1. Talaash (Reema Kagti, 2012)
2. Siesta (Mary Lambert, 1987) (re-watch)
3. Hero and the Terror (William Tannen, 1988)
4. Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (Cathy Yan, 2020) (cinema)
5. Ride the Pink Horse (Robert Montgomery, 1947) (re-watch)
6. Baazi / High Stakes (Guru Dutt, 1951)
7. Talvar / Guilty (Meghna Gulzar, 2015)
8. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes - Episode 2 - "The Dying Detective" (Sarah Hellings, 1994)
9. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes - Episode 3 - "The Golden Pince-Nez" (Peter Hammond, 1994)
10. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes - Episode 4 - "The Red Circle" (Sarah Hellings, 1994)
11. Blue Steel (Kathryn Bigelow, 1990) (re-watch)
12. Wanda (Barbara Loden, 1970)
13. The Black Windmill (Don Siegel, 1974)
14. Jealousy (Gustav Machatý, 1945)
15. Andhadhum / The Blind Melody (Sriram Raghavan, 2018)
16. Street Corner
(Muriel Box, 1953)
(Muriel Box, 1956)
Both of these films are on a couple of noir lists, which is how I came across them. Box was a British filmmaker - like Ida Lupino on the other side of the Atlantic, she specialized in social problem pictures dealing with women's issues and women protagonists, and like Lupino (during part of her directorial career) she had a producing partner in her husband, and wrote or co-wrote some of her screenplays. And like Lupino she is due I think for some re-evaluation and remembrance, though I can't say either of these films are on the level of Lupino's best.
focuses on the women's police, and several stories - a couple of them related to each other in the end - involving women in trouble in one way or another. A young woman ditches her hubby and ends up with a gangster, who in turn becomes involved in a jewelry shop heist, and the wife of the jewelry shop owner begs the police for help when her husband refuses it; a woman in her 30s or so saves a young boy from drowning, but refuses any aid herself, prompting suspicion on the part of the cops, and revelations about two marriages and going AWOL from the army. I personally wouldn't call the film as a whole "noir", it's definitely a pro-police "just stay on the right side" sort of film, but it's fairly well done and nicely shot, and, being shot on location, there certainly are some good noir-like scenes of a city still recovering from the war, with vacant and desolate lots everywhere and buildings showing recent scars.
starts out great, and is more overall in the noir mode, though the second half's entirely hospital-set plot isn't nearly as interesting as the beginning, in which a young woman leaves her husband (as in the first film) because he's squandering their money, goes to the movies, sees a terrible crime being committed, then runs from the crooks and gets hit by a bus. The crooks - a fairly smooth but hard and nasty career criminal and a younger, mostly deaf amateur safe-cracker - are still around the cinema and want to see if the woman, who might identify them, is still alive, and when they find out she is spend the rest of the film trying to get at her in the hospital. This is about on the same level as the first film overall I think but certainly might have been more special had the hospital sequence not been so drawn out.
18. Mi vida loca
(Allison Anders, 1993)
I've wanted to watch this for years because it features Salma Hayek's first film role - be warned that she's only in it for maybe 5 minutes, near the end. Anyway this is a pretty decent little drama with gang elements set in the Echo Park area of L.A., a mostly low-rent Hispanic neighborhood, at least at the time, and virtually all of the characters are supposed to be Chicano, though the whole film with only a few brief exceptions is in English. Mostly the story of two best friends/rivals, Mousie and Sad Girl, who both love the same guy, Ernesto, which for a while breaks up their friendship and is on the verge of making them fight each other when something tragic happens; the rest of the film explores other characters around this trio, with another tragic act of violence at the end. I think the film is making a statement about the place of Latinas in the male culture, and how fucked up this world of violence mostly committed by and for men is, but I can't say it's terribly interesting in it's social posture - better off really as an entertainment frankly, and as a visual portrait of this area of Los Angeles.
19. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
- Episode 5 - "The Mazarin Stone" (Peter Hammond, 1994)
20. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
- Episode 6 - "The Cardboard Box" (Sarah Hellings, 1994)
The last two episodes of this series of Holmes, and as it turned out, the last two in the Jeremy Brett sequence overall. It's been a real joy watching these over the last few years; I watched all but the last season-and-a-half with my mom, and wish she was here to enjoy these last two. Here's to you mom.
"The Mazarin Stone" is a pastiche made from two stories, the title one and "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs" and in this case it's fairly obvious that we have two disparate tales. Jeremy Brett's illness apparently is part of the reason for this and instead of Brett (who only appears for moments at the beginning and end) we have Charles Gray as his older brother Mycroft teaming up with Edward Hardwicke's Watson to solve both the disappearance of the eponymous diamond, and the problem of a young American apparently trying to put one over on two elderly spinsters and their brother, who happen to have the same name and apparently are about to inherit a large fortune. The reviews on this seem fairly negative but I thought it was reasonably well stitched together and I always love seeing Mycroft.
Better still though is the final episode, probably the best of the season and one of the best of the series as a whole - nice that it went out on a high note. A Christmas-set story like the first season's "The Blue Carbuncle", this features a trio of sisters - one has disappeared and another is blamed for that disappearance by the third. When a couple of severed ears - from different heads - turn up at the third sister's house as a Christmas gift, she - and Holmes and Watson - fear murder. Was it the tenant harshly kicked out of the house, or the husband of the missing woman, or someone or something else? What I like most in this is the way in which our sympathies are turned between the sisters - and the potential murderers; very skillfully done.
21. The Third Secret
(Charles Crichton, 1964)
Fox Movie Channel - wow, two scores inside a week on this channel! I guess being home all the time is making me pay a little more attention to what's on. Unfortunately in this case despite the director, cinematographer (Douglas Slocombe, most famous now for the first three Indiana Jones
films, here working in b/w Cinemascope) and some terrific actors including Jack Hawkins, Richard Attenborough and Judi Dench in a small early role, it's much ado about nothing. This is another film mis-labelled noir in some sources but I'd call it a psychological thriller, involving an American TV host (played by Irish actor Stephen Boyd) investigating the death of his analyst, an apparent suicide whose 14-year-old daughter (Pamela Franklin) is convinced was in fact murdered. It plays out like a police procedural in many ways, with Boyd going around and interviewing various other patients of the dead doctor; and given that the daughter is convinced that it was in fact a patient who was responsible, we have to wonder about Boyd himself. It's all fairly obvious in the end and not that suspenseful, and Boyd isn't that compelling a presence and doesn't lift it up enough. Attenborough is, not surprisingly, the best thing about this as an art dealer and would-be-painter.