THE CHASE
1946, 86 min, USA, Dir: Arthur Ripley

Scripted by Philip Yordan, from the novel The Black Path of Fear by Cornell Woolrich. In this hallucinatory adaptation, Robert Cummings plays a drifter hired as a chauffeur by two Florida crooks (Steve Cochran and Peter Lorre). He falls for Cochran’s dishy wife (Michelle Morgan) with dire, unpredictable results. As close to Lynch-ian as movies got in the 1940s.


THE SUSPECT
1944, Universal, 85 min, USA, Dir: Robert Siodmak

Timid tobacconist Philip Marshall (Charles Laughton) develops a friendship with a poor young woman (Ella Raines), igniting his wife’s shrewish jealousy. Despite the Edwardian-era decorum, THE SUSPECT is a classic noir - one of Siodmak’s best - featuring Laughton’s memorable portrait of a repressed and lonely man who will do anything to protect the unexpected joy he’s found too late in his life. Costarring Stanley Ridges and Rosalind Ivins.


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.


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