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Film Noir Classic Collection: Volume Five (Cornered / Desperate / The Phenix City Story / Deadline at Dawn / Armored Car Robbery / Crime in the Streets / Dial 1119 / Backfire)


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Film Noir Classic Collection: Volume Five (Cornered / Desperate / The Phenix City Story / Deadline at Dawn / Armored Car Robbery / Crime in the Streets / Dial 1119 / Backfire) + Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 3 (Border Incident / His Kind of Woman / Lady in the Lake / On Dangerous Ground / The Racket) + Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 4 (Act of Violence / Mystery Street / Crime Wave / Decoy / Illegal / The Big Steal / They Live By Night / Side Street / Where Danger Lives / Tension)
Price for all three: $164.95

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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: AC-3, Box set, Black & White, Dolby, Original recording remastered, Subtitled, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 13, 2010
  • Run Time: 683 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003G9IT3C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,357 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Film Noir Classic Collection: Volume Five (Cornered / Desperate / The Phenix City Story / Deadline at Dawn / Armored Car Robbery / Crime in the Streets / Dial 1119 / Backfire)" on IMDb

Special Features

Theatrical trailers on two titles
1.85 aspect ratio: Crime in the Streets, The Phenix City Story
1.33 aspect ratio: Armored Car Robbery, Backfire, Cornered, Deadline at Dawn, Desperate, Dial 1119

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Out of the vaults and into the light: a fascinating 4-Disc Set showcasing 8 genre gems rich with the intensity and diversity of noir! Disc 1 wreaks revenge, with Dick Powell on the hunt in Cornered and Steve Brodie on the lam in Desperate. Caught-in-the-act immediacy highlights Disc 2’s corruption exposé The Phenix City Story and the hostage drama Dial 1119. Disc 3 turns procedural with noir ace Charles McGraw bulldogging the perps of an Armored Car Robbery then turns to social-conscience filmmaking with Crime in the Streets (John Cassavetes and Sal Mineo star). An unfatale femme is rare in noir but invaluable when strong dames help their men out of jams, as do Disc 4’s Susan Hayward in Deadline at Dawn and Virginia Mayo in Backfire. Step into the shadows and suspense.

Amazon.com

It's good to have a fifth volume of Warner Home Video's Film Noir Classics Collection, and here's hoping for more. Accept that we're past the point when masterpieces such as Gun Crazy, Out of the Past, and The Asphalt Jungle are going to turn up in collections. And accept, with eyes unblinking, that some of the movies on which Warner, Columbia, and other distributors are slapping the noir label aren't true noirs--although why they aren't can be fascinating to contemplate, and some of them repay discovery on their own terms.

The noir credentials of Anthony Mann are, of course, impeccable. His 1947 Desperate--the gem of the set--has flavor, tension, and visual bravura to burn. The average-Joe hero played by Steve Brodie is an independent trucker tricked into abetting a robbery. Although he manages to mess up the crooks' plans, Brodie and newly pregnant wife Audrey Long are soon fleeing cross-country from the law as well as from vicious gang leader Raymond Burr. Scene after scene features bold lighting, forceful angles, and strong deep-focus setups--all before Mann had begun working with cameraman John Alton, whom many erroneously credit with being the source of the Mann visual style. Sharing a disc with Desperate is Cornered (RKO, 1945), an immediately post-World War II mystery-thriller from the team that made Murder, My Sweet. Just-freed POW Dick Powell, whose French wife was murdered along with 50 of her compatriots, goes searching for the wartime collaborator responsible, his quest leading from France to Switzerland to Argentina. Director Edward Dmytryk is no Hitchcock, and an extended sequence of Powell stalking his quarry's wife all over Buenos Aires turns ludicrous. Still, this is one of the films in which noir tried to give a shape to the war's legacy of paranoia.

The Phenix City Story (Allied Artists, 1955) is "ripped from the headlines," a fact underscored by a 13-minute documentary foreword, voice-over narration of the film-proper by Richard Kiley in character as reformer John Patterson, on-location filming you can almost smell, and the inclusion of locals in the cast. Phenix City, Alabama, suffered for generations under a criminal machine until a father-and-son team of attorneys (John McIntire plays the dad) helped smash the organization, mere months before this film was made. Director Phil Karlson had a genius for hysteria, never more potently engaged than here; the film still shocks with its portrayal of daylight atrocity and the unthinkably malignant nature of its evildoers. Is it film noir? More like post-noir, part of the cycle of America-under-siege movies to which Invasion of the Body Snatchers would be added a few months later (screenwriter Daniel Mainwaring worked on both). Also on disc 2 is Dial 1119 (1950), the closest MGM ever came to minimalism: a low-budget suspense film with a no-name cast, a new director, and action centered on a saloon where, for about an hour of real time, an escaped mental patient (Marshall Thompson) holds six citizens of Terminal City hostage. Gerald Mayer's direction is eerily flat, which adds to the odd little movie's spell.

Don Siegel's Crime in the Streets (Allied Artists, 1956) likewise unfolds on the sound-stage version of a single urban block, a legacy of the film's origin in live TV drama. Siegel and cameraman Sam Leavitt work hard to make it kinetic, though there's no getting around the problem-picture nature of Reginald Rose's script on the then-hot theme of juvenile delinquency. James Whitmore is top-billed as an earnest social worker, but the real stars are two carryovers from the TV production, future directors John Cassavetes (age 27) and Mark Rydell (22). During a couple of sweltering summer days and nights, the Cassavetes character's need to strike out at the world takes him from recreational rumbles to plotting the murder of an obnoxious adult neighbor. As his own mother admits, "Frankie's out of a whole different piece of cloth." So is Crime in the Streets, whose demons are too clinically addressed to make for authentic noir. But its disc 3 companion, Armored Car Robbery (RKO, 1950), delivers the goods with whipcord spareness. Splitting its focus between criminal mastermind William Talman and gruff police detective Charles McGraw, this 67-minute Richard Fleischer movie about the run-up to a caper and its lethal fallout makes fine use of off-the-beaten-track L.A. locations.

Disc 4 feels like an afterthought. Deadline at Dawn (RKO, 1946) is the lone screen collaboration of writer Clifford Odets and director Harold Clurman from the left-wing Group Theatre of the '30s. Its opening image is a knockout: a forced-perspective view of a man climbing an apartment house stair and then turning up a hallway as slanted as a playground slide. Master cinematographer Nick Musuraca shot that, and his work grips us even as much of the film is too cute for words. In the course of this meditation on poetically lost souls at large in the nocturnal precincts of Manhattan, someone gets murdered and the prime suspect is afflicted with the ploy of short-term memory blackout. Principal cast members Susan Hayward, as a taxi dancer, and Paul Lukas as a cab-driving European philosophe manage to transcend the preciosity of their roles, if not the arbitrary point-of-view shifts of the storytelling. Then again, Deadline at Dawn looks streamlined in comparison to Backfire (Warner Bros., made 1948, released 1950). In this weak sister of the set, the plot comes at us in sections, largely via flashbacks improbably narrated by characters who exist only to do that, and the identity--if not the convoluted rationale--of the mystery villain can be guessed by noting which star has been kept off screen in reserve for most of the movie.

As usual with these Warner Home Video sets, the clarity and production quality of the DVDs is first-rate. However, volume 5 comes without commentaries (no Eddie Muller, no James Ellroy, no Ursini and Silver, nobody), without featurettes, with nothing in the way of extras but a couple of theatrical trailers. You walk these mean streets alone. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

They're just filler I guess.
Thomas
This is a fine collection for anyone interested in American film from the 11940s and 1950s, not just for fans of the film noir style.
Daryl Chin
It has a typical noir milieu but not a noir perspective or themes.
mirasreviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

113 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Severin on April 21, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
While I can't vouch for any of the movies in this set I'm sure they're up to the usual Warners standard. The last set had 10 films all with commentary. The below description is taken from Turner Classic Movies website and does not list all of the special features but does give a description of the films (all are in glorious black & white):

Cornered (1945):
From England to continental Europe to Buenos Aires, ex-RCAF pilot Dick Powell stalks the Nazi collaborator who murdered his bride. But one fact constantly surfaces during his quest: no one can describe the mysterious man. Joining Powell in the film shadows are the director and other key talent behind Murder, My Sweet of the year before.

Special Features: Cornered trailer.
Runtime: 102 minutes
Rating: NR
Film Specs: B&W 4x3 1.37 standard aspect ratio
Language: English Mono
Subtitles: English

Desperate (1947):
Desperate is the first of seven atmospheric noirs directed by Anthony Mann. Steve Brodie is a postwar every man who accepts what he thinks is an honest trucking job, only to find he's the driver in a botched heist that puts Brodie and his bride (Audrey Long) on the run from the cops and the cons who planned the job (including chief thug Raymond Burr).

Runtime: 73 minutes
Rating: NR
Film Specs: B&W 4x3 1.37 standard aspect ratio
Language: English Mono
Subtitles: English

The Phenix City Story (1955):
Corruption, brutality and vice plagued Phenix City, Alabama, for 100 years, so who would dare to change it?
Read more ›
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77 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Jersey Devil on April 21, 2010
Format: DVD
While I'm always happy to see the release of more film noirs on DVD, many films are being sold under that black umbrella that do not fit the category. Criminal activity alone does not make a film noir as in the case of "Crime in the Streets." It's a good film about juvinelle delinquents but like some of the others here lacks the fundamental basics of noir which is "The protagonist is f*#ked" Think "Double Indemity" "Out of the Past" "The Postman Always Rings Twice" "The Killers" "Detour". Three films here,'Deperate" "Cornered" and "Armored Car Robbery" fit the category. Don't get me wrong, these are fine crime films and Warners always does a good job with the extras and clean prints. I would recommend this set to anyone who enjoys tales from the dark side of the street. I will be buying it myself.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Brucifer on August 11, 2010
Format: DVD
Well, I know I'm going to get some comments about how I'm being OCD and anal retentive and should find better ways to spend my time than writing reviews on Amazon about the packaging of/extras on DVDs. But...I have to say that it's somewhat frustrating that Warners can't make up its mind about how to package and present this series in a cohesive way across the volumes. Those of us spending the bucks on these volumes are COLLECTORS and as such would appreciate Warners choosing one plan of action regarding packaging style and generosity of extras and staying with it. Those who don't care can rent these films on Netflix whenever they want. For volumes 1 and 2, we had the choice of buying the complete amray case box set or picking which films we wanted to buy individually. For volume 3, the packaging changed to slim cases and the films were not offered for sale individually. For volume 4, the movies were packaged as amray case double features and not sold individually, and for volume 5 we now go to the box set slipcase format, which of course precludes invidual sale of the movies entirely. In addition, the extras have been inconsistent across the series, with no commentaries on the films for volume 5 being an especially disappointing new development for us rabid noir fans (and who else frankly cares about these lesser known noirs, really?). If I had to choose, I'd say Warners did their best and most generous job with volume 4, offering amray case double features of 10 films with loads of extras, including - most importantly - expert commentaries from known noir experts. Will the above issues about packaging/content keep me from buying volume 5? Probably not, because the films aren't available elsewhere, but I haven't been in a hurry. So...Read more ›
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44 of 57 people found the following review helpful By paul macneill on July 19, 2010
Format: DVD
There are no commentaries to any of these noir flicks. It is extremely sad because people like Alain Silver, Eddie Mueller,Roger Ebert ,etc. add other information and insights that you could not possibly get by just watching the movie.This is the first Warner set that does not have this added feature and I truly feel cheated. Being the first review I have ever written and most likely my last, I was really looking forward to watching these great movies again with a film historian discussing little known facts and interesting aspects of each movie that would never be uncovered with just another viewing. C'est la vie!!
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29 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Thomas on July 28, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I don't think most of the reviewers have actually watched the films, or they wouldn't be passing out 4 or 5 stars. When you watch them you realize that less than half of them are even close to film noir and even the best films here are only mediocre. Cornered, Desperate, Armored Car Robbery,and Phenix City Story are fairly good films that are noirish in nature. The other four are poor films with ridiculous storylines that have no place ever being released again. They're just filler I guess. The reason there are no commentaries is because no one would have much to say about most of these films. All this for almost $40 is too much. I own the first four volumes in this series and they are vastly better than these.
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Yes oh fearless fosdick accept that except for the crumbbum stumbling into this alley your sunlight of reality will be forever forgotten. Film Noir Classics Vol. 5 Read More
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