FLY-BY-NIGHT
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.


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.


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