World Cup of Film Noir

Sooo…here we are again. As the FIFA Men’s World Cup starts today, I thought I would go back to basics! World of Cup of Horror Movies last month was so much fun, I decided to do one for Film Noir, as it’s Noirvember! As you probably know, this was inspired by Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s radio programme, in which they did their own World Cup of Horror Movies, and the rules are quite simple: I pick two films out of a hat (or a cup), and I have to pick which one I like better. Nice, right? So here it is… The World Cup of Film Noir!

Detour (1945) or The Hitch-hiker (1953) – Going to have to go with Detour. They are both sort of similar in their road thriller way, but I absolutely adore the rawness of Detour.

The Big Combo (1955) or The Stranger (1946) – Absolutely no contest here. The Big Combo is an obsession of mine.

Sweet Smell of Success (1957) or Pickup on South Street (1953) – Love both, but going to have to say Sweet Smell of Success, which is one of my all-time favorite movies.

D.O.A. (1950) or Sunset Boulevard (1950) – Another no-brainer here. Sunset Boulevard all the way.

Crossfire (1947) or Mildred Pierce (1945) – Two of my favorites, and while I wouldn’t necessarily call Mildred Pierce a straight noir in the most basic sense, I’m going to have to pick it here. Though, on the whole, Crossfire satisfies me a little bit more on the noir front. Tough one.

T-Men (1947) or Pitfall (1948) – I’m not a big Pitfall fan. I find it a little too dull for my taste. T-Men, on the other hand, is insane. Super tense, endlessly exciting and it looks gorgeous.

Kiss me Deadly (1955) or Crime Wave (1954) – Kiss me Deadly, Kiss me Deadly, Kiss me Deadly! Love Crime Wave though.

Gilda (1946) or The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) – I find both of these films incredibly fascinating. And while I love Martha Ivers and think it’s one of the best, if not THE best suburban noir, Gilda has my vote as it was the film that made a classic movie buff.

In a Lonely Place (1950) or The Set-up (1949) – In a Lonely Place. Though I do really like The Set-up.

Private Hell 36 (1954) or The Killers (1946) – I’ve talked about both at length here on the Garden and while I adore Steve Cochran’s Homme Fatale-ness in Private Hell 36, I’m going to pick The Killers, which is probably my 5th or 6th favorite film noir of all time.

There you have it! (Un)happy Noirvember!


Noirvember is here and you know how I keep saying that The Big Combo (1955) is the most underrated film of all time? I believe that it goes beyond genre. I don’t think The Big Combo is the most underrated noir ever, I believe it’s the most underrated film ever. I’ve blogged about it numerous times and I am still as obsessed with it as the first time I watched it. But if we’re talking especially film noir, I think The Big Combo has a relatively steady following within the noir-loving community, as it should. The Mob (1951, dir. Robert Parrish), on the other hand… For a film with Broderick Crawford as wise-cracking policeman Johnny Damico going undercover to stop dodgy activities on the docks as well as some of the most hilarious noir lines after, perhaps, The Big Sleep, The Mob is inexplicably unknown and severely under-appreciated. As some of you may know, I wrote an article for Eddie Muller’s Noir City E-magazine in 2018. This was for the REMEMBER ME feature and I chose the always underrated, always terrifying and always brilliant Neville Brand. I researched and watched and re-watched a lot of his movies, including The Mob, which I hadn’t seen up until that point. I loved it and have been trying to get people to watch it ever since, so you know what to do! Here are some of my favorite quotes from it:

  1. I’ve got more influential friends than you in the Boy Scouts.’ Pawn broker to Johnny Damico – Ouch. Imagine saying that to a police officer just as he’s trying to get a good deal just because he’s a police officer. Ha!
  2. I’ll remember your face.’ ‘I’ll try to forget yours.’ Longshoreman and Johnny Damico – I mean, that’s the stuff noir is made of, but Crawford’s delivery is always priceless.
  3. How are ya, Flynn? I got a little invitation to a party for you. RSVP.’ ‘Sure, I’ll go right home and change.’ ‘It’s a sort of come-as-you-are party. Get in.’ Gunner and Johnny Damico – Gunner has his gun firmly pointed at Johnny and this is the exchange. Brilliant. In fact, their entire interaction is so slick, it makes you wish you could drop those lines in conversation, but that’s noir for ya!

(Un)Happy Noirvember!