I’m a big fan of film noir. It’s one of my favorite genres to watch, especially when discovering new-to-me titles. I’ve seen many films noir in my years as a classic film fan, and I own some of the best: Out of the Past, Double Indemnity, Angel Face, The Damned Don’t Cry, and many others.
Still, as hefty as my collection is and as much as I love the genre, there are so many great noirs missing from my collection! From genuine top-of-the-genre classics to once-watched discoveries I’m dying to give a second look, here are five noir films topping my DVD wishlist (listed alphabetically).
Blues in the Night (1941), Directed by Anatole Litvak
Back when I was a baby blogger, only about three months into TMP’s existence, I reviewed this film as part of a series called “Through the Library.” The idea was to review one classic film from each letter of the alphabet, checked out from my local public library’s phenomenal DVD collection. Since I went in alphabetical order, this was one of my first viewings for the project, and I adored it. Such a fun mix of noir style and classic musical, plus a scene-stealing performance from Elia Kazan. It has been on my DVD wish list ever since, and the DVD can be found for around ten bucks, so I’m not sure how it hasn’t found its way on to my shelf yet!
The Hitch-Hiker (1953), Directed by Ida Lupino
I adore Ida Lupino, on-screen and behind the camera, but would you believe I don’t own a single one of the films she directed? I record them when they come up on TCM and have seen most of them more than once, but I’ve never actually purchased one on physical media. Clearly, I need to remedy this. This is another film that can be found cheap on DVD (around $5), but I’d like to get my hands on the slightly-more-expensive Kino Classics restoration.
In a Lonely Place (1950), Directed by Nicholas Ray
One of the genre’s most well-known classics, and for good reason. You can’t go wrong with Bogie, Gloria Grahame, and all of their inner demons. This one is available from the Criterion Collection and I may have to make it one of my picks from the Barnes & Noble 50% off sale this month. (On a related note, I need to get a copy of Dorothy B. Hughes’ novel on which the film is loosely based. I read it from the library several years ago and very much enjoyed it.)
Lured (1947), Directed by Douglas Sirk
This underrated noir stars none other than Lucille Ball… along with George Sanders, Charles Coburn, George Zucco, and Boris Karloff! What a cast! They’re all fantastic, but especially wonderful is Ball, delivering an understated but completely fabulous performance as a dancer trying to help Scotland Yard catch a serial killer. It was also directed by Douglas Sirk, a TMP favorite better known for his over-the-top romances and melodramas. This was once available on DVD from Kino but, to my knowledge, is out of print. So, I’m stuck with my taped-from-TCM copy, hoping my DVR doesn’t kick the bucket any time soon.
The Seventh Victim (1943), Directed by Mark Robson
This film is more often billed as horror or mystery than noir, but with its visual style and bleak atmosphere, it’s noir-ish at the very least. Many have argued for its inclusion in the genre canon and I’d have to agree with them. The noir elements were one of the most striking elements of the film to me, when I discovered it in 2015. This one’s harder to find on DVD (Amazon only has it in a Val Lewton collection and a double feature, both at astronomical prices from third-party sellers), which is why it remains on the wish list instead of living on my shelf. Luckily, it airs on TCM now and then.
What are your most-wanted flicks from this genre? Feel free to share in the comments!
I really like film noir as well. I even went to a class, where we watched a film noir, and then discussed it afterwards with a fantastic teacher. The prints were really good, too. Not grainy or anything.
That sounds great! I took a few film classes when I was an undergrad and they were such fun. Never took one specifically on film noir, though!
Great list! Love The Hitch-hiker and In a Lonely Place, and that reminds to watch The Hitch-hiker again, it’s been a very long time since I last saw it.
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From your list I’d love to see Lured, but for my own collection: My Name is Julia Ross (available in an expensive noir collection), Ride the Pink Horse (Criterion), and Nora Prentiss (for Ann Sheridan)! Of course, I’ll take ANY film noir on disc I don’t have!
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