Directed by Fritz Lang
Starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford, Edgar Buchanan, Peggy Maley
Human Desire (1954) is small-town noir as only the great Fritz Lang could do it — and Eureka is bringing it to Blu-Ray in all its B&W widescreen glory.
Glenn Ford’s a train engineer who gets involved in murder, blackmail and about every kind of seediness you can think of — all thanks to Fate and Gloria Grahame. Lang and DP Burnett Guffey come up with some stunning visuals, especially around the railroad yard. And while it’s not the seedy masterpiece The Big Heat (1953) is— which first brought Lang, Ford and Grahame together — it shows how Lang’s stylistics can elevate substandard material. (There were all kinds of problems with thing as it came together.)
Lang in high-definition is always a treat. Can’t wait for this.
Directed by Robert Wise
Starring Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, Shelley Winters, Ed Begley, Gloria Grahame
Greed, lust, corruption, murder — film noir can pack about every sin, vice and crime you can think of into about 90 minutes of goodness. That’s why I love em so much. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) goes a step further and stirs in a big fat helping of hatred. You could easily say it’s a movie about racism, but it goes deeper than that. Robert Ryan’s character just plain hates — everybody. He’s a guy with absolutely zero to recommend him. Where did such a kind-hearted (by all accounts) man go to dredge up all this nasty stuff?
A couple of despicable crooks (ex-con Ryan, ex-cop Ed Begley) bring a black man (Harry Belafonte) in on their bank job. Everything goes to hell, as it always does in these kinds of things, and we get to watch. It’s a gritty, tough and terrific picture — and it packs quite a wallop. Robert Wise did this before directing West Side Story (1961). And while in some ways the two movies couldn’t be more different, they both give us a look at what kind of damage hate can do. It was Wise’s last film in black and white.
The score by John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet is terrific, and the album of the MJQ performing it (Music From Odds Against Tomorrow) is unbelievably cool. The actual film score was also released.
Olive Films is bringing this out on both DVD and Blu-Ray in May. I’m on a bit of a crime picture/noir binge right now, spurred by the incredible Shield For Murder (1954), so I’m really stoked to learn this is on the way. Highly, highly recommended.