TCM Has Gone Film Noir Nutty!

Kirk Douglas will do anything for a headline in Ace in the Hole.

If you’ve got a hankering for a hefty dose of film noir, you can get your fix on Thursday, March 14th by tuning in to TCM. From the evening – when the noirish shadows first start rolling in – to the morning’s wee hours on Friday, you can settle in for five (count ‘em – FIVE) back-to-back, first-rate examples of the film noir era.

Here’s an overview of the dark goodies that await you:

Ace in the Hole (1951)

Also known as The Big Carnival, this film stars Kirk Douglas in one of his nastiest roles, a former big-city newspaper reporter who will do anything to catapult his career from its current obscurity back to the big time. He gets his chance when he stumbles across a local merchant trapped in a nearby cave, and works with the corrupt sheriff (who has his own nefarious agenda) to keep the man entombed while he pens articles that attract a nationwide audience. Also in this dark tale is the merchant’s indifferent wife, played to perfection by Jan Sterling.

There’s nothin’ sweet about these gents.

Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

In my favorite role, Tony Curtis plays a slimy, completely conscienceless press agent whose main purpose in life is to get the notice of powerful Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker (portrayed with scary intensity by Burt Lancaster). This feature is one of noir’s darkest, brimming with characters who are either repellent or pathetic. I love it.

Scandal Sheet (1952)

This underrated, seldom-discussed gem stars Broderick Crawford as a newspaper editor who accidentally kills his shrewish ex-wife during an argument, then assigns one of his reporters (John Derek) to investigate the crime. The wife is played by Rosemary DeCamp, who turns in a startling performance in this rare departure from her usual goody-goody roles. Watch for a great noir ending.

Those Polynesian Pearl Divers are no joke.

The Blue Gardenia (1953)

Anne Baxter stars in this picture as a telephone operator who’s dumped by her beloved beau, goes out to tie one on, and winds up killing the creep who makes the moves on her – but she can’t remember a thing. (Blame it on those SIX deliciously deadly Polynesian Pearl Diver cocktails!) The top-notch cast includes Raymond Burr, who turns in a memorable performance as the aforementioned creep; Ann Sothern, as Baxter’s buddy; and Richard Conte as a reporter (by the name of Casey Mayo – love it!) trying to find the mysterious killer.

While the City Sleeps (1956)

Part of the star-studded cast of While the City Sleeps.

This film serves up a veritable who’s who of noir vets – Dana Andrews, Ida Lupino, Vincent Price, Rhonda Fleming, Sally Forrest, James Craig, Howard Duff. It’s like the noir version of Dinner at Eight! The story has a dual plotline – on one hand, after the death of the head of a media conglomerate, the man’s capricious son creates a contest among the various employees to land the new position of executive director. On the other, to win, the employees vie to be first to track down a serial criminal labeled “The Lipstick Killer.” The killer, incidentally, is played by John Drew Barrymore (son of John Barrymore and Dolores Costello, grandfather of Drew).

Set your DVRs or just stay up all night – but don’t miss this great line-up of noir films on TCM March 14th!

You only owe it to yourself.

~ by shadowsandsatin on March 13, 2019.

10 Responses to “TCM Has Gone Film Noir Nutty!”

  1. Can never get me enough of the shadows! For like minded Noiristas – Movies! channel on free t.v. albeit with commercials has “Noir to die for” every Thursday from 5a.m to 5a.m Fri. See their website

    • Thank you so much for this tip! I wonder if I can get this channel via my firestick . . .

      • Don’t know about firestick.But should be of help in getting Movies! in your area.Also on Sun. Nite at 8 they show 2 or 3 noirs. Re: John’s comment about wanting more of the obscure.I too would like to see noirs that I have never seen or only seen once. And I agree with you about reviewing the classics- it is like seeing old friends again. I also try to keep in mind that for many people it will be their first viewing of a classic noir . So it is good that tcm reshows them for those who are taking their first steps into Shadowland.

  2. Sounds like a fun night, but I can’t help feeling it’s a shame they’ve gone for all fairly well known examples of the genre rather than explore a few of the more obscure ones. Yes, of course, TCM’s schedule slots in obscure films noirs more often than we perhaps have a right to expect, but they’re easy enough to miss unless we’re alert.

    I guess what I’m saying is that it’d be nice a TCM Film Noir Special avoided stuff people have likely already seen — maybe multiple times — and opened the audience up to some of the great Poverty Row items that are out there.

    Or something.

    • Oh, and I should have mentioned that it’s good to see Scandal Sheet on the list, because that one is indeed a bit less familiar.

      • I feel you, John. Still, it’s always a joy to see the classics — and I think TCM actually does a good job with mixing up both the well-known noirs with the lesser-known ones. It definitely was nice to see Scandal Sheet on the line-up!

  3. 🙂 Oh yes! While the city sleeps !!! 🙂

  4. LOVE Henry O’Neil in Scandal Sheet.

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