THE BREAKING POINT
1950, Warner Bros., 97 min, USA, Dir: Michael Curtiz

The finest film version of Hemingway’s novel To Have and Have Not (and yes, that includes the Bogart-Hawks classic) shifts the story from Cuba to Newport Beach, California, but retains the novel’s core of noir-stained tragedy. As Skipper Harry Morgan, John Garfield essays his finest screen portrayal of a man whose domestic travails and mid-life crisis results in crime, flight and death. Garfield’s turn is perfectly matched by Patricia Neal, as a predatory femme fatale, and Phyllis Thaxter as his beaten-down but unswervingly loyal spouse. With Wallace Ford as a bottom-feeding attorney and the great Afro-Cuban actor Juano Hernandez.


PRIVATE PROPERTY
1960, Cinelicious, 79 min, USA, Dir: Leslie Stevens

Future “The Outer Limits” creator Leslie Stevens made this subversive examination of gender roles on a minuscule budget; denied MPAA approval due to its controversial subject matter, it vanished for decades until this new restoration. A pair of drifters – the devious Duke (Corey Allen) and slow-witted Boots (Warren Oates) – follows a beautiful young woman (Kate Manx) from a gas station to her Hollywood hills home in the hopes of seducing her. Menace is never far from the surface in this prescient drama, strikingly shot in B&W by noir specialist Ted McCord.


DEEP VALLEY
1947, Warner Bros., 104 min, Dir: Jean Negulesco

A shy girl (Ida Lupino) raised on a remote coastal farm by unloving parents (Henry Hull and Fay Bainter) has her world turned upside down when she falls in love with an escaped convict (Dane Clark) being hunted by a posse. One of Lupino’s most sensitive performances is bolstered by a nuanced screenplay by Salka Viertel and assured direction by Negulesco. Also starring Wayne Morris. Filmed on location at Palos Verdes and Big Bear Lake.


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