Robert Siodmak / Fritz Lang / Abraham Polonksy / Dark urban locales, sultry femme fatales, doomed protagonists and a brooding atmosphere of danger, cynicism and anxiety. These quintessential aspects of film noir are strikingly demonstrated by the four consummate examples of the genre presented in this collection. In The Dark Mirror (1946), directed by Robert Siodmak (The Killers), a man is murdered and there's an obvious suspect, but she has an identical twin sister (both played by Olivia de Havilland, Gone with the Wind), and one of them has a cast-iron alibi. The perfect crime? A psychologist with a specialist interest in twin psychology delves into the heart of the mystery, at considerable risk to himself. In Secret Beyond the Door (1947), Fritz Lang (The Big Heat) adapts the Bluebeard legend with a dash of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. Shortly after their marriage, Celia (Joan Bennett, Suspiria) begins to suspect her architect husband Mark (Michael Redgrave, Dead of Night) of having a secret past, and wonders about the reason behind multiple rooms in his self-designed home, one of which is kept permanently locked. In Abraham Polonsky's Force of Evil (1948), an unscrupulous lawyer (John Garfield, The Postman Always Rings Twice) scents a personal fortune when he concocts a plan to merge New York City's numbers rackets into a single powerful and unbreakable operation, but reckons without his brother, who'd rather stay independent. And in Joseph H. Lewis's ultra-stylish The Big Combo (1955), Lieutenant Diamond (Cornel Wilde, The Naked Prey) is determined to bring down mob boss Mr Brown (Richard Conte, Thieves' Highway), even if it means jeopardising his own career. But the feeling is mutual and the unscrupulous gangster is more than willing to operate outside the law to get his man, leading to some wince-inducing set-pieces (some involving a pre-stardom Lee Van Cleef). This collection showcases many of the genre's major names on both sides of the camera. In addition to the directing and acting talent there are cinematographers Stanley Cortez (The Night of the Hunter) and John Alton (An American in Paris), composers Dimitri Tiomkin (High Noon) and MiklÃ³s RÃ³sza (The Killers), and writers Nunnally Johnson (The Woman in the Window) and Philip Yordan (Johnny Guitar). It's little wonder that directors such as Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino were so struck by them. SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS High Definition Blu-rayTM (1080p) presentations of four film noir classics: The Dark Mirror, Secret Beyond the Door, Force of Evil and The Big Combo Original uncompressed PCM soundtracks on all films Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for all films Commentaries on all films by leading scholars and critics Adrian Martin (The Dark Mirror), Alan K. Rode (Secret Beyond the Door), Glenn Kenny and Farran Smith Nehme (Force of Evil), and Eddie Muller (The Big Combo) Noah Isenberg on The Dark Mirror, the author and scholar provides a detailed analysis of the film Barry Keith Grant on Secret Beyond the Door, the author and scholar introduces the film The House of Lang, a visual essay on Fritz Lang's style by filmmaker David Cairns with a focus on his noir work Introduction to Force of Evil by Martin Scorsese An Autopsy on Capitalism, a visual essay on the production and reception of Force of Evil by Frank Krutnik, author of In a Lonely Street: Film noir, genre, masculinity Commentary on selected Force of Evil themes by Krutnik Geoff Andrew on The Big Combo, the critic and programmer offers an introduction to and analysis of the film Wagon Wheel Joe, a visual essay on director Joseph H. Lewis by filmmaker David Cairns The Big Combo original screenplay (BD-ROM content) Four radio plays, starring Olivia de Havilland and John Garfield among others International poster galleries for all films Trailers Reversible sleeves featuring newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow for all films
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A DOUBLE BILL OF FILM NOIR CLASSICS! Writer, director, producer and actor Jules Dassin was one of Hollywood's most remarkable talents. Between 1947 and 1955 he directed a string of stylish, gritty, and hard-hitting Film Noir classics including Thieves Highway and Night And The City. Blacklisted in the communist witch hunts of the House Un-American Activities, he would continue that run with Rififi, directed in France. Each film is a diamond hard classic, weathering the test of time with sharp edges intact. Tales from The Urban Jungle brings together the two films which started that extraordinary streak of hits. In Brute Force, Burt Lancaster is Joe Collins, one of a number of convicts squeezed into cell R17 and intent on breaking out. Desperate to return to his cancer-ridden wife (Ann Blyth), and to escape the clutches of sadistic warden Captain Munsey (an unforgettable performance from Hume Cronyn) who enjoys a reign of terror over the inmates. Meanwhile, in The Naked City, a blonde ex-model is murdered in her bathtub and detectives Muldoon (Barry Fitzgerald) and Halloran (Don Taylor) are assigned to the case. Their investigation leads them all over New York City, from Park Avenue to the Lower East Side, reaching its thrilling climax atop the Williamsburg Bridge. Inspired by the work of infamous tabloid photographer Weegee, The Naked City was the first major Hollywood production to be shot entirely on the streets of New York, making use of more than a hundred authentic locations. Both films feature stark cinematography and taut writing to land an incredible one-two punch that remains impactful to this day. Sourced from new 4K restorations, and complemented by a wealth of bonus features, this Special Edition Blu-Rayâ¢ set is both the perfect entry point for newcomers to the work of a great director, and a must have for die-hard fans of Film Noir and Jules Dassin. LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of new 4K restorations of both films Original uncompressed mono 1.0 audio Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for both films Illustrated booklet featuring writing on the films by Alastair Philips, Barry Salt, Sergio Angelini, Andrew Graves, Richard Brooks and Frank Krutnik Reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sister Hyde DISC ONE BRUTE FORCE Brand new commentary by historian and critic Josh Nelson Nothing's Okay, a brand new visual essay by film historians David Cairns & Fiona Watson Josh Olson: Brute Force, a personal appreciation by the Academy Award winning screenwriter of A History of Violence Burt Lancaster: The Film Noir Years, an in-depth look at Burt Lancaster's early career by Kate Buford, author of Burt Lancaster: An American Life Theatrical Trailers Image Gallery DISC TWO THE NAKED CITY Naked City Radio, a unique new audio commentary by historian and critic David Cairns featuring actors Steven McNicoll and Francesca Dymond The Pulse of the City, a brand new visual essay by historian and critic Eloise Ross New York and The Naked City, a personalised history of NYC on the big screen by critic Amy Taubin The Hollywood Ten, a 1950 documentary short on the ten filmmakers blacklisted from Hollywood for their refusal to name names before the House Un-American Activities Committee, including The Naked City's screenwriter Albert Maltz Gallery of production stills by photojournalist Weegee Theatrical Trailer
Adapted by acclaimed screenwriter Jonathan Latimer from a novel by the equally renowned crime author Kenneth Fearing, The Big Clock is a superior suspense film which classily combines screwball comedy with heady thrills. Overworked true crime magazine editor George Stroud (Ray Milland, The Lost Weekend, The Pyjama Girl Case) has been planning a vacation for months. However, when his boss, the tyrannical media tycoon Earl Janoth (Charles Laughton, Witness for the Prosecution), insists he skips his hols, Stroud resigns in disgust before embarking on an impromptu drunken night out with his boss's mistress, Pauline York (Rita Johnson, The Major and the Minor). When Janoth kills Pauline in a fit of rage, Stroud finds himself to have been the wrong man, in the wrong place, at the wrong time: his staff have been tasked with finding a suspect with an all too familiar description... Stroud s very own! Directed with panache by John Farrow (Around the World in 80 Days), who stylishly renders the film s towering central set, the Janoth Building, The Big Clock benefits from exuberant performances by Ray Milland and Charles Laughton, who make hay with the script s snappy dialogue. A huge success on its release, it is no wonder this fast-moving noir was remade years later as the Kevin Costner vehicle No Way Out. Special Edition Content High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation transferred from original film elements Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio soundtrack Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing New audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin Turning Back the Clock, a newly filmed analysis of the film by the critic and chief executive of Film London, Adrian Wootton A Difficult Actor, a newly filmed appreciation of Charles Laughton and his performance in The Big Clock by the actor, writer, and theater director Simon Callow Rare hour-long 1948 radio dramatization of The Big Clock by the Lux Radio Theatre, starring Ray Milland Original theatrical trailer Gallery of original stills and promotional materials Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options
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