Film Noir Classics 1 Various Directors

Film Noir Classics 1 Various Directors
After having been beaten to the punch by both Warner and Fox, Sony has released its first set of Film Noir Classics. Like its competitors, Sony's release is comprised mostly of movies that are seeing their first home format release, which is wonderful for film enthusiasts and conservationists, but not so much for casual viewers looking for an introduction to the film noir movement. Out of the five films included on Classics 1, only Fritz Lang's The Big Heat can be considered a true classic, and it's been available on DVD for several years already. The Big Heat is a relentlessly dark story of a cop determined to get revenge on the gangsters who killed his wife. Two other films on the set are by notable directors ― Don Siegel's The Lineup, about a gang of criminals and the police who pursue them, and Edward Dmytryk's The Sniper, a noir-ish character study of a serial killer who hates women. The other two films ― Murder by Contract and 5 Against the House ― are fairly standard, although visually striking, '50s crime dramas. What sets Sony's collection apart from the herd are its special features. Three of the best neo-noir directors provide short interviews; Martin Scorcese discusses three of the films, Michael Mann talks about The Big Heat and Christopher Nolan examines the importance of film noir as an influence. There are also two commentary tracks by L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy and noir expert Eddie Muller. While film buffs will revel in the extras and crisp DVD transfers of these relatively obscure flicks, this set is not representative of the best of what film noir can offer. (Sony)