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  • Crime Wave / Decoy (Film Noir Double Feature)
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Crime Wave / Decoy (Film Noir Double Feature)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Gillie, Edward Norris, Robert Armstrong, Gene Nelson, Sterling Hayden
  • Directors: André De Toth, Jack Bernhard
  • Writers: Bernard Gordon, Crane Wilbur, John Hawkins, Nedrick Young, Richard Wormser
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 31, 2007
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000PKG7CA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,910 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Crime Wave / Decoy (Film Noir Double Feature)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An ex-con who's trying to live a clean life becomes unwillingly involved with 3 crime-hungry jailbirds fresh from their escape from San Quentin. The manhunt is on in Crime Wave (Sterling Hayden. 1954/73 min.). Not far off from that is Decoy (Jean Gillie. 1946/76 min.), a gripping caper of robbery, murder, and double-crossing as told by the gang leader on her last breath. B&w/NR.


Decoy (1946) is an ultra-low-budget offering from Monogram Pictures and a fascinatingly mixed bag of Poverty Row production values and flashes of directorial ambition (one night scene in a woods strongly suggests director Jack Bernhard had seen Sunrise). Its main attraction is a cold-hearted heroine who could pledge the same sorority as the dames from Double Indemnity, Gun Crazy, and The Lady from Shanghai. (Alas, British-born actress Jean Gillie appeared in only one subsequent film, dying at the age of 34.) Andre De Toth's Crime Wave (1954) places us in the awkward position of being grateful for the chance to see an exciting movie and obliged to disqualify it from the set: it's closer to the '50s police procedural (Dragnet et al.) than to film noir. Shot almost entirely on location, the picture virtually reeks of seedy L.A. nightlife and satisfyingly unreels without benefit of music score. Ted De Corsia, Nedrick Young, and Charles Buchinsky-soon-to-be-Bronson supply juicy villainy, with a characteristically unclean contribution late in the film from Timothy Carey. Gene Nelson plays an ex-con, resolved to go straight yet being forced to abet his newly escaped old cellmates, and the world-weary cop keeping tabs on all of them is Sterling Hayden. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
The best film noir double feature I have ever seen.
All in all, Crime Wave is definitely a film noir material but could use some creativity in the plot.
Mr. Math Expert
Tough Cop Joseph "Jojo" Portugal, played by Sheldon Leonard is also under Margo's spell.
Jeffrey C. Warshaw

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 2, 2008
"You know, it isn't what a man wants to do, Lacey, but what he has to do. Now you take me. I love to smoke cigarettes, but the doctors say I can't have them. So what do I do? I chew toothpicks. Tons of `em."

Developed as The City is Dark and shot as Don't Cry, Baby before being released as Crime Wave, Andre de Toth's still surprisingly tough police procedural is a film that wears its economy as a badge of pride. Offered a big budget and a 35-day shooting schedule if he made it with Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner, de Toth held out for Sterling Hayden even though it mean a fraction of the budget and a 15-day shooting schedule - and still managed to come in ahead and shoot the film in only 13 days. It was worth sticking to his guns. The film may have made little splash when it opened in 1954, but it's a near classic that fully deserves its growing reputation, and as the hardboiled cop who's all-knowing judge and jury, Hayden so effectively strides through the film like a colossus in a towering performance (literally: for much of the film he's shot from low angles) that it's impossible to imagine Bogart as being anything but a comparative disappointment in the role. The kind of guy who doesn't need doors because he can walk through walls, he doesn't act tough - he is tough. He's practically the blueprint for L.A. Confidential's Bud White, and it's no surprise that James Ellroy is a big fan of the film, sharing an entertaining, occasionally expletive-deleted audio commentary with Eddie Muller on Warner's Region 1 DVD.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Richardson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 2, 2007
Being a fan of film noir....and a fan of Sterling Hayden, Charles Bronson, and dancer Gene Nelson...I'd seen this little film show up in all their filmographies...without much mention.

Just watched the new DVD...as part of the Excellent Film Noir vol. 4 set by Warner Bros...and was blown away!

1)tight story..only about 74 minutes...no filler
2)Sterling Hayden is great..hard boiled , hard bitten , toothpick chomping!
3)the supporting cast...is perfect...Charles Buchinsky(pre Bronson)is a presence and Timothy Carey's small role defines scenery chewing..
4)the LA locations of 1952 are super cool
5)the cinematography is first rate...and the transfer dead sharp!

the bonus featurette is informative and the commentary by Eddie Muller (noir historian and author) and the great James Ellroy....is simply the most fun commentary I have EVER enjoyed ...and I own a couple thousand DVDs...
these guys know the turf...are fans and Ellroy is bleeped for his blue language over and over ...just ridiculous.

The director Andre De Toth and cinematographer Burt Glennan deserve High Praise...this was kick butt..
and pretty boy Dancer Gene Nelson (from Oklahoma and Doris Day movies) is a very credible pre-James Dean getaway driver...stool pigeon..
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Craig Connell on September 5, 2007
"Crime Wave" is excellent example of film noir: almost everything you'd want in this genre. Right from the opening shot, this had noir written all over it by cinematographer Bert Glennon, and from opening holdup-murder scene at the gas station, you knew you were in for a rough ride.

Speaking of "rough," I can't think of too many actors who were better and more suited for noir than Sterling Hayden, who delivers yet another uncompromising hard-headed, tough- guy character. This time he's a cop, "Det. Lt. Sims," and one with no use for any "con," even if the guy (in this case, Gene Nelson's "Steve Lacey") has cleaned up his act.

It wasn't just the photography and Haden, the entire cast was fascinating, and it's simply a fast-moving, entertaining film. Andre de Toth's direction also was terrific. He directed only one other noir: Pitfall, another great film that we are still waiting to see on DVD. At least this film finally made it to disc.

As for Decoy, it gets points for originality. I mean, how many movies - much less film noirs - do you see someone executed, then brought back to life, then shot in the back minutes later? Now that's what you call having a rough day!

Robert Armstrong's "Frank Olins" had to endure all that one day. He's the crook who has the money stashed away somewhere and "Margot Shelby" (Jean Gille) is the woman who is bound-and-determined to get it - all of it. "Margot" is one greedy femme fatale...... and she knows how to manipulate men. Of course it helps to be extremely pretty and have a great body, which she does. I thought the ending of this film - the final minute - was especially good. So many times, you get the ending that doesn't stay true to the main character, but this one did.

If you don't want to buy the whole Film Noir Volume 4 package, of which this is part of, I would suggest getting this disc.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 6, 2008
"Crime Wave" (1954) and "Decoy" (1946) were made 8 years apart, one at the peak of the film noir cycle and the other at its end. Even so, they both have archetypal noir plots -a man wrongly accused and a femme fatale- that are straightforward and uncomplicated. The connection between them is Ned Young. He wrote "Decoy" from an unpublished story by Stanley Rubin, and he played a small part, that of the wounded crook Morgan, in "Crime Wave", which was actually completed in 1952 and shelved for 2 years. Both films run only about 1 hour and 15 minutes. And that is probably the extent of the similarities between them.

"Crime Wave" is a Warner Brothers crime thriller shot in 2 weeks, whose workaday script is elevated by great Los Angeles locations, many shot at night, the spare style of director Andre De Toth, and the imposing presence of actor Sterling Hayden in a role less sensitive than audiences were accustomed to seeing him in. In contrast, "Decoy" is a murder drama made by the Poverty Row studio Monogram Pictures. It is pulp noir, compelling though never actually believable. Since its rediscovery, "Decoy" and its over-the-top villainess have acquired an iconic B-noir status comparable to Edgar G. Ulmer's "Detour" (1945). It doesn't have the visceral impact of "Detour", but "Decoy"'s overbearing score and unredeemable femme fatale certainly make an impression.

"Crime Wave" begins as 3 escaped convicts rob a Los Angeles gas station, killing a police officer in the process. One of the crooks, wounded himself, struggles to the apartment of a man he knew in prison years ago, Steve Lacey (Gene Nelson). Steve has gone straight and gotten married, and the last thing he wants is a hoodlum dying in his living room.
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