Amnesia, hypnosis and atomic paranoia compel the desperate actions of the characters in 20th Century Foxs most recent film-noir DVD releases. Three lesser-known thrillers in the canon, Somewhere in the Night (1946), Whirlpool (1949) and The House on 92nd Street (1945), together offer a perfect distillation of post-WWII American anxieties. In Somewhere in the Night, director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve) transforms the identity crises of returning vets into a strikingly unhinged mystery that weaves, like a drunk on a binge, from Hollywood to San Pedro: After waking up with amnesia in a military hospital, a discharged soldier (John Hodiak) follows a trail of clues including a scathing indictment of his former self in the form of an unsigned Dear John letter to Los Angeles, where he finds his current self at the center of a deadly treasure hunt. Its Dark Passage meets The Maltese Falcon, from Mankiewiczs flirtations with first-person camera work to the devilish supporting cast (including Richard Conte, Lloyd Nolan and Fritz Kortner) that steps out of the shadows. Conte also appears in Otto Premingers Whirlpool, as a famous psychoanalyst (he wears a bow tie to take the edge off) married to Gene Tierneys closet kleptomaniac. Preminger spikes the décor with a few atmospheric tricks from his previous Tierney-led noir, Laura sinister porcelain masks, the looming portrait of a dead woman but its José Ferrer, as a foreign-sounding hypnotist, who brings Tierneys neurosis bubbling to the surface in this slate-gray melodrama of suburban discontent, blackmail and murder. The most standard film of the bunch, Henry Hathaways House on 92nd Street plays the police procedural straight in a nevertheless intriguing account of an FBI double agent working to bust a Nazi spy ring searching for plans for the nuclear bomb. Other recommended new releases: The Man Who Fell to Earth. Also released this week: Alone in the Dark; Bad Timing; Ben Hur: 4-Disc Collectors Edition; Big Girls Dont Cry... They Get Even; Black Torment; The Brady Bunch: The Complete Third Season; Cheers: The Complete Sixth Season; Da Ali G Show: The Complete Second Season; The Day My Parents Ran Away; Devils Island Lovers; Earthquake; Empire Falls; Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Fourth Season; Frasier: The Complete Sixth Season; George Lopez: Why You Crying?; Hero of Rome; The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy; Latinologues 2; One Tree Hill: The Complete Second Season; Peep Show: Series One; Poohs Heffalump Halloween Movie; Richard Lewis: Concerts From Hell The Vintage Years; Smallville: The Complete Fourth Season; Taxi: The Complete Third Season; Twin Sisters; USC Football Complete History; Weebles: Sharing in the Fun; Winter Solstice; The Work of Directors Anton Corbijn, Jonathan Glazer, Mark Romanek, Stéphane Sednaoui.
Recommended For You
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!