Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Forgotten Noir Collector's Set 3|
Actors: Willard Parker, Audrey Long, Hugh Beaumont, Edward Brophy, Glenn Langan
Directors: Ray Nazarro, William Berke
Eight film noirs not to be misses: DAVID HARDING, COUNTERSPY; DANGER ZONE; THE BIG CHASE; MR. DISTRICT ATTORNEY - 1947; RINGSIDE; HI-JACKED; SCOTLAND YARD INSPECTOR; PIER 23; THE CASE OF THE BABY-SITTER Bonus Features: Sce... more »
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More great film noir fun from VCI
calvinnme | 04/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ed Brophy as a professor, Hugh Beaumont as a hard-boiled private detective, and B-rated noir that is great fun if you like the genre continues this series by VCI. The films included are:
David Harding, Counterspy (1950) 7/10 - Stars Willard Parker and Audrey Long. Based on a radio show that ran from 1942-1957. Harding (Howard St. John) causes the interruption of a radio broadcast to announce disinformation. Harding then tells the radio announcer the story that is the movie's plot. It has lots of twists and turns and spy tricks just like the original radio show.
Danger Zone (1951) 6/10 - Stars Hugh Beaumont and Ed Brophy. A private detective is hired by a woman to bid on a locked suitcase at an auction. He is also working with another detective doing surveillance for a pending divorce. However, his partner in the second case is setting up him to take the fall for a murder. It's a little strange to see "The Beaver's" dad (Hugh Beaumont) as a detective, and stranger still to see supporting tough guy Ed Brophy as a professor.
The Big Chase (1954) 5/10 - Stars Lon Chaney Jr., Glenn Langen, and Adele Jergens. A Korean War vet becomes an L.A. policeman whose wife has developed health problems late in her pregnancy. The highlight of the film is our hero's pursuit of a gang of payroll robbers through the streets of L.A. This film was shot in 3-D during that particular craze in the 50's. You'll also be perplexed by the standard of self-care for pregnant women 55 years ago. Apparently bourbon and cigarettes were not discouraged.
Mr. District Attorney (1947) - Stars Dennis O'Keefe and Adolphe Menjou. Adapted from a popular NBC radio program of the time.
Ringside (1949) 6/10 - Stars Don Barry and Tom Brown. Joe O'Hara wants to win a boxing title so he can use the prize money to finance the concert pianist career of his brother Mike. Joe's opponent uses the info that Joe has a bad eye to blind Joe and win the fight. Brother Mike swears revenge and begins training as a fighter himself. Eventually he does face Tiger Johnson, the fighter that blinded his brother Joe. This film reminded me a little bit of "City for Conquest", which had some of the same plot elements.
Hi-Jacked (1950) 7/10 - Stars Jim Davis and Marcia Mae Jones. A truck driver is hijacked using the old "stranded motorist" ruse. When he comes to his truck is gone and the police immediately suspect him since he has a criminal past. Other events happen that make him look like a party to crime, so he sets out to determine who is really behind all of the truck hijackings. One of the better films in the set.
Scotland Yard Inspector (1952) 7/10 - Stars Caesar Romero and Lois Maxwell. What starts out as a hit and run spawns a routine murder investigation that seems to uncover a crime motivated by jealousy. However, the plot soon moves into the Cold War and the world of espionage and government secrets.
Pier 23 (1951) 6/10. Stars Hugh Beaumont and Ed Brophy. Like "Danger Zone", this movie actually has separate parts to it and appears to perhaps be a failed TV pilot that was turned into a film since the whole thing is under an hour in length. In the first half, private detective Dennis O'Brien becomes involved with a gang that uses a wrestling match as a cover for murder. In the second story O'Brien discourages a convict from trying to escape from Alcatraz. Later O'Brien mistakes another man for the convict, and winds up charged with a murder.
The Case of the Baby-sitter (1947) 6/10. Stars Tom Neal and Allen Jenkins. Members of royalty hire a detective agency to babysit their infant. It turns out the royalty and the child are just a ruse for a jewel robbery. It's only forty minutes long, so there's not much time for plot complexity.
The Big Chase: Robert L. Lippert Jr. interview with Tom Weaver (reenactment)
Lord of the Radio Part 1
Jean Greenlaw interview, with Richard Roberts, Trailers
Lord of the Radio Part 2 - Jean Lord Greenlaw interview, with Richard Roberts
Mr. District Attorney - Radio Program
Scotland Yard Inspector Featurette by Joel Blumberg
Pat Novak for Hire - Radio program and source for "Pier 23"
Normally VCI puts out excellent restorations of old films, so I expect the video and audio to be very good in this case too. The extras put the total value of this package at about 4/5 stars."
Fun with some lesser known films
mrliteral | 09/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The bottom of the barrel: this seems to be the appropriate term for Series 3 of Forgotten Noir (consisting of volumes 7, 8 and 9). Not that all these films in the set are bad, but it's obvious that the supply of available material from the Lippert vaults must be almost at an end. As a result, this set contains a few movies that are at best, borderline noir.
Volume 7 has David Harding, Counterspy; Danger Zone and The Big Chase. David Harding, Counterspy is based off a radio show and relates a story of espionage, with the title character leading a group of individuals out to stop Nazi spies. A soldier is brought in to help after his best friend is murdered; is the widow involved? Danger Zone is a pair of half-hour episodes of a TV series that never took off: A pre-Ward-Cleaver Hugh Beaumont plays a boat shop owner who always winds up being framed for murder, giving him a chance to spout standard hard-boiled wit. The Big Chase tells the story of a rookie cop who gets involved in a big chase with crooks including Lon Chaney (while his wife is about to give birth). Amusingly, the big crime which supposedly takes months to set up, involves little more than a standard stick-up of an armored car.
In Volume 8, Mr. District Attorney (also based on a radio series) relates the story of a young assistant D.A. who falls for a murder suspect. Ringside is reminiscent of the James Cagney vehicle City for Conquest with the subject of two brothers, one a musician, the other a boxer. When the boxer is blinded in a fight, his brother puts on his gloves, intent on making the money necessary for eye surgery and getting revenge for the incident. Finally, Hi-Jacked is about an ex-con trucker who is trying to go straight but runs afoul of a hijacking ring; framed for the crimes, he becomes a fugitive to try and clear his name.
In Volume 9, Scotland Yard Inspector has a misleading title, as the hero - played by pre-Joker Cesar Romero - is an American journalist who helps a pretty lady find her brother's killer. This one has its share of humor and also has the original Miss Moneypenny, Lois Maxwell. Pier 23 is another pair of back-to-back episodes with the same characters as Danger Zone. Case of the Baby Sitter sounds a bit like a Nancy Drew story, and it isn't much darker. It is a story of private eyes who are recruited to babysit an infant and unwittingly protect a stolen jewel This final movie clocks in at 43 minutes!
In fact, none of these films even reach the 90 minute point, and four (including Case of the Baby Sitter) are an hour or less. Then again, we don't always need epic-length movies; these are quick to watch and - while certainly not Oscar material - are all reasonably entertaining. Plus, it gives you a chance to enjoy some obscure fare that you've probably never even heard of before.