The Crime Busters Collection [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Special Features

  • Bonus feature: Film noir poster gallery


"I want to report a murder...mine." So begins D.O.A. Told in flashback, the story tells of how vacationing CPA Frank Bigelow (Edmond O'Brien) becomes the recipient of a deadly poison known as iridium. Told by a doctor that he hasn't long to live, Bigelow desperately retraces his movements of the previous 24 hours, trying to locate his murderer. Through the aid of his secretary Paula Gibson (Pamela Britton) (who doesn't know of her employer's imminent demise), Bigelow traces a shipment of iridium to a gang of criminals who've used the poison in the commission of a crime. But for much of the film, it remains unclear why Bigelow himself was targeted. Though we know from the outset that Bigelow isn't long for this world, the film builds up an incredible amount of suspense towards the end, when Bigelow is taken "for a ride" by a psychopath (Neville Brand). with a penchant for pummeling his victims in the belly. DOA was remade in 1988 with Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

He Walked by Night
The "He" of the title is Richard Basehart, a clever but psychopathic burglar (based on real-life criminal Erwin Walker) Basehart stays one step ahead of the law by listening in to the police band on his radio. To avoid detection, he changes his M.O. on each crime, making it seem that the string of burglaries is the work of several thieves. But Basehart trips himself up when he kills a cop. His own personal Waterloo occurs in the Los Angeles sewer system--a stylish predecessor to the similar (and more widely praised) climax in Sir Carol Reed's The Third Man. Though the direction is credited to Hollywood old-timer Alfred Werker, most of He Walked By Night is the handiwork of an uncredited Anthony Mann. Featured in the film's cast is Jack Webb in the small role of a police lab technician. Impressed by first-hand experience with police procedure and by the semi-documentary quality of He Walked By Night Webb expanded on these elements for his own radio and TV project, Dragnet. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

In the tradition of such big-budget "docudramas" as House on 92nd Street and Call Northside 777, the modestly budgeted C-Man adopts a quasi-documentary approach to its subject matter. The "C" stands for Customs, and indeed the leading character, Cliff Holden (Dean Jagger), is a detective for the U.S. Customs Department. Against a backdrop of genuine New York locations (with a few rather obvious back-projected shots thrown in), Holden puts the heat on a homicidal jewelry smuggler. John Carradine steals the show as an alcoholic doctor, reduced to fronting for the smugglers. The rest of the cast is populated with such Broadway regulars as Edith Atwater and Walter Brooke. Though it obviously cost next to nothing to produce, C-Man is far more atmospheric and suspenseful than many a major-studio effort. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Hitch-Hiker
Two men on a fishing trip pick up a psychopathic fugitive with an intense hatred of humanity in this relentlessly suspenseful thriller directed by Ida Lupino and written by Daniel Mainwaring (Invasion of the Body Snatchers). Ray Collins (Edmund O'Brien) and Gilbert Bowen (Frank Lovejoy) are on their way to a relaxing weekend on the lake when they make the fateful mistake of giving a ride to Emmett Myers (William Tallman), a ruthless killer on the run from the cops. As a young child Myers was severely abused, and now he's determined to make the world suffer for the atrocities committed against him. An unrepentant sadist, Myers repeatedly uses his faulty eye (which is permanently open) to trick his two terrified victims into believing they have gained the upper hand in the tense stand-off, only to turn the tables on them at the last second. Inspired by the horrific crimes of real life mass murderer William Cook, who was eventually executed in San Quentin. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Port of New York
The location-filmed Port of New York might have been forgotten had it not been for one of its leading players. In his first film role, Yul Brynner plays an erudite narcotics smuggler named Paul Vicola. Using a phony yacht club as a front, Vicola conducts a brisk drug trade, making certain that no one will blow the whistle on his operation by casually murdering his couriers. Detectives Walters (Scott Brady) and Flannery (Richard Rober) infiltrate Vicola's gang; one of the cops is killed, but the other manages to see that justice is done. Yul Brynner was so obscure at the time of Port of New York (his only significant credit was Broadway's Lute Song) that one reviewer referred to him as "Yul Brunner." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Blood on the Sun
In his first film in two years, James Cagney stars as Nick Condon, the American editor of a pre-WW2 Tokyo newspaper. When two of his best friends are horribly murdered, Condon suspects that the "peaceful" Japanese military government is up to no good. He dedicates himself to getting his hands on the "Tanka Plan," a Japanese blueprint for conquering the world, and bringing this document to the attention of the Free World. As a result, he is targeted for persecution by the corrupt Tokyo police and betrayed by a traitorous fellow journalist. On a pleasanter note, Condon makes the acquaintance of half-Chinese Iris Hilliard (Sylvia Sidney), who agrees to help him foil the Japanese High Command. As was customary in wartime films, virtually all the Japanese characters in Blood on the Sun are played by Chinese, Korean, and Caucasian actors; for example, Robert Armstrong is cast as Colonel Tojo, while Premiere Tenaka is enacted by John Emery. Having lapsed into the public domain, Blood on the Sun is available from several distributors and also exists in a computer-colorized version. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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