Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema XI [A Woman's Vengeance / I Was a Shoplifter / Behind the High Wall]
Directed by Zoltán Korda, Charles Lamont, Abner Biberman
This collection features three film noir classics. A WOMAN’S VENGEANCE (1948) – Charles Boyer (When Tomorrow Comes), Ann Blyth (Thunder on the Hill) and Jessica Tandy (The Birds) star in A Woman’s Vengeance, a gripping noir mystery from acclaimed director Zoltán Korda (The Four Feathers). When his invalid wife Emily (Rachel Kempson, The Captive Heart) dies of a heart attack, it frees Henry Maurier (Boyer) to marry his young mistress (Blyth). Confiding her suspicions that Henry murdered her patient, Emily’s nurse (Mildred Natwick, Against All Flags) is encouraged by a neighbor (Tandy) to tell the police. Suddenly Henry finds himself wrongly convicted and awaiting his fate while the family doctor (Sir Cedric Hardwicke, The Lodger) races against time to find the real killer and save his life. Visionary author Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) adapted the screenplay from his own short story, “The Gioconda Smile.” I WAS A SHOPLIFTER (1950) – Mona Freeman (Flesh and Fury) stars as the titular kleptomaniac in the sensational crime story, I Was a Shoplifter. Cop Jeff Andrews (Scott Brady, Undertow) agrees to go undercover to shadow the sticky-fingered Faye Burton (Freeman), a judge’s daughter who has been coerced into working for a professional shoplifting ring run by ruthless pawnbroker Ina Perdue (Andrea King, The World in His Arms). Jeff finds himself falling in love with Faye while working to crack the gang of thieves. Directed by Charles Lamont (Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man), shot by Irving Glassberg (Larceny) and featuring Tony Curtis (The Square Jungle), Charles Drake (Deported) and Rock Hudson (The Tarnished Angels), I Was a Shoplifter is a fast-paced film noir treat. BEHIND THE HIGH WALL (1956) – Tom Tully (The Turning Point) and Sylvia Sidney (Sabotage) star in the riveting prison-break noir, Behind the High Wall. A group of convicts escape from the big house, killing a guard, kidnapping the warden, Frank Carmichael (Tully), and forcing a reluctant inmate, Johnny Hutchins (John Gavin, Midnight Lace), to accompany them. However, when a car crash kills everyone except for Frank and Johnny, the wicked warden steals $100,000 of the escapees’ loot, then accuses the innocent Johnny of the guard’s murder in order to cover up his own crime. Directed by Abner Biberman (The Price of Fear), Behind the High Wall is a crackerjack thriller that plays out to a harrowing conclusion, with fine supporting turns by Betty Lynn (TV’s The Andy Griffith Show), John Larch (Play Misty for Me) and Barney Phillips (Ruby Gentry).