I Wake Up Streaming – October 2019

Joseph H. Lewis never again matched the dizzying heights of the delirious masterpiece Gun Crazy, but he did create at least one additional classic in the noir canon. The Big Combo (1955) stars Cornel Wilde (also an uncredited producer) as a driven cop hounding preening mobster Richard Conte, an arrogant kingpin who has made sleek blonde debutante Jean […]

Simone Simon and Kent Smith star in Jacques Tourneur's classic horror film for producer Val Lewton

The original ‘Cat People’ on Criterion Channel

The original Cat People (1942) was made on a low budget for RKO’s B-movie unit, the first in an amazing series of B-horror films from producer Val Lewton that transcended its origins. It’s a masterpiece of mood and psychological ambiguity masquerading as a cheap exploitation knock-off. Cheap it is, but Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur […]

‘Le Doulos’ – the French criminal code on Criterion Channel

If classic French cinema is any indication, then gangsters were the great Gallic underground hero. Where the prototypical American gangsters are invariably cultural outsiders and immigrants who muscle their way to power in sprays of bullets, their French counterparts are dapper men with a code of loyalty who walk the tightrope between respect and disrepute. […]

'Sin City' from Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller

‘Sin City’ – hard-boiled pulp fiction on Netflix

In Sin City (2005), Robert Rodriguez pulls out all stylistic stops to translate the most graphic of graphic novels—Frank Miller’s Sin City tales, all hard-boiled tributes to pulp fiction and film noir—from two-dimensional pages to free-floating big screen action, and he drafted Miller to help master not just the look, but whole hard-boiled extremism. Men […]

Alain Demon in Jean-Pierre Melville's French crime classic

I Wake Up Streaming – September 2019

Originally published on the Film Noir Foundation website The Criterion Channel launched earlier this year with a spotlight on American film noir. This month, it celebrates the shadows of international crime dramas, gangster films, and thrillers. The Complete Jean-Pierre Melville All 14 Melville films, from his debut documentary short 24 Hours in the Life of a […]

I Wake Up Streaming – August 2019

Small Screen Noir and Neo-Noir The history of television is full of great crime shows, from Dragnet to Hill Street Blues to Homicide: Life on the Street to The Wire and beyond, but small screen noir is a rare treasure indeed. Let’s face it, TV rarely embraced the visual style or hard-bitten, world-weary, often cynical attitude that defined noir as much as subject […]

‘I Am the Night’ on Hulu and Hoopla

We can thank Wonder Woman for the miniseries I Am the Night. Director Patty Jenkins not only connected with her star, Chris Pine, over the project, but Pine’s interest inspired a new character in the screenplay her husband, Sam Sheridan, was writing. The result is an “inspired by a true story” six-part TV-miniseries as dark and lurid as […]

Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle in 'Taxi Driver'

Martin Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’ on Netflix

Taxi Driver (1976), Martin Scorsese’s incendiary masterpiece of alienation and anger and urban anxiety may be the most maverick vision of seventies American cinema. It is certainly one of the most visceral portraits of the American urban underbelly ever put on film, a movie bathed in blood as much as in light, and almost forty years […]

Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino star in the film noir by Nicholas Ray

I Wake Up Streaming – July 2019

[originally written for the Film Noir Foundation] The Criterion Channel The Columbia Noir Collection that headlined the launch of The Criterion Channel is now gone, along with a few other choice noir classics spotlighted a few months back, but a new selection has arrived in the past couple of months. Did you miss On Dangerous Ground (1951) […]