Sad to say, I’ve only seen one double bill in this year’s Noir City festival – Saturday’s matinee. And it looks like I won’t be able to attend anything Sunday.
So here are the two films I’m able to see this year: The Accused and The Killer That Stalked New York. Hopefully, you may be able to get to Oakland and see two or four of the last Noir films of this year.
C+ The Accused (1949)
Silly but fun. Loretta Young plays a university professor who may or may not have killed a student. Either way, that particular student had it coming. Soon she’s the center of a possible homicide investigation. The professor (who we assume is smart) makes almost entirely stupid decisions. She’s not the only one. Robert Cummings plays the dead student’s guardian, and he almost immediately falls in love with the woman who may have killed the man he was hired to protect.
A The Killer That Stalked New York (1950)
Remember Panic in the Streets – the thrilling 1950 movie where a criminal bringing a pandemic to New Orleans? The Killer That Stalked New York tells almost the same basic story and was made in the same year. But it was also made on a smaller budget, and it’s better. When Sheila (Evelyn Keyes) smuggles diamonds into New York, she thinks her big problem is that her awful jerk criminal boyfriend is now hitting on her sister. Sheila’s real problem, and everyone else’s, is that she brought smallpox into New York. Soon, people are getting sick and dying. There’s a scene that might make you never use a water fountain again. This film feels extremely up-do-date more than 70 years later. There are even people refusing to get vaccinated. Of course, watching it with a masked audience may have increased the experience.
Although I didn’t attend the night show, I have seen No Way Out and give it a B.
This is what a message movie looked like in the middle of the 20th century. Sidney Poitier plays the hero, but he doesn’t get star billing. He plays a new doctor in the County Hospital, where he must deal with a family of racist criminals led by Richard Widmark. Things get worse when one of the criminals dies in Poitier’s care. There’s a riot, but we only hear people talk about it. Some extremely implausible incidents ruin the last act. Warning: The n-word is used frequently. Directed and partly written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. It played on a double bill with The Sniper.