Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame star, Nicholas Ray directs from the Dorothy B. Hughes novel

Nicholas Ray’s ‘In a Lonely Place’ on The Criterion Channel

In a Lonely Place (1950) hasn’t much to do with the Dorothy B. Hughes novel on which it was ostensibly based, beyond the title (one of the most evocative in noir history), the Los Angeles setting, and the murder of a young woman that puts our ostensible hero, volatile, hard-drinking Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele (Humphrey […]

Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey and Walter Huston star in Anthony Mann's western

Barbara Stanwyck in ‘The Furies’ on Hulu

The Furies (1950), the second western from genre giant Anthony Mann (after Devil’s Doorway) and his first big-budget, large-canvas production after an apprenticeship in low-budget thrillers, is a genre hybrid: a psychological western by way of a Gothic melodrama, with a dark, shadowy style right out of Mann’s earlier film noirs. Barbara Stanwyck is Vance […]

James Cagney stars in the gangster classic from Raoul Walsh

‘White Heat’ – James Cagney on top of the world on The Criterion Channel

“Made it, ma. Top of the world!” One of the greatest gangster classics of all time, White Heat (1949) stars James Cagney in an explosive performance as psychotic career criminal Cody Jarrett, driven over the edge by blinding headaches and murderous rages that only his mother can calm. Until, that is, she’s murdered while he’s […]

Constance Bennett and Lowell Sherman in the original pre-code 'Star is Born' from George Cukor

‘What Price Hollywood?’ – the pre-code ‘A Star is Born’ on The Criterion Channel

What Price Hollywood? (1932) is one of the wittiest and most interesting Hollywood movies about Hollywood culture ever made. It’s a shame it’s not better known. This pre-code comedy stars Constance Bennett as an aspiring actress waiting tables at The Brown Derby who gets her big break when a drunken film director (Lowell Sherman) invites […]

Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in John Huston's 'The African Queen'

‘The African Queen’ – Bogie and Hepburn on Amazon Prime Video

The African Queen (1951) – Humphrey Bogart is Charlie Allnut, the hard-drinking captain of a sputtering steam-powered boat that gives the film its title. Katharine Hepburn is Rose Sayer, a spirited missionary spinster serving the Lord in German East Africa with her brother (Robert Morley). It’s September 1914, the early days of World War I, […]

I Wake Up Streaming – April 2019

Amazon Prime Video Amazon Prime Video is now streaming Charles Laughton’s great American gothic noir The Night of the Hunter (1955) starring Robert Mitchum in a fire and brimstone performance as a demonic con man in preacher man’s robes. It’s one of the most beautiful pastoral nightmares the cinema has seen. Hulu Hulu presents Karyn Kusama’s hard-edged Destroyer (2018, […]

‘Moonrise’ – dreamy rural noir on Kanopy

The most authentically romantic filmmaker of classic Hollywood, Frank Borzage made films where the power of love conquered all, not simply narrative obstacles and stubborn complications but time and space itself. He’s the last filmmaker you would expect to produce a film noir masterpiece yet in Moonrise (1948) he delivers beautifully. Dane Clark is Danny […]

Joan Crawford stars with Ann Blyth, Zachary Scott, and Jack Carson

Joan Crawford is ‘Mildred Pierce’ on The Criterion Channel

Is Mildred Pierce (1945) film noir or melodrama? I say why choose? Film noir is almost entirely associated with crime stories and life in the shadows and at night in the city and sure enough Mildred Pierce, based on the novel by James M. Cain, opens with death and darkness and the twilight of the […]

‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ – Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

Howard Hawks discovered one of the great female screen teams in bubbly gold digger Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) and wry, unapologetically man-hungry Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell) in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), a musical take on the Jazz Age novel by screenwriting great Anita Loos. Lorelei and Dorothy are showgirls and best friends on a luxury […]