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…

Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

“Murder starts in the heart, and its first weapon is a vicious tongue.” You can’t sum up the macabre lunacy of Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte any better. A film more well-known for what didn’t end up on-screen than what does, this concludes Robert Aldrich’s series of films created with Bette Davis (the other being What Ever Happened to Baby…

Five Came Back (1939)

Hollywood wasn’t betting on the massive success of a piddly little RKO adventure film starring the likes of Chester Morris and Lucille Ball. But when director John Farrow’s measly $225,000 film amassed $262,000 in profits, Hollywood’s ears perked up. In 1939, Five Came Back became one of the most successful films created by an independent…

Carnival of Souls (1962)

Carnival of Souls is the touchstone from which directors like George Romero made their best works.  I cite Romero especially because watching Carnival of Souls will easily make you think of Night of the Living Dead as both have a similar aesthetic in their black and white composition and the depiction of the dead (the…

Notorious (1946)

ORIGINALLY POSTED JANUARY 2013 I haven’t watched Rebecca in a few years, so at this point I’m declaring that Notorious is my favorite Alfred Hitchcock film (at the moment). There’s just so much to say about it, and yet I really don’t want to reveal too much so that you’ll go out and watch it…

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

Following the painstakingly tense Shadow of a Doubt (1943) with The Man Who Knew Too Much was always a gamble, especially since things worked together so perfectly in the last film. But the stew Hitchcock crafts for The Man Who Knew Too Much, a remake of his own 1934 drama, ends up being just that – a mishmash…