The Big Heat
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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2006 | 2005

10 items from 2016


Toronto Film Review: ‘City of Tiny Lights’

15 September 2016 8:00 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Down-at-heel London-based private detective Tommy (Riz Ahmed) is investigating the disappearance of a Russian sex worker when he stumbles across a corpse. The body’s identity pulls him into a shadowy web of intrigue tangentially related to a tragedy that took place during his teenage years, and to which the narrative keeps flashing back. If the essential elements of “City of Tiny Lights” seem familiar, it’s because they are. Yet director Pete Travis’s film is distinguished by some transposition of noir tropes into cultural spaces not traditionally associated with the genre — from the London bar scene to a mosque — that keeps things from feeling too déjà vu.

On paper, this downbeat thriller is a surefire winner. Riz Ahmed, one of the best and fastest-rising of the current crop of young British actors (and probably about to go properly stellar in “Star Wars: Rogue One”) plays a Pi »

- Catherine Bray

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Lee Marvin Died 29 Years Ago Today – Here Are His Ten Best Films

29 August 2016 7:32 PM, PDT | WeAreMovieGeeks.com | See recent WeAreMovieGeeks.com news »

Article by Jim Batts, Dana Jung, and Tom Stockman

Lee Marvin rose through the ranks of movie stardom as a character actor, delivering mostly villainous supporting turns in many films before finally graduating to leading roles. Regardless of which side of the law he was on however, he projected a tough-as-nails intensity and a two-fisted integrity which elevated even the slightest material. Born February 19, 1924, in New York City, Marvin quit high school to enter the Marine Corps and while serving in the South Pacific was badly wounded in battle when a machine gun nest shot off part of his buttocks and severed his sciatic nerve. He spent a year in recovery before returning to the U.S. where he began working as a plumber. The acting bug bit after filling in for an ailing summer-stock actor and he studied the art at the New York-based American Theater Wing. Upon making his debut in summer stock, »

- Movie Geeks

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Shield for Murder

10 June 2016 7:33 PM, PDT | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

Dirty cops were a movie vogue in 1954, and Edmond O'Brien scores as a real dastard in this overachieving United Artists thriller. Dreamboat starlet Marla English is the reason O'Brien's detective kills for cash, and then keeps killing to stay ahead of his colleagues. And all to buy a crummy house in the suburbs -- this man needs career counseling. Shield for Murder Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1954 / B&W / 1:75 widescreen / 82 min. / Street Date June 21, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Edmond O'Brien, Marla English, John Agar, Emile Meyer, Carolyn Jones, Claude Akins, Herbert Butterfield, Hugh Sanders, William Schallert, Robert Bray, Richard Deacon, David Hughes, Gregg Martell, Stafford Repp, Vito Scotti. Cinematography Gordon Avil Film Editor John F. Schreyer Original Music Paul Dunlap Written by Richard Alan Simmons, John C. Higgins from the novel by William P. McGivern <Produced by Aubrey Schenck, (Howard W. Koch) Directed by Edmond O'Brien, Howard W. Koch

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Here's the kind of '50s movie we love, an ambitious, modest crime picture that for its time had an edge. In the 1950s our country was as blind to the true extent of police corruption as it was to organized crime. Movies about bad cops adhered to the 'bad apple' concept: it's only crooked individuals that we need to watch out for, never the institutions around them. Thanks to films noir, crooked cops were no longer a film rarity, even though the Production Code made movies like The Asphalt Jungle insert compensatory scenes paying lip service to the status quo: an imperfect police force is better than none. United Artists in the 1950s helped star talent make the jump to independent production, with the prime success stories being Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. But the distribution company also funded proven producers capable of putting out smaller bread 'n' butter movies that could prosper if costs were kept down. Edward Small, Victor Saville, Levy-Gardner-Laven. Aubrey Schenck and Howard C. Koch produced as a team, and for 1954's Shield for Murder Koch co-directed, sharing credit with the film's star, Edmond O'Brien. The show is a smart production all the way, a modestly budgeted 'B' with 'A' ambitions. O'Brien was an industry go-getter trying to channel his considerable talent in new directions. His leading man days were fading but he was in demand for parts in major films like The Barefoot Contessa. The producers took care with their story too. Writers Richard Alan Simmons and John C. Higgins had solid crime movie credits. Author William P. McGivern wrote the novel behind Fritz Lang's The Big Heat as well as Rogue Cop and Odds Against Tomorrow. All of McGivern's stories involve crooked policemen or police corruption. Shield for Murder doesn't tiptoe around its subject matter. Dirty cop Detective Lt. Barney Nolan (O'Brien) kills a hoodlum in an alley to steal $25,000 of mob money. His precinct boss Captain Gunnarson (Emile Meyer) accepts Barney's version of events and the Asst. D.A. (William Schallert) takes the shooting as an open and shut case. Crime reporter Cabot (Herbert Butterfield) has his doubts, and lectures the squad room about the abuse of police power. Barney manages to placate mob boss Packy Reed (Hugh Sanders), but two hoods continue to shadow him. Barney's plan for the money was to buy a new house and escape the rat race with his girlfriend, nightclub cashier Patty Winters (Marla English). But a problem surfaces in the elderly deaf mute Ernst Sternmueller (David Hughes), a witness to the shooting. Barney realizes that his only way forward is to kill the old man before he can tell all to Det. Mark Brewster (John Agar), Barney's closest friend. Once again one of society's Good Guys takes a bite of the forbidden apple and tries to buck the system. Shield for Murder posits an logical but twisted course of action for a weary defender of the law who wants out. Barney long ago gave up trying to do anything about the crooks he can't touch. The fat cat Packy Reed makes the big money, and all Barney wants is his share. Barney's vision of The American Dream is just the middle-class ideal, the desirable Patty Winters and a modest tract home. He's picked it out - it sits partway up a hill in a new Los Angeles development, just finished and already furnished. Then the unexpected witness shows up and everything begins to unravel; Barney loses control one step at a time. He beats a mob thug (Claude Akins) half to death in front of witnesses. When his pal Mark Brewster figures out the truth, Barney has to use a lot of his money to arrange a getaway. More mob trouble leads to a shoot-out in a high school gym. The idea may have been for the star O'Brien to coach actors John Agar and Marla English to better performances. Agar is slightly more natural than usual, but still not very good. The gorgeous Ms. English remains sweet and inexpressive. After several unbilled bits, the woman often compared to Elizabeth Taylor was given "introducing" billing on the Shield for Murder billing block. Her best-known role would be as The She-Creature two years later, after which she dropped out to get married. Co-director O'Brien also allows Emile Meyer to go over the top in a scene or two. But the young Carolyn Jones is a standout as a blonde bargirl, more or less expanding on her small part as a human ashtray in the previous year's The Big Heat. Edmond O'Brien is occasionally a little to hyper, but he's excellent at showing stress as the trap closes around the overreaching Barney Nolan. Other United Artists budget crime pictures seem a little tight with the outdoors action -- Vice Squad, Witness to Murder, Without Warning -- but O'Brien and Koch's camera luxuriates in night shoots on the Los Angeles streets. This is one of those Blu-rays that Los Angelenos will want to freeze frame, to try to read the street signs. There is also little downtime wasted in sidebar plot detours. The gunfight in the school gym, next to an Olympic swimming pool, is an action highlight. The show has one enduring sequence. With the force closing in, Barney rushes back to the unfinished house he plans to buy, to recover the loot he's buried next to its foundation. Anybody who lived in Southern California in the '50s and '60s was aware of the massive suburban sprawl underway, a building boom that went on for decades. In 1953 the La Puente hills were so rural they barely served by roads; the movie The War of the Worlds considered it a good place to use a nuclear bomb against invading Martians. By 1975 the unending suburbs had spread from Los Angeles, almost all the way to Pomona. Barney dashes through a new housing development on terraced plots, boxy little houses separated from each other by only a few feet of dirt. There's no landscaping yet. Even in 1954 $25,000 wasn't that much money, so Barney Nolan has sold himself pretty cheaply. Two more latter-day crime pictures would end with ominous metaphors about the oblivion of The American Dream. In 1964's remake of The Killers the cash Lee Marvin kills for only buys him a patch of green lawn in a choice Hollywood Hills neighborhood. The L.A.P.D. puts Marvin out of his misery, and then closes in on another crooked detective in the aptly titled 1965 thriller The Money Trap. The final scene in that movie is priceless: his dreams smashed, crooked cop Glenn Ford sits by his designer swimming pool and waits to be arrested. Considering how well things worked out for Los Angeles police officers, Edmond O'Brien's Barney Nolan seems especially foolish. If Barney had stuck it out for a couple of years, the new deal for the L.A.P.D. would have been much better than a measly 25 grand. By 1958 he'd have his twenty years in. After a retirement beer bash he'd be out on the road pulling a shiny new boat to the Colorado River, like all the other hardworking cops and firemen enjoying their generous pensions. Policemen also had little trouble getting house loans. The joke was that an L.A.P.D. cop might go bad, but none of them could be bribed. O'Brien directed one more feature, took more TV work and settled into character parts for Jack Webb, Frank Tashlin, John Ford, John Frankenheimer and finally Sam Peckinpah in The Wild Bunch, where he was almost unrecognizable. Howard W. Koch slowed down as a director but became a busy producer, working with Frank Sinatra for several years. He eventually co-produced Airplane! The Kl Studio Classics Blu-ray of Shield for Murder is a good-looking B&W scan, framed at a confirmed-as-correct 1:75 aspect ratio. The picture is sharp and detailed, and the sound is in fine shape. The package art duplicates the film's original no-class sell: "Dame-Hungry Killer-Cop Runs Berserk! The first scene also contains one of the more frequently noticed camera flubs in film noir -- a really big boom shadow on a nighttime alley wall. Kino's presentation comes with trailers for this movie, Hidden Fear and He Ran All the Way. On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor, Shield for Murder Blu-ray rates: Movie: Good Video: Very Good Sound: Excellent Supplements: Trailers for Shield for Murder, Hidden Fear, He Ran All the Way Deaf and Hearing Impaired Friendly? N0; Subtitles: None Packaging: Keep case Reviewed: June 7, 2016 (5115murd)

Visit DVD Savant's Main Column Page Glenn Erickson answers most reader mail: dvdsavant@mindspring.com

Text © Copyright 2016 Glenn Erickson

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- Glenn Erickson

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Watch: Trailer for Fritz Lang’s Expressive And Newly Restored ‘Destiny’

5 May 2016 8:20 AM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

Everyone needs to start somewhere. And while German filmmaker Fritz Lang eventually went on to make the name for himself that he has today with classics like “Metropolis,” “M,” “The Testament of Dr. Mabuse,” and “The Big Heat,” it was ultimately his 1921’s “Destiny” that initially got the ball rolling. So to give audiences the […]

The post Watch: Trailer for Fritz Lang’s Expressive And Newly Restored ‘Destiny’ appeared first on The Playlist. »

- Will Ashton

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In a Lonely Place

29 April 2016 5:29 PM, PDT | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

It's a different Bogart -- a character performance in a Nicholas Ray noir about distrust anxiety in romance. Gloria Grahame is the independent woman who must withhold her commitment... until a murder can be sorted out. Which will crack first, the murder case or the relationship? In A Lonely Place Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 810 1950 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 93 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date May 10, 2016 / 39.95 Starring Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy, Carl Benton Reid, Art Smith, Jeff Donnell, Martha Stewart, Robert Warwick, Morris Ankrum, William Ching, Steven Geray, Hadda Brooks. Cinematography Burnett Guffey Film Editor Viola Lawrence Original Music George Antheil Written by Andrew Solt, Edmund H. North from a story by Dorothy B. Hughes Produced by Robert Lord Directed by Nicholas Ray

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Which Humphrey Bogart do you like best? By 1950 he had his own production company, Santana, with a contract for release through Columbia pictures. »

- Glenn Erickson

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Don’T Bother To Knock (1952)

11 April 2016 9:20 AM, PDT | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

The icon-establishing performances Marilyn Monroe gave in Howard HawksGentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and in Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot (1959) are ones for the ages, touchstone works that endure because of the undeniable comic energy and desperation that sparked them from within even as the ravenous public became ever more enraptured by the surface of Monroe’s seductive image of beauty and glamour. Several generations now probably know her only from these films, or perhaps 1955’s The Seven-Year Itch, a more famous probably for the skirt-swirling pose it generated than anything in the movie itself, one of director Wilder’s sourest pictures, or her final completed film, The Misfits (1961), directed by John Huston, written by Arthur Miller and costarring Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift.

But in Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) she delivers a powerful dramatic performance as Nell, a psychologically devastated, delusional, perhaps psychotic young woman apparently on »

- Dennis Cozzalio

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The Big Heat

8 March 2016 9:26 AM, PST | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

An Encore Edition brings back Fritz Lang's searing police corruption tale, with the great performances of Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame and Lee Marvinaided by several pots of fresh, hot coffee. As is usual, Fritz Lang leads the way in modernizing a genre -- this one is a keeper. The Big Heat Blu-ray Encore Edition Twilight Time Limited Edition 1953 / B&W / 1:37 Academy / 89 min. / Ship Date February 9, 2016 / available through Twilight Time Movies / 29.95 Starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando, Alexander Scourby, Lee Marvin, Jeanette Nolan, Willis Bouchey, Robert Burton, Adam Williams, Howard Wendell, Dorothy Green, Carolyn Jones, Dan Seymour, Edith Evanson, John Crawford, John Doucette. Cinematography Charles Lang Film Editor Charles Nelson Original Music Henry Vars Written by Sydney Boehm from the book by William P. McGivern Produced by Robert Arthur Directed by Fritz Lang

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Four years after Twilight Time's initial release, this Encore Edition »

- Glenn Erickson

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Off The Shelf – Episode 76 – New DVD & Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday, February 3rd 2016

3 February 2016 5:00 AM, PST | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

In this special episode of Off The Shelf, Ryan and Brian take a look at the new DVD and Blu-ray releases for Tuesday, January 26th 2016.

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Follow-Up Depatie-Freleng Supplements News Arrow Video: Cult Cinema sold out directly (Available from Amazon UK), BFI: Napoleon Criterion Collection: In A Lonely Place Disney: Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Blu-ray 4/5 Flicker Alley: Blu-ray Mod, film noirs John Carpenter Lost Themes II Kino: Tijuana Toads, Roland and Rattfink, Beware! The Blob, Eleni, Fuzz, Absolution, Masters of Cinema: April announcements tomorrow Olive Films: April titles Second Run: teaming up with Arrow Video Shout! Scream: Manhunter cover, MST3K Vol 2, NightHawks, I Saw What You Did / You’ll Like My Mother Thunderbean: Flip the Frog and Cubby Bear Twilight Time: New February titles available for pre-order on Wednesday February 3rd: Where The Sidewalk Ends, Cowboy, The Big Heat, »

- Ryan Gallagher

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Gilda

30 January 2016 11:21 AM, PST | Trailers from Hell | See recent Trailers from Hell news »

This adult film noir masterpiece showcases the most glamorous pin-up dream girl of the 1940s. Rita Hayworth, a young Glenn Ford and a sinister George Macready form a sophisticated, poisonous love triangle. Criminal intrigues and killer striptease fill out the bill. Gilda Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 795 1946 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 110 min. / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date January 19, 2016 / 39.95 Starring Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready, Joseph Calleia, Steven Geray, Joe Sawyer, Gerald Mohr, Ludwig Donath, Argentina Brunetti, Eduardo Ciannelli, Ruth Roman. Cinematography Rudolph Maté Film Editor Charles Nelson Music underscore Hugo Friedhofer Written by Marion Parsonnet, Jo Eisinger, E.A. Ellington Produced by Virginia Van Upp Directed by Charles Vidor

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

Some of the best 'movie' times I remember were seeing classic pictures cold, with no knowledge beforehand. Back at film school they'd show us things we'd never heard of, often in prints of incredible good quality. »

- Glenn Erickson

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Notebook's 8th Writers Poll: Fantasy Double Features of 2015

4 January 2016 6:41 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2015?Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2015—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2015 to create a unique double feature.All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2015 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch »

- Notebook

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2006 | 2005

10 items from 2016


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