My Top 50 Films Noir (Contd.) 40 - 31
40. The Glass Key Dir. Stuart Heisler
(Brian Donlevy, Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix)
Wardheeler Donlevy is accused of murder; henchman Ladd bails him out. Lake is fine as the mysterious love interest, and Bendix very effective as a brutal bodyguard.
Kurosawa's inspiration for Yojimbo.
39. Ministry Of Fear Dir. Fritz Lang
(Ray Milland, Marjorie Reynolds, Carl Esmond, Dan Duryea, Hillary Brooke)
Atmospheric thriller set in wartime London, with ex mental patient Milland framed in complicated espionage plot.
From the novel by Graham Greene.
38. Fallen Angel Dir. Otto Preminger
(Alice Fay, Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, Charles Bickford)
Hard-up drifter Andrews stops in a small California town and falls for sultry waitress Darnell. To get money to marry her, he plans first to marry mousy heiress Faye and then fleece her.
Effective performances, particularly Faye, cast against type.)
37. Force Of Evil Dir. Abraham Polonsky
(John Garfield, Beatrice Pearson, Thomas Gomez, Roy Roberts)
Rock-solid film about a racketeers' lawyer whose ideals have been compromised by his greed.
Garfield's performance is stunning.
Polonsky was one of the Hollywood 10.
36. Journey Into Fear Dir. Norman Foster
(Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dolores Del Rio, Ruth Warrick, Agnes Moorehead)
World War II spy drama, concerning the smuggling of munitions into Turkey.
Scripted by Welles and Cotten from the novel by Eric Ambler.
35. I Confess Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
(Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden, Brian Aherne)
A young priest hears a murderer's confession, and is himself accused of the crime. Bound by the seal of the confessional he cannot reveal the truth.
Unjustly overlooked Hitchcock thriller with fine performances.
34. Le Doulos Dir. Jean-Pierre Melville
(Jean-Paul Belmondo, Serge Reggiani, Jean Desailly, Michel Piccoli)
Set in the shadowy French underworld, Le Doulos (The Informer) tells the story of gangster Belmondo (one of his defining performances) who may or may not be responsible for squealing on fellow criminal Reggiani, just released from prison and planning one last heist.
The ending can be seen as a homage to Huston's Asphalt Jungle.
33. The Naked City Dir. Jules Dassin
(Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Don Taylor, Dorothy Hart)
Trend setting crime drama, set on location in New York, and following the investigation of a murder step by step.
Barry Fitzgerald, cast against type, is fine as the lead detective in the case.
The intrusive narration, included to enhance the documentary feel of the film, tends to detract somewhat from its effectiveness.
32. The Lady From Shanghai Dir. Orson Welles
(Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Everett Sloane)
Offbeat, often bizarre murder mystery about an Irish drifter (Welles) who joins seductive Hayworth and her husband Sloane on a cruise and is framed for murder.
The famous climax in the mirror maze is riveting.
31. The Big Clock Dir. John Farrow
(Ray Milland, Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Sullivan, George Macready, Elsa Lanchester)
Megalomaniacal publisher Laughton commits a murder. His editor, Milland, attempts to solve the case and finds all the evidence pointing to himself.
Taut, effective thriller.
Lanchester is hilarious.
How can I believe in God, when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?