BUY ME THAT TOWN
1941, Universal, 70 min, Dir: Eugene Forde

This Runyonesque rarity tells the tale of a gaggle of New York gangsters (led by the redoubtable Lloyd Nolan) who, after getting popped for speeding through a small Connecticut town, hatch a plan to turn the sleepy burg into a resort for rusticating racketeers. Not noir by a long shot, but the script is more prescient than its writers could ever have imagined (did Bugsy Siegel see this movie?). DP Theodor Sparkuhl lends his always evocative camerawork to this rambunctious B gem, enlivened by the marvelous mugs of Albert Dekker, Sheldon Leonard and Edward Brophy.


DR. BROADWAY
1942, Universal, 68 min, Dir: Anthony Mann

In one of his first B assignments, Anthony Mann already displays the visual panache that would make him one of Hollywood’s premier directors. Macdonald Carey plays Timothy Kane, aka “Dr. Broadway,” a savvy New York sawbones who knows where all the bodies are buried. With the help of feisty receptionist Connie (Jean Phillips), Kane navigates through a tide of colorful crooks on the Great White Way to bestow an inheritance on the daughter of a felon he sent upriver. Tremendous noir atmospherics courtesy of great German cinematographer Theodor Sparkuhl.


CRY OF THE CITY
1948, 20th Century Fox, 95 min, USA, Dir: Robert Siodmak

Perhaps the best realized of director Robert Siodmak’s films noir indelibly relates the enduring theme (based on Henry Helseth’s novel The Chair for Martin Rome) of neighborhood pals who tread divergent courses. Victor Mature becomes a lawman, Richard Conte goes crooked. The two square off all across Manhattan with tragic results. Siodmak eschewed the semi-documentary style then in vogue at Fox creating instead a vivid, Expressionistic urban landscape that ideally suited this mythic mid-20th-century tale of good and evil. Co-starring Shelley Winters, Fred Clark and that Amazonian nightmare, Hope Emerson.


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