1948, Warner Bros., 81 min, USA, Dir: Fred Zinnemann

A dark masterpiece made during the Metro tenure of producer Dore Schary, this is emblematic film noir. Psychically scarred Robert Ryan stalks war hero Van Heflin from sylvan Big Bear Lake to the nocturnal underbelly of postwar downtown L.A. Robert Surtees’ stunning cinematography captures the dark side of the postwar boom, as well as superb performances from the entire cast, including a jaw-droppingly gorgeous 20-year-old Janet Leigh and a revelatory Mary Astor as a blowsy, street-wise hooker. Director Fred Zinnemann’s only foray into film noir is one of the best of the classic era.

1958, MGM/Park Circus, 116 min, USA, Dir: Richard Fleischer

Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis play warring adventurers locked in a battle for land and the heart (or, more accurately, body) of the gorgeous Janet Leigh in this rousing epic. With an exuberant performance by Ernest Borgnine as the head Viking and stylish direction by the ever reliable Richard Fleischer, this is a fast, funny spectacle not to be missed on the big screen.

1958, Universal, 111 min, USA, Dir: Orson Welles

This hallucinatory, off-kilter masterwork features Charlton Heston in one of his finest performances, as a Mexican cop on the wrong side of the border, pitted against a grotesque sheriff (Welles) whose badge hides a heart of vile corruption. Janet Leigh co-stars as Heston’s bride, menaced by leather-clad Mercedes McCambridge and her gang of juvenile delinquents. Co-starring Akim Tamiroff, Marlene Dietrich and Joseph Calleia.

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