The Return of Noir. TCM week 2.

Once again (with the encouragement of a couple friends) I’m looking at tomorrow’s TCM schedule (that’s 6/12/15).  It’s the second Friday out of a whole summer’s worth of Fridays, when the channel is scheduling film noirs, the dark, dirty underside of postwar American filmmaking.

The day starts out with a number of classics.  THE GLASS KEY; LAURA; MURDER,MY SWEET.  These are all fine examples of detective movies sliding into noir terrirory.  The pick of the morning is MINISTRY OF FEAR, a truly paranoid movie directed by the great Frirz Lang, with overtones of Lang’s earlier Dr. Mabuse films.

Later in the day, you have perhaps the greatest of all woman-in-peril flicks crossing over into noir territory, MILDRED PIERCE, with Joan Crawford suffering magnificently.  And in the middle of the night, they’re showing NIGHTMARE ALLEY, the story of Tyrone Power’s ambitious Carny barker, who double-crosses everybody in sight to get ahead and leave the Carny behind.  Or does he?  This movie takes the noir to its darkest edge ever, actually dipping into horror territory.

The most interesting stuff, however, may be the noirs made by independent, second tier studios, who made up for their lack of budgets by pushing even farther into the dark underside of things.  The most famous of these are DETOUR, directed by the great Edgar Ulmer, and GUN CRAZY, about a young couple who really, really like guns (and just like a cigar is sometimes just a cigar, a gun can be -ahem- a lot more than a gun.)  This ids also the part of the day with a couple of flicks I haven’t seen, so I’ll be DVRing THE GANGSTER and TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY.

Once again, into the darkness!

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