Top 50 Films Noir (Contd) 20 - 11
20. Kiss Of Death Dir. Henry Hathaway
(Victor Mature, Richard Widmark, Brian Donlevy, Coleen Gray, Karl Malden)
Richard Widmark's debut as a giggling, psychopathic killer is riveting.
19. The Big Sleep Dir. Howard Hawks
(Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely, Martha Vickers)
Convoluted thriller - even the author didn't know who committed one murder - but so effective and entertaining that no-one cares.
Great direction. Superb script (the dialogue literally crackles). Bogart and Bacall have incredible on-screen chemistry.
18. The Mask Of Demetrios Dir. Jean Negulesco
(Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet, Zachary Scott, Faye Emerson)
Effective, off-beat thriller in which mild mannered mystery writer Lorre tracks down the truth about notorious criminal Scott.
As always, Lorre and Greenstreet are a great team.
17. Shadow Of A Doubt Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
(Joseph Cotten, Theresa Wright, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Hume Cronyn)
A young girl in a small American town slowly comes to realise that her beloved Uncle Charley is in reality the notorious Merry Widow murderer.
Joseph Cotten is superb.
Hitchcock named it as his personal favourite.
16. Scarlet Street Dir. Fritz Lang
(Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea, Margaret Lindsay)
Meek, henpecked Robinson becomes involved in a world of crime and deception by Bennett and her sleazy boyfriend Duryea.
Effective, unsettling melodrama with director and stars in top form.
15. The Big Heat Dir. Fritz Lang
(Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando, Lee Marvin)
Searing story of a cop determined to bust a big city crime ring.
The coffee-throwing scene still shocks.
Grahame is memorable.
14. Pickup On South Street Dir. Samuel Fuller
(Richard Widmark, Jean Peters, Thelma Ritter, Richard Kiley)
Pickpocket Widmark becomes a target for espionage agents when he steals a top-secret microfilm.
Tough, brutal, well-made film.
Ritter literally steals the show as a street peddler who also deals in information.
13. Out Of The Past Dir. Jacques Tourneur
(Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming)
Mitchum finds he cannot escape his former life when his one-time gangster employer Douglas, and lover, Greer, involve him in a web of double-dealing and murder. A classic.
Greer is the architypal femme fatale.
12. The Spiral Staircase Dir. Robert Siodmak
(Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, Ethel Barrymore, Kent Smith)
Superb Hitchcock-style thriller.
A mute servant girl is in danger from an insane killer who targets young women with physical disabilities.
Dorothy McGuire is unforgettable.
11. Gilda Dir. Charles Vidor
(Glenn Ford, Rita Hayworth, George Macready, Joseph Calleia)
Highly charged story of an emotional triangle which leads to murder.
Rita has never been sexier.
How can I believe in God, when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?