The Best of Film Noir, Vol. 1: The Red House/Suddenly/Kansas City Confidential [3 Discs] [DVD]
- SKU: 21301957
- Release Date: 05/28/2013
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- Before & after restoration demo
- Original movie art postcard
- Movie trailers
- Audio commentary
Kansas City Confidential, Phil Karlson's low (low) budget, B-grade film noir, opens on a Kansas City armored-car robbery perpetrated by cynical, corrupt ex-policeman Timothy Foster (Preston S. Foster). Foster devises an outrageous scheme: he will recruit three of the most vicious and unrelenting criminals he can find (screen heavies Lee Van Cleef, Jack Elam and Neville Brand) to undertake a robbery, blackmailing them into the heist with incriminating evidence from other "jobs." As an eccentric and clever conceit, Foster forces each of the perpetrators to wear masks, thus concealing their identities from one another and preventing the old pitfall of the men squealing and backstabbing. The heist comes off without a scratch, but a complication arises when the ignorant cops pick up an unrelated fellow, Joe Rolfe (John Payne) for his ownership of a van similar to the one used in the caper. In time, Rolfe is cleared, but he grows irate over the accusations and sets off to find Foster and co. and teach them a lesson. He finally happens upon one of the perpetrators in Mexico, beats him nearly to death, and assumes the victim's identity - and that's when things really get complicated. Though produced under the Hays Code censorship regulations, Kansas City Confidential constituted one of the most brutal and violent crime pictures made up through that time; as such, it retains historical significance. It also claims a strong cult following. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi
The Red House
Delmer Daves directs the noirish thriller The Red House, based on the novel by George Agnew Chamberlain. Edward G. Robinson plays Pete Morgan, a farmer who harbors dark secrets and refuses to let anyone near the red house in the woods behind the house. In order to fend off trespassers, he hires Teller (Rory Calhoun) to stand guard. He lives with his sister, Ellen (Judith Anderson), and his adopted daughter, Meg (Allene Roberts). When they hire Meg's friend, Nath Storm (Lon McCallister), to help out on the farm, the two kids start to wonder about the mysterious red house. The film features an eerie original score by Miklós Rózsa. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi
Suddenly is the name of the small town invaded by professional assassin Frank Sinatra and his henchmen. Taking a local family hostage, Sinatra sets up a vigil at the second-story window of the family's home. From here, he intends to kill the President of the United States when the latter makes a whistle-stop visit. The film's tension level is enough to induce goose pimples from first scene to last. Sinatra is outstanding as the disgruntled war vet who hopes to become a "somebody" by killing the president. The parallels between his character and Lee Harvey Oswald's are too close for comfort, so much so that Suddenly was withdrawn from local TV packages for several years after the JFK assassination. Sinatra would claim in later years that he himself engineered the removal of Suddenly from general distribution, though in fact he'd lost whatever rights he'd held on the film when it lapsed into public domain. Be sure and miss the notorious colorized version of this black-and-white thriller, wherein Sinatra is transformed into Ol' Brown Eyes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- John Payne - Joe Rolfe
- Coleen Gray - Helen
- Preston S. Foster - Timothy Foster
- Lee Van Cleef - Tony
- Neville Brand - Kane