And I'd forgotten about the proposed Fisher-Mainwaring festival--I sincerely hope that events have not doomed the possibility of such a series ever occurring again. And you'll note Dan H.'s suggestion of Simenon series, which we tried to do in 2020 before the pandemic hit...
About to roll off the end of the board, so time to republish...
All the best, Gord!
This one is a low budget noir with some real potential.
Forrest Tucker is the boss of a small railway who is in conflict with the local trucking mob. Thomas Gomez, the mob boss, does not like the fact that Tucker's railway is cutting into his profits. Gomez is really annoyed with Tucker over his plan to transport loaded trailers by rail 200 miles to the big city. This would cut into Gomez's monopoly with the local produce growers. Gomez intends to do all he can do to sabotage the railway.
Gomez even hires Tucker's brother, Keith Larsen, who is at odds with his brother over a girl. Barbara Britton plays the cocktail waitress who comes between Tucker and Larsen. She had been stepping out with young Larson before changing ponies and taking on Tucker as her new mount.
Larson takes the event hard, and takes to the bottle big time. Larsen, half corked all the time, is pumped by his new boss, Gomez, for information on how best to slow down Tucker's delivery schedules. There are soon rail blockages, false alarms and the odd beating handed out in an effort to get his point across. These cause Tucker's investors to second guess Tucker's scheme.
Britton, seeing the effect the bad blood is having between the brothers, pays Larsen a call. She tries to sober up Larsen and explain to him how Gomez is using him. Larsen however still sees Britton as the cause of all his problems. Nothing seems to have gone right for Larson since he got back from the Korean War.
Gomez now goes too far and plants explosives somewhere on a goods train. Larsen sees the error of his ways and has a rather heated discussion with Mister Gomez. This leads to weapons being drawn, and Gomez being dispatched in the following gun-battle. Larsen however does not know exactly where on the train the time bomb is planted. He decides to take a breakneck train ride out of town in-order to get the explosives away before they detonate.
With more of a budget, and an extra 7-10 mins to flesh out the story, this could have been a top flight low renter. It still is a decent time-waster. The cast is actually quite good in the time given. Thomas Gomez was made to play these lowlife slime balls, and he delivers in spades in this one.
Veteran pulp writer, Steve Fisher, does the story and screenplay for this one. The one time Oscar nominated (Destination Tokyo)Fisher, made a career out of pumping out quick low rent potboilers and the like for film and television. Fisher wrote the story or screenplay for noir such as, I WAKE UP SCREAMING, LADY IN THE LAKE, JOHNNY ANGEL, ROADBLOCK, THE HUNTED, I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES, CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS, VICKI and HELL'S HALF ACRE.
The film was directed long time b director, Jean Yarbrough. Yarbrough did pump out several better low rent crime/noir films earlier in his career, such as, INSIDE JOB, FOOTSTEPS IN THE NIGHT, THE BRUTE MAN and SHED NO TEARS.
The look of the film is better than one would expect for a bottom b programmer. Some nice scenes are cranked out by veteran b film and television lens-man, Willam A, Sickner. Sickner's work includes the noirs LOOPHOLE, FINGER MAN and CRY VENGEANCE.
Posted by Richard Navarone on 9/20/2015, 12:07 pm
Sounds like one of your patented "obscure little gems," Gord!
(We miss the pithiness of Richard's characteristic responses, which were almost algorithmic in nature...)
Posted by Solomon on 9/21/2015, 5:11 am
Right. Watched it last night. This is an entertaining movie. Combines action and character developments nicely.
(Mike, not usually this pithy...perhaps channeling Richard.)
Posted by jefty on 9/21/2015, 6:59 am
edited by Jefty on 9/21/2015 at 7:01am
Truckers vs the railroad...good little film...wish I had a better copy but probably it's the best available.
We could list "Railroad Noirs" like:
Terror on a Train
The Man who Watched Trains Go By
Night Tran to Munich
The Narrow Margin
Please add more _______________
(Jefty, who would "move on" about six weeks later, gave us some food for thought but needed to do a second edit...)
Posted by Don Malcolm on 9/21/2015, 2:25 pm
Great choice, Gord...I would love to see a return to "old school" noir programming (possibly when Mr. Lavine has a venue that wants to mount a full-fledged festival in serial progression instead of the current "x number of Wednesdays/Thursdays"--though it's hard to argue with that success...) which would pay tribute to two of noir's most proficient and prolific writers.
Here's a quick sketch:
I WAKE UP DREAMING presents
A Shout-Out to Stalwart Noir Scribes Steve Fisher & Daniel Mainwaring
Dead Reckoning (SF)/The Lawless (DM)
I Wake Up Screaming (SF)/No Hands on the Clock (DM)/They Made Me A Killer (DM)
The Hunted (SF)/I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes (SF)
Big Town (DM)/Big Town After Dark (DM)/Big Town Scandal (DM)
Lady in the Lake (SF)/Out of the Past (DM)
Roadblock (SF-DM)/This Woman is Dangerous (DM)
City That Never Sleeps (SF)/The Hitch-Hiker (DM)
The Shanghai Story (SF)/Alaska Seas (DM)
Las Vegas Shakedown (SF)/The Phenix City Story (DM)
Hell's Half Acre (SF)/Invasion of the Body Snatchers (DM)
The Big Steal (DM)/The Big Frame (SF)/The Big Tip Off (SF)
I, Mobster (SF)/Baby Face Nelson (DM)
Night Freight (SF)/The Tall Target (DM)
Rogues' Gallery (SF)/The Woman Who Wouldn't Die aka Catacombs (DM)
Not sure that these type of festivals are "feasible" any more, but it's a wide-ranging mix of the well-known and the rare-but-well-regarded.
(As always, Malcolmian overkill and knee-jerk film festival programming--though that "Big" leitmotif ain't half-bad. Still, the guy needs to get a life. And he should know by now that such a festival ain't "feasible.")
Posted by Dan Hodges on 9/21/2015, 10:36 pm
Edited by Dan Hodges on 9/22/2015, 7:46 am
Regarding authors of roman noirs as the basis for a (weekend) series of film noirs:
A year or two ago I recommended to Don and Elliot that they consider a series, which would be very international/multi-lingual, of film noirs based on James Hadley Chase.
I'm reminded of my recommendation because Georges Simenon is another author who could be the source of an international series. For example, as I write, I'm watching A LIFE IN THE BALANCE, which has superb noir visual style and is based on a story by Simenon.
As a teaser for a Simenon series, two upcoming French film noirs at the Roxie are based on Simenon novels:
LA VERITÉ SUR BÉBÉ DONGE aka THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR MARRIAGE
(1952, Henri Decoin) 8:00
Jean Gabin, Danielle Darrieux
from a novel by Georges Simenon
PANIQUE aka PANIC
(1946, Julien Duvivier) 6:00, 10:00
Michel Simon, Viviane Romance, Paul Bernard
from a novel by Georges Simenon