Disc News: More Noir from the Columbia Vault

The underbelly of society gets to shine with the release of Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics II on July 6. Martin Scorsese contributes to the bonus features. Here’s the press release from Sony Pictures Entertainment:

CULVER CITY, CALIF. (April 26, 2010) – Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPHE) and Martin Scorsese’s non-profit film preservation organization, The Film Foundation, partner once again to bring five films to DVD for the first time, fully-restored and re-mastered, in Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics II, debuting on DVD July 6. This must-have collection includes Pushover (1954), Human Desire (1954), The Brothers Rico (1957), Nightfall (1957) and City of Fear (1959). In this second volume, renowned directors Fritz Lang, Phil Karlson and Irving Lerner are joined by Jacques Tourneur and Richard Quine in proving that lust, adultery, greed and revenge all add up to cold, calculated murder. Film Noir Classics II takes viewers on a dark journey among low-lifes and mobsters, cops and gun molls, and the dim-witted, hapless pawns who forever changed the landscape of cinema, and whose doomed paths are as disturbing today as when they were first committed to film.

The bonus materials include special introductory featurettes with a trio of award winning talent – “Martin Scorsese on The Brother’s Rico,” “Pulp Paranoia” with Christopher Nolan and “Terror and Desire” with Emily Mortimer. Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics II will be available as a five-disc set for $59.95 SRP.

Human Desire (1954):
Korean War veteran Jeff Warren (Glenn Ford) returns home to his old, familiar job as a railroad engineer, but he quickly succumbs to his boss’s wife, Vicky Buckley (played with frank, unvarnished carnality by Gloria Grahame). Thus begins a tangled web of suspicion, sex and murder involving Vicky and her thuggish husband Carl (Broderick Crawford, in a display of brutish physicality). Directed by Fritz Lang, adapted from Emile Zola’s La Bete Humaine (famously filmed by Jean Renoir in 1939), Human Desire evokes a powerful emotional landscape of envy, greed, lust and violent anger.

Pushover (1954):
Fred MacMurray, in a role reminiscent of his classic noir Double Indemnity plays one of the duty-bound cops who stake out the apartment of Lona McLane (Kim Novak), the girlfriend of a bank robber-killer. Paul Sheridan (MacMurray) gets close to the beautiful blonde in order to get the lowdown on her boyfriend and the stolen cash, but she turns on the heat and he falls for her, leading to a double-cross with fatal results. Directed by Richard Quine, screenplay by Roy Huggins (The Fugitive), with E.G. Marshall, Philip Carey and Dorothy Malone.

Nightfall (1957):
Directed by Jacques Tourneur (Out of the Past), and drawn from one of the masterful, despairing novels of David Goodis, Nightfall is the tale of an innocent man trapped in a senseless and lethal web of seduction and crime. When a young man, an artist, is ensnared in a bungled robbery and murder; he flees from the killers who then relentlessly track him down in this taut thriller adapted for the screen by Stirling Silliphant (In the Heat of the Night). The cinematography by noir-specialist Burnett Guffey (In A Lonely Place, Human Desire, The Brothers Rico) ranges from the elegant, shadowy, neon-lit city to a vast and borderless winter landscape, ranking among his greatest achievements. Brian Keith, Aldo Ray, Anne Bancroft star in this masterpiece.

The Brothers Rico (1957):
Eddie Rico (Richard Conte), a “respectable” businessman and husband, receives a call in the middle of the night from his former mafia boss. Eddie’s deluded sense of loyalty allows him to agree to one last favor, pulling him back into the violence and terror of the mob and putting everything he loves in danger–including his wife (Dianne Foster), and brother (James Darren). Phil Karlson directs this cold, efficient noir, based on a story by Georges Simenon.

City of Fear (1958):
Irving Lerner (Murder by Contract) again directs Vince Edwards, this time as Vince Ryker, a convict who breaks out of prison with a canister of what he thinks is pure heroin, hoping to make a big score. But this white powder turns out to be a deadly radioactive substance called Cobalt-60. As Vince tries to sell the “heroin”, he works through his sleazy contacts — all of whom are doomed by their greed and stupidity, with the police desperately trying to find him before he contaminates the whole city. The setting is the modern suburban landscape of Los Angeles, brilliantly photographed by Lucien Ballard (The Wild Bunch).

Special Features Include:
§ Digitally Remastered Audio and Video, widescreen
§ Featurette: “Martin Scorsese on The Brothers Rico”
§ Featurette: “Pulp Paranoia” with Christopher Nolan
§ Featurette: “Terror and Desire” with Emily Mortimer
§ Original Theatrical Trailers

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