Warner's new noir box set offers up some classic cool -- We grade ''The Racket'', ''Border Incident'', and others

By Michelle Kung
Updated July 21, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 3

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Warner’s new noir box set offers up some classic cool

Warner’s third volume of noir is a mixed bag, but the icy dames and long shadows are a neat way to beat the heat.

Lady in the Lake (1947)
Director-star Robert Montgomery’s twist on the genre — shooting the Raymond Chandler whodunit exclusively from Det. Philip Marlowe’s POV — comes across as tedious and less innovative now, but is still interestingly off-putting. C

Border Incident (1949)
Undercover agents (Ricardo Montalban and George Murphy) try to smoke out illegal Mexican immigrants and the scum who exploit them in a film that’s more Western than noir in tone — though the grisly conclusion is appropriately eerie. C

His Kind of Woman (1951)
Robert Mitchum’s somnolent yet witty gambler finds love with Jane Russell — along with several blows to the head — in this alternately lighthearted and sadistic film. RKO honcho Howard Hughes’ fingerprints are here. B+

The Racket (1951)
Hughes ordered a remake of his 1928 law-enforcement drama (itself based on a Bartlett Cormack play). The result? More cops-and-robbers than true noir. Commentary blames the Mitchum starrer’s flaws on an opinionated Hughes. B

On Dangerous Ground (1952)
Frequent Mitchum foe Robert Ryan broods as a self-hating cop in this bizarre mesh of police noir and, thanks to Ida Lupino’s blind anti-femme fatale, inspirational drama. With a taut score by Bernard Herrmann. B-

Episode Recaps

Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 3

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  • Movie
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  • UNRATED
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