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1942, Universal, 74 min, USA, Dir: Robert Siodmak

Don’t miss this little-seen gem, one of the first Hollywood efforts of noir maestro Robert Siodmak. Shifting with Hitchcockian aplomb between suggestive light comedy and thickly shadowed suspense, Siodmak stuffs two features’ worth of stylish set pieces into a sprightly running time, making this as good as wartime B picture as anything produced in the era. Richard Carlson’s and Nancy Kelly’s romance-on-the-run chemistry, laced with witty innuendo (and plenty of Kelly’s fine gams) is reminiscent of Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll in THE 39 STEPS. Great fun, and surprisingly sexy for its time.

1960, Janus Films, 109 min, South Korea, Dir: Kim Ki-young

See the classic that inspired Bong Joon Ho’s PARASITE! The Kims, a hardworking middle-class family, move into a bigger home and need help with the chores. A love letter from one of Mr. Kim’s students leads to a fateful decision - hiring Myung-sook (Lee Eun-shim), a young woman whose provocative behavior turns their drab domestic life into a nightmare of repressed desires, unleashed. Relentless, claustrophobic, and unpredictable; a wicked combination of soap opera, noir, and horror - as amusing as it is shocking. Considered one of the greatest Korean films ever, THE HOUSEMAID was forgotten for more than forty years, until rediscovered through the efforts of Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project and the Korean Film Archive.

1957, Sony Repertory, 100 min, UK/USA, Dir: Ken Hughes

Harry Miller (Victor Mature), an American GI married to a British war bride (Gene Anderson), signs on as a long-haul lorry driver and finds the business rife with corruption, especially gangster Joe Easy (Patrick Allen). When Easy’s girl Lynn (Diana Dors) takes a shine to Harry, his sturdy moral fiber is stretched every which way. A well-wrought and amusingly sleazy British version of Hollywood trucking tales like THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT and THIEVES’ HIGHWAY, this satisfies the craving of noir addicts with its underworld misfits, shadowy atmospherics and voluptuous Dors doing all she can to mess with Mature’s marriage. With a thrilling climax right out of THE WAGES OF FEAR.

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