When greasy nightclub owner Castro ask Rocky Mulloy if he’s going to kill him, Rocky answers, “Wouldn’t you?” This hardboiled dialogue is just one example of the tough brilliance that oozes from every pore of Robert Parrish’s striking directorial debut, Cry Danger. It’s a film noir gem that’s been heavily overlooked over the years, but has now been resurrected on Blu-ray from the fine folks at Olive Films (with funding from the mighty Film Noir Foundation). I picked it up as a blind buy and was blown away by the film’s simplicity, humor, and Dick Powell’s deadpan delivery. This is some of the best patter I’ve heard sine Powell’s turn in Murder, My Sweet.
After several adaptations by RKO Pictures of Raymond Chandler’s work that barely resembled the legendary writer’s source material, producer Adrian Scott finally managed to create a faithful one that captured the author’s wit and charm while also shaving down the book’s convoluted plot into something coherent. 1945’s Murder, My Sweet is based on Farewell, My Lovely (1940), the second Philip Marlowe mystery. I guess the marketing folks at RKO thought “Sweet” was a more effective pet name than “Lovely.” The film is certainly one of the most clearest versions of Chandler’s vision, even if its noble private eye yarn would later feel old-hat in the world of noir.
Man, some girls just have something about them. Something that grabs ya by the balls and twists and you wind up loving every second of it. Case in point: Lizbeth Scott as Mona Stevens in 1948 scandalous tale of infidelity and obsession, Pitfall. This is a great noir that shines an ugly light on what boredom can do to housewives and insurance investigators. The film’s plot attacks middle class values with smoking revolvers as it barrels headfirst into the unforgiving brick wall of fate. And doom. And blondes.