Women of the Night (1948, Kenji Mizoguchi)

Here Mizoguchi treads the trails left by the neo-realists and if the result is not a masterpiece (it lacks the sureness and completeness of so many of his best films) it’s still a remarkable and scrappy work of art, a sort of howl of rage and despair so brutal and overpowering that its expresser later … Continue reading Women of the Night (1948, Kenji Mizoguchi)

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The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946, Tay Garnett)

The Postman Always Rings Twice has been kicked so severely out of consideration as a top-drawer noir (in favour of more obviously auteurist works, or those with the stamp of approval from twenty-first century mannerists) that it is now probably somewhat underrated. Never mind all that because it’s a film rich with pleasures; from the … Continue reading The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946, Tay Garnett)

The Spiral Staircase (1945, Robert Siodmak)

A thriller directed by the underrated Robert Siodmak and derived from the overrated David O Selznick’s company. Siodmak revels in silence in The Spiral Staircase, for it is when the dialogue, the cosy literariness familiar from the films Hitchcock made under Selznick’s eagle eye and controlling grasp, slips away that he can exercise himself. In … Continue reading The Spiral Staircase (1945, Robert Siodmak)