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Foreign Correspondent - (Oct 4th)
The Murder Tapes - (Oct 4th)
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Unlucky Joe And The Torn In Half Kings. Kansas City Confidential (AKA: The Secret Four) is directed by Phil Karlson and written by George Bruce and Harry Essex. It stars John Payne, Preston Foster, Coleen Gray, Neville Brand, Jack Elam and Lee Van Cleef. Music is by Paul Sawtell and cinematography by George E. Diskant. Plot sees four robbers hold up an armoured truck and get away with over a million dollars. Sadly for everyday and ordinary Joe Rolfe (Payne), he's set up and accused of being involved in the robbery. But he wont go down without a fight, and promptly calls upon his dark half to seek out the actual culprits himself. "In the police annals of Kansas City are written lurid chapters concerning the exploits of criminals apprehended and brought to punishment. But it is the purpose of this picture to expose the amazing operations of a man who conceived and executed a "perfect" crime, the true solution of which is "not" entered in "any" case history, and could well be entitled "Kansas City Confidential". Produced by Edward Small, Kansas City Confidential is believed to be the only film released out of Small's own Associated Players and Producers studio. Still, if you are going to only have one film on your studio résumé, you have to be thankful that it's a little cracker. More "B" movie grit than film noir flecked nastiness, Karlson's movie is lean, mean and structured with knowing skill by the director. From the tremendous tension fuelled opening of the heist planning and execution, through to the deadly payoff at the finale, film is awash with knuckle slappings, shifting identities and the turning of the protagonist's psychological make up. Were it not for one of "those" endings, and the telegraphing of optimism slightly shunting the pessimistic atmosphere out of the headlights, this would undoubtedly be far more revered and better known in film noir/crime movie circles. First thing to note of worth is the cast assembled for the picture. Payne was already leaving behind his formative acting years in family fare like Miracle On 34th Street and Footlight Serenade, reinventing himself as a dramatic actor in films such as The Crooked Way. He's a perfect fit for Joe Rolfe, an ex-con war veteran down on his luck, he has his every man qualities pummelled out of him by the police, so much so he has to turn bad to prove that he's good. The change is believable in Payne's hands, his face that of normality in the beginning, but latterly icy cold and untrustworthy. A trio of "B" movie stalwarts make up the thugs gallery, Jack Elam is sweaty and worm like, Lee Van Cleef is snake faced and pulsing bad attitude, while Neville Brand exudes borderline psychotic menace. Unfortunately Preston Foster as the "boss" man is not altogether convincing, but in a film where characters are not always what they seem, this doesn't hurt the film. Coleen Gray shows a nice pair of legs for the boys, but with Karlson not bothered about fleshing out the romantic and flirting aspects of her relationship with Payne, she exists only as a secondary cog between Payne and Foster's characters. This is no femme fatale character, sadly, no sir. Music is standard fare and Diskant's photography only fleetingly shows some noir flourishes. However, with two fists full of grit from which to punch, and some boldness in the narrative involving police brutality, Kansas City Confidential comes out as one of the better "B" ranked crime movies of the 50's. 8/10
This is quite a clever, well paced crime-noir with a really rather good performance from John Payne as "Joe", a former soldier/ex-con who, whilst on his routine flower-delivery rounds - ends up getting framed for a massive armed robbery. Luckily for him, the police can't press charges - all the robbers wore masks - and so he decides to track down the thugs and claim a share of the cash for himself. You get where this is going early on, but when you see Jack Elam and Lee Van Cleef on the cast list, you know that you are in for a bumpy ride. There are plenty of crosses and double-crosses as he and the gang (none of whom know the identity of their criminal mastermind) try to get to Mexico and to the loot. It's a good end-to-end action adventure, with a taut, eery score from Paul Sawtell adding much to the sinister lighting effects that give this film a much better than average sense of suspense.
International man of mystery Diabolik and his sensuous lover Eva Kant pull off heist after heist, all while European cops led by Inspector Ginko and envious mobsters led by Ralph Valmont are closing in on them.
A briefcase with undisclosed contents – sought by Irish terrorists and the Russian mob – makes its way into criminals' hands. An Irish liaison assembles a squad of mercenaries, or 'ronin', and gives them the thorny task of recovering the case.
Mrs. Elizabeth Bright Murdock hires Marlowe to find an old rare coin, the Brasher Doubloon, that belonged in her deceased husband's collection. Marlowe begins investigating, but quickly finds himself entangled in a series of unexplained murders.
Private eye Phillip Marlowe wants to get out of the detective racket and into crime writing. But when he's called to the office of editor Adrienne Fromsett, it's not to talk about his story ideas — she wants him to locate the missing wife of her boss, Mr. Kingsby. The assignment quickly becomes complicated when bodies start turning up.
Kathy leaves the newspaper business to marry homicide detective Bill, but is frustrated by his lack of ambition and the banality of life in the suburbs. Her drive to advance Bill's career soon takes her down a dangerous path.
An ambulance driver gets involved with a rich girl that might have a darker side.
An elaborate bank robbery takes place and the gangsters succeed although the FBI had been warned. Jerry Cotton, who is considered accountable for this major failure, loses his badge over this. Being the man he is, Cotton doesn't let the evil-doers forget that he has unfinished business with them.
A crew of officers at an armored transport security firm risk their lives when they embark on the ultimate heist against their own company. Armed with a seemingly fool-proof plan, the men plan on making off with a fortune with harm to none. But when an unexpected witness interferes, the plan quickly unravels and all bets are off.
Hit man Cleve approaches writer/cop Dennis about a story for his next book: How Cleve made a living, working for one of the most powerful politicians in the country. To get the story right, they travel around the country to gather statements and evidence, while strong forces use any means they can to keep the story untold.
An aging gambler on a losing streak attempts to rob a casino in Monte Carlo. But someone's already tipped off the cops before he even makes a move.
A recently released ex-convict and his loyal wife go on the run after a heist goes wrong.