Pitfall (1948)

There’s a formula to film noirs, and while not strictly enforced there are particular elements one looks for – the morally ambiguous hero, interplay between light and shadow, an evil femme fatale. It is both this adherence to and divergence from convention that makes director Andre de Toth’s Pitfall so special. Recently released on a…

The Phantom of Crestwood (1932)

The Phantom of Crestwood is the equivalent of watching a radio serial play out on-screen. Maybe that’s because it was! As the film’s introduction states, the series was broadcast via radio with the final episode, solving the murder, revealed in the film. Call it deceptive or ingenious, The Phantom of Crestwood would attract just as…

Lady on a Train (1945)

Originally published December 15th, 2015 Maybe it’s the forced togetherness and spirit of brotherhood that makes the holidays so perfect for the noir genre. Whether it’s the glittery Hollywood pulp of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) or the nightclubs and trains in Lady on a Train, the subgenre of “Christmas noirs” are always funner and…

Fallen Angel (1945)

Fallen Angel is certainly the perfect title for a film noir; the term, attributed to the ultimate fallen angel, Lucifer, immediately conjures up images of Hell, sin, and dark dames leading you astray. Those are all elements peripherally in Otto Preminger’s film, but screenwriter Harry Kleiner ends up taking a wrong turn into domestic drama…