1949, RKO [Warner Bros.], 88 min, USA, Dir: Nicholas Ray

Consider it a film noir version of ALL ABOUT EVE. A famous singer (Maureen O’Hara) who’s lost her voice shoots her protégé (Gloria Grahame) in a fit of rage. As the young woman lies dying, flashbacks recount the tawdry saga of their backstage relationship. The Herman Mankiewicz script is no CITIZEN KANE, but he brings nasty wit to this adaptation of Vicki Baum’s novel. The terrific supporting cast features Melvyn Douglas, Victor Jory, Bill Williams and J.C. Flippen. Don’t miss the chance to see one of Nick Ray’s most rarely screened films! Not on DVD!

1947, RKO [Warner Bros.], 95 min, USA, Dir: Irving Pichel

Robert Young is brilliantly cast against type as a married Lothario whose sexual antics lead to tragedy. Director Irving Pichel elicits superb, nuanced performances from Susan Hayward (his latest lover), Jane Greer (his former lover) and Rita Johnson (his beleaguered wife), all full-blooded characters in Jonathan Latimer’s sharp-edged screenplay. Produced by Hitchcock protégé Joan Harrison, this sophisticated “adult” film is one of the most unjustly obscure titles of the original noir era. “When a man goes to the devil he usually takes a woman with him… this man took three!” Not on DVD!

1950, Warner Bros., 102 min, USA, Dir: Gordon Douglas

While not as famous as Jimmy Cagney’s huge hit WHITE HEAT (made the previous year), this brutal, hard-as-nails adaptation of Horace McCoy’s superb novel is one of the best crime films of the noir era. A handful of battered survivors recount in court the violent saga of criminal Ralph Cotter, from his prison breakout to his fateful double-dealings with women (Barbara Payton and Helena Carter, both terrific). Tremendously tough direction by Gordon Douglas, featuring an amazing crew of noir tough guys. “The whole blistering story of the crimson-stained career of Ralph Cotter, thug with a heart… of ice!” Not on DVD!

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