THE BIG NIGHT
1951, Park Circus, 75 min, USA, Dir: Joseph Losey

George LeMain (John Barrymore Jr.) “celebrates” his 16th birthday by witnessing his father (Preston Foster) stoically absorb a dreadful beating from a mysterious local operator. The youngster seeks answers - and revenge - during an all night odyssey through downtown L.A., making this a truly noir coming-of-age tale. Losey abandoned the film during editing, fleeing to England after being subpoenaed by HUAC; co-screenwriters Hugo Butler and Ring Lardner Jr. adapted Stanley Ellin’s novel Dreadful Summit but were denied credit and blacklisted (along with supporting players Dorothy Comingore and Howland Chamberlain).


THE PROWLER
1951, Crystal Pictures, 92 min, USA, Dir: Joseph Losey

A perverse, provocative film about a corrupt cop (Van Heflin) who sexually dominates a married woman (Evelyn Keyes) for material gain. Oh yeah, he murders her husband in the process - then marries her. And she ends up giving birth in a Nevada ghost town. Hands down, Keyes’ best performance. Heflin’s desperate pursuit of his skewed vision of the American Dream lingers in the memory – potent, haunting and disturbingly similar to today’s headline news. A rediscovered masterpiece not to be missed!


MODESTY BLAISE
1966, 20th Century Fox, 119 min, Dir: Joseph Losey

Director Joseph Losey’s brilliant Pop Art spoof stars gorgeous Monica Vitti as jewel thief/spy-for-hire Modesty Blaise, with Mod poster boy Terence Stamp as her catlike Cockney sidekick. Dirk Bogarde co-stars as Modesty’s nemesis, a villain who always seems to have goldfish swimming in his cocktails. And watch out for Mrs. Fothergill (Rosella Falk), who enjoys strangling men with her thighs!


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