THE BIG NIGHT
1951, Park Circus, 75 min, USA, Dir: Joseph Losey

George LeMain (John Barrymore Jr.) “celebrates” his 16th birthday by witnessing his father (Preston Foster) stoically absorb a dreadful beating from a mysterious local operator. The youngster seeks answers - and revenge - during an all night odyssey through downtown L.A., making this a truly noir coming-of-age tale. Losey abandoned the film during editing, fleeing to England after being subpoenaed by HUAC; co-screenwriters Hugo Butler and Ring Lardner Jr. adapted Stanley Ellin’s novel Dreadful Summit but were denied credit and blacklisted (along with supporting players Dorothy Comingore and Howland Chamberlain).


THE PROWLER
1951, Crystal Pictures, 92 min, USA, Dir: Joseph Losey

A perverse, provocative film about a corrupt cop (Van Heflin) who sexually dominates a married woman (Evelyn Keyes) for material gain. Oh yeah, he murders her husband in the process - then marries her. And she ends up giving birth in a Nevada ghost town. Hands down, Keyes’ best performance. Heflin’s desperate pursuit of his skewed vision of the American Dream lingers in the memory – potent, haunting and disturbingly similar to today’s headline news. A rediscovered masterpiece not to be missed!


ARMORED CAR ROBBERY
1950, Warner Bros., 67 min, USA, Dir: Richard Fleischer

The ultimate B-movie caper, helmed by the late, great friend of the American Cinematheque, Richard Fleischer (THE NARROW MARGIN). The toughest mug in noir, Charles McGraw, plays the prototypical L.A. robbery-homicide dick matched against goggle-eyed heavy William Talman in the film noir equivalent of King Kong vs. Godzilla! With sultry Adele Jergens as a duplicitous burlesque queen, strutting her stuff through gritty downtown L.A. locations.


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