BORN TO BE BAD
1950, Warner Bros., 94 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Joan Fontaine looks sweet and innocent on the surface, but after she steals millionaire Zachary Scott away from another woman, she continues an illicit affair with novelist Robert Ryan. Things just get more complicated from there in this energetic, daring and slightly nasty little melodrama. One of Nicholas Ray's best early films, and certainly his most audacious until JOHNNY GUITAR. With Mel Ferrer - and the original deleted ending!


KNOCK ON ANY DOOR
1949, Sony Repertory, 100 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Ray’s second picture was produced by star Humphrey Bogart’s Santana Productions and it reflects the gutsy social realism both men favored in their storytelling. Delinquent John Derek and his gutter-rat chums have shot a cop during a robbery. Bogart’s character, a successful attorney who extricated himself from the ghetto, feels obligated to defend Derek. Ray poses eternal questions about character versus environment and which is more responsible for rampant urban crime. NOT AVAILABLE ON DVD!


BIGGER THAN LIFE
1956, 20th Century Fox, 95 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Director Nicholas Ray’s subversively twisted portrait of suburban life centers on a teacher (James Mason) who becomes addicted to a new drug, cortisone, and experiences visionary, tyrannical delusions. Ray’s superb use of color and shot composition reaches a deliriously surreal intensity here that at times borders on the psychedelic. In addition to one of Mason’s finest performances, there’s also standout work from co-stars Barbara Rush and Walter Matthau.


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