Cleo Moore, Audrey Totter, Jan Sterling, Ida Lupino and Janis Carter. Forgery, adultery, theft, blackmail and murder. The Bad Girls of Noir are back, in Volume 2, and these gorgeous gals with malice in their hearts are sure to thrill hard-boiled fans of Noir. Fan favorite Cleo Moore finally gets her due in three films that highlight the talents of the beauty who was compared to Marilyn Monroe, but whom fans love for her earnest, if stilted portrayals of dim-witted gals who can't catch a break. Four films, restored and re-mastered are all new to DVD, and sure to provide plenty of excitement for the noir aficionado. Watch out for these gals, they're dangerous--which makes them oh, so fun to watch.
Though this series is devoted to the Bad Girls of Film Noir
, volume 2 is mostly a tribute to one dangerous female in particular--cult favorite Cleo Moore, whose sultry charms were put to fine use in thrillers like On Dangerous Ground
(and lesser films) throughout the 1950s. Moore works both sides of the noir fence in this double-disc set; in the perilously campy Women's Prison
(1955), she's a gutsy con who offers to rescue naive new inmate Phyllis Thaxter from hard-bitten warden Ida Lupino. The presence of both actresses, in combination with such noir/B favorites as Audrey Totter and Jan Sterling, and some hysterically over-the-top dialogue and scenarios, make the film a must-see for devotees of psychotronic cinema. But in 1953's One Girl's Confession
, Moore straddles the line between good girl and bad. Here, she pinballs from one heel to another in an attempt to avenge her father's wrongful death; director Haas is the latest unsavory type to swindle her and in turn, incur her wrath. One of several quickie melodramas Moore made with budget auteur Haas, Confession
is an oddity, driven by barely concealed lusts and quirky morality plays, and in its own threadbare way, the most fascinating of the films in the set. However, Moore's best showcase in volume 2 is 1956's Over-Exposed
, which follows her savvy B-girl up the ladder from nightclub performer to TV show host with the help of reporter Richard Crenna. Of course, Moore's past comes back to haunt her in the end, but it's worth noting that, given more to do than just look good in tight costumes, she could deliver as an actress. The set is rounded out with Night Editor
(1946), a ripe slice of pulp with William Gargan as a thick-skulled PI whose involvement with cold-blooded society girl Janis Carter may send an innocent man to jail for murder. Though its machinery creaks and groans mightily under the weight of so much cliché, the little-known Carter is a terrific noir fatale.
Extras comprise trailers for each of the films save for Night Editor, and a 1954 episode of Ford Television Theatre with Moore showing off her predatory side in pursuit of returning vet Dane Clark. --Paul Gaita