Old Scores: A moving drama of psychological suspense, love and deception

10 Creepy Psychological Thrillers
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As Barry, Hader is a hit man so anesthetized to the grotesque nature of his job that he has practically forgotten how to have emotions. The first season of Big Mouth established this animated series as a funny, surprisingly poignant portrait of the harrowing process of going through puberty. The second, which deals with body positivity, slut shaming, and unrequited love, and once again features an all-star cast of voice talent, confirms that it deserves a spot in the Coming of Sexual Age Hall of Fame right next to Judy Blume books and every incarnation of Degrassi. The continued artistic development of this series about New York money and the government servants who try to regulate it has been thrilling to behold.

And yet, series creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien and their collaborators have created characters that are fully dimensional people that you feel for, ones you laugh with as well as at. We never talked about Casual enough. The Hulu series about the relationship missteps taken by dysfunctional L. Its final eight episodes, which time jump roughly four or five years into the future, complete with subtle technological advancements to match, stand as one last reminder that this series deserves to be noticed. It is beautifully acted, written with detail-oriented humor and humanity, and cynical but with just enough optimistic grace notes to avoid sinking into darkness.

Taking its cues from Robert Altman, Spike Lee, and such life-of-the-city ensembles as The Wire and Treme , it is driven almost entirely by characterization and atmosphere, interlinking narratives by theme and feeling and not solely by the whims of plot. Charting the everyday effects of politics on everyday citizens including police officers who are more often asked to be social worker than enforcers , this docuseries is a straightforward portrait of how race and class affect our perceptions of everything from mundane traffic stops and delinquency to police brutality.

This is a special gem, but to explain why would ruin the surprise. And surprise is a big part of the appeal of this Amazon dramedy, created by Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard and starring Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen as a married couple struggling with how to keep things fresh in their relationship. It keeps switching things up on its characters, shaking them out of their comfort zones and, in the process, happily doing the same thing for its audience.

The second season of the Netflix series about the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling is even better than its first. While the show gains heft and substance this season, it does so without sacrificing its sense of humor.

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If you hear a more off-kilter and genuinely inspired description of the show Cheers than the one that Sheila the She Dog Gayle Rankin offers in episode one, give me a call — on your absolutely gigantic brick of a mobile phone, of course. It riffed on the telenovela genre in increasingly clever ways, it showed us a Latinx family living in a heightened form of reality but still dealing with real problems like money problems and school boundary issues , and it enabled its star, the buoyant Gina Rodriguez, to shine. The climactic image of the crucified Jesus disappearing into the cosmos, his departure matted by a cross made from slowly converging rectangles, is a stunner.

Killing Eve is the most immediately enticing, delicious surprise of the year. Not sure what else one could ask for, really. One of the most delightful TV surprises of the year, Lodge 49 tells the story of a group of economic casualties in Long Beach, California, bonding through their membership in a local fraternal lodge while struggling to make ends meet in the wreckage of the late-capitalist economy.

This shambling, seriocomic ensemble piece evokes the wry fiction of Charles Portis novels like True Grit and Norwood , though the periodic eruptions of genuine pain prevent it from feeling like a cutesy diversion. Hosted and executive produced by former Parks and Rec co-stars Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, Making It is a competition show that features a group of master crafters and builders participating in a series of challenges until a winner is finally crowned. What distinguishes it from other competition shows? The participants are not only creative, but decent and generous to each other.

This Netflix limited series is an experimental story about a dodgy experiment: a pharmaceutical study in which a series of drugs are given to subjects, with the expectation that the treatment will cure any and all mental-health issues. Two of the subjects in that study are Annie Emma Stone and Owen Jonah Hill , who find themselves sharing space in their psyches every time they take a pill and drift off into a dreamscape where their traumas are explored in often fantastical contexts.

Before we know it, Gaby becomes a prime suspect for murder, and her seemingly-blessed life is falling apart. In her debut, Haynes creates an outstanding malevolent character in Lee Brightman—the handsome, charismatic boyfriend who turns out to be obsessive, manipulative and dangerous. In addition, the pacing is brilliant, and the plotting superb. Eight people are invited to a house on a remote island off the Devon coast, and two servants are already present.

The rhyme describes ten deaths. Then—one by one—the characters are murdered. Given that there are no hiding places on the island, the murderer is evidently one of the ten characters. A masterpiece. I read this book many years ago, and can still easily recall its unnerving atmosphere.

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Astrid Bell is a fabulous character—a bicycle messenger who is knocked off her bike by a woman who turns up dead the next day. Then Astrid is linked to a second murder. I love the claustrophobic sense you get from the disparate characters living in a closed environment. Then the novel switches, and the final section is eerily told from the point of view of the murderer. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here.

To subscribe, click here. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. If you have questions or need assistance setting up your account please email pw pubservice. New York Rights Fair. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. Sin by Josephine Hart.

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Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. Reversing the usual MGM "tailor the story to the stars" formula, the storyline in Conspirator is sometimes more compelling than its leading players. Still, Liz Taylor acquitted herself nicely, proving that she'd have little difficulty tackling meaty dramatic roles in future films.

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Her skipper, Captain Anderson Conrad Veidt , is compelled to ascede to British demands, but dreads the delay, pointing out that the medical supplies in his cargo are vital. Anderssen is a dedicated seaman, all business, even where Mrs. Sorenson Valerie Hobson , a headstrong passenger, is concerned. Then, on their first night in port, Mrs.

Sorenson and a Mr. Pidgeon Esmond Knight disappear from the ship with Anderson's landing papers, the captain is in hot pursuit. Forced to join the woman in what seems a mad chase across London by night, he plunges into an Alice-in-Wonderland world of the blacked out city, following a set of clues through the maze of darkened streets and uncover a Nazi spy ring operating out of a basement in Soho. Each also discovers that there's a lot to admire and even possibly to love in the other — the challenge is for Hobson, who is something other than the divorcee and mother she pretends to be, to stay alive long enough for Captain Anderson to effect a rescue and prevent the German spies from turning the British counter-intelligence effort against the Allies.

The trouble is, Jarne has never been effectively identified by the authorities — and in fact could be just about anyone whom Gerard meets. Following the trail of evidence to Buenos Aires, Gerard's strongarm methods run afoul not only of the Argentine authorities, but also of a pro-French underground movement which also wants to bring the villain to justice.

Weaselly Incza Walter Slezak plays all sides down the middle until he too is ruthlessly rubbed out by the bad guy. Avoid at all costs the computer-colored version of this beautifully photographed black-and-white film. This time around, Lanyard is in London during the Blitz, where he finds himself up to his neck in Nazi spies. Counter-Espionage was one of several mids Columbia "series" films which dropped the name of the series from the title in hopes of attracting new audiences. Dennis O'Keefe plays Sam Donovan, an insurance detective, investigating the suicide of a policy holder.

All signs point to murder, but no one in the victim's hometown is willing to cooperate with Donovan, least of all sheriff Larry Beat William Bendix. Local girl Anita Barbara Britton breaks through the wall of silence and helps Donovan solve the mystery. Intriguingly, the action of Cover-Up takes place at Christmastime, with the tinselly Yuletide atmosphere providing stark contrast to the sordid murder story. Steele does not understand his own bizarre actions, but explains that he was in a train wreck and had to get back to the museum.

Questioned by Lt. Cochrane Wallace Ford , who tells him there have been no train wrecks in months, Steele relates, in flashback, the events leading up to the incident. Earlier in the day the head of the museum had suspended him for alienating wealthy patrons by criticizing "art snobs" in a lecture. He then received a phone call informing him that his mother was sick, and caught the train to the hospital, but never got there. Though suspicious of Steele, Cochrane is persuaded by the shadowy Mr. Traybin Herbert Marshall to release him so he can follow Steele. The next day Steele retraces his steps and discovers that someone had set him up to be discredited, though he knows neither who nor why.

Following the murder of a friend who was trying to help him, he discovers that forgeries of some very famous paintings are at the heart of the matter, but getting to the culprit is a more difficult task. Unable to remember anything about his past, he starts anew and becomes a psychiatrist. He never does stop trying to remember his past life, even while his present life continues to advance. He is soon made the head of the state parole board. There he gets entangled with former gang members, one of whom hits him in the head, again.

Suddenly, he remembers. He gives himself up, but then receives a suspended sentence. Robert Ordway, criminal-turned-criminologist, in Crime Doctor's Courage. It's just possible that Kathleen, taking into consideration the mysterious deaths of Carson's previous wives, may have killed her husband out of self-preservation. Ah, but there are several other suspects around and about, including a brace of Spanish dancers Lupita Tovar and Anthony Caruso , an eccentric young man Robert Scott and a mystery novelist Jerome Cowan.

Murder-movie buffs will probably glom onto the killer's identity long before Dr. Ordway does. This time, criminal-turned-sleuth Dr. Robert Ordway Warner Baxter befriends amnesiac war veteran Philip Armstrong Myron Healey , who is morbidly drawn to a small-town carnival. When Armstrong is murdered, Ordway recalls him saying that his death was preordained by sideshow fortune-teller Alfredi Ivan Triesault. An interested observer to the events is Armstrong's meek fiancee Irene Ellen Drew whose cruel twin sister Natalie would seem to be the instigator of the murder.

That's a swell theory-except for the fact that Natalie has been dead for two years! The film's best line is delivered by Inspector Manning William Frawley , but to repeat it here would be giving away the ending. Ordway, a former criminal turned criminologist. In this outing, Ordway is called in to analyze the dreams of elderly Patricia Cornwall Virginia Brissac. Could the guilty party be Diana Burns Rose Hobart , widow of Cornwall's former partner, who has just become a murder victim himself? Drawing from his own experiences, Mooney has concocted a tale of a newspaper journalist who faces a prison term because he refuses to reveal his sources.

Tom Neal plays the Mooney counterpart, a crime reporter who takes on a gang of racketeers. His effectiveness is somewhat diluted when he falls in love with Martha Tilton, the sister of one of the crooks. Further complicating things is the fact that the foreman of a jury listening to testimony against the racketeers is in fact the leader of the gang.

In a break from his heroic "Falcon" role, Tom Conway stars as Steve Barnes, a criminal attorney known for his unorthodox courtroom tactics. After accidentally killing a crooked nightclub owner, Barnes is stuck on the horns of a dilemma when his sweetheart, cabaret singer Georgia Gale Martha O'Driscoll , is arrested for the crime The problem: How can Barnes clear Georgia of the murder without implicating himself?

As for the solution All that keeps Criminal Court from A-picture status is its 62 minute running time; on the other hand, the film's impact might have been blunted had it been any longer. A duplicitous songstress is murdered, and the prime suspects are members of a nightclub jazz combo. John Litel, the detective assigned to the case, is himself a jazz fan and thus takes proprietary interest in the band.

As suspicion shifts from one musician to another, those involved with the case notably Lois Collier, the girlfriend of one of the musicians dig deeper into the clues, discovering at last that the culprit is someone with no music in his soul at all. Though the plot is nothing special, the wall-to-wall music and "hip" ambience of Crimson Canary result in a better than average Universal "B". Potent film noir look by cinematographer Franz Planer and music by Miklos Rozsa help compensate for Lancaster's miscasting as an easily manipulated husband.

Tony Curtis' screen debut; he's briefly seen as De Carlo's dance partner. Williams Rhys Williams. Both the crooks and the cops seem to have good reason to despise Rice, and he'd like to find out why. He won't get any help from his wife Nina Ellen Drew , however, since she is as hostile towards Rice as everyone else. Gradually, Rice puts the pieces together and discovers that he's far better off not remembering his former self.

Monty Montogomery Ryan is a violent and unstable soldier who, while out on a pass, goes on a drinking spree with three buddies, Floyd Steve Brodie , Arthur George A.


Cooper , and Leroy William Phipps. While boozing it up in a tavern, the four men meet Joseph Samuels Sam Levene and his girlfriend Ginny Gloria Grahame , who invite the soldiers back to their apartment for a party. Monty, however, has a fierce hatred of Jews, and he later goes into a drunken rage in which he beats Joseph to death. Monty's friends can barely remember the incident through their liquor-shrouded memories, but they recall just enough to make themselves scarce when police detective Capt.

Finlay Robert Young begins making the rounds looking for information on Joseph's murder. Kelly Robert Mitchum , a soldier who knows the four men, begins to suspect that something is up, and he works with Finlay and Ginny to help ferret out the killer in his ranks, while Monty kills Floyd when he becomes convinced that he's going to talk to the authorities.

While director Edward Dmytryk showed real bravery in bringing this story to the screen, it had greater repercussions than he might have expected; the film's controversial themes led to Dmytryk's denunciation by the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy-era investigations of the s; luckily, unlike other filmmakers who suffered similar accusations by HUAC, Dmytryk continued to work steadily through the '50s and '60s.

Diplomat David Talbot William Powell and his bride Lucienne Hedy Lamarr are enjoying a honeymoon in Paris when David is confronted by extortionists who demand money in exchange for not turning him in to the police. David has no idea what the men are talking about and ignores their threats, but the men prove good to their word, and David finds himself on trial for a series of thefts. At the trial, David's name is cleared when Henri Sarrow Basil Rathbone testifies that he knew the man who committed the crimes, a friend of his who recently died.

However, after the trial, David meets Sarrow, who informs David that he lied under oath; according to Sarrow, David did indeed commit the robberies while suffering from amnesia after a severe blow to the head, and if he wants to keep the facts quiet, he'll do whatever Sarrow says. Though Rome recovers, he still must elude Candella and Collins in his desperate attempt to escape his fate. Rome has two visitors in the hospital: his girl friend Teena Debra Paget , who goes into hiding, and Niles Barry Kroeger , a crooked lawyer.

Niles tries to bribe Rome to take a jewel theft and homicide rap for a client of his since Rome is facing the electric chair anyway. When Rome refuses, Niles threatens to frame Teena as the client's female accomplice. Worried that Candella might find Teena, Rome breaks out of jail and goes to Niles's office to accept the offer, but he actually plans to leave the country with Teena.

When Niles reneges, Rome kills him, but not before learning the accomplice's identity and discovering the stolen jewels in the lawyer's safe. Rome finds the accomplice, Rose Given Hope Emerson , and offers to trade the jewelry for the means to leave the country. She agrees, and they arrange a meeting in the subway, but Rome informs Candella of the plan. When the police arrive, Candella is shot, Rose is arrested, and Rome escapes to meet up with Teena in a church.

As he is trying to convince Teena to run away with him, a wounded Candella shows up and tells Teena how Rome uses people and that everyone who helped in his escape will be paying a price. Teena rejects Rome, and he runs again, only to be shot down by Candella. The moral order is ultimately restored, but no one has been left unscarred. Most of the story takes place at a remote and forbidding mansion, where Sandra Marshall Barbara Stanwyck , the widow of the house's owner, arrives to take charge.

An apparent golddigger, Sandra refuses to be bought off with a small cash settlement and insists on claiming her late husband's entire estate, which earns her a powerful enemy in the form of research scientist Mark Caldwell Flynn.

Upon learning that her headstrong sister-in-law Julie Geraldine Brooks is kept a virtual prisoner in the house, Sandra begins suspecting that Caldwell is up to no good-a suspicion seemingly confirmed when Julie dies under mysterious circumstances. But as the story slowly unravels, it becomes clear that Caldwell is actually the hero of the piece, while the villain is So begins D. Told by a doctor that he only has a few hours to live, Bigelow desperately retraces his movements of the previous 24 hours, trying to locate his murderer. Through the aid of his secretary Paula Gibson Pamela Britton who doesn't know of her boss' imminent demise , Bigelow traces a shipment of iridium to a gang of criminals who've used the poison in the commission of a crime.

Bigelow had been targeted because he'd notarized the shipment, which came from the chemical firm where he works. Though we know from the outset that Bigelow isn't long for this world, the film builds up an incredible amount of suspense towards the end, when master crook Holiday William Ching orders his crazed henchman Neville Brand to take Bigelow for "a ride. The story begins as the handsome cad is witnessed quickly leaving a hotel room in the East.

He has just stolen money, and a wedding band from a dead woman. He is next seen in L. There, he begins victimizing two naive sisters and uses them to substantially increase his wealth. Eventually, the two figure out the man's evil game, but there is little they can do to thwart him. Meanwhile, the gigolo is being stalked by the husband of the woman he robbed in the film's beginning. A popular mystery writer, Harry occasionally indulges in amateur detective work, with wife Jane at his side; their friendly nemesis is Inspector Clinton Frank Craven , who'd prefer that the Craigs would stay home and mind their own business.

This proves impossible when Ralph McCormick Edmund Lowe , the owner of a swank fashion studio, is accused of murdering his wife for the love of designer Julie Taylor Anita Louise. Snooping around on their own, the Craigs find the real killer-and nearly wind up victims themselves. There each will be entitled to an equal share of his fortune.

He dies, and the eight go to China. Trouble ensues in the remote cabin when two relatives are murdered. More murder attempts soon follow before the survivors learn the surprising truth. He lies beside a plane crash. Each of the wills is made out to the man. Meanwhile a recent widow and a man work together to get the money her husband died for.

They almost get it when they are accosted by the man who was found lying beside the planed. He claims to be a Nazi spy who is trying to get the money and use it to escape to Germany. The couple captures the spy and donates the money to their government. Making the journey by boat, Beck finds himself the target of several attempts on his life. He also forms a more than professional relationship with his attorney, Nita Paxton Phyllis Brooks. En route to Galveston, Beck and Nita are shipwrecked and forced to swim for their lives. The identity of their mystery assailant is revealed in the last reel, though for a while it doesn't look like either the hero or the heroine will survive long enough to profit from this knowledge.

Jane was injured in a car wreck, and she tells Michael a remarkable story. She claims that she is actually an espionage agent with top-secret information that could help the Allied war effort; the accident occurred while she was trying to escape from Axis spies who will do anything to get her documents. Michael, who is supposed to keep an eye on Jane, thinks she must be delusional, and when psychiatrist Dr. Ingersol Raymond Massey arrives with Jane's father, Mr. Goodwin Moroni Olsen , he signs Jane out in their custody. However, Michael soon discovers that Mr.

Goodwin isn't Jane's father at all; he and Ingersol are actually the Nazi spies Jane was fleeing in the accident, and someone must rescue her before it's too late, both for Jane and the Allied war effort. One twin commits a murder: The "good" twin is blamed, but provides no alibi in her own defense, since she can't believe that the "bad" twin is guilty. Psychologist Lew Ayres and detective Thomas Mitchell try to get to the truth, a task made difficult by the bad twin's habit of imitating her sister to perfection. Ayres solves the mystery and sorts out which twin is which, but not before nearly ending up on a slab in the morgue himself.

Based on a novel by Vladimir Pozner the same , The Dark Mirror was remade for television in , with Jane Seymour in the lead—er, leads. The first hour or so of Dark Passage does the same thing—and the results are far more successful than anything seen in Montgomery's film. Humphrey Bogart heads the cast as an escaped convict, wrongly accused of his wife's murder. After being forced to beat up a man Clifton Young from whom he's hitched a ride, Bogart hides out in the apartment of Lauren Bacall.

With the help of friendly cabbie Tom D'Andrea, Bogart makes contact with sympathetic plastic surgeon Housley Stevenson, and with his new face actually his old face, which we haven't seen during the first hour or so of the film he seeks out Agnes Moorehead, the actual murderer. An extortion attempt by the man whom Bogart had earlier punched out slows down things a bit, but Bogie finally catches up with Moorehead.

Curiously, Bogart is never completely cleared, but he is granted a happy ending of sorts when, to the strains of "Too Marvelous for Words", he and Bacall head for Peru to start life anew. Dark Passage is more interesting in its individual parts than its sum total, but it does manage to provide an new slant on the traditional Bogey-Bacall pairing. Cobb , his wife, his son, and some friends are taken hostage by escaped murderer Al Walker William Holden and his gang, including girlfriend Betty Nina Foch.

Collins, an advocate of rehabilitating criminals through psychiatry, induces his captor to talk about himself through the course of the night. By calmly and methodically piecing together the strands of the killer's unconscious motivation, Collins rids Walker of his literally murderous rage and prevents a massacre. Shrinks who practice in the noir universe are frequently painted as absurdly omnipotent. When not using their power for evil, like Dr. Collins, of miracle cures. A more complex depiction of an unrealistically powerful, but ambiguously motivated, psychiatrist can be seen in Joseph Losey's The Sleeping Tiger In that British film, Dr.

Clive Esmond Alexander Knox cures a criminal in a few short months but destroys his own marriage in the process. Starring: William Holden, Lee J. This stems from the fact that in her childhood, Leslie was one of four survivors of a torpedoed steamship. Preying upon Leslie's fears, conniving Mr.

Sydney Thomas Mitchell , a guest at the Calvin family's Louisiana plantation, concocts a campaign of terror designed to drive the poor girl crazy so that he can claim her vast inheritance. Sydney and his cohorts also have the presence of mind to murder all of Leslie's closest relatives, leaving her utterly helpless. This resolves lasts for about eight minutes, whereupon Lawrence tackles the case of a missing scientist named Waldo Sampson Alec Craig , the inventor of a synthetic-diamond process.

Kidnapped by Sampson's abductors, Lawrence manages to escape, only to be kidnapped again and later accused of murder. The resolution of the plot hinges on the old mistaken-identity device one of the principal characters has an identical twin, and that's all that can be said without giving the game away. Carryovers from the first "Falcon" film include Allen Jenkins as Lawrence's dimwitted sidekick Goldie and character actor Hans Conried, here cast as a snotty hotel night clerk.

The heroine of the play can be described as a "homicidal nymphomaniac," which understandably posed censorship problems when the Catto original was adapted to the screen. In her second film, Irish stage star Siobhan McKenna plays Emma Baudine, a "black widow" who lures men with her sexual charms and then murders them. Because she is the trusted assistant of village priest Father Corcoran Liam Redmond , no one suspects what Emma is up to -- no one, that is, except the inquisitive Bess Stanforth Anne Crawford , who emerges as the heroine of the piece.

Also appearing in her first movie role is Honor Blackman, long before her international TV fame vis-a-vis The Avengers. Chan deduces that the old lady died of fright, brought on by the apparent visitation of the ghost of her ancestor, a notorious pirate. Suspecting that the ghost was actually one of Miss Nodbury's enemies in disguise, Chan tags along on the treasure hunt to pinpoint the real killer. Meanwhile, Number Two Son Jimmy Chan Victor Sen Yung seeks out suspects on the waterfront, only to be constantly dunked in the briny by a wild-eyed but essentially harmless lunatic Milton Parsons.

Drake hops off and disappears, leading Murdock on a hectic manhunt. Upon meeting Drake's former girlfriend Coral Chandler Lizabeth Scott , Murdock is thrown into a maelstrom of intrigue involving a crooked gambler Morris Carnovsky and a complex blackmailing scheme. The upshot of this is that Murdock finds himself the prime suspect in a murder. When he awakens, Alex discovers that she has been murdered. Though he believes that he's the killer, our hero is talked into locating the actual miscreant by philosophical cab driver gus Paul Lukas and nightclub dancer June Susan Hayward.

Adapted from a novel by Cornell Woolrich, Deadline at Dawn leans towards pretentiousness at times, but is redeemed by the no-nonsense performance by Susan Hayward. Music teacher Bette Davis—who evidently has a large student pool, judging by the size of her penthouse apartment—is reunited with her cellist lover Paul Henreid, whom she believed to have been killed in the war. Henreid wants to marry Davis, but he is unaware that she has, for the past several years, been the "protege" of composer Claude Rains.

Rains agrees to keep quiet about his affair with Davis, but takes sadistic delight in tormenting the woman and working behind the scenes to sabotage Henreid's career. When Rains tells Bette of his plans to publicly humiliate Henreid, she shoots her ex-lover dead. Henreid agrees to stand by Davis no matter what is in store for her. Director Irving Rapper had originally wanted to treat the hoary plot twists of Deception comically, with the three principals walking off together at the end with a "what the hell?

He was tersely told to stick to the script; after all, people didn't pay to see Bette Davis but to see her suffer. Like the version of Jealousy, Deception was based on a play by Louis Verneuil. Shots ring out, and the police rush to the scene. Sergeant Leonard gets there to find the doctor dead, and the woman failing fast. As she lay gasping she decides to tell the sergeant the whole terrible story that began when she got involved with a cop-killing robber who was captured and sentenced to death.

He gives his girl half of the map, but unfortunately gets shot by a rival before he can give her the other half. The ruthless woman and another gang member then force the doctor to assist them with their search. They are heading off to the location, when the double-crossing she-devil kills the other gangster in a horrible manner and continues on with the doctor. They find the chest containing the loot and they get an awful surprise. The woman begins laughing hysterically as if on the verge of a full-blown break down.

She shoots the doctor and then flees, thereby bringing the story up to the present. Just before she dies, the ruthless woman reveals the astonishing contents of the chest. She plays Libby, a mountain girl nearly deprived of speech due to her rather hostile environment in general and repressive home life in particular. A true innocent, she falls head-over-heels in love with Barry Burnett Dane Clark , a member of a prison chain gang building a road through the wilderness.

One of those convenient storms endemic to this kind of narrative allows Barry and Libby to escape into the hills but their blissful existence proves of short duration. Breaking out, Carver hits upon a clever scheme to exact a confession from the genuine miscreants. Pretending to help five mobsters escape the Law after committing a bank robbery, Carver drives them far, far into the desert, threatening to leave them at the mercy of the vultures and the sun unless one or all of them confess to the frame-up.

Isabel Jewell is atypically cast as the good-natured daughter of a small-town physician. In his first important role, Steve Brodie plays newlywed trucker Steve Randall, who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time during a fur robbery. Randall Audrey Long unless Steve confesses to a murder committed by Radak's brother during the theft. Pretending to play along with the villains, Steve manages to escape with his wife in tow. The rest of the film is a prolonged chase, with the Randalls pursued by both the crooks and the cops.

A surprise ending caps this film noir mini-classic, which is best appreciated when not seen in its computer-colorized version.

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Comedy Drama Romance. Until It's Over by Nicci French. He punctures the necks as a means of avenging the death of his wife in the 15th century, and when he comes to London, it is specifically to meet heroine Mina Harker Winona Ryder , the living image of his late wife Ryder plays a dual role, as do several of her costars. Wong investigates the murder of a police officer, nearly ending up murdered himself during a climactic jewelry-store robbery. Buena Vista Pictures. It's the Wild West, played out on the city's streets.

Edmund MacDonald. When Haskell suffers a fatal heart attack, Roberts, afraid that he'll be accused of murder, disposes of the body, takes the man's clothes and wallet, and begins driving the car himself. He picks up beautiful but sullen Vera Ann Savage , who suddenly breaks the silence by asking "What did you do with the body? Holding the threat of summoning the police over his head, Vera forces Roberts to continue his pose so that he can collect a legacy from Haskell's millionaire father, who hasn't seen his son in years.

Lawrence Tierney plays Steve Morgan, a charming but utterly sociopathic criminal who has just robbed and killed a movie theater cashier. Morgan hitches a ride with inebriated conventioneer Jimmy Furguson Ted North. When circumstances lead Jimmy to believe that Steve is the fugitive whom the cops are looking for, Morgan sweet-talks his way into everyone's confidence. Before he knows what's happening, Jimmy is holed up in a beach house while Steve parties with Beulah and Agnes. Not even the most fervent of film noir fans will be able to predict the outcome of this one.

Long ignored by movie buffs, The Devil Thumbs a Ride gained a large following through repeated TV showings in the s and '70s. It is now considered so representative of its genre that one film historian used the film's title for a collection of his essays on B-melodramas. Autopsies reveal that the brains of the victims were all shrunken -- literally dehydrated -- but there is no known scientific process that would explain how this could happen.

Barton must not only determine the cause, but also its connection, if any, to the mysterious Mr. Fouracada Sebastian Cabot and the murder of Crespin, a British agent who was returning from Prague with news of a plot against England. While Barton is investigating the first tragedy, another village is destroyed, making it imperative that he tie up the ends of the case before more people die -- and figure out what the connection of all of it may be to a traveling fair that was seen in the vicinity of both villages before they were wiped out.

Though Ralph Byrd is most closely associated with the role of Tracy, the title character is played herein by Morgan Conway Byrd would be seen as Tracy in the last two series entries. The jut-jawed detective takes on a vicious criminal named Splitface Mike Mazurki , who upon escaping from jail vows to murder all 12 of the jurors who found him guilty.

He manages to knock off three of the jurors before the police force figures out what's happening. Jane Greer, an RKO contractee on the verge of bigger things, appears briefly as one of Splitface's intended victims the film's publicity misled filmgoers into believing that both Greer and Anne Jeffreys would be in the villain's clutches by the end of the picture, when in fact Greer disappears from the proceedings in reel four!

On the plus side, Dick Tracy, Detective admirably recreates the larger-than-life milieu of Chester Gould's comic strip, with bizarre camera angles, slightly unreal sets, and character names like Deathridge the Coroner; on the minus side, the film is cheap in the extreme, with a script that seems to have been made up as it went along. When asked about Dick Tracy Detective in , Anne Jeffreys flatly denied she'd ever played Tess Trueheart until she caught up with the film on videotape she'd completely forgotten the whole experience!

The former Frankenstein monster plays an escaped convict masterminding a daring bank robbery. To get in and out of the bank without being noticed, the gang uses an asphyxiating gas that leaves anyone inside momentarily frozen in place. Everyone, that is, except for bank customer Tess Truehart Anne Gwynne , who is able to contact Dick Tracy Byrd from a phone booth in the bank. With little or no clues, Tracy and his man Friday, Pat Patton Lyle Latell , question the bank customers but none can shed any light on the mysterious goings-on. The disappearance of Dr. Tomic Milton Parsons and the odd behavior of his associate, Dr.

Learned June Clayworth , crack the case wide open, however, and Tracy is eventually able to track down both Gruesome and the surprising identity of his boss, L. Thal Edward Ashley. The legendary horror star apparently later accepted his own box-office value and a Universal comedy was released as Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff. This time, Chester Gould's immortal comic strip hero is called in to handle a fur theft. Davidson , explains — holds the company liable if the stolen furs haven't been recovered within 24 hours of the theft.

The trail leads to Longshot Lily Bernadene Hayes , a would-be fence who is promptly arrested. But when Tracy's snitch, Sightless Jimmy Conlin , is found brutally murdered, the detective realizes that he has more than a simple fur theft on his hands. With the help of master thespian Vitamin Flintheart Ian Keith and ever-present sidekick Pat Patton Lyle Latell , Tracy follows a series of clues that leads him to a deserted junkyard and a fateful confrontation with fiendish killer "the Claw" Jack Lambert.

Lawrence Tierney became an overnight cult favorite with his gritty portrayal of maverick bank robber John Dillinger, though top billing is bestowed upon Edmund Lowe as gang chieftan Specs. The film traces Dillinger's criminal career from his first petty theft to his spectacular demise outside Chicago's Biograph Theater incidentally, this film was banned in Chicago for several years. The film's setpiece is an elaborate armored-car holdup, lifted in its entirety from footage originally shot for Fritz Lang's You Only Live Once Directed by: Max Nosseck.

Wong" mystery, Boris Karloff solves the case of who killed shipping magnate Cyrus P. Wentworth Melvin Lang. Wentworth's flagship "The Wentworth Castle" had tragically caught on fire with a tremendous loss of life. Near suicidal, the shipping tycoon is helped into the next world by persons unknown but dunderhead police captain Bill Street Grant Withers points the finger at Dick Fleming William Stelling , the son of a rival tycoon and in love with Wentworth's daughter Cynthia Catherine Craig.

Promising to eat his hat if young Fleming isn't the killer, Street can only watch as enterprising cub reporter Bobby Logan Marjorie Reynolds assigns Mr. Wong Karloff to solve the case. Which the eminent Oriental sleuth does to the point where Bobby can gleefully add salt to Street's less than edible headgear. The burning of the fictional "Wentworth Castle" was actual footage from the infamous "Morro Castle" fire, a tragedy that took the lives of passengers. Even so, girl reporter Sue Carey Margaret Lindsay falls in love with Wayne, despite the fact that she also thinks he's guilty.

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This causes no end of discomfort for city editor Walter Gifford William Gargan , who is in love with Sue himself, and police captain Orr James Burke , who has a vested interest in seeing Wayne delivered to the executioner. By film's end, of course, Sue has helped to prove Wayne's innocence, through the simple expedient of stumbling upon the identity of the real killer. With so much going on, it's surprising that Double Alibi could squeeze in the traditional comedy relief of Roscoe Karns, cast once more as a wisecacking photojournalist.

Cain novel by Wilder and Raymond Chandler, Double Indemnity represents the high-water mark of s film noir urban crime dramas in which a greedy, weak man is seduced and trapped by a cold, evil woman amidst the dark shadows and Expressionist lighting of modern cities. The murder goes as planned, but after the couple's passion cools, each becomes suspicious of the other's motives.

Robinson , a brilliant insurance investigator, takes over the investigation. Told in flashbacks from Neff's perspective, the film moves with ruthless determinism as each character meets what seems to be a preordained fate. Movie veterans Stanwyck, MacMurray, and Robinson give some of their best performances, and Wilder's cynical sensibility finds a perfect match in the story's unsentimental perspective, heightened by John Seitz's hard-edged cinematography.

Double Indemnity ranks with the classics of mainstream Hollywood movie-making. Kildare series to dispense with the services of Dr.