The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

A young sailor joins a yacht cruise, and ends up involved in a murder plot. This is a near perfect slice of film noir that only exists because of a desperate situation. Orson Welles needed $55,000 to stage a production with his Mercury Theater. He agreed to make the movie if one of the producers would pay him the needed funds in two days. It all worked out, and we have this excellent work of cinema as a result. This is one if my favorites of the ‘40s, and should not be missed.

Available on Blu-ray from Mill Creek.

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The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I’ll watch Robert Mitchum in anything, but this is one of his very best roles. He plays a con artist “priest,” and man is he despicable. I would love to recommend more good classic films like this here on Anomalous Cinema, but it seems pre-‘60s movies are not often available in 1080p HD. This one is, and it looks great.

Available on Blu-ray from Criterion Collection.

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The Killing (1956)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I have poked around quite a bit on the three streaming services I focus on, and there is very little film noir available in HD. One that I did find is by none other than Stanley Kubrick. This seems to be his first film to really show his directorial ability. His previous film Killer’s Kiss was damn good, but does not stick in my memory like The Killing. The one element of this movie that really hangs in my brain is the supporting role by Timothy Carey as Nikki Arcane (how great is that character name?). Carey was a very talented actor, and generally creative guy, who also happened to be functionally insane. I once heard Crispin Glover relate an incident where the two actors hung out. Glover said that it became clear that Carey’s behavior was not an attempt to be funny, or just the antics of an eccentric. He was officially bonkers. Anyhow, come to the show for Kubrick and Nikki Arcane, and stay for everything else The Killing has to offer. It’s a true classic.

Blu-ray available from Criterion Collection.

The Stranger (1946)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I am a big fan of Film Noir and this is an excellent example. Orson Welles has something to hide and Edward G. Robinson is on to him. Sounds too simple but damn this is a great film. It’s a pity that all the best movies of this type are only available via Criterion Collection. I’ll dig around to find some more to share. If The Stranger gives you the Noir Bug you may just want to sign up for The Criterion Channel or the new Kino Lorber streaming service.

NOTE: The version on Netflix is better quality than than the one on Amazon Prime.

Available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber.

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