LET US LIVE
1939, Sony Repertory, 68 min, USA, Dir: John Brahm

Compelling proto-noir concerning a pair of innocent taxi drivers (Henry Fonda and Alan Baxter) railroaded to the death house for a robbery-homicide. An early standout performance by Fonda receives stellar support from costar Maureen O’Sullivan, along with a well-crafted script (by Anthony Veiller and Allen Rivkin), photography (Lucien Ballard) and superior direction by noir maestro John Brahm.


THE STRANGER
1946, Park Circus/MGM, 95 min, USA, Dir: Orson Welles

Director Orson Welles’ suspenseful study of an escaped Nazi war criminal (played by Welles himself) living in a small Connecticut town, who is pursued by a federal agent (Edward G. Robinson) to a no-holds-barred climax. Loretta Young gives one of her finest screen performances as Welles’ unsuspecting wife. Ironically, this was Welles’ most successful film at the box office.


THE KILLERS (1946)
1946, Universal, 103 min, USA, Dir: Robert Siodmak

The CITIZEN KANE of film noir that begins with the ending - "I did something wrong ... once" - and moves backward through interweaving flashbacks to reveal the layer of double crosses that led to the opening scene. The script by Anthony Veiller (with an uncredited assist from John Huston) takes the first 10 minutes from Hemingway's short story and then spirals into the noir netherworld that Robert Siodmak depicted better than any other director. The smoldering sexuality between Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner catapulted both to super-stardom. With Edmond O’Brien and Jeff Corey.


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