BIG HOUSE USA
1955, MGM/Park Circus, 83 min, USA, Dir: Howard Koch

No meaner, more vicious band of bust-out psychos was ever crammed together in one cell block: Ralph Meeker, Broderick Crawford, Charles Bronson, Lon Chaney Jr. and William Talman! Meeker plays a child kidnapper sent to the Big House after his young hostage dies. He then leads the crazed cons in a breakout to retrieve the hidden ransom! Director Howard Koch turns John C. Higgins’ twist-filled script into the most jaw-droppingly brutal prison film of the 1950s!


BLACK ANGEL
1945, Universal, 81 min, USA, Dir: Roy William Neil

In this spellbinding adaptation of Woolrich’s thriller, noir favorite Dan Duryea gives a terrific performance as a pickled pianist whose estranged wife is murdered. When her husband is charged with the crime, nightclub canary June Vincent enlists drunken Dan’s help in a search for the real culprit. Broderick Crawford and Peter Lorre add muscle and menace to the typically warped Woolrich atmosphere, well rendered by director Roy William Neil.


DOWN THREE DARK STREETS
1954, Park Circus/UA, 85 min, USA, Dir: Arnold Laven

Seeking to solve the murder of a colleague, G-man John Ripley (Broderick Crawford) doggedly tears into the dead agent’s last three cases, hoping to discover the killer. He uncovers a trifecta of female trouble (Ruth Roman, Martha Hyer and Marisa Pavan), all entangled in extortion and murder. Based on true FBI cases, the film benefits from fantastic Los Angeles location work, including one of the earliest (and best) uses of the famed Hollywood Sign.


Syndicate content