Category Archives: Film Noir

NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH (1939) by James Hadley Chase

What can you say about this infamous crime story – that as a book and again as a film it was once the most notorious title in the UK? That it was critically lambasted by George Orwell? That it sold … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Film Noir, James Hadley Chase, Kansas City, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 38 Comments

THE VENGEFUL VIRGIN (1958) by Gil Brewer

This is a ripe piece of pulp noir, from its alliterative, catchpenny title to the de rigeur cover art featuring piles of cash, a disrobed woman and a gun. One of the many  paperback originals written by Gil Brewer in … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Florida, Friday's Forgotten Book, Gil Brewer, Hard Case Crime, James M. Cain, Noir | 29 Comments

Women of Twilight (1953) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Nothing to do with Stephenie Meyer, this stark social drama (aka Twilight Women) was based on Sylvia Rayman’s groundbreaking all-female play. The up-and-coming Lois Maxwell and Laurence Harvey co-star, though the film is dominated by René Ray as unlikely heroine Viviane and Freda Jackson … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, Hammer Studios, London, Noir on Tuesday, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 24 Comments

THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1934) by James M. Cain

James M. Cain’s debut novel was the publishing sensation of 1934 – and still packs a punch thanks to its twisty plot, sexually charged protagonists and violent emotional undercurrent. Based loosely on a real-life case, this obliquely titled tale of … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Film Noir, Friday's Forgotten Book, James M. Cain | 39 Comments

2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge – completed

The indefatigable and always welcoming Bev of My Reader’s Block regularly corrals us mystery buffs with her Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, which focuses on mystery fiction published pre-1960 to be eligible for inclusion. I’ve had a great time this year with … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Albert Campion, Boileau-Narcejac, Edgar Wallace, Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, George Axelrod, Georges Simenon, James M. Cain, Maigret, Margaret Scherf, Margery Allingham, Michael Gilbert, Nero Wolfe, Philo Vance, Rex Stout, Richard Matheson, Sherwood King, SS Van Dine, Stanley Ellin, Wade Miller, Whit Masterson, World War II | 26 Comments

The Lady from Shanghai (1948) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

The story goes that Orson Welles, needing $50,000, rang the head of Columbia Studios and offered to make a film for them from a paperback he had just plucked at random from a book stand near the phone booth. Is … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Film Noir, New York, Orson Welles, San Francisco, Sherwood King | Tagged | 48 Comments

Blind Date (1959) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

This above average whodunit was directed with style and conviction by Joseph Losey, an American émigré in London who brought much of own feelings of cultural and social displacement to bear. Hardy Kruger is the foreigner in London who gets framed for murder … Continue reading

Posted in England, Film Noir, Georges Simenon, Joseph Losey, Leigh Howard, London, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 24 Comments

Joseph Losey’s crime movies

In the 1940s and early 1950s Joseph Losey established himself as a new director of rare intelligence and technical dexterity in Hollywood. His promise however was curtailed by the McCarthy witch hunts that destroyed the lives of hundreds of men … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, Film Noir, James Hadley Chase, Joseph Losey, London, New York, Noir on Tuesday, Paris, Stanley Ellin, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 23 Comments

The name is Parker …

Who is Parker? Well, he is the elusive protagonist of a series of crime novels by ‘Richard Stark’ (aka Donald Westlake) – we never learn his first name but then Parker is not his real surname anyway. In the second … Continue reading

Posted in Donald Westlake, Film Noir, Parker, Richard Stark | 26 Comments

Payback – Straight Up: The Director’s Cut

When Parker, the Jason Statham / Jennifer Lopez movie was released, they used a rather obscure though witty strapline that only fans would probably enjoy: “Payback has a new name” Why is this amusing? Well it helps if you know that … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Donald Westlake, Film Noir, Parker, Richard Stark | Tagged , | 32 Comments

THE BIG CLOCK (1946) by Kenneth Fearing

Kenneth Fearing (1902-61), modernist novelist and proletariat poet, was driven by a strong social conscience. When subpoenaed in the 1950s and asked if he was a Communist, he replied, rather splendidly, “Not yet.” Of his seven crime novels, The Big Clock … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Film Noir, Five Star review, Friday's Forgotten Book, John Farrow, Kenneth Fearing, New York | 26 Comments

The Passion of Brian De Palma

Well, there is a slight change to our usual schedule today as it’s my birthday, which means I am officially in my mid forties … good grief! So I could commemorate this august moment just by joining a gym (of … Continue reading

Posted in Alfred Hitchcock, Brian de Palma, Chicago, England, Film Noir, France, Germany, Hollywood, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, Washington DC | 35 Comments

Dead Head (1986) – Tuesday’s Overlooked TV show

Let’s play a TV buff’s game: can you identify today’s overlooked show? It’s a 1986 multi part ‘authored’ BBC serial; the setting is modern-day London, the narrator wears a fedora and is haunted by the image of woman’s severed head … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, London, Private Eye, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

BADGE OF EVIL (1956) by Whit Masterson

The team of Robert Wade and Bill Miller produced nearly three dozen crime novels between 1946 and 1961, mainly as  ‘Wade Miller’ and (in hardback) ‘Whit Masterson’. Badge of Evil served as the basis for the Orson Welles classic Touch of … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, 2013 Vintage Mystery Challenge, Film Noir, Mexico, Scene of the crime, Wade Miller, Whit Masterson | 25 Comments

Intimate Stranger (1956) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Richard Basehart plays a Hollywood movie maker who, after being run out-of-town, heads to a UK studio but continues being persecuted. Also known as Finger of Guilt, it’s hard not to see autobiographical connotations in this modest but entertaining blackmail … Continue reading

Posted in England, Film Noir, Joseph Losey, Noir on Tuesday, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged | 36 Comments

Top 12 Mystery Movie Remakes

As the movie summer starts to wind down, the sheer number of sequels, remakes and ‘reboots’ certainly can make for a dispiriting summing up. But it is worth remembering that, at least in our genre, there are a great many great … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, 'In praise of ...', Chicago, Ernest Hemingway, Film Noir, James M. Cain, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Mexico, Miami, Michael Curtiz, New York, Noir on Tuesday, Parker, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Richard Stark, San Francisco, Texas, Top 10, Washington DC | 52 Comments

The Big Night (1951) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

This unusual Film Noir, based on the Stanley Ellin book Dreadful Summit (click here for my review) was the last Hollywood project for director Joseph Losey before being forced to flee to Europe to escape the McCarthy witch hunt. Set … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Film Noir, Joseph Losey, New York, Noir on Tuesday, Scene of the crime, Stanley Ellin, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 19 Comments

THE AXEMAN COMETH by Nev Fountain

What do you mean you’ve never heard of cult sci-fi series Vixens from the Void – what about its star, the sultry Vanity Mycroft -  no? Well, that’s understandable because they only exist in the imagination of Nev Fountain, serving … Continue reading

Posted in Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, Audio Review, Big Finish, Doctor Who, Film Noir, Mervyn Stone, Nev Fountain, Poirot | 23 Comments

The Big Sleep (1978)

Michael Winner, the pugnacious British filmmaker (and restaurant critic), died in January at age 77. He dabbled in almost every genre (Westerns, musicals, horror, costume melodrama, war movies etc.) though was most at home with ironic comedies during the 1960s … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Film Noir, London, Noir on Tuesday, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 52 Comments

Douglas Slocombe – 100 years old today

OK movie buffs, here’s a fun pop quiz for you: what do Raiders of the Lost Ark, Sean Connery’s last Bond movie, Michael Caine in The Italian Job, Montgomery Clift’s turn as Sigmund Freud and several classic Ealing comedies such … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Basil Dearden, Douglas Slocombe, Film Noir, George Baxt, Gothic, Hammer Studios, Jimmy Sangster, Joseph Losey, London, New York, Paris, Scene of the crime, Screwball | 19 Comments

The Spiritualist (1948) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Also known as The Amazing Mr X, this beautifully shot and gently mocking  ‘Gaslight-meets-Rebecca‘ mystery melodrama also has a Noir style all its own. It also sports a charming performance from the late Turhan Bey who, in what appears to … Continue reading

Posted in Cornell Woolrich, DVD Review, Film Noir, Gothic, Noir on Tuesday, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 25 Comments

Top 20 Spy movies

The release of Ben Affleck’s smart historical satire Argo, based loosely on the true extraction by the CIA and Canadian officials of six American Embassy staff members out of Tehran in 1980, made me reflect on the spy genre as … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Adam Hall, Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Billy Wilder, Brian de Palma, Cold War, Elleston Trevor, Eric Ambler, Espionage, Film Noir, George Smiley, Ian Fleming, James Bond, John Frankenheimer, John le Carre, Len Deighton, London, Michael Powell, New York, Paris, Quiller, San Francisco, Scene of the crime, Spy movies | 76 Comments

NIGHTMARE (1941) by Cornell Woolrich

During the 1940s Cornell Woolrich was one of the true masters of the psychological suspense yarn, as adept at creating ingenious and outlandish plots as painting an atmosphere of universal dread and irrationality. This is a case in point with … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, Amnesia, Cornell Woolrich, Film Noir, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Noir, Scene of the crime | 20 Comments

Two O’Clock Courage (1945)

Something of a forgotten semi Noir, this mixture of comedy and thrills marked the RKO debuts of director Anthony Mann and Jane Greer (here billed with her full name, ‘Bettejane’). The leading man is Tom Conway, already established at the studio … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, New York, Noir on Tuesday, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 18 Comments

TRAITOR’S PURSE (1941) by Margery Allingham

This is an Albert Campion novel like no other. Margery Allingham had introduced the character in the late 1920s and deployed him in a broad range of books, alternating between whodunits like Police at the Funeral (1931), Death of a … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, 2012 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, Albert Campion, Amnesia, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Film Noir, Friday's Forgotten Book, Margery Allingham, Scene of the crime | Tagged , | 45 Comments

QUEEN IN DANGER (1952) by Adam Hall

Elleston Trevor doesn’t rate a single mention in The Oxford Companion to Crime & Mystery Writing (1999), and that’s a real shame. The author of some 100 novels, as Trevor he published exciting war and adventure stories that easily stand … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 Alphabet of Crime, 2012 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge, Adam Hall, Amnesia, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Film Noir, Hammer Studios, London, Scene of the crime, Terence Fisher | 30 Comments

Dying Room Only (1973) – Tuesday’s Forgotten Film

In 1953 Richard Matheson published ‘Dying Room Only’, a vanishing spouse variant on the Paris Exposition story. Like in his Twilight Zone episode ‘Nick of Time’, a young couple stop at a cafe and find their lives unraveling as unexpected … Continue reading

Posted in Arizona, Film Noir, Noir on Tuesday, Richard Matheson, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 42 Comments

THE ETERNAL ACTRESS by Nev Fountain

This new entry in the Dark Shadows series is produced for audio by Big Finish, makers of such fine products as the truly wondrous Jago and Litefoot thrillers (for my reviews of these, click here). I have to admit to … Continue reading

Posted in Audio Review, Big Finish, Billy Wilder, Dark Shadows, Doctor Who, Film Noir, Gothic, Hollywood, Nev Fountain, Scene of the crime | Tagged , | 7 Comments

J is for … Jonathan Latimer

Kerrie’s 2012 Alphabet of Crime community meme over at her Mysteries in Paradise blog continues this week and has reached the letter J. As part of my contribution, I offer a look at the work of Jonathan Latimer, one of … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', 2012 Alphabet of Crime, Columbo, Cornell Woolrich, Crime Fiction Alphabet, Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner, Film Noir, Jonathan Latimer, Los Angeles, Perry Mason, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Scene of the crime, Screwball, The Thin Man | 20 Comments

Hickey and Boggs (1972) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

A train arrives and a woman in sunglasses gets off and quickly walks away. She passes through LA’s Union Station, still looking largely as it did since it opened in 1939. We dissolve to a street scene – it is … Continue reading

Posted in Film Noir, Five Star review, Los Angeles, Noir on Tuesday, Private Eye, Robert Culp, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 51 Comments