Day 11 of Noirvember: Top 10 Noirs That Don’t Get Enough Love

Everybody knows about Out of the Past, Double Indemnity, Laura, The Killers, The Maltese Falcon, yada yada yada.

But there are so many noirs out there that are also superb examples, but they rarely, if ever, seem to come up in discussions of movies from this era. Today’s Noirvember post pays tribute to my Top 10 noirs that are deserving of the love that they don’t get.

They Live By Night (1948)

An escaped convict falls in love with the niece of one of his fellow escapees, and tries to live a normal life.

Farley Granger and Cathy O’Donnell are perfectly cast in this feature, which combines their touching love story with the inevitable doom of their circumstances.

The scenes with Conte and Jean Wallace were sizzling.

The Big Combo (1955)

A detective is determined to bring down a local crime boss, even while he’s falling in love with the gangster’s society girlfriend.

Richard Conte was everything as Mr. Brown – too cool to even bother with a first name.

Private Hell 36 (1954)

The lives of two cops are turned inside out when they find and keep a cache of stolen money.

This film is taken to another level by Ida Lupino, who plays the girlfriend of one of the cops. She makes you understand why he turned to crime.

This film’s cast is everything.

Detective Story (1951)

An uncompromising detective is forced to face some hard truths about the connection between his wife and a criminal he is obsessed with capturing.

As the detective, Kirk Douglas is a force of nature, but the real star of this film is the first-rate ensemble cast, which includes Eleanor Parker, George Macready, William Bendix, Lee Grant, Cathy O’Donnell, Gladys George, Joseph Wiseman, and Frank Faylen.

Desperate (1947)

When a truck driver is inadvertently involved in a crime, he and his pregnant wife go on the run from both the police and the local mob.

Simple but engrossing plot, and a standout performance by Raymond Burr as one of the nastiest noir villains ever. What’s not to love?

Cry of the City (1948)

A cop-killer calculatingly uses his friends and family in his effort to evade police and reunite with his trusting young girlfriend.

Again, Richard Conte. He’s all you need.

Don’t let the fancy hat fool ya.

Decoy (1946)

A woman triple-crosses a series of lovers in her quest to procure a hidden chest filled with stolen money.

This movie contains one of my very favorite femme fatales, Margot Shelby (Jean Gillie). She could give lessons to Kathie Moffat and Phyllis Dietrichson.

The Damned Don’t Cry (1950)

A disillusioned, small-town housewife suffers a tragedy and gets more than she bargained for when she leaves her family for the big city and becomes involved with an organized crime leader.

Generally speaking, a movie need not have more than Joan Crawford to make me happy. And this one has so much more – great lines, cracking plot, masterful male leads in David Brian and Steve Cochran, and a scene of such realistic violence that it practically leaves you breathless.

Did I mention Richard Conte?

New York Confidential (1954)

The head of a New York syndicate finds his powerful empire endangered by disloyal underlings and his home life imperiled by the growing discontent of his daughter.

In addition to this film’s cast – headed by the superior trio of Broderick Crawford, Richard Conte, and Anne Bancroft – New York Confidential is elevated by the manner in which the varied characters interact with each other. It’s more than just crime. It’s drama.

Everything’s better with Elisha Cook, Jr.

Plunder Road (1957)

A motley crew of men plan and successfully carry out an ingenious heist, only to experience an unraveling in the aftermath.

The heist scene in this film – 13 minutes, no dialogue – rivals those seen in the Asphalt Jungle and Rififi. Also, Elisha Cook, Jr., is on hand. Bonus!

If you haven’t seen the films on this list, hunt ‘em down and give them some love. You won’t be sorry.

And join me tomorrow for Day 12 of Noirvember!

~ by shadowsandsatin on November 11, 2019.

12 Responses to “Day 11 of Noirvember: Top 10 Noirs That Don’t Get Enough Love”

  1. Jean Gillie with Peggy Cummins are the two most despicable Femmes in all film noir

  2. Thanks for a great list! I’m ashamed to say I haven’t seen any of these and really need to remedy that! Decoy and Detective Story sound right up my alley.

  3. Thanks for this very well thought out post it helps all of us noir fanatics

  4. Thanks for this very well thought out post it helps all of us fanatics

  5. Some great films here.

  6. Yes! The Big Combo and Decoy! So underrated, though The Big Combo has become a sort of cult classic, which is great.

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