Blu-Ray News #229: Noir Archive Volume 2: 1954-1956.

The first nine-film, three-disc volume in Kit Parker’s awesome assemblage of hi-def Film Noir hasn’t hit the street yet, and now the second’s been announced. These are coming in July, and it’s another great lineup.

Bait (1954)
Directed by Hugo Haas
Starring Cleo Moore, Hugo Haas, John Agar

Hugo Haas directs himself, Cleo Moore and John Agar in a love triangle involving a lost gold mine.

The Crooked Web (1955)
Directed by Nathan Juran
Starring Frank Lovejoy, Mari Blanchard, Richard Denning

Nathan Juran directed lots of cool stuff, but this is the only one with Mari Blanchard as a waitress. This one involves gold, too, but it’s a stash of Nazi gold. Nathan Juran did some cool stuff — from The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad (1957) to Good Day For A Hanging (1958).

The Night Holds Terror (1955)
Directed by Andrew Stone
Starring Jack Kelly, Hildy Parks, Vince Edwards, John Cassavetes, David Cross, Jonathan Hale

Sort of a combination of The Hitch-Hiker and The Desperate Hours, with John Cassavetes one of the crooks.

Footsteps In The Fog (1955)
Directed by Arthur Lubin
Starring Stewart Granger, Jean Simmons, Bill Travers, Ronald Squire

The only picture in the set in color, this one has Stewart Granger as a killer who chooses the wrong victim, literally.

Cell_2455_Death_Row LC

Cell 2455, Death Row (1955)
Directed by Fred F. Sears
Starring William Campbell, Marian Carr, Kathryn Grant, Harvey Stephens, Vince Edwards

Based on the true story by Caryl Chessman. Director Fred F. Sears is a real favorite of mine.

5 Against The House (1955)
Directed by Phil Karlson
Starring Kim Novack, Alvy Moore, William Conrad, Kerwin Mathews

A team of Army buddies snag a camper trailer and head to Reno to rob the casinos. Phil Karlson keeps things tough and tight. Terrific movie.

New Orleans Uncensored (1955)
Directed by William Castle
Starring Arthur Franz, Beverly Garland, Helene Stanton, Mike Mazurki

William Castle working for Sam Katzman. Beverly Garland. Black and white widescreen. Why haven’t you pre-ordered one already?

Spin A Dark Web (1955)
Directed by Vernon Sewell
Starring Faith Domergue, Lee Patterson, Rona Anderson, Martin Benson

A boxer gets sucked into the London mob, with a little help from Faith Domergue. Vernon Sewell directed lots of B movies in the UK, and this is a cool one.

Rumble On The Docks (1956)
Directed by Fred F. Sears
Starring James Darren, Laurie Carrol, Michael Granger, Robert Blake, Timothy Carey

Fred F. Sears, Robert Blake and Timothy Carey all working on a Sam Katzman movie — and the results are every bit as wonderful as you might be imagining.

To have these nine pictures, in their original aspect ration and high definition, is a real treat. I can’t wait.

19 Comments

Filed under 1954, 1955, 1956, Beverly Garland, DVD/Blu-ray News, Faith Domergue, Fred F. Sears, John Agar, Kit Parker, Mari Blanchard, Mill Creek, Nathan Juran, Phil Karlson, Richard Denning, Timothy Carey, William Castle

19 responses to “Blu-Ray News #229: Noir Archive Volume 2: 1954-1956.

  1. Kevin Coon

    I love these movies!!!! I totally agree with you. I hope they keep them coming.

    Like

  2. john k

    This set even tops volume one,and that’s saying something.
    Sadly because of the chronological order it looks as if two of my
    “most wanted” titles will not make these sets (WALK A CROOKED MILE
    and BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN)
    These sets are the sort of collections I was hoping Powerhouse/Indicator
    would release were they not so “up themselves”
    Apart from the Hammer/Castle sets Indicator just don’t get genre movies.
    Furthermore,it looks as if most,if not all of these films first appeared as
    Sony MOD DVD’s.
    Apart from everything else I’m relishing the thought of SPIN A DARK WEB
    in high definition,possibly Vernon Sewell’s masterpiece. If you can accept
    Faith Domergue and Martin Benson as Sicilian siblings you are in for a fun
    ride!

    Like

  3. john k

    I only have a couple of these films on DVD and four of them I have never
    seen at all. UK fans might note that at the moment WOWHD have Vol 1
    for £29.00 including postage so that’s little over £3.00 a film;especially
    considering that the MOD DVD’s retailed at around $20 each and some are
    fetching “collectors” prices.
    If, as it well looks might happen, the UK goes for a no-deal Brexit then
    the £ is going to fall even further,God, I loathe what’s happening to my
    country right now!
    A negative comment on one of the chat forums states that “I already have
    the Indicator FOOTSTEPS IN THE FOG and the Kit Parker version is
    sure to be a downgrade”…Oh really; then why aren’t Indicator doing sets
    like this,the acid test is when DVD Beaver start reviewing them and as
    sparkling high def masters of these films already exist I’m 100% sure
    everything will be fine.

    Like

  4. Jeremy Entract

    Thanks for the £29 incl. Postage tip, John. Gotta get that. And this 2nd volume is even more of a ‘must have’. Some really interesting titles here and, like you, several I’ve never seen.
    Volume 3 please!!

    Like

  5. Mike Richards

    l haven’t got Vol.1 yet, mainly because l have been Internet surfing trying to find best deal for us poor exchange rate Brits. Thanks to John, l think l might now have WOW in my sights.
    So it’s great news that Vol.2 will also be on the way in July, even better is the film list, as l only have one of the films, that’s 5 Against The House, it was on one the Columbia Film Noir box sets, which now sell for silly high prices.

    Like

  6. Walter

    What a fine lineup of really enjoyable 1950’s movies. These are the kind I like. I would watch these, hands down, before I would watch a Larry Cohen movie. Of course, I don’t mean to put his movies down, but I prefer these.

    I watched 5 AGAINST THE HOUSE(1955) a lot as a youngster. WREC-TV’s EARLY MOVIE showed this one several times during the 1960’s and ’70’s. If you like casino robbery movies this is a gem. Written by Sterling Silliphant, William Bowers, and John Barnwell. The screenplay is based on Jack Finney’s 1954 novel, which was serialized by GOOD HOUSEKEEPING magazine in the July-September, 1951 issues. It was directed by Phil Karlson. Such a good cast and I remember getting a kick out of seeing Alvy Moore in a role so unlike his Hank Kimball character from the comedy TV series GREEN ACRES(1965-71).

    Like

  7. john k

    I thought these would be right up your street Walter.
    I don’t want to continue the Larry Cohen theme I started over at Toby’s
    Western site;I don’t need MAGA nut jobs getting on my case. 🙂
    The point that I did not make,and should have is that Larry felt that
    Boetticher was given a raw deal by Hollywood,especially the way that he
    was side lined. I also agree that a lot of Wayne’s later Westerns would have
    been far better if directed by better talents than McLaglen and Kennedy.
    Too bad Larry’s Wayne/Eastwood and possible Boetticher project never
    happened.
    THE PRIVATE FILES OF J EDGAR HOOVER is a blast,just check out
    that sensational veteran cast and who ever could resist a movie where
    Senator Joe McCarthy is played by none other than Commando Cody!
    My buddy Mike Richards tells me there is a restored widescreen version
    of A TIME FOR DYING on Amazon,streaming and it looks sensational,
    I hope a Blu Ray release is forthcoming,
    Finally as an aside in a past conversation you described critic Sean Burns
    as sounding like a left leaning Gen Xer,well Sean in his review of Captain
    Marvel does describe himself as a Gen Xer so spot on there Walter.
    Sean’s review of the generally well received film is less than positive,
    and that’s putting it mildly…interesting writer.
    I’m very much looking forward to reading the DVD Beaver and
    Cinesavant reviews of the first Kit Parker Noir set.
    I might add that both sites are in raptures over the wonderful new
    Blu Ray of THE BODY SNATCHER,so many tempting treats to make us
    part with our cash these days!

    Like

  8. Walter

    John K, I haven’t read the reviews of the new Blu-ray release of Robert Wise’s THE BODY SNATCHER(1945) yet, but I have always thought that this is Boris Karloff’s best performance. Yes, the menacing cabman John Gray. I first recorded it off of TV on my old Beta recorder, then transferred it to VHS. I think it is time to update.

    Budd Boetticher was given a raw deal, but as we know, he wasn’t the first or last to get the shaft. Of John Wayne’s later Westerns, besides THE SHOOTIST(1976), I’m partial to THE COWBOYS(1972), which was written, produced, and directed by political left-wingers. Wayne didn’t throw that script overboard into the Pacific Ocean.

    As I said on the other site, I don’t know how I’ve managed to miss THE PRIVATE FILES OF J. EDGAR HOOVER(1977). George D. Wallace as Senator Joe McCarthy, that is something. Something that I see in looking over the credits. I think Larry Cohen had a soft spot for older actors and actresses that the so-called New Hollywood had thrown away.

    A good print of Budd Boetticher and Audie Murphy’s A TIME FOR DYING(1969) is good news. There are so many good Westerns out there that have never been on DVD.

    I went over and read Sean Burns’ review of CAPTAIN MARVEL(2019). He didn’t think it was that good of a movie. He better have some sturdy amor on.

    Like

  9. john k

    Walter,regarding Sean Burns and your previous “left leaning Gen Xer”
    comment,I was further intrigued by Burns’ comment that James Woods
    was by far the most gifted actor to have blocked him on Twitter.
    Burns also refers to Woods as one time actor,now professional nuisance.
    I had heard that Woods,to steal your phrase,Walter,”got the shaft”
    for his right wing political views.
    I do hope Woods returns to the screen at some point,Googling
    “Republican current day actors” I see there are one hell of a lot of them
    working in Hollywood these days,far more than I would have thought
    considering the current climate.
    Of course in the Golden Age most,but by all means,not all, of our beloved
    stars were Republicans.
    Is there a current day “Witch Hunt” against actors with Right Wing views,
    certainly a lot of the actors I uncovered have considerable Box Office
    Clout,which,at the end of the day is the only thing that matters in
    Hollywood. Sorry to digress,Walter but your initial profile of Mr Burns
    was spot on.

    Like

  10. Jeremy Entract

    I think those Hollywood stars John has in mind had political views that were considered ‘mainstream’ back then, rather than right-wing particularly. I personally deplore the current rise of extremes of left and right around the world. The ‘centre’ seems in retreat sadly – for now anyway.
    James Stewart was a ‘conservative’ Republican but would anyone have thought of him as ‘right-wing’ really? Perceptions have certainly moved.

    Like

    • Walter

      John K and Jerry. There have been blacklists and graylists in Hollywood of some kind or other since the silent movie days. They haven’t always been of a political nature. John K asks if there is a new Hollywood “Witch Hunt” out to get political conservatives like James Woods. Wood’s longtime agent dropped him last Summer and Woods’ career has taken a nosedive, even before his agent left him, in a lurch. James Woods believes in free speech, but his opponents don’t.

      Established well known stars such as Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Kurt Russell are to successful for the Hollywood left to do much damage to their careers, but how about the ones that aren’t has established? Clint Eastwood has said, “There is a group of people in Hollywood that are conservative, but by the nature of the word itself, they are just reticent to speak out. And they are reticent because they feel that they will maybe lose work, or they will be chastised in some way for having political views.” I’m afraid this has been going on for years and probably won’t let up anytime soon.

      I have to tell this rather amusing story. Actress/singer Maria Conchita Alonzo issued an “Open Letter to Sean Penn” online on March 29, 2010 regarding his support of Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela. She used a point-by-point refrain of “WHY” in her letter questioning various issues occurring in Venezuela. In December 2011, she got into a heated exchange with Penn at a Los Angeles airport during which Penn called her a pig and she responded by calling Penn a communist.

      Like

  11. john k

    Back to the current thread,allowing us “mice” a political diversion while
    the Top Cat’s away! 🙂
    I’m wondering if there is going to be a volume 3 of this much anticipated
    Kit Parker series.
    The second volume ends at 1956;and I might add I was surprised that
    THE HUSTON STORY never made the selection. For me,THE HUSTON
    STORY is arguably the very best of all of the Castle/Katzman pictures.
    By 1956 onwards we were at the tail end of the “Classic Noir” era.
    With exceptions by the late 50’s Gangster flicks were very much the
    order of the day: BABY FACE NELSON,MACHINE GUN KELLY,
    PRETTY BOY FLOYD,AL CAPONE,PAY OR DIE,PORTRAIT OF A
    MOBSTER,THE RISE & FALL OF LEGS DIAMOND and so on.
    Taking into account all the titles in these Kit Parker sets were originally
    issues as Sony MOD DVD’s there are certain titles that could still make
    the grade. Gerd Oswald’s SCREAMING MIMI is a minor cult item that I
    still have never seen. There are also two excellent films that were issued
    as MOD’s that could be included in Volume 3. THE LONG HAUL starring
    Victor Mature and Diana Dors is an intriguing blend of Noir,Kitchen Sink
    Drama and Trucker Thriller. THE LONG HAUL was pretty much trashed
    by critics at the time but in retrospect now seems a better film.
    Nice to see Big Vic,down on his luck,scuffling around for work in 1950’s
    England. Film marked an upgrade for Ken Hughes from B Movies
    to much bigger projects (CROMWELL,CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG)
    Another film already out on MOD is 13 WEST STREET Alan Ladd’s
    last starring (top billed) role. An early version of Death Wish but done
    with style,especially as the teen hoodlums are from upper middle class
    backgrounds. Ladd looks in better shape here than in his last Western
    ONE FOOT IN HELL which I find painful to watch. 13 WEST STREET
    is a good movie and Rod Steiger actually underplays his role of the cop
    on Ladd’s case.

    Like

  12. john k

    As an add on to the above there are a couple of very interesting films
    that could make the Volume 3 mix,that sadly were not issued as MOD
    DVD’s. Sam Fullers UNDERWORLD USA is already out there and is
    classic early 60’s Noir if such a label exists.
    Another Columbia film on the “Missing List” is from 13 WEST STREET’s
    Philip Leacock. LET NO MAN WRITE MY EPITAPH has not even had a
    DVD release,Iv’e never seen the film but the cast is intriguing,to say the
    least. The fact that this film has never seen the light of day,up till now
    suggests “rights issues” must be involved.
    Another film that I do know is stymied by rights issues is the above
    mentioned PORTRAIT OF A MOBSTER. Joseph Pevney’s excellent
    gangster film is another much anticipated release that will probably
    never happen. As an oddity there is no producer listed for PORTRAIT
    OF A MOBSTER on imdb,furthermore,there is no producer listed on the
    film’s poster.

    Like

  13. Walter

    Gangster movies seem to always come around again and again. In 1957 director Don Siegel, a favorite on this site, brought us Micky Rooney, not a favorite of John K, in BABY FACE NELSON. Talk about a sleeper, this low budget movie made a lot of money, and since Rooney was a co-producer he made a lot of money and was back in the limelight. Politicians blamed the movie for contributing to juvenile delinquency and J. Edgar Hoover, who the movie was dedicated to, denounced the movie for glorifying crime. Also, by the mid 1950’s the production code was starting to ease up on the portrayal of real life gangsters. Although, movie companies had to be careful, because some of the people involved were still very much alive in the late 1950’s. Helen Nelson, wife of Baby Face, died in 1987. BABY FACE NELSON has quite an interesting cast, to say the least, Along with Rooney, there is Carolyn Jones, Leo Gordon, Cedric Hardwicke, Anthony Caruso, Jack Elam, John Hoyt, Ted de Corsia, and Elisha Cook, Jr. Don Siegels movie was ahead of it’s time and set the standard for what came afterward. In 1969 producer Al Zimbalist was planning a remake of the movie with Dustin Hoffman as Baby Face Nelson. The movie was never made.

    So, now begins a new movie cycle of gangster movies(1957-61), which will spill over into TV with Desilu’s THE UNTOUCHABLES in 1959.

    Like

  14. john k

    Don Siegel on Mickey Rooney………..
    “To give the Devil (and he was one) his due I admired his talent but
    loathed his personality”
    Walter,you must have been reading my back pages,no I’m not the
    greatest Rooney fan in the World but BABY FACE NELSON is prime
    Siegel,and as you well know Siegel is my favourite director.
    As you so aptly note BABY FACE NELSON has a stellar supporting cast.
    I also like Charles Haas’ THE BIG OPERATOR which has Mickey going
    full tilt.
    Sadly BABY FACE NELSON is not available on disc,as yet.
    Did not Philip Kaufman,as a homage to Don feature his version of the
    “hoods on playground swings” from BABY FACE NELSON in his remake
    of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.
    Thanks for your valued input on current day Conservative actors.

    Like

    • Volume 1 arrived yesterday. From what I was able to see, it’s a terrific set. Some look better than others, but across the board, they’re beautiful.

      Can’t wait for Volume 2!

      Like

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