Dark. Brooding. Shady women and shadier shadows.
Welcome to film noir.
We truly applauded when we heard three film noir treasures from the ’40s are (finally!) coming to DVD for the first time in December with a three-disc DVD collection from Turner Classic Movies and Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
Released as part of the TCM Vault Collection, Dark Crimes: Film Noir Thrillers features stories by a triumvirate of the greatest hard-boiled mystery writers Dashiell Hammett, Cornell Woolrich and Raymond Chandler. The set includes The Glass Key (1942), starring Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Brian Donlevy and William Bendix; Phantom Lady (1944), starring Ella Raines, Franchot Tone and Elisha Cook Jr.; and The Blue Dahlia (1946), with Ladd, Lake and Bendix starring alongside Howard da Silva and Hugh Beaumont. Yes, we know that Phantom Lady is already on DVD—the prints are, how can we say, horrible?
TCM and Universal’s Dark Crimes: Film Noir Thrillers collection will be available on December 3 exclusively through TCM’s online store at shop.tcm.com, which is currently accepting pre-orders. TCM will whet fans’ appetites for the collection with a special on-air presentation of The Glass Key.
In addition to releasing the Dark Crimes DVD collection, TCM will give fans of film noir the chance to enjoy an entire night of the genre. On Thursday, January 17, author and noir expert Eddie Muller—a nice man with whom we share noir nuggests at the Palm Springs Film Noir Festival—will join TCM host Robert Osborne to present five memorable thrillers from the ’50s. The lineup features Cry Danger (1951), with Dick Powell and Rhonda Fleming; 99 River Street (1953), starring John Payne and Evelyn Keyes; Tomorrow is Another Day (1951), with Ruth Roman and Steve Cochran; The Breaking Point (1950), starring John Garfield and Patricia Neal; and The Prowler (1951), starring Van Heflin and Evelyn Keyes.
TCM and Universal’s Dark Crimes: Film Noir Thrillers collection, features extensive onscreen bonus materials, including an introduction by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz, photos, posters, lobby cards and more.
Here, dear readers, are some more ddetails of the set’s three films:
The Glass Key Brian Donlevy, Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake star in this stylish remake of the 1935 film based on Dashiell Hammett’s popular pulp fiction. The story follows a ruthless political boss and his personal advisor, who become entangled in a web of organized crime and murder involving the daughter of a rising gubernatorial candidate. Akira Kurosawa once claimed this film to be the inspiration for his classic samurai flick Yojimbo (1961).
Phantom Lady A man arrested for murdering his wife is unable to produce his only alibi–a mysterious woman he met in a bar–in this adaptation of a novel by legendary mystery author Cornell Woolrich. Now his loyal secretary must go undercover to locate her. Ella Raines, Franchot Tone, Thomas Gomez, Alan Curtis and Elisha Cook Jr. star, with Robert Siodmak directing. A sexually charged drumming scene was reportedly dubbed by legendary musician Buddy Rich.
The Blue Dahlia A WWII veteran who has been accused of killing his unfaithful wife races against time t o find the real murderer with the help of a sympathetic stranger. Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix, Howard da Silva and Hugh Beaumont star in this John Houseman production directed by George Marshall. Literary giant Raymond Chandler’s original screenplay earned an Oscar nomination.