1959, Sony Repertory, 81 min, USA, Dir: Irving Lerner

An escaped con (Vince Edwards) thinks he’s stealing a cache of heroin, but he’s actually toting around enough radioactive material to destroy the parts of Los Angeles left standing at the end of KISS ME DEADLY. This tough little shoestring production is innovatively assembled by co-writer/actor Steven Ritch (PLUNDER ROAD) and director Irving (MURDER BY CONTRACT) Lerner, and includes one of the first scores by legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith. Co-starring Lyle Talbot and John Archer.

1955, Park Circus/UA, 105 min, USA, Dir: Robert Aldrich

Some critics see it as the apotheosis of noir style and the definitive statement on American paranoia in the Atomic Age. Others see it as screenwriter Buzz Bezzerides’ smirking send-up of author Mickey Spillane’s popular 1950s macho fantasies, brilliantly adapted here by screenwriter, A.I. Bezzerides. Decide for yourself as hard-headed private eye Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) va-va-vooms this way through sunny and sinister Los Angeles in search of “The Great Whatsit.”

1946, Universal, 96 min, USA, Dir: George Marshall

Hard luck WWII vet Alan Ladd returns to Los Angeles only to become the prime suspect in the murder of his two-timing wife (Doris Dowling). Fortunately, plucky Veronica Lake is around to help him navigate the twists and turns of Raymond Chandler’s Oscar-nominated screenplay. Ladd is accompanied by his faithful dogface pal William Bendix and a pre-“Ward Cleaver” Hugh Beaumont. An exquisite time capsule of 1940s L.A. hardboiled style, featuring the impeccable wardrobe stylings of Edith Head. Script by Raymond Chandler.

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