The House on 92nd Street (Fox Film Noir)
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Of more lasting significance, the movie pioneered a salutary postwar trend in American filmmaking: forsaking the Hollywood soundstages and back lot to tap the freshness and palpable authenticity of real-world locations. Shot mostly in New York City, House was a collaboration between 20th CenturyFox and Louis de Rochement, the documentary producer renowned for his "March of Time" newsreels. The working formula of House and its successors was to fully incorporate documentary techniques into the storytelling, and to "film where it actually happened." That included using some nonprofessional performers, sometimes people who had been involved in the case. Fox went on to embrace this aesthetic in not only the de Rochementproduced 13 Rue Madeleine and Boomerang! but also the gangster movie Kiss of Death, the journalistic detective story Call Northside 777, and another F.B.I. case history, Street With No Name. Even the storybook fantasy of the studio's 1947 Miracle on 34th Street was charmingly validated by setting Kris Kringle down amid real New Yorkers and real Gotham grittiness.
Noiristes should stand advised that House on 92nd Street, a key influence on film noir, is not quite a true noir itself (whereas Anthony Mann's T-Men is noir to the max). Even as a German-American double agent, hero William Eythe is unburdened by neurosis or doubt, and the stylistic keynote is documentary gray, not black--though a murder in a railroad yard and the final showdown are memorably stark and dark. --Richard T. Jameson
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Top Customer Reviews
The DVD transfer is of a very high quality.
Historically, German espionage in America was rather inept. Far more interesting, we now know, from Venona intercepts and USSR archives, were Soviet schemes to penetrate the Manhattan Project and the highest levels of American foreign policy making. Stalin already knew of the success of Trinity when Truman shared it with him and Churchill in the Potsdam conference in 1945. The misdeeds of Klaus Fuchs, the Rosenbergs, Alger Hiss, and the like could provide fodder for interesting movies now that we have firmer grasp of what went on.
This film was the first-ever "semi-documentary." It has aspects of a documentary: true-life footage inside FBI headquarters, genuine footage of Nazis in the US and their arrests, and G-men playing for the screen the same roles they took in solving the actual crime. The plot is interrupted, now and then, by documentary-like stentorian narration. It is, however, a dramatization and the screenwriters took minor liberties with the facts (i.e., certain of the actual villains were married.) It can also be seen as a commercial for the FBI, and 1945 audiences no doubt were left with a gee-whiz feeling when they saw the footage of the largest file room in the United States, with its millions of fingerprints; the detailed files on all potentially-troublesome foreigners (supposedly rounded up in one day); the FBI's one-way glass mirrors; the elaborate shortwave radio set-ups and the like.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
.I saw this film years ago, and it always stayed in my mind as an engrossing documentary style Nazi spy noir thriller. It was great to see it againPublished 5 months ago by FN
This is an unbelievable value
Brand new for literally pennies
Quick delivery and well packed
All that was promised when ordered
this is a strange film noir . at least it seems noir. I liked it very muchPublished 15 months ago by christina bliss