1948, Paramount, 86 min, USA, Dir: André de Toth

Enjoy an adult dose of SoCal suburban angst as Dick Powell’s by-the-book insurance man, dissatisfied with his dead-end job and humdrum wife (Jane Wyatt), indulges an extra-marital dalliance with tough-luck model Lizabeth Scott. Who will make him pay for his indiscretion? The thuggish private eye (creepy Raymond Burr) who has his own designs on Liz? Her jealous boyfriend, about to be sprung from prison? Or his own steel-spined spouse? Come see who survives the guilt-sodden affair, a remarkable and vastly undervalued noir masterpiece.

1933, Warner Bros., 104 min, USA, Dir: Lloyd Bacon

When the Depression forces a director (James Cagney) off the stage, he tries the screen, creating musical “prologues” to be staged in movie theaters before films; to land a big contract, he must mount three massive production numbers in a single night. Cagney is magnetic in a performance arguably superior to his Oscar-winning YANKEE DOODLE DANDY turn, and Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell are equally entertaining in supporting roles. This fast-paced pre-Code dazzler was named to the National Film Registry, thanks at least in part to Busby Berkeley’s spectacular dance sequences.

1940, Universal, 67 min, USA, Dir: Preston Sturges

Preston Sturges’ second feature as director stars Dick Powell as a humble clerk who thinks he’s won a big contest and starts spending like it’s, well, you know. Big problem: He doesn’t know he’s the victim of a practical joke. Typical madcap mayhem with Ellen Drew, Raymond Walburn, William Demarest, Franklin Pangborn and the rest of the Sturges stock company.

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