DARK CITY (1950)
1950, Paramount, 98 min, USA, Dir: William Dieterle

The murder of a fellow grifter following a fixed poker game leads a small-time gambler (Charlton Heston, in his feature debut) to track down a psychopathic killer bent on revenge. The complex tale, ranging from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, is evocatively directed by William Dieterle (PORTRAIT OF JENNIE, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME) and features film noir’s favorite throaty thrush, lovely Lizabeth Scott. Co-starring Viveca Lindfors, Dean Jagger, Don Defore, Ed Begley and Harry Morgan.


CITY OF FEAR
1959, Sony Repertory, 81 min, USA, Dir: Irving Lerner

An escaped con (Vince Edwards) thinks he’s stealing a cache of heroin, but he’s actually toting around enough radioactive material to destroy the parts of Los Angeles left standing at the end of KISS ME DEADLY. This tough little shoestring production is innovatively assembled by co-writer/actor Steven Ritch (PLUNDER ROAD) and director Irving Lerner (MURDER BY CONTRACT), and it has one of the first scores by legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith. Co-starring Lyle Talbot and John Archer.


KISS ME DEADLY
1955, Park Circus/UA, 105 min, USA, Dir: Robert Aldrich

Some critics see it as the apotheosis of noir style and the definitive statement on American paranoia in the Atomic Age. Others see it as screenwriter A.I. Bezzerides’ smirking send-up of author Mickey Spillane’s popular 1950s macho fantasies. Decide for yourself as hard-headed private eye Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) va-va-vooms his way through sunny and sinister Los Angeles in search of “the Great Whatsit.”


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