Bad Girls of Film Noir: Volume 2

Bad Girls of Film Noir: Volume 2
The second collection of '50s femme fatale potboilers from the Sony vaults, Bad Girls of Film Noir: Volume 2 is less of a grouping of noir classics and more of a testament to B-movies and the cult status of Cleo Moore, who appears in three of the four films included. Despite doing many forgettable films with no-name actors throughout the early '50s, Moore became somewhat recognizable, getting top billing on a couple of box office bombs before leaving the craft to marry rich in the early '60s. Included here are One Girl's Confession and Over-Exposed, both similarly positioning her as a down-on-her luck working class girl that makes shady decisions that inevitably blow up in her face. In Confession, she plays a waitress who steals $10,000 from her criminal employers, citing her independence with the line, "Men are all alike, their faces are just different so you can tell them apart," only to wind up in an inevitably ironic situation. Over-Exposed is similarly clumsy and melodramatic, with her playing an industrious gal working her way through the big city as a photographer, eventually snapping a picture that gets her into a lot of trouble. The more financially successful Women's Prison also makes an appearance in the set, with Moore playing an experienced prisoner juxtaposed with good girl Audrey Totter, who is driven mad by the sadistic warden, played by an over-the-top Ida Lupino. From the unlikelihood of joining men and women's prisons together to mysterious pregnancies to the notion that women without men are psychotic, this one boasts absurd laughs aplenty. Also included in the volume is a film that, unlike the others, could actually be considered film noir: Night Editor. This one features Janis Carter as a woman that witnesses a murder while having an affair with the married William Gargan, leaving his life to unravel. Despite not having name actors or much notoriety, Henry Levin's little gem of a film is quite clever and polished for its time, and is worth checking out for fans of previously unavailable older films. The only special feature aside from theatrical trailers is a 24-minute All Star Theatre episode. (Sony)