Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Deep Valley (1947)

Deep Valley, Ida Lupino’s last film for Warner Brothers, is sometimes described as a film noir. You probably have to define film noir fairly broadly to accommodate this one but I think it can just about qualify. In any case it’s an interesting movie in its own right.

Directed by Jean Negulesco in 1947, it combines crime and romantic melodrama. Ida Lupino is Libby, who lives with her parents on a rundown farm in an isolated valley. They live like hillbillies and it’s a very troubled family. The father has a chip on his shoulder and a tendency to see himself as a victim. Years earlier he lost his temper and hit his wife. She took to her bed and became a permanent professional invalid. She hasn’t been downstairs for years. Libby witnessed the incident and the shock left her with a speech impediment and caused her to withdraw totally from the world.

Then comes the day when a road is being built, a road that will end the valley’s isolation. It’s being constructed by a convict chain gang. Libby watches fascinated from the top of a hill. Of course it’s quite possible that the sight of a group of young, fit, half-naked men doing hard physical work is of more interest to her than the actual road construction! One convict in particular catches her eye. I think we’re certainly meant to assume that Libby is sexually repressed and that she’s now about to experience a belated awakening of her sexuality.

When the overseer brings a group of convicts to the farm to fetch some water he catches her eye again, and he notices her with equal admiration. One of the guards makes an unfortunate remark, and the convict (we later find out his name is Barry) slugs him. He is punished by being locked in a toolshed and threatened with having an extra five years added to his sentence. That night a violent storm causes a disastrous landslide. Many of the convicts are killed, and several (including Barry) take the opportunity to escape.

Other dramas are unfolding during the storm. Her father strikes Libby and she takes off for the woods with her dog. She intends to set up solitary housekeeping in a small cabin but then Barry turns up. They recognise each other as outsiders who’ve been misunderstood, and they fall hopelessly in love. But the posse is out in the woods searching for him, so what future is there for this ill-starred couple?

There are quite a few interesting things about this movie. Barry is in many ways a typical noir hero. He was originally sentenced for manslaughter but he was never an actual criminal, just a hot-headed guy lacking in self-control whose volatile and violent temper as destined to land him in continuous trouble. In a key scene he tells Libby that he’d never thought of himself as a criminal, but now he realises that his temper has made him one.

And Barry is quite similar to Libby’s father. He’s also not really a bad man, just weak and self-indulgent and unwilling to take responsibility for his temper. Like Barry he isn’t truly cruel or vindictive. They both regret their actions afterwards but seem unable to learn from their mistakes. Libby’s problem is that she’s now fallen in love with a man so much like her father.

While it’s set entirely out in the backwoods it’s shot very effectively in a very film noir style, with even some hints of German Expressionism. Visually it’s quite impressive.

The acting is generally good, with particularly good performances by Lupino and Dane Clark as Barry. They’re both very intense and this adds to the sense of desperation in their love. They work exceptionally well together.

Deep Valley is a rather obscure movie that is well worth seeking out. Unfortunately I’ve heard that the Warner Archive DVD-R is atrocious. My copy was recorded from TCM and they certainly managed to find a beautiful print. It’s definitely worth setting the recorder for this one.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Chase (1946)

The Chase is a film noir, but being based on a Cornell Woolrich story it’s a film noir with some unexpected twists that make it very much worth seeking out.

Chuck Scott (Robert Cummings) has been finding life a struggle since leaving the Navy. He’s so broke he can’t even afford to buy himself breakfast, and then it seems like maybe his luck has changed. He finds a wallet containing $81. But he’s a perversely honest sort of guy so after spending $1.50 on breakfast he decides to return the wallet and the money to its rightful owner.

The owner of the wallet tuns out to be a rather sinister gangster named Eddie Roman. Eddie has both a short temper and a sadistic streak. When the girl who’s manicuring his nails accidentally slips and hurts him she earns a brutal slapping, and then straight away Eddie switches back to his usual charming demeanour. But it’s a chilling and creepy kind of charm.

Eddie is so amused at Chuck’s honesty that he offers him a job as a chauffeur, a job that mostly entails driving Eddie’s wife around. Lorna Roman is terrified of her husband and she confides in Chuck, who is the kind of guy that women always confide in, and also the kind of guy who always ends up trying to rescue damsels in distress. Chuck and Lorna figure if they can jump on a freighter bound for Cuba they might have a chance of getting away from Eddie. But realistically their chances of escaping seem rather slim.

At this point the movie takes a sudden unexpected turn which I won’t spoil by revealing any details except to say that things are not what they seem.

Steve Cochran gives a bizarre but effectively frightening performance as Eddie Roman. Peter Lorre is equally sinister in a different way as his chief lieutenant Gino. They make a terrific combination. Robert Cummings is reasonably good as Chuck while Michèle Morgan is suitably tortured and mysterious as Mrs Roman.

Director Arthur Ripley had a long career as a writer in Hollywood but directed comparatively few films. He does a fine job with The Chase.

Cornell Woolrich’s stories were always dark and delightfully twisted and were ideal film material. This movie captures the authentic Woolrichian feel very effectively.

An excellent offbeat psychological film noir, and a must for Woolrich fans.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Leave Her to Heaven (1945)

Leave Her to Heaven is a movie that impresses me more now than it did the first time I saw it. As is the case with many great movies it helps if you already know how the plot turns out, so you can concentrate more on how the story is told rather than on the story itself.

Interestingly enough it was apparently a movie that got mixed reviews at the time of its release in 1945, which strengthens my belief that it’s a movie you need to see, then go away and think about, and then see again.

Richard Harland (Cornel Wilde) is a novelist who travels to New Mexico to stay with the Berent family. When he gets there he finds that the stunning young woman he met on the train is the daughter of the household, Ellen Berent (Gene Tierney). He’s understandably fascinated by her beauty, and by a slight oddness in her manner. She’s engaged to Russell Quinton (Vincent Price), an ambitious lawyer running for district attorney. That doesn’t stop her from flirting with Richard Harland. Pretty soon she has discarded the engagement ring and is proposing marriage to Richard.

Her sudden decision that Richard is the man she wants and her absolute determination to get him is the first sign that perhaps Ellen is just a little unstable. There are a couple of other very subtle warning signs. Ellen’s father had died not long before and it appears that her love for her father was rather obsessive. And there are even more subtle hints that Ellen is inclined to jealousy.

Nonetheless Ellen and Richard settle into Richard’s remote fishing lodge in Maine where Richard will work on his next book and all seems to be going well. Ellen is clearly head over heels in love with her husband. They’ve been joined by Richard’s much younger brother Danny, a teenager who is suffering from some disability that makes it impossible for him to walk unaided. Danny is pretty annoying, but Ellen seems to be more than just annoyed by him. She resents his presence there. She wants Richard to herself.

Later on she will react in a similar way to the presence of her adoptive sister Ruth. She is unable to bear the thought of anyone coming between her and Richard, or of having to share him in any way with anyone else. As the movie progresses her jealousy becomes more extreme and she expresses it in increasingly destructive and catastrophic ways, leading from one disaster to another.

The overwhelming first impression of this movie is its gorgeousness. This is not just a movie made in Technicolor, it’s a movie that makes the fullest possible use of the potential of Technicolor. The lushness adds to the atmosphere of over-ripeness, of emotional excessiveness, of extremeness. Everything is excessively bright and visible, which is the way Ellen sees the world - she sees too much, everything has too much significance, she suffers from emotional and sensory overload.

John M. Stahl’s direction is fairly restrained, which is the right approach. There’s no need for fancy camerawork when the plot is so melodramatic and the emotions are so over-the-top. But whenever he needs to grab our attention he does so with superb skill. The scene on the lake (I can’t say more for fear of spoilers) may be the most chilling scene in any movies of the 40s. There’s also a brief moment where Ellen is about to wave to Richard then changes her mind because there’s no point. In a few seconds it sums up her entire tragedy, her inability to escape from her own interior world.

To me that’s the essence of the film. Ellen is incapable of interacting with the world or with other people in a meaningful way. She is incapable of friendship. But she is capable of love and since she knows no other way to make contact with others she loves much too intensely. She is completely unable to comprehend other people’s actions and motivations and continually misinterprets both. She then becomes more isolated and more paranoid. And having no friends there is no-one to tell her that she’s starting to behave in a very dangerous manner.

She’s certainly a monster, but she’s a human monster and there are reasons for her madness. Gene Tierney’s performance is extraordinary. She makes Ellen believable and comprehensible and even sympathetic. It’s a bit like Peter Lorre’s performance in M, making a character who can’t possibly be sympathetic engage our sympathies anyway, even while the character appalls us at the same time.

It’s an outrageous movie but it’s done with sufficient conviction and sufficient skill and somehow it all works.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Secrets of an Actress (1938)

Secrets of an Actress, directed by William Keighley, is a very lightweight 1938 Kay Francis romance, but within the limitations of its very modest ambitions it works quite well.

Kay Francis is Fay Carter, an actress still waiting for her big break. The daughter of a famous actor, she has achieved modest success but is growing tired of the grueling life on the road of a touring actress. She wants to stay put in New York, which means she has to make it on Broadway. She believes she’s about to land the part that will bring her what she wants but at the last minute she misses out.

Then fate intervenes - her friend Marian (Isabel Jeans) throws a punch in a bar. The punch leaves prominent architect Peter Snowden (Ian Hunter) with a black eye, but it serves to bring Fay and Peter together. Peter has always been slightly stage-struck and meeting Fay re-awakens his thirst for a life in the theatre. He has little acting talent, but he does have money. Besotted by both Fay and the theatre he cooks up a scheme to become a Broadway producer with the intention of launching Fay to stardom. His friend and business partner Richard Orr (George Brent) assures him he’s crazy and will lose his money but the play is a smash hit.

But of course there are complications. Fay is very fond of Peter but she’s fallen head over heels in love with Richard. And Richard has a wife. He’s been trying for years, without success, to persuade his wife to divorce him. Will true love triumph in the end? Since this is Hollywood there are no prizes for guessing the answer to that question.

Secrets of an Actress is one of those curious movies that expresses Hollywood’s strange inferiority complex in regard to the theatre. The characters in the film all express disdain for the movies and operate on the assumption that only stage acting is real acting. And yet of course this is a movie.

This is a movie that relies a good deal on the charm of the actors to keep us interested in spite of the flimsiness of the plot. Kay Francis often found herself in this position and she was usually equal to the task. She’s quite delightful in this film. As always she looks wonderfully glamorous - this was a woman who certainly knew how to wear clothes and her look perfectly encapsulates the style of the 1930s. My main concern was the casting of George Brent, an actor I generally dislike, but he’s extremely likeable in this one.

A little bit of Isabel Jeans as Marian goes a long way but she manages to just avoid being annoying. Ian Hunter does fairly well in the thankless role of the guy who is obviously not going to get the girl.

At just 70 minutes there’s little chance of boredom and overall this is a competent and enjoyable movie for those who are content to approach it without excessively high expectations.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

T-Men (1947)

T-Men is sometimes included in lists of film noir but it’s really just a crime thriller. But it’s a very good crime thriller.

The Treasury Department is conducting an investigation into a major counterfeiting ring. They send two agents undercover to infiltrate the gang. The agents spend months establishing themselves as part of the Detroit underworld and finally manage to penetrate the counterfeiting racket. But they need to do more than that, they need to gather hard evidence to put these crooks away, so their job has just begun.

Agents O’Brien (Dennis O'Keefe) and Gennaro (Alfred Ryder) gradually work their way into positions of trust within the criminal empire. They make use of a mobster known only as The Schemer (Wallace Ford). He used to be a big-shot but has since fallen from grace. But he still knows the inside dope on the organisation, and he’s very nervous which is something the two T-Men can take advantage of.

The process by which the two Treasury agents gain the trust of the criminal gang is charted in great detail. This could have become a little tedious but director Anthony Mann keeps the pacing tight and the tension high.

While the content makes this a straight crime thriller rather than a film noir director of photography John Alton shoots the picture in classic film noir style. Alton was probably the greatest of all cinematographers in the noir style and any movie on which he worked is worth seeing just for his exquisite command of the art of moody noir cinematography.

The other big plus in this movie is Dennis O’Keefe. A year later he would deliver a superb performance in another Anthony Mann movie, Raw Deal, a film noir classic. O’Keefe brings just the right blend of recklessness and fatalistic courage to his role here.

This is a tense and exciting crime thriller, superbly executed, and is highly recommended.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Sweet Smell of Success comes very close to the end of the classic film noir cycle, but it’s one of the very greatest examples of film noir ever made.

Tony Curtis is Sidney Falco, a sleazy press agent who is determined to get to the top. To do this he needs some help from columnist J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster). Hunsecker’s column can make or break careers on Broadway, and Hunsecker can make or break press agents. He’s a man who doesn’t give anything away so if Sidney wants coverage for his clients in Hunsecker’s column he’ll have to do the great man. A very big favour. A very unpleasant favour. But Sidney is entirely untroubled by moral scruples so he’s prepared to do it.

Hunsecker’s sister is in love with a jazz guitarist and Hunsecker is determined to sabotage their love affair. But he can’t be seen to do it himself. That’s where Sidney comes in. Sidney has a plan worked out that will remove the guitarist from the scene, a rather vicious little smear campaign. But while Sidney is a moral vacuum he gradually comes to realise that Hunsecker is not just morally bankrupt but dangerously crazy with something of a God complex.

There’s a clear implication that Hunsecker’s feelings for his sister have an incestuous element to them. This had to be suggested subtly in 1957 but Burt Lancaster makes the character so disturbing and makes his interactions with his sister so creepy that the implication is fairly plain.

Lancaster and Curtis both deliver magnificent bravura performances. Tony Curtis must be one of the most underrated Hollywood actors of his generation. There are many wonderful supporting performances as well. The minor characters are a colourful assortment of the desperate, the vicious and the pathetic.

The atmosphere of moral corruption is overwhelming. The corruption is institutional, represented by crooked cops, and personal, represented by almost every character in the movie.

This is also a classic New York movie and it provides a terrific glimpse of the city in the late 50s. James Wong Howe’s cinematography is breath-taking, but then it usually is. One of the great masters of black-and-white cinematography.

It might not follow the noir template strictly, but it ticks enough noir boxes to keep most noir fans happy - lots of moody night shots, lots of corruption, and a wonderful sense of characters rushing to their doom through their own actions, their own weaknesses and their own perversities.

And Fox Classics screened it in its correct aspect ratio which was a nice bonus.

A must-see movie not just for noir fans but for anyone who loves classic movies with a darker edge.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Case of the Lucky Legs (1935)

Before the well-known TV series of the 1950s and 60s there had been a string of Perry Mason movies, with several actors playing the role of Erle Stanley Gardner’s famous criminal lawyer and detective. The best-known of these was Warren William who payed the role in four mid-1930s movies, including The Case of the Lucky Legs in 1935.

In this movie Perry Mason investigates some sharp practices, culminating in a murder, surrounding a beauty contest. The young lady who wins the Lucky Legs competition is very pleased until she finds out she’s not going to get her prize money. Her elderly admirer hires Perry Mason to investigate but when a corpse turns up it becomes apparent that the case is more serious than it seemed to be.

At first glance the most surprising thing about these 1930s movies is that they’re played mostly for laughs. But then when you consider the enormous hit that MGM had with The Thin Man perhaps it’s not so surprising. Combining comedy with a murder mystery must have seemed like a sure-fire recipe for success.

I’m not so certain it was such a good idea. Warren William was the perfect actor for the part. He had the right blend of arrogance, charisma and charm with the right slightly sardonic view of the world. But I think he’d have been a lot better simply playing the role straight.

For my tastes the humour in this movie is much too broad, especially when Mason’s sidekick Spudsy (Allen Jenkins is on the scene. He’s like the worst kind of comic relief from 1930s Hollywood movies but with a bigger part so there’s even more of him to be annoyed by.

On the plus side the other actors are reasonably good. Genevieve Tobin makes a fairly good Della Street.

There’s a good mystery film here, if only it had been played as a straight mystery without the comedy.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Unholy Wife (1957)

While she’s often been described as Britain’s answer to Marilyn Monroe Diana Dors was in fact an established star when Monroe was still a complete unknown. And to an even greater degree than Monroe, and even more unjustly, Diana Dors was fated to have her abilities as a serious actress overshadowed by her blonde bombshell image and her eventful private life. In 1956 she signed with RKO and set off for Hollywood, The Unholy Wife being one of the results.

The plot of this movie is promisingly lurid. It unfolds in true film noir style with the entire story being told in flashbacks and with voice-over narration by Dors’ character, Phyllis Hochen. The backstory is filled in by a flashback-within-a-flashback. Phyllis was a good time girl and when Paul Hochen and his buddy Gino walk into a bar in LA she and her girlfriend recognise them immediately as good prospects. They’re obviously wealthy, middle-aged, from out of town, and from the country. The girls are only too willing to be picked up. Phyllis and Paul spend a romantic weekend together but for Paul it’s more than just a passing dalliance. He’s head over heels in love, and much to her surprise he proposes marriage.

A year later they’re living in a rural valley north of an Francisco where Paul owns a vineyard, but the marriage is not going so well. Phyllis is bored by rural life, and she’s bored with Paul. She’s even more bored by his family and his friends. She’s young, she wants to have a good time. And she is having a good time, with her lover San.

Then a fatal temptation is placed in her path. Paul’s elderly mother is convinced she has heard a prowler. Phyllis takes Paul’s revolver and fires off a few rounds into the darkness, mostly to relieve the boredom and to upset the old lady. And an idea occurs to her. Nobody would be suspicious if a young woman alone in a house with only an elderly woman got frightened when she heard a prowler and fired at a man coming through the front door. If that man happened to be her husband, why then of course it would be written off as a tragic accident, and there would be much sympathy for the attractive young widow.

Unfortunately the man who comes through the door isn’t Paul, but Phyllis is nothing if not resourceful. She quickly works out a way to make Paul take the blame.

There’s nothing terribly wrong with the plot. Great crime movies have ben made from flimsier plots than this. It’s the execution that is the problem. Australian-born director John Farrow must bear much of the responsibility. His direction is turgid and lifeless. Farrow had directed The Big Clock a decade earlier and it’s a delightful tongue-in-cheek romp of a movie. Perhaps the problem is that Farrow had become a convert to Catholicism, and this is a very, very Catholic movie. Paul has a brother who is a Catholic priest and his sole function in the plot is to act as God’s instrument and to bring the wicked to judgment and to salvation. When it comes to the ending Farrow seems unsure if we’ve got the point so he beats us over the head with it repeatedly.

Another huge problem is the acting. Rod Steiger is truly awful as Paul. Arthur Franz as his priest brother is even worse. Tom Tryon is deadly dull as Phyllis’s lover San. Perhaps audiences in the 50s would have seen it differently but a modern audience will undoubtedly see the virtuous characters in this movie as, without exception, mealy-mouthed, annoying, smarmy, self-righteous prigs.

With all those flaws you might think this movie is not worth seeing. Actually you’d be wrong, because it does have one huge asset. It has Diana Dors. She’s fabulous. She plays up the whole bad girl thing but there’s more to her character than that. Not only is she the only member of the cast who can act, hers is the only character with any light and shade to it. She tells Paul before she marries him exactly what kind of woman she is. He can’t say he wasn’t warned. Phyllis has a son by a previous relationship (it’s implied but not stated that she wasn’t married to the child’s father). And she tells Paul she’s a bad mother.

The problem with the message the movie is trying to push is that it makes virtue seem pretty dull while Diana Dors makes sin seem pretty exciting. If she represents wickedness and depravity then I’ll choose wickedness and depravity.

The print screened by TCM in Australia was truly atrocious - dark and muddy with washed-out colours and a very soft picture. Which makes it hard to recommend this movie, but Diana Dors makes it worthwhile.

Interesting trivia: While Rod Steiger and Diana Dors don’t generate much sexual chemistry on-screen apparently it was a different story off-screen, which resulted in something of a scandal (they were both married to other people at the time).

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Pearl of Death (1944)

The Pearl of Death was the seventh of the twelve Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies made by Universal during the 40s, and one of the best.

There was a time when Basil Rathbone was regarded as the greatest of all screen Sherlock Holmes, but that was before Jeremy Brett came along in the 80s. Brett’s performances blew all previous interpretations of the role out of the water. While there’s absolutely no question that Jeremy Brett is the definitive Sherlock Holmes and that his performances will probably never be equalled it has to be said that the 1940s Universal movies have their own charm. They are still very much worth seeing.

The decision to move Sherlock Holmes into the contemporary world of the 40s might seem to have been a very bad idea but it actually worked quite well. And in fact these movies have the feel of movies that take place in a kind of indeterminate point in space and time. For me they take place in an imaginary London that borrows elements from the 1890s, the 1940s, and very decade in between. The only thing that positively dates this particular movie is a car that pursues Holmes and Watson, and it’s a car that looks a lot more 1920s than 1940s.

The movie opens on the Boulogne-Dover steamer (which immediately suggests that this particular picture must have a pre-war setting) with the attempted theft of the fabulous Borgia pearl. Holmes foils the theft. He returns the pearl to its rightful owners and it goes on display in a museum. Holmes makes the observation that this pearl has already led at last twenty men to their deaths and it’s his opinion that it will continue to exact a price in blood from those who own it and those who covet it.

The pearl is safely ensconced in a London museum, protected by the most advanced alarm systems, but Holmes’ ill-advised attempt to test the effectiveness of the museum’s security leads to the theft of the pearl. Holmes realises he is dealing with a master criminal, a fiend named Giles Conover. And Conover and his partner-in-crime Naomi Drake seem to have temporarily at least got the better of the great detective.

Roy William Neill directed most of the Universal Holmes movies and was largely responsible for the success of the series. He was a skillful and economical director with a sure sense of pacing. He made horror movies and film noir as well as and he gave the Holmes movies a slight flavour of both the gothic and the film noir, qualities which added considerably to the atmosphere of these films. He was one of the most talented B-movie directors in Hollywood until his premature death in 1946

Rathbone’s Holmes is generally a more confident Holmes than Brett’s but The Pearl of Death is interesting in that it reveals the master detective’s fatal weakness. It is his arrogance that causes him to make a colossal blunder, a blunder that leads to the loss of the Borgia pearl and threatens to destroy his own reputation. This makes The Pearl of Death one of the most absorbing entries in the Universal cycle. Holmes is well and truly on the defensive. This inspires Rathbone to give one of his finest performances.

The supporting cast is also very capable. In fact this movie has no obvious weaknesses at all. It has a taut script, crisp direction and fine actin. And although these were B-movies they were highly profitable B-movies made by a major studio and the production values are quite impressive. This is a very professional and very handsome movie. And it’s also thoroughly enjoyable. The Scarlet Claw might be the best of the Universal Holmes movies but The Pearl of Death is not far behind. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Limping Man (1953)

The Limping Man is a 1953 British film noir. Well it’s a film noir if you’re prepared to define film noir very very broadly indeed. But it doesn’t matter because actually it’s just an entertaining little 1950 British mystery thriller, the sort of thing the British film industry did so well in those days.

Lloyd Bridges is an engineer who had had an affair with an Englishwoman, an actress named Pauline French. during the war. Now, six years later, he’s flying to London to be reunited with her. Only the reunion doesn’t go quite as expected. She’s not at the airport waiting for him as arranged, and then the guy standing next to him who’s just lit his cigarette for him gets gunned down by a mystery sniper. And when he finally does meet up with his lady love his reception is distinctly on the cool side.

The police are somewhat baffled by the whole affair. The murdered man doesn’t seem to exist. He was carrying documents identifying him as Kendal Brown, but officially there appears to be no such person. But Kendal Brown has quite a reputation anyway, and it’s a rather unsavoury reputation. He seems to have had a taste for crime, and for other men’s wives. He also appears to be linked with Pauline French, and with an entertainer called Helene Castle who does an act with a stage magician.

Smuggling, blackmail and murder are just some of the activities with which Kendal Brown and his unlikely associates are involved.

This is strictly B-movie stuff but it’s well executed. Lloyd Bridges is good as the perpetually puzzled hero who really isn’t sure what he’s go himself mixed up in. Moira Lister is adequate as Pauline. Alan Wheatley and Leslie Phillips are fun as the two very civilised and polite detectives from Scotland Yard.

The 76 minute running time ensures that this movie doesn’t wear out its welcome. The theatre background provides a nice mix of seediness and glamour.

It’s all going along rather well until we get to the ending. At which point you may well feel like hurling a brick at your TV. I know I felt that way. People who end movies in this way should be taken out and shot.

It’s public domain and there are countless copies floating about that you can pick up for a song. My copy is from the Mill Creek 50-movie set called Dark Crimes. It’s a pretty terrible print but since the cost works out at around 40 cents a movie I can’t really complain. And the picture quality is at least watchable.