REVIEW: The Killing [1956]

“Just a bad joke without a punch line” After test screenings left audiences confused and frustrated, writer/director Stanley Kubrick and producing partner James B. Harris decided to return to the edit bay and turn The Killing‘s overlapping, repetitious structure into a more linear A-to-B narrative. You can’t blame the former for wanting to do everything […]

REVIEW: Scarlet Street [1945]

“So you won’t forget me” There’s a great horror concept within Fritz Lang‘s Scarlet Street. Unfortunately it’s pushed aside for a film noir that never quite gains traction. The problem as I see it stems from the fact that screenwriter Dudley Nichols tries to frame aging pushover Christopher Cross (Edward G. Robinson) as a sympathetic […]

REVIEW: Sweet Smell of Success [1957]

“No. You’re dead, son. Get yourself buried.” The hook is simple: Steve Dallas (Martin Milner) and Susan Hunsecker (Susan Harrison) are in love, but big brother J.J. (Burt Lancaster) doesn’t approve. He hasn’t supported her with penthouses and fur coats to watch a young guitarist whisk her away, but he can’t be caught stopping them […]

REVIEW: In a Lonely Place [1950]

“There’s no sacrifice too great for a chance at immortality” Just because you might be innocent of one crime doesn’t mean you’re a saint who’d never commit another. We’ve seen this type of complex premise as recently as “The Night of”, a miniseries about racial prejudice and police neglect wherein the accused (and audience) is […]

REVIEW: The Killers [1946]

“Stop listening to those golden harps, Swede” “The Killers” is a dialogue-driven short story by Ernest Hemingway that describes the melancholic criminal comeuppance of a man long-removed from the deeds that signed his death warrant. It reads like a fast-paced and stripped-down script whose intrigue is built out of that which we’ll never know. Context […]

REVIEW: Touch of Evil [1958]

“Your future’s all used up” Back in Hollywood a decade after his The Lady from Shanghai debacle, Orson Welles‘ Touch of Evil almost met the same fate. He presented his rough cut on time yet Universal brought in Harry Keller to reshoot scenes—replacements and brand new—and truncated it to 93-minutes nonetheless. While the studio destroyed […]