Deadly Dames Film Noir Collector's Set: (The Naked Kiss / Slightly Scarlet / Blonde Ice)
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(Aug 28, 2007)
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Slightly Scarlet (1956): Driven by blind ambition, fast-talking publicity man Ben Grace (John Payne) ha found a way to smear the reputation of "reform" mayoral candidate Frank Jansen (Kent Taylor). He will do so by exposing Jansen's red-haired girlfriend, June (Rhonda Fleming), with her man-hungry kleptomaniac sister, Dorothy (Arlene Dahl), who also happens to be a convict out on parole. Naked Kiss (1964): Kelly, a prostitute who tires of her city syndicate and seeks to forget her past, arrive in the small town of Grantville and obtains a job at the Children's Orthopedic Hospital as a nurses' aid. At once, in the small town, she is caught up in a romantic whirl, first with a police chief who wants her for what she used to be, and then with his best friend, the town's millionaire, who, even though aware of her former life, begs her to marry him. Blonde Ice (1948): BLONDE ICE tells the bizarre tale of a beautiful society columnist whose desire for money and position turn her into a serial killer - a story most Hollywood studios of the 1940's wouldn't touch! The tagline "ICE in her veins - ICICLES in her heart" perfectly describes Claire Cummins as she eagerly seduces rich and powerful men. Bonus Features: Commentary by Jay Fenton, Film Restoration Consultant, Bonus Film Noir TV Episode - "Into the Night", Bonus `Soundie' - "Satan Wear A Satin Dress", Photo Gallery, Bonus Film Noir Trailers, Video Interview with Jay Fenton on Film Restoration, Edgar Ulmer - A Fascinating Possibility, Liner Notes written by Jay Fenton, Bios, Trailers, Scene Selections, Slightly Scarlet - Anamorphic Widescreen Enhanced for 16x9 monitors, Commentary by Award Winning mystery writer and filmmaker Max Allan Collins, Original Theatrical Trailer - Naked Kiss, Interviews with Michael Dante and Krista Fuller. Specs: 3-DVD9s; Dolby Digital; 266 minutes; B&W; 1.33:1, 1.77:1 & 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR; Year - 1948, 1956, 1964; SRP - $29.99.
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I did play The Naked Kiss, and I must say that I like this movie MUCH more than the first time I saw it. It is a great study in redemption and innocence, featuring some fine acting by Constance Towers, and a real creepy twist at the end!! There are also some extras that I am looking forward to seeing, too. I had heard that the VCI remastered version was really nice, but I have to say that this was a bit of a disappointment. It is better than the schlocky VHS I had, but the picture is full of ghosting and various weird lines that make for distracting viewing. I tried it on my DVD player and on my Blu-Ray player and it was basically the same on both--the BluRay just made the visual crud more clearly seen! So, unless I got a bad copy, don't expect miracles from this version. I think there is a Criterion version of Naked Kiss, so if that is what you are after, just spend the extra bucks for it.
I'll add more once I've seen the other two films--both of which are kickin' good B noirs, and it should be pretty easy for the VCI versions to better the ones I have already, which are pretty poor in terms of picture and sound quality. But we'll see!!
Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe Hollywood crime dramas that set their protagonists in a world perceived as inherently corrupt and unsympathetic --- Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s --- Film noir of this era is associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionist cinematography, while many of the prototypical stories and much of the attitude of classic noir derive from the hard boiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Depression --- the term film noir (French for "black film"), first applied to Hollywood movies by French critic Nino Frank in 1946, was unknown to most of the American filmmakers and actors while they were creating the classic film noirs --- the canon of film noir was defined in retrospect by film historians and critics; many of those involved in the making of film noir later professed to be unaware at the time of having created a distinctive type of film.
"SLIGHTLY SCARLET" (Released: 29 February 1956) (99 mins/Color) --- story line and plot, Driven by blind ambition, fast talking publicity man Ben Grace (John Payne) finds a way to smear the reputation of "reform" mayoral candidate Frank Jansen (Kent Taylor) --- Payne can do this as Jansen's red haired girlfriend, June (Rhonda Fleming), with her man hungry kleptomaniac sister, Dorothy (Arlene Dahl), who just so happens to be a convict out on parole --- The success of the film rests upon the performance of the two female leads, Rhonda Fleiming and Arlene Dahl, especially the latter, whose acting was way beyond what I expected and almost carries the film, the ending of which might be a bit surprising --- A tad slow in spots, 'Slightly Scarlet' nevertheless is a pretty entertaining film.
"NAKED KISS" (Released: 29 October 1964) (93 mins/B&W) --- story line and plot, to forget her past, Kelly (Constance Towers), a prostitute who tires of her city syndicate, looking for a job she arrives in the small town of Grantville and starts work at the Children's Orthopedic Hospital as a nurse's aid --- she is caught up in a romantic whirl, There, she meets Griff (Anthony Eisley), the police captain of the town, with whom she spends a romantic afternoon, who wants her for what she used to be, but wait there's his best friend, the town's millionaire --- will Kelly find happiness in Grant (Michael Dante), her fiancé and Griff's partner, but she will be the witness of a shocking event that will threaten this happiness and even her mental health.
"BLONDE ICE" (Released: 24 July 1948) (74 mins/B&W) --- story line and plot has Coldly beautiful Leslie Brooks is well cast as Claire Cummings Hanneman, who happily goes about marrying rich men so that she can kill them, get their money, and move on to her next victim --- It's a bizarre little film noir, which must have seemed even more bizarre in the days when most films wouldn't touch a story about a woman who is so totally ruthless in getting what she wants --- Robert Paige, as the man who really loves her but can't overlook her hobby, was in the latter stages of his career when this poverty row noir was made --- The supporting cast does a good job also --- my favorite being Russ Vincent who plays Blackie Talon, the sleazy flyer/blackmailer, who just about steals every scene he appears in.
1. Commentary by Jay Fenton, Film Restoration Consultant
2. Bonus Film Noir TV Episode - "Into the Night"
3. Bonus `Soundie' - "Satan Wear A Satin Dress"
4. Photo Gallery
5. Bonus Film Noir Trailers
6. Video Interview with Jay Fenton on Film Restoration, Edgar Ulmer/A Fascinating Possibility, Liner Notes written by Jay Fenton
9. Scene Selections
10.Slightly Scarlet - Anamorphic Widescreen Enhanced for 16x9 monitors/Commentary by Award Winning mystery writer and filmmaker Max Allan Collins
11.Original Theatrical Trailer - Naked Kiss
12.Interviews with Michael Dante and Krista Fuller
Hats off to VCI Entertainment President Robert A. Blair, for the wonderful restored versions featuring some of the best classic film noir --- order your copy now from Amazon where there are plenty of copies available on DVD --- if you enjoyed this title, why not check out VCI Entertainment where they are experts in releasing long forgotten films and treasures to the collector.
Total Time: 266 mins on DVD ~ VCI Entertainment ~ (8/28/2007)