The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (虎の尾を踏む男達) (1945)

dir. Akira Kurosawa. 12th century feudal Japan, Lord Yoshitsune is on the run after a falling out with his brother, the Shogun. Yoshitsune is escorted by six loyal samurai, disguised as monks, as they trek through the mountains towards freedom. The screenplay by Kurosawa is based on a popular Kabuki play. The theatrical origins are…… Continue reading The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (虎の尾を踏む男達) (1945)

Murder, My Sweet (1944)

dir. Edward Dmytryk. Private detective Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell) is engaged by series of shady clients to variously track down former lovers, negotiate with blackmailers, and provide a soft shoulder to lean on. This is the first film appearance of Raymond Chandler’s famous detective. Made during the golden age of film noir, there is some…… Continue reading Murder, My Sweet (1944)

Cat People (1942)

dir. Jacques Tourneur. Originally from Serbia, Irena Dubrovna is a fashion illustrator with a cat obsession, filling her apartment with feline imagery. Irena’s obsession stems from her belief that she is descended from Satan worshipping witches, banished from Serbia hundreds of years ago. Irena fears that if she makes love, or even kisses, she will transform into a…… Continue reading Cat People (1942)

High Sierra (1941)

dir. Raoul Walsh. Roy Earle (Humphrey Bogart) is fresh out of prison thanks to his underworld pal, Big Mac, who needs his expertise to pull off a hotel jewellery heist. Roy embarks on a road trip through the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges to meet up with some small-time crooks, and their dame, Marie (Ida Lupino).…… Continue reading High Sierra (1941)

Foreign Correspondent (1940)

dir. Alfred Hitchcock. On the eve of World War II, New York City crime reporter John Jones (played by Joel McCrea) is dispatched to London for an exclusive interview with a Dutch diplomat to get the scoop on the likelihood of war breaking out in Europe. Jones becomes entangled in a secret plot, and must…… Continue reading Foreign Correspondent (1940)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

dir. Alfred L. Werker. The dastardly Professor Moriarty, jubilant after his not guilty verdict for murder, teases an irritated Sherlock Holmes that his next job will be the crime of the century!  Preying on Holmes’s intellectual curiosity, Moriarty plots to distract him with an escalating series of deadly mind games. Absolute delight of a film.…… Continue reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

dir. Michael Curtiz. Two street kids are busted stealing fountain pens, Jerry escapes, but Rocky is caught by the coppers. This defining moment leads Jerry to reform himself and become a priest, while Rocky is sentenced to reform school and a life of crime. Grown up Rocky is played by James Cagney, as the classic…… Continue reading Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

Dead End (1937)

dir. William Wyler. The film opens with a New York City real estate history lesson, about how the poor once lived at the riverside dead end of city streets, until the wealthy recognised the appeal of riverside living and built towering luxury apartments, looking down on the tenements below. Without being too preachy, DEAD END…… Continue reading Dead End (1937)

Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

dir. Lambert Hillyer. Takes place immediately after Bela Lugosi’s DRACULA (1931). Gloria Holden plays Countess Marya Zaleska, the daughter of Count Dracula. With her father’s death, she desires to be free of the Vampire curse, and hopes that the new science of psychiatry may be the solution. A gorgeous looking film, with a subtle and…… Continue reading Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

Captain Blood (1935)

dir. Michael Curtiz. Set during 17th century England, a physician unbelievably named Peter Blood (Errol Flynn) is sentenced to death for tending to the wounds of a soldier who was part of the Monmouth Rebellion. Blood is spared the noose by a “whim” of King James II, who decides to sell the “traitors” as slaves in the…… Continue reading Captain Blood (1935)