FEMALE ON THE BEACH
1955, Universal, 100 min, USA, Dir: Joseph Pevney

Joan gets wet! Moving into her late husband’s Balboa beach house after the previous tenant committed suicide, Joan Crawford finds her neighbors incredibly accommodating - especially the hunky beachcomber who becomes her lover (Jeff Chandler in his USDA prime). Sexual obsession, blackmail and murder are folded into a froth of suspicious neighbors (Jan Sterling!), hurled martini glasses, secret diaries and plenty of crashing surf. Perhaps the most perverse film of Crawford’s 1950s diva phase; certainly one of the best! “He was the kind of man that her kind of woman can’t leave alone!” Not on DVD!


A WOMAN’S SECRET
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!


THEY WON’T BELIEVE ME
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!


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