SIDE STREET
1949, Warner Bros., 93 min, Dir: Anthony Mann

Naive postman Joe Norson (Farley Granger) takes a dangerous shortcut to securing a nest egg for his pregnant wife (Cathy O’Donnell) - stealing thirty grand from the office of a shady shyster. When Joe tries to give himself up he only gets in deeper, careening for his life through the treacherous streets of Manhattan, pursued by cops and crooks at every deadly turn. Boehm’s script is a much more noir version of Naked City, and Anthony Mann pulls out all the stops, directing this headlong thriller with incredible punch, abetted by Joe Ruttenberg’s stunning cinematography (with an opening sequence shot from a blimp over Manhattan). A top-tier noir, featuring favorites Jean Hagen, Paul Kelly, James Craig and Charles McGraw.


THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
1944, Warner Brothers, 95 min, Dir: Jules Dassin

This fantasy-comedy, adapted from Oscar Wilde’s first published short story, features one of Charles Laughton’s most delightful performances in the title role. When U.S. servicemen are stationed at the Canterville estate during WWII, one of them (Robert Young) learns he is a distant relative of the ghost that haunts the castle – and may be able to put him to rest with an act of bravery. With Margaret O'Brien.


THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
1945, Warner Brothers, 110 min, Dir: Albert Lewin

In the definitive screen adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s sole novel, Dorian Gray (Hurd Hatfield) falls under the corrupting influence of Lord Henry Wotton (George Sanders) and makes a Faustian bargain: Gray’s portrait will age instead of him. Angela Lansbury is a standout as the woman whose heart is broken by the titular narcissist. This macabre fantasy was an Oscar winner for Harry Stradling Sr.’s cinematography (which features shocking flashes of color).


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