiarity can either be the downfall of a picture »

- Edgar Chaput

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'Police Woman' Angie Dickinson loves 'Southland,' enjoys being a 'standard bearer'

15 March 2012 11:11 AM, PDT | Zap2It - From Inside the Box | See recent Zap2It - From Inside the Box news »

Angie Dickinson has the credentials to read television's female law enforcers their rights, having been one of the earliest.

The veteran actress went from star of such movies as the original "Ocean's 11" and "The Killers" to home-screen staple in "Police Woman," NBC's "Police Story" spinoff that ran four seasons (1974-78). The show came at a time when women typically weren't drama-series leads ... and when told that other actresses cite her as someone who opened gates for them, Dickinson replies to Zap2it, "It's nice to be a standard bearer."

Ironically, she might not have been the performer who would become Sgt. Suzanne "Pepper" Anderson. "I happen to know that they wanted Karen Black for the 'Police Story' episode," Dickinson reports, "and as we were shooting that, they said, 'This could make a series.' They didn't have a separate series in mind at all when we started. »


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Cornel Wilde/The Big Combo, Dick Powell/Lizabeth Scott/Pitfall: Million Dollar Theater Film Noir Double Bill

4 February 2012 6:34 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Joseph H. Lewis' The Big Combo (1955) and André De Toth's Pitfall (1948, right, with Dick Powell) will be screened as a film noir double bill at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at downtown Los Angeles' historic Million Dollar Theater. I haven't watched either movie, but the Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan's warns: The Big Combo's "big, dark shadows … will eat you alive." Sounds like a must-see. Cornel Wilde stars as a cop in pursuit of crime boss Richard Conte; all the while, both cop and criminal vie for the attention of curvaceous blonde Jean Wallace, Wilde's then real-life wife. (The couple were married 1951-1981.) Also in the Big Combo cast: Robert Middleton, Brian Donlevy, Lee Van Cleef, Helen Walker, and Earl Holliman. Screenplay by Philip Yordan (House of Strangers, Detective Story, Johnny Guitar). In Pitfall, former Warner Bros. crooner Dick Powell plays an insurance salesman who falls for sultry Lizabeth Scott, »

- Andre Soares

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