NOIR CITY 8: SUSPENSE / THE GANGSTER
(1946, Monogram [Warner Bros.]. 101 min. Scr. Philip Yordan. Dir. Frank Tuttle)
The most lavish, expensive ($1 million!) production ever created by Monogram Pictures was tailored to the talents of young British ice skating sensation Belita, whose brief Hollywood career coincided with the rise of film noir, making her literally the genre's "Ice Queen." Barry Sullivan is her costar in this James M. Cain-styled story of lust and murder, set against the backdrop of a skating revue, which provided the star with several show-stopping routines. Quirky, crazy, and totally unique!
(1947, Allied Artists [Warner Bros.]. 84 min. Scr. Daniel Fuchs, Dalton Trumbo (uncredited). Dir. Gordon Wiles)
Based on Fuchs's novel Low Company. One of the most peculiar noirs of the 1940s stars Barry Sullivan in a riveting performance as a small-time hood who suffers a mental breakdown as his big plans begin to crumble. Beautiful Belita is the slumming society girlfriend who only fuels his paranoia. Director Wiles, normally a production designer and art director, creates an arresting visual corollary for the character's disintegrating psyche. Ultra rare! See it on the big screen while you can! Not on DVD!
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