Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Fun with Warner Archive - Noir Love ""

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fun with Warner Archive - Noir Love

If you haven't been keeping up with the films being added to Warner Archive's Film Noir collection, I suggest you trot on over to their site and look for them. The latest round of releases includes four new additions(two of which I review below). The others released are SCENE OF THE CRIME(1949) & MURDER IS MY BEAT(1955)

DEATH IN SMALL DOSES(1957; Joseph M. Newman)
I feel like it was my friend Ned over at the Obscure One-Sheet Blog that first mentioned this film to me a few years ago. It was, at the time, a very tricky film to see as it hadn't(to my knowledge) ever gotten any home video release at all(no VHS even). I finally got a chance to catch it via TCM last year and it was just a hoot. I've oft described it as being sorta like REEFER MADNESS meets WHITE LINE FEVER, but with 'bennies' instead of weed. It's a "Trucker Noir" so to speak. Heading up the cast is the always solid Peter Graves, and he does fine here. The most memorable (and truly nutball) performance comes in the form of a supporting turn from Chuck Connors. Dude is just outta control in this movie. I won't go into it much further except to say SEE THIS FILM. Hoping it'll become more of a camp/cult favorite now that Warner Archive has released this(rather nice looking) DVD!
Available from Warner Archive: HERE

CODE TWO(1953; Fred M. Wilcox)
One could call this film a mix of Dragnet, POLICE ACADEMY and CHiPS. The Dragnet element is added as to indicate that its definitely a 50s era procedural and certainly not as wacky in tone as the POLICE ACADEMY films. It certainly has humor to it though, most of which is derived from a very entertaining performance from a very young(and very thin) Ralph Meeker. He is definitely the wisecracking "Mahoney" type for sure. Meeker and pal join up with the LAPD and we see them going through their academy training(mentored by and excellent Keenan Wynn). From their they graduate and take to the streets as motorcycle cops and run afoul of some crooked truckers. I love films of this period set in Los Angeles. It's always fascinating to look for street signs and landmarks(occasionally, some landmarks have remained unchanged to this day). This film was directed by Fred M. Wilcox, who was also responsible for one of my all-time favorite movies, FORBIDDEN PLANET. As you might have guessed, CODE TWO is not much like FORBIDDEN PLANET. It is a lot of fun though, with some drama thrown in.
Available from Warner Archive: HERE

Other new Warner Archive Noir Releases:

SCENE OF THE CRIME(1949; Roy Rowland)

MURDER IS MY BEAT(1955; Edgar G. Ulmer)

1 comment:

Ned Merrill said...

I don't recall our conversation about DEATH IN SMALL DOSES, but it probably happened and I'm definitely interested in seeing this one given my strong interest in the trucker milieu.