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Film Noir Collection, Vol. 1 [4 Discs] [Blu-ray]

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Overview

Synopsis

Union Station
Union Station is a tense crime thriller in the tradition of The Naked City that unfolds in Los Angeles. William Holden plays railroad worker Lt. William Calhoun. Calhoun goes into action when Lorna Murchison (Allene Roberts), the sightless daughter of millionaire Henry Murchison (Herbert Heyes), is kidnapped by ruthless Joe Beacon (Lyle Bettger). The abduction is witnessed by Joyce Willecombe (Nancy Olson), Murchison's secretary. Using the handful of clues provided by Joyce, Calhoun and his associate, Inspector Donnelly (Barry Fitzgerald) do their best to second-guess the kidnapper. The film's most harrowing scene finds Beacon abandoning the blind and helpless Lorna in a deserted car barn in the deepest recesses of the titular station. Jan Sterling co-stars as Marge, Beacon's conscience-stricken moll. Former cinematographer Rudolph Mate does a nice, neat job as director, seamlessly matching location shots with studio mockups. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Rope of Sand
Producer Hal Wallis evidently hoped to recapture the magic of his earlier Casablanca with 1949's Rope of Sand. To that end, he hired three of Casablanca's supporting players: Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, and Peter Lorre. This time, Henreid is the villain, a sadistic police inspector named Paul Vogel. Stationed somewhere in Africa, Vogel hopes to find a legendary lost diamond field. His principal rival in this endeavor is jewel thief Mike Davis (Burt Lancaster), who continues bouncing back from every death trap lain for him by the ill-tempered Vogel. The scenes in which Davis is subjected to various physical tortures is pretty raw for a 1940s film. Claude Rains co-stars as a diamond syndicate head misleadingly named Toady, while Peter Lorre does his shifty-mercenary act. Billed ninth as the nominal heroine is Hal Wallis' latest discovery, French actress/singer Corinne Calvet. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Dark City
Though he had previously appeared in David Bradley's film adaptation of Julius Caesar, Dark City marked Charlton Heston's first role in a major Hollywood production. Danny (Heston) and his pals Augie (Jack Webb), Soldier (Henry Morgan), and Barney (Ed Begley Sr.) set up a poker game to take Arthur Winant (Don DeFore) for all his money, but after the fact they discover that the money he lost wasn't really his and, in desperation, Arthur killed himself. Arthur's brother Sidney (Mike Mazurki), a large man not known for his emotional stability, becomes enraged when he learns the facts about Arthur's death, and he vows to kill the men responsible. When his friends start dropping like flies, Danny hides out with his girlfriend, nightclub singer Fran Garland (Lizabeth Scott), and pays a visit to Arthur's widow Victoria (Viveca Lindfors) in hopes of finding out who the killer might be. Jack Webb and Henry Morgan later reformed after their first appearance together as criminals when they co-starred in the TV show Dragnet. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Appointment with Danger
Al Goddard, (Alan Ladd) special investigator for the U.S. post office, is assigned to collar two criminals who've murdered a postal detective. Goddard must first locate the only witness to the crime, attractive young nun, Sister Augustine (Phyllis Calvert). Posing as a crook, Goddard gains the confidence of the murderers' boss Earl Boettiger (Paul Stewart), who has worked out a scheme to defraud the post office of one million dollars. Once they've tumbled to the deception, the crooks take Goddard and the nun prisoner, leading to a fight to the finish in a lonely industrial district. Appointment with Danger tends to draw chuckles rather than shivers nowadays, thanks to the casting of future Dragnet co-stars Jack Webb and Harry Morgan as the murderers -- and as icing to the cake, viewers are treated to a scene in which Webb bumps off Morgan! As a whole, the film, the last of Alan Ladd's series of film noir, is uneven and generally unsuccessful. However, it contains some crisp, tough dialogue and some terrific action sequences which make it worthwhile. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • William Holden
    William Holden - Lt. William Calhoun
  • Nancy Olson
    Nancy Olson - Joyce Willecombe
  • Barry Fitzgerald
    Barry Fitzgerald - Inspector Donnelly
  • Lyle Bettger
    Lyle Bettger - Joe Beacom
  • Jan Sterling
    Jan Sterling - Marge Wrighter
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