Guest-hosting a #BNoirDetour Live Tweet double feature on Sun., Sept. 13


Holy maloney, when did I die and go to film-noir heaven? I’m as giddy as Richard Widmark pushing a wheelchair-bound woman down the stairs!

For this Sunday, the film-noir blog BNoirDetour is letting me completely handle her usual Sunday presentation of noir movies. She kindly let me co-host about a month ago, but this is the first time she’s given me the whole she-bang to handle. Don’t worry, though, I’m giving you a couple of memorable flicks to finish off your weekend!


My first choice is a particularly earthy number from 1955 titled Murder Is My Beat. It stars Paul Langton as Ray Patrick, a police detective who is aboard a train to accompany Eden Lane (Barbara Payton), a convicted murderess, to prison to carry out her sentence. But during a brief layover, Eden happens to look out the window — and wouldn’t you know it, she sees the very man whom she has been convicted of murdering. Once Eden convinces Ray of this, it’s Ray’s minor task to convince the rest of the world that Eden is telling the truth.

This sounds about as far-out as noir gets, but it’s riveting all the way, in no small part to the bare-bones direction of Edgar G. Ulmer, director of the almost existential noir classic Detour. And I gotta admit, I’m a pushover for buxom blondes — and if somebody like Eden told me she’d just seen Bigfoot outside her window, I’d probably do all I could to prove her right, so I can relate to Ray’s plight.

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My second entry for the evening is 1948’s Cry of the City, starring Victor Mature as Lt. Candella, a seen-it-all cop who’s trying to nail high-profile gangster Martin Rome (Richard Conte, The Big Combo) for a jewel robbery that Rome won’t cop to. The movie starts out as a lively game of cat-and-mouse, but with a tough-as-nails screenplay by an uncredited Ben Hecht, and taut direction from noir veteran Richard Siodmak (Criss Cross), the movie evolves into an unforgettable character study of both sides of the law. This might seem a strange description, but this movie is as beautiful as film noir gets.

Join us on at 9 p.m. EST on Sun., Sept. 13; if you’re looking for an “anchor” Twitter account, go to mine (@MovieMovieBlogB). (If you don’t usually “follow” me on Twitter, be sure to add me so that I can read your Live Tweet comments. You can always “unfollow” me after the double feature.) Use the hashtag #BNoirDetour to follow the movies and comment on them whenever you’d like, and have a BNoir blast with us!


POSTSCRIPT. I — Movie Movie Blog Blog, that is — would like to take this opportunity to invite the regular viewers of #BNoirDetour to follow The Gangsters All Here, my Twitter page devoted to my Saturday Live Tweets of classic-era gangster movies. If you like film-noir, you are sure to enjoy my selection of films featuring fedora, fast talkers, and Feds!

Just click on the above banner to go to my The Gangsters All Here Twitter page. Then, every Saturday at 2:30 p.m. EST, join us for a great gangster movie, and use the hashtag #GangstersAllHere to comment on the movie with your fellow Twitterers. And if you want a heads-up on the week’s movie selection, click here to visit my blog devoted to this same Live Tweet. Enjoy the movies, you mugs!

(My enthusiastic thanks goes out to Salome at BNoirDetour for letting me take over her “director’s chair” this week!)

I'm so happy!

I’m so happy!

MURDER IS MY BEAT (1955) – Film-noir with characters you care about


(WARNING: Major spoilers abound!)

It’s a dame, of course. In film-noir, it’s always a dame.

Detective Ray Patrick (Paul Langton) has literally trekked through a mountain of snow to bring in a murder suspect, Eden Lane (Barbara Peyton). He brings her in, the case against her is air-tight, and Ray’s detective work earns kudos for his department. But of course, Ray isn’t satisfied, because he thinks the dame got a bum deal in court just to close the case.

As it so happens, Ray is chosen to escort Eden to her prison sentence on a train ride. And as it even more so happens, Eden looks out the window and just happens to see the very man she’s been accused of murdering. Of course, Ray’s first instinct is to believe that Eden is pulling a stunt to get out of her prison rap. But Eden sobs and continues to plead her innocence. And, well, hey…if you were a lonely cop, and you were hired to keep tabs on a prisoner who purrs and looks like Barbara Peyton, how long would it be before you melted into a puddle on your passenger seat?

This is a taut and very satisfying film-noir thriller. Director Edgar G. Ulmer, who made his noir reputation a decade earlier with the almost existential Detour, seems to have finally fought faintly the old ennui and relaxes a little here. Not to give too much away, but he and screenwriter Aubrey Wisberg find it in themselves to give their toughened characters a bit of humanity, which helps the audience to extend a lot of goodwill towards this movie’s Detour-like low budget.

Visit Murder Is My Beat to enjoy its allegiance to noir tropes, and stay for the surprising stake you’ll end up having in its bad-luck-ridden characters.