Sterling Hayden and Sam Jaffe star in the film noir from John Huston

John Huston’s ‘The Asphalt Jungle’ on Criterion Channel

The Asphalt Jungle (1950) is one of John Huston’s rare forays into the genre that would later be called film noir. His first, The Maltese Falcon (1941), helped set the template of the private eye noir. Ten years later, working from an adaptation of the caper novel by W.R. Burnett scripted in collaboration with the […]

‘Moonrise’ – dreamy rural noir free 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 […]

Orson Welles is Harry Lime on Carol Reed's classic

Continental noir: ‘The Third Man’ on Criterion Channel

Carol Reed’s continental film noir The Third Man (1949), written by Graham Greene and starring Joseph Cotten as a cynical American pulp novelist playing detective in the rubble-strewn underworld of post-war Vienna and Orson Welles as a charming but ruthless black marketeer, is one of the true classics. The film is directed by Reed but […]

Leo Gordon and Neville Brand in the prison drama by Don Siegel

‘Riot in Cell Block 11’ on Criterion Channel

It may not have been obvious at the time but Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954) was a perfect match of film and filmmaker. Don Siegel later made a name for himself with his gritty Clint Eastwood collaborations (not to mention his brilliant Invasion of the Body Snatchers) but was just a promising journeyman director […]

’99 River Street’ – Bare knuckle noir on Amazon Prime Video

Phil Karlson is, to my mind, to toughest of the film noir directors. Films like Kansas City Confidential and Phenix City Story give us heroes who get knocked around by life and come up for more. 99 River Street (1953), arguably Karlson’s greatest film and certainly his most beautifully brutal, is a film driven by […]

Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, and George Macready, directed by Charles Vidor

Rita Hayworth is ‘Gilda’ on Criterion Channel

Rita Hayworth is at her most iconic as the forties sex-bomb in Gilda (1946), a film noir classic co-starring Glenn Ford as Johnny Farrell, an American tough guy in Buenos Aires, and George Macready as Ballin Mundson, the owner of a nightclub and illegal casino who hires Johnny as his club manager. Just as in […]

‘Slightly Scarlet’ – Film rouge on Amazon Prime Video

Slightly Scarlet (1956) isn’t well known to even many film buffs but it’s an interesting film noir in lurid Technicolor (call it a film rouge) from veteran director Allan Dwan, who began making films in the early 1910s and directed everything from Douglas Fairbanks action epics to Shirley Temple dramas to comedies to westerns in […]

Jane Greer and Robert Mitchum star in the film noir classic directed by Jacques Tourneur'

Baby, I don’t care – ‘Out of the Past’ on Criterion Channel

In a genre full of desperate characters scrambling and plotting to grab their slice of the American dream, Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past (1947) is a hard-boiled tale of betrayal with an unusually haunting quality. Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) is the classic doomed not-so-innocent of the American cinema, a former private detective whose life […]

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) […]