Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Film Noir Boxed Sets

Rx for a drowsy afternoon in late fall, baseball gone, elex now over too: Warner Video's Film Noir Classic Collection, Volumes One and Two (www.warnervideo.com).

Can you really afford to pass up "Clash by Night" with Barbra Stanwyck as a world weary gal come home to Monterey and a fisherman's hamfisted love?

Or "Crossfire" where Robert Ryan, perennially a thug, beats a man to death because he doesn't care for his religion? It was a daring theme then and now. Robert Young (Marcus Welby MD) discovers the crime and Ryan is gunned down on that same midcentury city streetcorner on the Warner lot that you've seen a dozen times in other old movies. As always, it looks spectacular.

They come five to a box and you can get your black and white fill of Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, a very young Marilyn, Jane Greer and lots of others.

Chances are, if you haven't steeped yourself in this stuff already, you'll come away amazed at the quality of dialogue and filmmaking craft displayed in the best of these. Even if you get stuck watching one of the lesser entrants, you'll howl at the cliches that seem to come in torrents.