LADY ON A TRAIN
1945, Universal, 94 min, USA, Dir: Charles David

Nikki Collins (Deanna Durbin) witnesses a murder while waiting for a train, but can’t get the police to believe her when no body is discovered. While they dismiss her as daft, she enlists the help of a mystery writer to sleuth out the culprits on her own. Based on a story by veteran mystery scribe Leslie Charteris (The Saint), this is a wildly entertaining mix of comedy, musical and suspense, rendered in evocative noir style by cameraman Woody Bredell (PHANTOM LADY, CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY, THE KILLERS), and featuring a superb cast of sinister and suspicious supporting players (including noir fave Dan Duryea) who swirl ominously around “America’s Sweetheart.”


TRADING PLACES
1983, Paramount, 118 min, USA, Dir: John Landis

Eddie Murphy proved that his debut performance in 48 HOURS was no fluke with this follow-up, a flat-out comic masterpiece that ranks with the best of Preston Sturges and Billy Wilder. Murphy plays a street hustler, and Landis regular Dan Aykroyd is a stockbroker; both men's lives are turned upside down when wealthy brothers Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy decide to figure out whether nature matters more than nurture and manipulate the opposites into exchanging lives. Filled with quotable dialogue and expertly crafted by John Landis, it includes a plethora of winning supporting performances from Jamie Lee Curtis, Denholm Elliott, Paul Gleason and Jim Belushi (as, in a nod to Landis' debut film SCHLOCK, a guy in a gorilla suit!).


LET US LIVE
1939, Sony Repertory, 68 min, USA, Dir: John Brahm

Compelling proto-noir concerning a pair of innocent taxi drivers (Henry Fonda and Alan Baxter) railroaded to the death house for a robbery-homicide. An early standout performance by Fonda receives stellar support from costar Maureen O’Sullivan, along with a well-crafted script (by Anthony Veiller and Allen Rivkin), photography (Lucien Ballard) and superior direction by noir maestro John Brahm.


Syndicate content