NO DOWN PAYMENT
1957, 20th Century Fox, 105 min, Dir: Martin Ritt

This highly underrated ensemble drama is one of the most perceptive looks at life in the suburbs ever made. Three couples struggle with such things as alcoholism, debt and racial bias as new neighbors move in to their Sunrise Hills subdivision; a fine cast includes Joanne Woodward, Cameron Mitchell, Tony Randall (playing way against type), Pat Hingle and Barbara Rush.


THE ASPHALT JUNGLE
1950, Warner Brothers, 112 min, Dir: John Huston

The kingpin of caper films, featuring one of the best ensemble casts ever. Director John Huston's neo-realist adaptation of W. R. Burnett’s novel examines the ambitions of small-time hoods and brought a new level of empathy and authenticity to crime - that "left-handed form of human endeavor." Famous as the film that introduced Marilyn Monroe, THE ASPHALT JUNGLE deserves renewed recognition as a crucial work of noir Americana. With Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, James Whitmore and Jean Hagen.


FRAMED
1947, Columbia [Sony Repertory], 82 min, USA, Dir: Richard Wallace

In this rarely seen piece of prime-grade pulp, taciturn Glenn Ford barrels his broken-down truck into a rural California town and is quickly engulfed in adultery, embezzlement and murder. Janis Carter is the long, tall drink of delicious poison he can’t resist, a frosty sample of pure ’40s film noir femme fatale. Barry Sullivan is his usual sly self as the not-so-unwilling cuckold. The script by Ben Maddow (THE ASPHALT JUNGLE) hits all the notes originated by James M. Cain, and director Richard Wallace has a good time playing them. Not on DVD!


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