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.


THE VINTAGE
1957, Warner Bros., 92 min, USA, Dir: Jeffrey Hayden

Adapted by screenwriter Michael Blankfort from a novel by Ursula Keir, this intoxicating crime drama follows two Italian brothers - one of them on the run from a murder charge - who seek refuge in the wine country of southern France. The criminal Ernesto (John Kerr) is drawn to a married woman (Michele Morgan) while his sibling Giancarlo (Mel Ferrer) attracts the affection of the young Lucienne (Pier Angeli). With the police and an angry husband (Leif Erickson) to contend with, will the brothers choose love or life on the lam? Features sweeping vistas of the French countryside as well as a pulsating score by David Raksin (which includes guitar work by costar Theodore Bikel).


LAURA
1944, 20th Century Fox, 88 min, Dir: Otto Preminger

Investigating a murder, chain-smoking Detective McPherson (Dana Andrews) falls in love with the dead woman - only to find out that it wasn't she who was murdered. Even in a genre known for its convoluted twists, LAURA is a one-of-a-kind film noir. The brilliant cast includes Gene Tierney as the gorgeous Laura, Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker and Vincent Price as Laura's fiancé, Shelby Carpenter. The famous haunting and nostalgic musical theme by David Raksin is unforgettable. The film is said to have been an inspiration for David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks.”


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