LIVE

EW reviews ''Film Noir Collection, Vol. 2'' -- The new box set includes classics like ''Clash By Night'' and ''Dillinger''

By Dade Hayes
Updated July 01, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
Advertisement

Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 2

type
  • Movie

EW reviews ”Film Noir Collection, Vol. 2”

It’s like this, see: Noir needs context. The genre is best appreciated against a cultural and political backdrop — namely, America’s paranoid postwar years. Remarkable, then, that the Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 2 largely succeeds even though the five films — the kitchen-sink melodrama Clash by Night, anti-bigotry tract Crossfire, gangster biopic Dillinger, Hitchcockian thrill ride The Narrow Margin (the set’s masterpiece), and morality play Born to Kill — have little more in common than guns and dames. In the lone featurette, director Edward Dmytryk says that Crossfire‘s groundbreaking expressionist look — harsh light, long shadows — was actually the result of a limited budget. We also learn about the film’s race with Gentleman’s Agreement to be the original Hollywood take on anti-Semitism (Crossfire came out first, but Gentleman’s took the 1947 Best Picture Oscar). Splicing interviews with the films’ creators into the commentary tracks (by Peter Bogdanovich, William Friedkin, John Milius) can be awkward, but it does liven up the film-school tone: ”It created an aura of persecution and resentment,” Dillinger screenwriter Philip Yordan recalls about Hollywood’s blacklist. ”You always wanted to burn the studio down anyway, but [the list] solidified everybody into a purpose.” Clash: B+
Crossfire: B+
Dillinger: C+
Margin: A
Born: B

Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 2

type
  • Movie
mpaa

Comments