THE BIG COMBO
1955, 87 min, USA, Dir: Joseph H. Lewis

One of the essential noirs pits malevolent crime kingpin Mr. Brown (Richard Conte) against a crusading copper (Cornel Wilde) in a battle for alluring Jean Wallace. The memorable noir palaver (purportedly by Philip Yordan) is accentuated by the cinematography of the legendary John Alton and a jazzy score by David Raksin. Featuring the unusual hit-man team of Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman amid a stand-out supporting cast: Brian Donlevy, Robert Middleton, Helen Walker, Jay Adler, John Hoyt, Ted de Corsia and Helene Stanton.


A KISS BEFORE DYING
1956, Park Circus/MGM, 104 min, USA, Dir: Gerd Oswald

Social-climbing college student Bud Corliss (Robert Wagner) is determined to marry into money – but his girlfriend’s pregnancy could derail his plans. That’s when Bud truly becomes a ladykiller. This rare Cinemascope color noir, based on the Edgar-winning novel by Ira Levin, reveals the psychosis lurking beneath the American affluence of the Eisenhower era. Filmed on location in Tucson, Arizona, and co-starring Jeffrey Hunter, Virginia Leith, Joanne Woodward and Mary Astor.


THE HARDER THEY FALL
1956, Sony Repertory, 109 min, USA, Dir: Mark Robson

In this adaptation of Budd Schulberg’s bestseller, Humphrey Bogart (in his last role) plays burned-out sportswriter Eddie Willis, hired by a crooked boxing promoter (Rod Steiger) to tout his circus-freak heavyweight as a legit contender (based on the true story of Primo Carnera). Director Mark Robson crafts a fitting finale to Bogart’s legendary career and lands a few devastating blows to the reputation of the "Sweet Science." Also featuring Jan Sterling, Mike Lane, Max Baer, “Jersey” Joe Walcott and Nehemiah Persoff.


Syndicate content