DVD Review: Film Noir Classics Collection 4.

Before I actually talk about this set, I must give major kudos to Warner for delving into their very deep library to provide us with many delightful lost gems. Warner Brothers is not only using their own catalog, but also that of those they have acquired over the years. Studios like RKO, Monogram and MGM. Some of these would likely have never seen a modern release otherwise.

Volume four has more titles that usual, with ten films in all, with names like Robert Mitchum (in 2), Sterling Hayden, Charles Bronson, Edward G. Robinson, Mary Astor, and Jane Mansfield.

The films are also available in 2 film sets (Act of Violence/Mystery Street, Crime Wave/Decoy, Illegal/The Big Steal, They Live By Night/Side Street, Where Danger Lives/Tension). Each film contains bonus features.

Here, I am going to talk about Crime Wave and Decoy.

Gene Nelson is an ex-con now trying to live a stand up life. He is married and keeping out of trouble. Since this is a noir flick, things can’t stay that way. Nelson finds himself caught between a hard-nosed cop (Hayden) and ruthless gang of robbers. The gang takes his wife hostage to force him to act as a wheelman for a major bank job.

Crime Wave is wonderfully shot, with great performances by everyone, including a very young Charles Bronson (who is listed under his real name: Charles Buchinsky).

While the movie is great, the commentary is just as good. Noir Czar Eddie Mueller and iconic author James Ellroy are awesome here and deliver fun, informative banter. Eddie is full of energy and enthusiasm and James is…well, James is James: full of information and, at times, crazed. I understand that they are friends in real life, and that come across here. Even if you don’t generally check out the commentaries, you will want to hear this one.

Also in this set is the bizarre Decoy. When was the last time you watched a noir film that included raising the dead? Decoy has an awesome femme fatale in Margot Shelby (Jean Gillie). She spends virtually all of her time seducing, betraying or killing the hapless men that get in her way.
Order volume 4 from Amazon.

Jeremy
For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.