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Without Warning (1994) (TV) More at IMDbPro »


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7 items from 2016


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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Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes Ordered to Series, Anton Yelchin & Brendan Gleeson to Star

25 May 2016 4:47 PM, PDT | DailyDead | See recent DailyDead news »

At&T’s Audience Network has given David E. Kelley’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes a straight-to-series order, according to THR, and it has also been revealed that Anton Yelchin and Brendan Gleeson are set to star in the 10-episode series.

Yelchin (Green Room, 2011’s Fright Night) will play psychotic killer Brady Hartsfield, aka Mr. Mercedes, and Gleeson (Edge of Tomorrow, 28 Days Later) will portray Detective Bill Hodges, a man who emerges from retirement to try and put an end to Hartsfield’s reign of terror by any means necessary.

DirecTV and At&T Uverse will debut the 10-episode series in 2018. Based on King’s 2014 novel, the show will be executive produced by David E. Kelley (Boston Legal, The Practice) and Jack Bender (who also served as an executive producer on the TV adaptation of King’s Under the Dome). Kelley is also lined up be the »

- Derek Anderson

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Interview: Director Jude Klassen Rocks CIMMfest with ‘Love in the Sixth’ on April 17, 2016

16 April 2016 1:50 PM, PDT | HollywoodChicago.com | See recent HollywoodChicago.com news »

Chicago – The “Canuck Girls” have hit town, and they brought a lively, passionate and super fun musical about relationships and the environment to CIMMFest! Toronto-based writer/musician/actor/director Jude Klassen created “Love in the Sixth,” and it plays out at the 2016 festival on Sunday, April 17th (3:45p) at the Logan Theatre in Chicago. Click here for complete details.

The film explores relationships, in the post modern mode of Woody Allen, plus has amazing song breaks in the style of Motown, Punk, The Beatles and even “Grease” (if Grease would have had a song called “F**king Love”). The cinematic freedom of Jude Klassen’s director influence is woven throughout the work, as she portrays a rocker Mom named Dani, who is raising a Hunger-Games-loving-environmentally-conscious 12 year-old named Kat (Mika Kay, in a memorable performance).

Dani’s relationship with Sid (T.C. Folkpunk) is complicated, and gets in the way of »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Daredevil Season 2 Review

14 March 2016 8:08 AM, PDT | We Got This Covered | See recent We Got This Covered news »

Seven episodes were provided prior to broadcast.

No one knew what to expect from the first season of Daredevil. The first collaboration between Netflix and Marvel, it was an undeniably risky proposition from the outset, tasked with carving out a distinctive place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe under the constraints of a TV budget while also developing a complicated cast of characters over the course of 13 episodes (a much trickier process in terms of pacing than that faced by a two-hour film).

As it turned out, the risk largely paid off. Daredevil unfurled as a gritty and grounded excursion into a much seedier corner of the McU, bolstered by brutally realistic action (that hallway fight sequence, if slightly overhyped, was still a bruising, balletic joy) and one truly exceptional performance. As the mercurial yet dignified Wilson Fisk/Kingpin, Vincent D’Onofrio was nothing short of mesmerizing, breaking with Marvel tradition »

- Isaac Feldberg

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Competition: Win ‘Alienate’ on DVD

17 February 2016 3:01 AM, PST | Blogomatic3000 | See recent Blogomatic3000 news »

To celebrate the release of Alienate - on DVD 22nd February – we have a copy to giveaway!

Alienate is stacked from start to finish with thrilling suspense that will have you dusting off your copies of The X-Files to ask yourself the all time important question, do you believe? Blending the suspense of Monsters with the intelligent action assault of Independence Day, Alienate is a unique modern genre must-see that firmly places debut feature director Michael Shumway and his cast in the spotlight as ones to watch.

Alienate continues to explore exciting new territory for the genre! Check out our review here and order a copy today: http://bit.ly/Alienate

To win a copy of Alienate on DVD just answer the following question:

Which of the following films is also features an alien invasion of Earth? Is it:

a) Without Warning

b) Alien 3

c) Alienator

Email your answer to NerdlyComps@gmail. »

- Phil Wheat

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Review: The 5th Wave

22 January 2016 8:03 AM, PST | JoBlo.com | See recent JoBlo news »

Plot:Without warning aliens invade the Earth and set about obliterating the human race. Among the few remaining is Cassie, once a normal teen but now a gun-toting survivor who must rescue her younger brother from a military base as he's trained to be a soldier on the front lines. Review: A gigantic spaceship sits in the sky ominously, a swirling behemoth that looks about 5x the size of Mount Rushmore.... Read More »

- Eric Walkuski

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Silent Witness review – this pathology procedural has held up remarkably well

4 January 2016 11:20 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

… if you like your crime dramas dimly lit, ably acted and chock-full of cut-open dead bodies. Plus new Sue Perkins gameshow Insert Name Here was amiable enough and BBC2 documentary Immortal Egypt timely and engaging

A car sits on a London street. Somewhere in the neighbourhood, a couple are having a heated argument. Without warning, a woman crunches into the bonnet of the car, having fallen from a great height.

So begins another series of Silent Witness (BBC1) – series 19, to be precise. You may be a hardcore devotee of the show, or it may have flown under your radar for the past two decades, or, like me, you may just dip in every now and again to marvel at how well this pathology procedural has held up over the years, and to wonder at the staff turnover rate at the Lyell Centre.

Continue reading »

- Tim Dowling

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

7 items from 2016


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