THE LOST WEEKEND
1945, Universal, 101 min, USA, Dir: Billy Wilder

Director Billy Wilder’s experiences working with Raymond Chandler on DOUBLE INDEMNITY reportedly drew him to this hard-hitting portrait of an alcoholic on a downward spiral. Ray Milland stars as New York writer Don Birnam, whose battle with the bottle takes him from bars to pawnshops to a psychiatric ward as he hits rock bottom. Co-starring Jane Wyman and Howard Da Silva, the film won Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Actor and Adapted Screenplay (by Wilder and producer Charles Brackett).


CRISS CROSS
1949, Universal, 87 min, USA, Dir: Robert Siodmak

When he died in 1947, producer Mark Hellinger had just begun pre-production on this crime-infected love story. Thanks to the inspired vision of director Siodmak, CRISS CROSS now stands as perhaps the most darkly poetic rendering of amour fou in all film noir. Burt Lancaster and Dan Duryea plot a daring heist, while vying for the affections of sensual Yvonne DeCarlo. Remade by Stephen Soderbergh as THE UNDERNEATH.


LADY ON A TRAIN
1945, Universal, 94 min, USA, Dir: Charles David

Nikki Collins (Deanna Durbin) witnesses a murder while waiting for a train, but can’t get the police to believe her when no body is discovered. While they dismiss her as daft, she enlists the help of a mystery writer to sleuth out the culprits on her own. Based on a story by veteran mystery scribe Leslie Charteris (The Saint), this is a wildly entertaining mix of comedy, musical and suspense, rendered in evocative noir style by cameraman Woody Bredell (PHANTOM LADY, CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY, THE KILLERS), and featuring a superb cast of sinister and suspicious supporting players (including noir fave Dan Duryea) who swirl ominously around “America’s Sweetheart.”


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