ACT OF VIOLENCE
1948, Warner Bros., 81 min, USA, Dir: Fred Zinnemann

A dark masterpiece made during the Metro tenure of producer Dore Schary, this is emblematic film noir. Psychically scarred Robert Ryan stalks war hero Van Heflin from sylvan Big Bear Lake to the nocturnal underbelly of postwar downtown L.A. Robert Surtees’ stunning cinematography captures the dark side of the postwar boom, as well as superb performances from the entire cast, including a jaw-droppingly gorgeous 20-year-old Janet Leigh and a revelatory Mary Astor as a blowsy, street-wise hooker. Director Fred Zinnemann’s only foray into film noir is one of the best of the classic era.


THE HITCH-HIKER
1953, RKO, 71 min, USA, Dir: Ida Lupino

A groundbreaking, fact-based story of two pals on a Mexican fishing trip kidnapped by a serial killer who terrorizes both men into delivering him to safety. The only American film noir directed by a woman - the great Ida Lupino - features a trio of terrific performances by Frank Lovejoy, Edmond O’Brien and the odious William Talman.


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