LADIES IN RETIREMENT
1941, Sony Repertory, 91 min, USA, Dir: Charles Vidor

Ida Lupino scores as a timid housekeeper who becomes enmeshed in murder and madness. Ida tends to an aged actress (Isobel Elsom) and persuades her to take in her two eccentric sisters (Elsa Lanchester and Edith Barrett). All bets are off when a mysterious stranger (Lupino's then-husband Louis Hayward) arrives to stir the pot further. There is nothing retiring about this suspenseful Victorian noir, which has been unjustly overlooked and underappreciated.


HOUSE BY THE RIVER
1950, Kino Lorber, 88 min, USA, Dir: Fritz Lang

Struggling novelist Stephen Byrne (Louis Hayward) makes a play for his maid, and when she resists he impulsively murders her. Thus begins the web of evil that Byrne spins, drawing in his wife (Jane Wyatt) and brother (Lee Bowman) as his crimes pile up. Director Fritz Lang pours on the atmosphere in this eerie melodrama.


REPEAT PERFORMANCE
1947, Film Noir Foundation, 91 min, USA, Dir: Alfred L. Werker

Consider it the noir version of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Broadway actress Sheila Page (Joan Leslie) rings in the New Year by shooting her husband to death. She blurts out a confession to her friend, poet William Williams (Richard Basehart), but as she leads him to the crime scene ... the preceding year begins again! Will Sheila be able to correct what went so dreadfully wrong, or will Fate demand a ... REPEAT PERFORMANCE? Back-stabbing backstage melodrama crossed with “The Twilight Zone.” NOT ON DVD!


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