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Showing 1-10 of 33 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 38 reviews
on November 19, 2016
The Set is great - except....I purchased mine several years ago and watched OK, have now gone back to watch this set again and most will not load on any machine or PC ! Says can't find root directory. Gets to the menu, then you click on movie and it goes nowhere ! Really disappointed , as I rarely get any fails like this. So. if you have had these already suggest to try and play them again if some time has gone by. Discs stored well along with many other DVDs . As time has gone by I can hardly ask for a replacement. Suggest if you purchase you do a back up copy in case !! Further checking shows the cloudiness on the disc, seems to be thanks to chemical reaction from their plastic case. Sadly after checking the other discs this whole set is useless...be warned !
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on January 27, 2014
I hate to write this review. I bought this set at Amazon when it first came out 6 years ago at a rather high price. Not as high as it now is having gone out of print. I watched all of the movies when I first got them and there were no problems. I recently got them out again to listen to the commentary and found that at least two discs are unreadable! There are no scratches or discoloration on these two discs. They look brand new. However the old familiar Warner logo comes up in stutters. I cannot choose between the two movies on each of the two discs. My belief is that probably the amount of data-two movies on one side of each disc plus commentary is the reason for the read error. Beware and check your old discs. It is too late for me to exchange mine.
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on October 6, 2007
Compared to the other volumes in the 'Film Noir' series, this one is solid and contains a number of good films. You get ten movies here, with most being in the 2 1/2 to three star range. Volume one is by far the best, and no film here and compete with those, but if you like film noir then you will enjoy volume 4. Robert Mitchum stars in two, and teams up with Jane Greer again in 'The Big Steal'. However, this is lightweight compared to their great classic, 'Out of The Past'. His other film is 'Where Dangere Lives', with gorgeous Fairth Domergue, which is classic noir with Domergue being the fatal lure in a very interesting plot. My favorite film in this volume is 'Decoy', which is totally outrageous and features the most dazzling bit of femme fatale you'll ever see in this genre...courtesy of Jean Gillie. Edward G. Robinson, one of my favorite actors, is in top form in "Illegal". Sterling Hayden, who is masterful in volume one of this collection in 'The Asphalt Jungle', returns for 'Crime Wave', this time as a policeman! Also, Audrey Totter stars in 'Tension' and of course she is one of the great ladies of film noir and its always a pleasure to watch her work. This is a great value and you'll enjoy these suspenseful and entertaining films.
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on November 1, 2007
My guilty pleasure is film noir, so even though I had never heard of a single one of the films featured in Film Noir Collection Vol. IV, I bought it anyway just as I have bought and mostly enjoyed the previous three. After viewing this entire set the week it arrived, I came to the conclusion that overall, this is the strongest of the four film noir classic collections issued to date.
I won't rehash the films. The reviewer that currently is "most helpful" has done a creditable job. But I will comment on each film and sometimes why I like them.
1)Act of Violence: Cowardice under pressure in a Nazi prison camp comes back to haunt successful contractor/family man Van Heflin as he is stalked by one of his former fellow prisoners. The movie is filled with suspense and the ending is a surprise. Five stars.
2)Mystery Street: Ricardo Montalban is excellent as the dogged and resourceful detective who tracks down the killer of a scheming whore whose skeleton is found on Cape Cod. Five stars.
3)Crime Wave: An ex-con trying to go straight is forced back into crime by some escaped ex-jailmates who have precipitated a rash of hold-ups to finance their existence on the lam. Lots of harrowing moments as the police close in. Five stars.
4)Decoy: Gene Gillie is perfect as an avaricious and vicious femme fatale who will stop at nothing to get her hands on a cache of money. She is a real piece of work. Five stars.
5)Illegal: Edward G Robinson stars as an attorney on his way back up after hitting bottom when he resigned following the execution of a man he had wrongly prosecuted and convicted as DA. He makes amends defending lowlifes and soon finds himself enmeshed by intrigues involving the new DA and a man he had long wanted to prosecute when he himself was DA. Many twists of the plot and Robinson proves his mettle by pushing the envelope on the law. He always had to win and his final case will show you just how far he was willing to go! Five stars.
6)The Big Steal:Kind of a goofy noir that takes place, like some other Robert Mitchum films, in Mexico. Lots of fun and misadventure as Mitchum tries to track a suitcase full of stolen money. Not quite noir in my book though. Four stars.
7)They Live By Night: Farley Granger is excellent as a mild-mannered escaped con who is pressured by fellow escapees into participating in more crimes. He runs off with the daughter of one of the convicts' brother, marries her and wants to go straight, but he just can't. Real noir, there is no happy ending. Four stars.
8)Side Street: Farley Granger stars as a day-dreaming part time mail carrier who succumbs to momentary weakness and greed, setting in motion a chain of events that nearly cost him his freedom and later his life. The voice-overs detract ever so slightly. Four stars.
9)Where Danger Lives: Robert Mitchum stars as a doctor who falls for a dangerously psychotic patient convincingly played by Faith Domergue. His bad judgement nearly costs him dearly. Some silliness along the way detracts. Four stars.
10)Tension: Hoo boy, can anyone top Audrey Trotter's performance as a sneering, faithless, gold-digging trollop or Richard Basehart's transformation from a trollop's doormat into a man of purpose and resolve? Basehart's character Warren Quimby reminds me of the old Charles Atlas ads where a bully humiliates a wormy guy in front of his girlfriend at the beach and the guy gets revenge by taking Atlas' body-building course then returning to confront the bully and physically avenge himself.
The film is filled with twists of plot as Basehart struggles internally between the new and the old Quimby. And Trotter is scheming and hateful to the end. In many ways, this is the best of the set. Five stars.
If you are a fan of film noir which I must assume you are because you are reading this, this is a set you will return to over and again. I haven't seen all the extras yet and so cannot comment on those, but the quality of the films alone make this a set well worth owning. Five stars overall.
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on August 20, 2007
FILM NOIR: VOLUME 4 has no less than ten movies, five double features and all excellent. Each has a notable audio commentary, a short filmmaker discussion, and the theatrical trailer. This set is a must-own knockout.

Volume One has ACT OF VIOLENCE and MYSTERY STREET. ACT OF VIOLENCE is a most interesting film noir, brilliantly photographed by Robert Surtees, who is better known for epics like BEN-HUR and RAINTREE COUNTY. In a rather ordinary small town, crippled Robert Ryan chases after happily married husband and father Van Heflin over something Heflin did to Ryan and several other men during World War Two. This film is fascinating because the characters slowly switch roles--who is good and who is bad? Janet Leigh and Phyllis Thaxter are the likeable wives, and Mary Astor is unforgettable as a sympathetic middle-aged prostitute. Audio commentary is by Dr. Drew Casper, my old thesis advisor at USC Cinema.

MYSTERY STREET has fine location work all over Harvard and Cape Cod. Jan Sterling is murdered on the cape one foggy night. The crime lab here is a forerunner of all the C.S.I. shows on TV now. We start with just a skeleton, then add a face, then find out who stole a yellow car on a given day, and so forth. John Sturges, who did BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, directed this gripping police procedural. John Alton, who worked a lot in noir land and won an Oscar in a different vein for AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951), photographed. Starring are Ricardo Montalban, Sally Forrest, Bruce Bennett, and Elsa Lanchester. Question: Why does the film say "Filmed in Hollywood, U.S.A." at the end when the whole thing was made in and around Harvard? Audio commentary is by Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward.

VOLUME 2 has CRIME WAVE and DECOY. Andre de Toth's CRIME WAVE, brilliantly photographed by Bert Glennon all over night for night Los Angeles on actual locales, has Sterling Hayden as a homicide detective trying to solve a rash of gas station armed robberies and murders. Also with the good guys are Gene Nelson and Phyllis Kirk. The opening is memorable--a gas station robbery with a Doris Day recording on the soundtrack. Kirk, de Toth, and writer Crane Wilbur later collaborated on HOUSE OF WAX. Audio commentary is by novelist James Ellroy (L.A. CONFIDENTIAL) and Eddie Mueller.

DECOY is a lulu, even for film noir. Made by Monogram, with a strong script by Ned Young and story by Stanley Rubin, this has femme fatale Jean Gillie bringing her partner in crime (Robert Armstrong) back to life chemically after he has died at San Quentin! There is no love lost, she just wants to know the whereabouts of a stash of money. Let's not say anything more about this unusual and suspenseful film, except that the ironic ending is dazzling. Directed by Jack Bernhard. Rubin and Glenn Erickson do the audio commentary.

Volume 3 has ILLEGAL and THE BIG STEAL. ILLEGAL 1954) is another neglected noir gem with formidable talents--it stars Edward G. Robinson as a prosecuting attorney who sends an innocent man to the death chamber and has to live with the consequences. Lewis Allen (THE UNINVITED) directed a script by no less than W. R. Burnett (LITTLE CAESAR) and James R. Webb (HOW THE WEST WAS WON). And the superb photography is by J. Peverell Marley (THE TEN COMMANDMENTS). An unusually sour Nina Foch, co-star, is part of a disappointing audio comentary with historian Patricia King Hanson.

THE BIG STEAL (1949) is a tongue-in-cheek extended car chase through small Mexican towns that had to be filmed on location. Super nasty bad guy William Bendix is after money that Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer have. Don Siegel, who jump-started Clint Eastwood's career with the early DIRTY HARRY movies directed. Richard Jewell, whom I knew at USC Cinema in the 1970's, does the superb audio commentary that reveals volumes about Mitchum, his marijuana bust, and RKO working methods in the late 1940's..

Disk Four has two of the finest offerings in this noir set--Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell as two married couples involved in crime in Nicholas Ray's THEY LIVE BY NIGHT (1948) and Anthony Mann's SIDE STREET (1949). Ray made his directorial debut with THEY LIVE, based on a novel called THIEVES LIKE US, which Robert Altman later made into a movie with that title. It has Granger as a newlywed forced to be a crime accomplice in the Depression era Deep South; the truly bad villains are Howard da Silva and and Jay C. Flippen. Both romantic and violent, the movie is an unforgettable noir with a happily alive Granger helping on the audio commentary.

Even better is Mann's SIDE STREET, strikingly filmed all over Manhattan by lighting master Joseph Ruttenberg. Newlywed postman Granger steals what he thinks is an innocent $200 to pay bills for wife O'Donnell. It is really $30,000 in mob money, and they will kill to get it back! The climactic car chase through Wall Street canyons on a Sunday morning is one of the all-time greats. Sydney Boehm wrote the great screenplay. Watch for Jean Hagen as a treacherous femme fatale posing as a nightclub singer if you have just seen SINGIN' IN THE RAIN and want to know what the actress really sounds like. Of the ten films noirs in this boxed set, SIDE STREET is one of my personal favorites. The renowned Richard Schickel does the audio commentary.

Best of all for me is Volume Five, with WHERE DANGER LIVES (1950) and TENSION (1949). Where have these masterpieces been hiding, and why is Leonard Maltin so stingy with his ratings on them? In director John Farrow's DANGER, brilliantly written by Charles Bennett and Leo Rosen, we are in noir San Francisco from the first scene: a nighttime hospital with overworked doctor Robert Mitchum. He falls in love with wealthy mystery woman Faith Domergue, who is the wife of Claude Rains (in his bad mode). A murder goes wrong, Rains ends up dead, and Mitchum finds himself headed south for Mexico with Domergue. So we have a doctor and a femme fatale sharing a car in small town California and then Arizona small towns at night. Let's not reveal any more, except to say that WHERE DANGER LIVES, which I had never even heard of, is now one of my favorite films noir.

And director John Berry's TENSION tops it and is my favorite film noir in this ten-film boxed set. Again, we have noir from the word go: scholarly Richard Basehart working as a pharmacist and soda jerk in a nighttime Los Angeles. He has an unfaithful wife, the matchless femme fatale Audrey Totter, who has a lover at a beach.cottage. Basehart creates a second identity and what he thinks is the perfect alibi to kill the lover, but Totter beats him to it and says she still loves Basehart! Now it gets good, with likeable photographer Cyd Charisse living at the same apartment as Basehart and knowing him only in his #2 identity. And Barry Sullivan and William Conrad, both always great, as homicide detectives. This film was made under the Hays Office and censorship, so we know that Totter will probably get caught at the end. But how, when she and Basehart both have an air-tight alibi? And remember that noirs usually end unhappily. A photo and contact lenses are key evidence in the magnificent and little-known TENSION, superbly written by John Klober (story) and Allen Rivkin (screenplay). The moody jazz score is by Andre Previn.
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on November 11, 2007
I bought Volume 4 because it was sold as a "deal" with another 50's film that I remembered and bought.

It was quite an experience seeing films that I had watched as a teenager. I was impressed with the crisp black and white photography. It was like going through an old family album looking at the early pictures of actors such as Robert Mitchum in "The Big Steal," Edward G. Robinson in "illegal," "Farley Granger in "They Live by Night," and Sterling Hayden in "Crime Wave". Even though they are all crime movies, they have a certain sweetness that is reminiscent of earlier Anerica. If you want something different, perhaps a bit of nostalgia, this set offers ten hours of viewing.

All of the DVD's played well using my Samsung player.
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on August 10, 2007
Whoever put this collection together should get a promotion, a raise, and a personal letter of thanks from every serious noir fan. This is an absolutely wonderful assortment of moody, gritty noirs that deserve to be better known. Of the ten (yes, TEN!) movies in this collection, none except "The Big Steal" has ever been on commercial VHS, much less DVD. "Decoy" is so scarce that the only version generally circulating before now was taken from a European TV broadcast, complete with Croatian subtitles.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea: these are not masterpieces. They are, however, very good movies and quintessential noir. The selection has been made with care and affection. This set is ideal for newcomers to noir who have seen a number of the genre cornerstones and want to further steep themselves in the essential style without the glitter of A-list productions. Dedicated noirphiles, of course, have been awaiting official high-quality transfers of these films for years.

I can't say enough good things about this set. The intelligent mini-documentaries for each film and the insanely low price tag are the icing on this ten-layer cake. We can only hope the same people will be in charge of Volume 5 of this series! Maybe we'll get a similar assortment of worthwhile "Never on home video" films such as The Breaking Point, Cry of the City, The Locket, My Name is Julia Ross, Nightfall, The Prowler, Screaming Mimi, Talk About a Stranger, The 13th Letter, The Unsuspected, The Verdict, and more. (Okay, I didn't bother to check who owns the rights to those movies, but you get the idea.)
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on February 21, 2017
good movies but 1/2 of the disks would not load so for the price it wasn't worth it- had to return the whole set, damn!
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on January 5, 2015
If, like me, you love these type of films--you will love this collection. Some of the special features provide excellent information.
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on March 2, 2015
Awesome collection. Very nice clean tranfers. Box full of film noir gems. No filler.
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