FILM NOIR: DARK SIDE XIII, released earlier in the week, brings us three Universal Pictures obscurities from the 50s: SPY HUNT (1950), with Howard Duff and Marta Toren; STEP DOWN TO TERROR (1958), a "B" remake of SHADOW OF A DOUBT, with Rod Taylor, Colleen Miller, and Charles Drake; and THE NIGHT RUNNER (1959), with more of the attractive Ms. Miller, playing opposite Ray Danton.
FILM NOIR: DARK SIDE XIV, which will drop on May 30, continues Kino's tour of the Universal vaults with three more 1950s noirs: UNDERCOVER GIRL (1950), with Alexis Smith and Scott Brady; ONE WAY STREET (1950), notable for being one of the films directed by peripatetic Argentine emigré Hugo Fregonese, featuring James Mason, Marta Toren, and Dan Duryea, and APPOINTMENT WITH A SHADOW (1957), with George Nader.
FILM NOIR: DARK SIDE XV might be the most interesting of these sets, featuring what is arguably director Harry Keller's most accomplished thriller, MAN AFRAID (1957), as part of Universal's late-50s foray into "Cinemascope noir," a subcategory as yet unexplored in any semi-systematic way. It's accompanied by another widescreen potboiler, Jack Arnold's THE TATTERED DRESS (1957), with a bevy of familiar faces (Jeff Chandler, Jeanne Crain, Jack Carson, Gail Russell, Elaine Stewart, Edward "Chief" Platt). Rounding out the three-film set is THE GIRL IN THE KREMLIN (1957), a late entry in the red-baiting/Cold war sub-genre of "noir" with a dual role for that deathless thespian Zsa Zsa Gabor. As internet film critic Derek Winnert notes: "It is bad in so many ways." We've got to give Kino kudos for fearlessly venturing all the way to the bottom of the barrel in the Univeral vaults. DARK SIDE XV will release on July 11th.