THE BIG COMBO
1955, 87 min, USA, Dir: Joseph H. Lewis

One of the essential noirs pits malevolent crime kingpin Mr. Brown (Richard Conte) against a crusading copper (Cornel Wilde) in a battle for alluring Jean Wallace. The memorable noir palaver (purportedly by Philip Yordan) is accentuated by the cinematography of the legendary John Alton and a jazzy score by David Raksin. Featuring the unusual hit-man team of Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman amid a stand-out supporting cast: Brian Donlevy, Robert Middleton, Helen Walker, Jay Adler, John Hoyt, Ted de Corsia and Helene Stanton.


A WALK IN THE SUN
1945, Kit Parker Films, 117 min, USA, Dir: Lewis Milestone

A platoon of WWII soldiers is sent to blow up an Italian bridge and casualties mount as they encounter enemy planes and machine guns - as well as increasing tensions among themselves. Widely considered to be one of the best and most realistic World War II movies, this classic features stellar work from Norman Lloyd, Dana Andrews, Richard Conte and others.


CRY OF THE CITY
1948, 20th Century Fox, 95 min, USA, Dir: Robert Siodmak

Perhaps the best realized of director Robert Siodmak’s films noir indelibly relates the enduring theme (based on Henry Helseth’s novel The Chair for Martin Rome) of neighborhood pals who tread divergent courses. Victor Mature becomes a lawman, Richard Conte goes crooked. The two square off all across Manhattan with tragic results. Siodmak eschewed the semi-documentary style then in vogue at Fox creating instead a vivid, Expressionistic urban landscape that ideally suited this mythic mid-20th-century tale of good and evil. Co-starring Shelley Winters, Fred Clark and that Amazonian nightmare, Hope Emerson.


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