We all know you don’t have to go to the video rental store anymore. You can stream old movies in the comfort of your own home.
On Amazon Prime recently we watched two “small” films which are well worth a visit. In describing them, we use the term “old noir” loosely since both titles date from 1949 — pretty much the commercial peak of the film noir period, which started in Hollywood nearly in decade earlier.
In any case, try and see Manhandled with Dorothy Lamour, Sterling Hayden (pictured above) and that always reliable meanie, Dan Duryea (below, menacing Dorothy).
The picture boasts of familiar noir plot elements: a murdered woman, missing jewelry, the suspected husband, a duplicitous psychiatrist, and his naive secretary (Lamour), her boyfriend (a shifty private eye fast with his fists Duryea), and an upright insurance investigator (Hayden).
A film noir scholar Eddie Muller writes:
When Paramount later that year (1949) cast Dangerous Dan opposite Dorothy Lamour in ‘Manhandled,’ audiences know just what they were getting…Of course, the right hand got a workout. First he slaps Lamour, then hits her with a right cross — twice — and finally tries to throw her off a rooftop. His most dastardly act came in a remarkable scene where he chases (the psychiatrist played by Harold Vermilyea) down in a huge Packard and pins him to a brick wall, grinding his foot down on the accelerator.
Then watch 1949’s Impact with Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines, Charles Coburn and Helen Walker. You won’t be disappointed.
This one is the product of veteran producer Harry M. Popkin, a creator of several low budget noir titles who had “higher” ambitions. The plot has a wealthy San Francisco industrialist murdered by his wife and her lover. But he isn’t dead. Instead he turns the tables on those behind the attempted killing.
If it sounds like fun — it is. Try and see it.