The MoFo Top 100 Film Noir Countdown

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Society ennobler, last seen in Medici's Florence
#16 The Asphalt Jungle (1950) is my #8 and #15 Mildred Pierce (1945) is my #13.

Saw both for the countdown.

Joan Crawford did her job very well in an interesting story. So, it got one of my mid slots in the ballot.

Sterling Hayden (see the avatar) has been on my radar for many years. I liked The Asphalt Jungle and it made my top 10.

A quiz question: Do you know that Sterling Hayden, in his later career, had a small but important role in one of the most famous movies of the early 70's (Imdb top 250)? Which is the movie and who is the character he played?

"Population don't imitate art, population imitate bad television." W.A.
"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." M.T.

Trouble with a capital "T"
..A quiz question: Do you know that Sterling Hayden, in his later career, had a small but important role in one of the most famous movies of the early 70's (Imdb top 250)? Which is the movie and who is the character he played?
I'm guessing a neo noir that better make the other countdown!

I've seen both of today's films, and they were both on my list! They're also both films that were nominated in Hall of Fames. The Asphalt Jungle I saw in the 3rd Noir HoF, and Mildred Pierce in the 22nd General.

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
Directed by: John Huston
Starring: Sam Jaffe, Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern

Outside of the opening and closing sequences, there is a distinct lack of music in The Asphalt Jungle. The silent soundtrack helps set a bleak tone, and manages to enhance the tension in certain scenes more than a dramatic score ever could. The shots are very well balanced and framed, and when combined with the editor's apparent aversion to unnecessary cuts, it looks and feels very realistic. In this context, the choice not to use Expressionistic lighting effects actually helps the film achieve a darker atmosphere as well.

The story is told primarily from the side of the criminals involved in a major heist, which was an uncommon perspective at the time of The Asphalt Jungle's release. Instead of focusing on their execution of the crime, we're given a rather slow build-up where a lot of time is spent first with the central characters, and then on the consequences of their actions. The script is overall very well written, but I've never understood the reasoning behind why “Doll” was so in love with a character like Dix, who we only ever see treating her poorly, or talking down to her.

It's not an unheard of situation, I just would've liked to have more insight into their relationship. Similarly, the performances are pretty spectacular across the board, but again with an exception involving Dix. While he did at least look the part, I do not particularly like Sterling Hayden in this film for some reason. His first few lines are delivered as though he just walked off the set of a bad western, and they don't improve much from there. Luckily the other main actors and the entire supporting cast do a great job around him; it's just disappointing that I was never able to connect with a character who we're supposed to feel sympathy for.
Despite not really liking Sterling Hayden's performance, he doesn't drag the rest of the film down too much, and I had it at #17. I wasn't entirely sure if Mildred Pierce was going to be eligible for the Countdown, given how melodramatic it is, so I was glad when I saw that it qualified! It was my #12, though it probably could've been a spot or two higher.

Mildred Pierce (1945)
Directed by: Michael Curtiz
Starring: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott

Mildred Pierce is a film noir with a melodramatic character study sandwiched into its centre. It's a strange mix that works better than one would expect. While I'd personally prefer a larger serving of noir, the dramatic aspect is quite compelling thanks to Joan Crawford's performance as the titular character, and an altogether excellent supporting cast. Ann Blyth in particular excels as the spoiled, manipulative daughter, whose complete lack of compassion seems evident to everyone around her.

Mildred loves Veda despite the child's flaws, and it's this love which drives most of her actions throughout the film. She's cautious of the men in her life and their attempts to exploit her, but allows Veda to consistently lead her into ruin. She is otherwise a strong, hard-working woman whose only fault was caring about her children too much. Whether or not this was meant to be commentary on a woman's place in the home is open to debate, but it nonetheless makes for an interesting film.

Most of the story is a retelling by Mildred herself, so the blend of genres makes sense from her perspective. She's reflecting on her past, and her emotions are ultimately going to colour each event. The tragic elements of the plot feature harsher shadows that make them look appropriately darker than her happier memories. The cinematography is of course at its best when it leans more heavily into elements of noir for the introductory scenes, and later for the climax once the flashback narrative catches up to the film's opening.
Seen: 34/86

My List: 14
03. Stranger on the Third Floor (1940) - #92
04. Murder My Sweet (1944) - #28
06. Detour (1945) - #24
07. Rebecca (1940) - #35
08. Ministry of Fear (1944) - #75
09. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) - #40
11. This Gun for Hire (1942) - #78
12. Mildred Pierce (1945) - #15
13. Odd Man Out (1947) - #47
15. Strangers on a Train (1951) - #18
17. The Asphalt Jungle (1950) - #16
18. Night and the City (1950) - #25
19. Phantom Lady (1944) - #69
25. The Stranger (1946) - #38

Women will be your undoing, Pépé
Going to jump in before posting my Ketchup post this evening since...

Coming in at #1

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)


The pulp-style cinematography and compositions bring this professionally done, exceptional jewelry heist going south fast. At first by bad luck and then by a double-cross. Both ends in gunplay, and somebody slumps over. From there on, it's a mad dash to escape the Police hot on their @sses. Directed by John Huston, who—should I be eloquent? Nope. He f@ckin nails it on every level and every nuance. But, then, it's John f@ckin Huston. Nuff said.

My favorite of the thieves was Sam Jaffe's Doc Erwin Riedenschneider, the fresh-out-of-jail Mastermind ready to commit a heist he had staged before his time in jail. The pairing of him and Sterling Hayden's Dix had a great counterbalance and a solid, cohesive team. I've seen Jaffe previously, and this is an exceptional performance of the calm strategist with nostalgia for life. "One way or another, we all work for our vices.".
The hunchbacked, cat-loving Driver, Gus (James Whitmore), is a close second. Though, really, they're all great all the way through. Even the cops were great. Barry Kelly's Lt. Ditrich, a dirty cop with smarts, had the same authentic looks Hayden brought to Dix. The inside/deeper conversation of "looks" Ditrich and the weasel-esque Booky Cobby (Marc Lawrence) is brilliant.
I love the "grays" of everyone. No one is entirely one thing, but a mix of strengths and weaknesses. Even the Lawyer, Alonzo D. Emmerich, played by Louis Calhern, the financial backer who tries to rob them once the job is done, isn't a complete slimeball. He's very broke and desperately needs a substantial amount of cash right now.
For the ladies, the usual Femme Fatales are, instead, pretty d@mn decent. From the bed-ridden May Emmerich (Dorothy Tree) to the Young Bit O' Candy, Angela Phinlay. Played by the upcoming Bombshell, the iconic Marilyn Monroe, showing serious potential in her small part. The standout is the scared but devoted Doll (Jean Hagen).
Doll and Dix's layered dynamics are soaked in low self-esteem on both sides. Dix thinks he's unworthy/too dangerous for someone to care about him. Add on his past loss of home puts a massive wall up to everyone else. I'm guessing Doll had known him for a bit and knew that, while a violent man by trade, it may not be what kind of man he is. She gets that the sh#tty treatment's source is inner pain. A wounded dog that bites the hand trying to help, sort of thing. Not because he's an insensitive A-hole. She is in desperate times, reaching out for any bit of kindness as sh#t continues to happen in her life. We meet her being booted out of her apartment, in dire need of indoor shelter. It says a lot that she chooses Dix's place as a feasible haven in the storm. They're two people with challenging/hard-luck times and far too familiar with such times to trust or take a chance with someone else, but not jaded enough to be unnecessarily callous and/or cruel.
While I'm not caught up in their star-crossed romance, it is a great addition to an already excellent noir in my eyes and heart.

15 Mildred Pierce (1945) This is a great film that I would watch more often if I didn't get so angry while watching it.
And that is really due to the excellent portrayal of a petulant, spoiled, avarice, and callously devious daughter, Veda, by Ann Blyth. The masks she wears, the nuances and glimpses beneath, to when she lets loose. . . She's so brilliant at being such a beguiling serpent that I utterly f@ckin DESPISE the character SO much I just go berserk every time she walks all over her mother. And THEN I get angry with her mother for LETTING HER!
It's not pretty.

But enough of that. It dances around the limits set up by the Hays Code with grace and skill. The story is well done, and the cinematography is ripe with fantastic compositions and lighting. There are two people I have loved since I was a kid: supporting actor extraordinaire Jack Carson and the Lady of the Deliciously Biting Wit: Eve Arden. Their characters and their presence are a seriously wonderful addition to the cast. And if I'm going to do mentions, I should add Zachary Scott playing the ne'er-do-well playboy.
What I actually said to win MovieGal's heart:
- I might not be a real King of Kinkiness, but I make good pancakes
~Mr Minio

Oh Yea!!! These are at the top of my list. Mildred Pierce is my #3 and The Asphalt Jungle is my #5. I expect my #2 and #4 will be revealed tomorrow.

Women will be your undoing, Pépé
Coming in at #18

28 Murder, My Sweet (1944)
Philip Marlowe: She was a charming middle-aged lady with a face like a bucket of mud. I gave her a drink. She was a gal who'd take a drink if she had to knock you down to get the bottle.

There have been several actors who have played Chandler's iconic Philip Marlowe. Powell is my go-to guy for playing the sarcastic, nonviolent detective who loves to drink and talk sh#t with. . . hell, pretty much everyone. For me, this film seems to epitomize a Chandler story while delving into the prose that would become the staple of the genre as well as some of the mannerisms (the smart-ass in particular) to so many private dicks and cops to come.
There is also some great use of camera trickery to delve into the narration and "feel" of this gumshoe tale, playing the sitting duck for the blind with unlimited ammo.

Coming in at #9

27 Gilda (1946) Befitting noir, this explosive love triangle is wrought with every emotionally irrational pitfall and callous manipulation by everyone involved. There is no victim, no hero, no one person without sin, fault, or machination. However, the path is paved for the two leading roles of past lovers of mutual betrayal. Fueling their hatred and igniting their never-ending desire to eventual fruition. It is the fireworks and spiteful sparks preceding it that keep us glued. Hayworth and Ford’s chemistry is believable; their Hate-Love-Hate-Love is a captivating, careening ride as the wheels go flying off the tracks.
The first of two standout secondary characters is Steven Geray’s glib fountain of wisdom, Uncle Pio. He doggedly points out the newly retained Number Two Man, Johnny Farrell’s failings, and his begrudging hopes of Johnny rising above them. The second is Joseph Calleia—his sauve Det. Maurice Obregon is calculating and patient for the inevitable screw-up the guilty always provides. He is forever in the background, swooping in to assess and goad.

Coming in at #21

26 Key Largo (1948) Like numerous Bacall/Bogart films and with the addition of Edward G. Robinson, I've been a fan of this seaside resort with a god-awful storm about to devastate and pummel the coast while some god awful folks intimidate the owner (Lionel Barrymore) and his daughter (Lauren Bacall). The henchmen that slink about are some of my favorite moments in a film I've enjoyed since I was a tyke. This was a guaranteed placement without a recent rewatch.

25 Night and the City (1950) will be my next entry to the Rectification List. I'm a third of the way, and spoiler alert: f@ckin love it.

24 Detour (1945) picked an ideal premise for a low-budget film: the doomed man. Wrong place, wrong time, and the spiraling circumstances of zero breaks and worse-case scenarios squelching any and all grit or determination to make it out again. Inevitably, resigning to the full circle of a “bad car ride.”
I was impressed by the actors' performances. From the pitiful “doomed man” (Tom Neal) to the lashing force (Ann Savage) bullying him down the precarious slope, everyone made commendable representations in this fatalist tale. It was concise, believable, and engaging.

Coming in at #25

22 The Killers (1946) Burt Lancaster's debut, Swede Anderson, is a little out of his league. He's also shot dead in his bed by hitmen. Swede Anderson ain't having the best of times. On the bright side, there is Ava Garnder's Kitty Collins and to be a moth to such a flame. . . well, doesn't necessarily make it the worst of times either.
This is another of my guaranteed placements from my youth, and it may have been higher had I gotten a rewatch of this old favorite.

Coming in at #4

21 Pickup on South Street (1953) This film cinched my admiration for Richard Widmark, compelling me to specifically seek out his films beyond the small roles I had previously seen as psychopaths. The first, I believe, was Kiss of Death. Here, with sheer style and confidence, Widmark's Skip McCoy welcomes each and every hood, cop, and seductress who thinks they can play him. The opening pickpocket scene of a bag woman is steamy and seedy in true noir form.
The shining star of this is Thelma Ritter's affable snitch, who treats it like a business exchange and nothing more. She steals every scene.

20 Notorious (1946) Been a few years since seeing this excellent matching of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. I do not remember how it concludes, so a rewatch would be a fun adventure.

19 Ace in the Hole (1951) While showcasing the callous, parasitic underbelly of journalism, it also shines a light on everyone else and their truer intentions, whether honorable or selfish. A dark, grim ride by the master of storytelling, Billy Wilder. In a kind of literal Trip & Fall as we first meet Kirk Douglas' cocky Reporter, his happenstance discovery of a man pinned in a cave-in in the desert, and the news circus that erupts and its devastating climax.

18 Strangers on a Train (1951) Hitchcock does some excellent camera shots, as is his norm, in this film. Playing with the tension and suspense with, at this point, true Hitchcockian style. Such as the dark bedroom scene as Guy confronts Bruno, tossing the german luger (pistol) down. Hitchcock's camera placement is ideal as Bruno picks it up and follows Guy out to the stairs, the pistol trained on Guy as he slowly walks down the stairs. Almost daring Bruno to shoot him. Another great scene is Bruno stalking Guy's wife, Miriam, at the carnival.

Coming in at #5

17 The Big Heat (1953) Director Fritz Lang has a strong penchant for walking the darker side when it comes to his films and the characters therein. So that, by contrast, the righteous indignation of Glenn Ford's Dave Bannion shines even brighter through the muck and mire of corruption, deceit and violence that permeates this hotbed noir.
The only moments of honesty are found in Bannion's home life. The mistaken murder of his wife via a car bomb intended for him propels an already determined officer of the law to find out not only the truth behind a Suicide Note and the fake remorse of the widow but also to pursue those responsible for his wife's death. No matter how protected they are.
Specifically, a violent grease-ball underling to the local Gangster Boss, Vince Stone (Lee Marvin), is a vicious snake in an expensive suit, ready to run whenever things get heavy. Much of the more volatile scenes revolve around him and his "girl," Debby Marsh. What could easily have been a one-dimensional character is given depth by the Lady of Noir, Gloria Grahame. Their explosive and revenge-riddled conclusion makes for an exciting climax to this film.

Watched 53 out of 86 (61.63%)
1. The Asphalt Jungle (1950) (#16)
4. Pickup on South Street (1953) (#21)
5. The Big Heat (1953) (#17)
8. Panic In The Streets (1950) (#98)
9. Gilda (1946) (#27)
10. Act of Violence (1948) (#61)
11. Ride The Pink Horse (1947) (#45)
14. Odd Man Out (1947) (#47)
16. Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) (#66)
17. The Stranger (1946) (#38)
18. Murder, My Sweet (1944) (#38)
21. Key Largo (1946) (#26)
22. Body and Soul (1947) (#94)
23. The Naked City (1948) (#98)
24. Dead Reckoning (1946) (#95)
25. The Killers (1946) (#22)

Rectification List
Stranger on the Third Floor (1940) (#92)
Too Late for Tears (1949) (#81)
Kansas City Confidential (1952) (#53)

Trouble with a capital "T"

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

"That 'Asphalt Pavement' thing is full of nasty, ugly people doing nasty things. I wouldn't walk across the room to see a thing like that." Louis B. Mayer head of MGM.

Clearly Mr. Mayer didn't watch, The Asphalt Jungle. Because if he had he would've known that those people doing 'nasty things' weren't all 'ugly' inside. What touched me most was the humanity that these hardened criminals showed each other. I forget which director once said 'every hero should have a flaw and every bad character should have a soft spot.' But apparently John Huston agreed with that idea.

The characters in The Asphalt Jungle seemed more like real people than tropes in a movie. Take Louis Calhern who played a corrupt lawyer who was two-timing on his bedridden wife. Most other movies would've made him a nasty piece of business, so that when he got his just deserts, we'd cheer. Here...Calhern's lawyer despite his numerous flaws, still clearly loves his wife. We see him taking time to play cards with her, we hear him laminate how things were between them before she became bed ridden. Clearly he loves her. Yes he's cheating on her but Huston's script and direction makes us understand how Calhern could've came to where he was. I especially liked the end scene when the cops arrive and Calhern thinks not of himself, but of his girlfriend (Marilyn Monroe) when he says, 'just tell the cops the truth' kind of chokes me uop. Another character in another movie might have disowned the girl right there in front of the cops calling her a liar trying to save his own skin. But Calhern has a tenderness and spares his girlfriend the pain of being grilled and arrested by the cops. Gotta say Marilyn was very good in this especially in that last scene. After the movie I read she considered that scene to be one of her best performances.

Those acts of kindness from Calhern are repeated by Dix, to a smaller degree. Yes, something is wrong with Dix and the movie tells us all hoodlums have a 'screw loose'. We can see Dix can't really cope with other people's emotions, he becomes unhinged saying he won't be 'boned' by the bookie who asked to be paid for a previous gambling debts. When Doll says she will drive him to Kentucky, he shakes his head and says 'I just don't get it'. Dix can't understand love and yet in his own way he shows little acts of kindness towards Doll...not much but he never really does her wrong, at least by his book.

My third viewing and my opinion has only went up each time I watched this.

List facts!
  • The Asphalt Jungle is John Huston's second entry in the countdown. He already placed Key Largo at #26.
  • Mildred Pierce is also Michael Curtiz' second entry in the countdown, after placing The Breaking Point at #58.
  • The 30-point gap between The Big Heat and The Asphalt Jungle becomes the new biggest one, after the 27-point gap between The Killers and Pickup in South Street.
Check out my podcast: The Movie Loot!

Trouble with a capital "T"
Check out the point difference for today's reveals on both countdowns. The noir countdown reveals are 319 and 325 points.....while the neo noir reveals today are 191 and 193. Quite the difference in how people voted and the point spreads between the countdowns.

I'm not totally convinced that Mildred Pierce is noir but I voted for both of today's entries.

2. Scarlet Street (#29)
3. Rififi (#42)
4. Mildred Pierce (#15)
6. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (#40)
7. Body and Soul (#94)
10. Key Largo (#26)
11. The Asphalt Jungle (#16)
13. Detective Story (#57)
14. The Killers (#22)
15. Force of Evil (#85)
16 Ride the Pink Horse (#45)
19. Nightmare Alley (#33)
20. The Blue Dahlia (#74)
21. The Lady from Shanghai (#31)
22. Gilda (#27)
23. The Stranger (#38)
24. Drunken Angel (#70)
25. The Letter (#72)

The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

I've always been a big fan of most of John Huston's work, from
The Maltese Falcon (1941) through to Prizzi's Honor (1985). As far as noir films, the former may have been the first mainstream instance of the form in its classic presentation.

The Asphalt Jungle is one of his better films, especially so as a noir example. Cinematographer Harold Rosson was fresh from filming On The Town (NYC) and Key to the City (San Fran), so he had experience representing the feel and power of big cityscapes, which was on display right from the git-go in Jungle's opening scenes: the post war stylized fedora-wearing mug framed by the enormity of building arches; the shadowy doorways and litter shown in urban alleyways-- mostly filmed in Cincinnati.

As a heist film it was notable for showcasing early variations of the now familiar story mechanics: the gang is formed; the plan is made; the characters are developed; and the complicated burglary is pulled off-- although not without some bad luck. It's also the first time in memory that the thieves must slide on their backs underneath an electronic eye.

In my view the standout performance was by Marc Lawrence, playing the underworld bookie wannabe big shot gangster. His performance never varied or weakened, and was completely believable. Sam Jaffe also gets plaudits as the mastermind ex con, Doc Riedenschneider. And Jean Hagen had a tough part to play as the weak gal named Doll who was head over heels for ex con Dix Handley (Sterling Hayden), and she came through in spades. Hayden himself was convincing as the tough guy who was looking to make a big score so he could return home to buy his family's previous horse farm. Much of Hayden's performance, as well as most of the other cast's, was over-acted by today's standards; but yet they didn't want anyone missing the point in those days.

Louis Calhern did a journeyman's job as the regal but untrustworthy financier of the operation. Calhern's approach was pretty similar most in any role that he played. Anthony Caruso was starting to get notice here as Louis Ciavelli, the expert safe cracker. Much notice has been made of Marilyn Monroe as Calhern's mistress. She certainly exuded allure and raw sexiness as a dimwitted plaything, who eventually causes Calhern's end.

The picture was fairly long for its era, but filled all of its 1' 52" effortlessly. It was nominated for 4 Oscars that year, and remains today as one of our finer

It is #13 on my noir list.

Mildred Pierce (1945) was a tremendous comeback for Joan Crawford. After starring in silent movies, and continuing on into the 1930s as a huge box office star, her popularity had gradually waned to where MGM dropped her in 1942. Later she successfully lobbied Warner Bros. for the part of Mildred, even agreeing to a screen test. The picture’s success and Crawford’s Best Actress Oscar put her back on the map big time.

It’s a tawdry story of a hard working mother trying to provide the good life for her spoiled brat daughter, who is embarrassed by her mother’s low financial standing. Later the daughter tries to steal her mother’s new sleazy husband and business partner. When he rejects her, the daughter shoots him dead. After several twists it leads to a satisfactory ending.

Great direction by Michael Curtiz (
Casablanca), photography by Ernest Haller (Gone With the Wind), and first class supporting roles by Zachary Scott, Ann Blyth, Eve Arden, Jack Carson and Bruce Bennett.

Good picture, but it didn't crack my top 25 noirs.


A quiz question: Do you know that Sterling Hayden, in his later career, had a small but important role in one of the most famous movies of the early 70's (Imdb top 250)? Which is the movie and who is the character he played?

Would you be referring to Hayden's Capt. McCluskey in The Godfather (1972)? He was memorable in that part.

Welcome to the human race...
one vote. i had mildred pierce at #12. those dames do go wild in that one. the asphalt jungle is okay.
I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.
Iro's Top 100 Movies v3.0

Trouble with a capital "T"
I can't resist posting about Mildred Pierce....a short read with lots of pics, I promise!

Mildred Pierce (1945
Joan Crawford has the title role as a working class mom who works herself to the bone to give her only child, a spoiled daughter all the luxuries Mildred had been denied in her own life.

That's Butterfly McQueen to the left, best known for her role in Gone With the Wind.

Eve Arden left, Zachary Scott center and Ann Blyth right.

Mildred Pierce might sound like a soapy opera, but that's not the case, thanks to the flashback opening scenes that starts the movie with Joan being taken to police headquarters for a murder she seems to have committed. That's the mystery and Mildred Pierce has several sub stories running along with the main theme that makes this movie a master piece.

Nominated for 6 Oscars, and winning one for Best Actress Joan Crawford. Joan pours herself into her role....a role that was not unlike her own life. Ann Blyth plays her spoiled rotten daughter to rotten spoiled perfection. She was nominated for best supporting actress.

The script is as fresh as the day it was made, and the story compelling. Jack Carson is great too.

I forgot the opening line.
#18 Strangers on a Train - I keep on meaning to watch this. I have it on DVD so all that's stopping me is the roster of films that I've given priority. Another one I'm looking forward to. For some reason I always think Sidney Poitier is in this - please, please don't ask me why.

#17 The Big Heat - Another big one I haven't seen. I love Lee Marvin, so it's much anticipated.

#16 The Asphalt Jungle - I think The Asphalt Jungle is terrific. "Just straight up, no-nonsense, hard-boiled crime fiction. The Asphalt Jungle has a pounding pulse that beats steadily from start to finish, and never takes any detours. It's gritty and tough - as you might discern from the film's title, which makes you think of deadly prey and desperate survival" - that was my initial take. The famous heist is a fabulous feat of filmmaking. The Asphalt Jungle makes crime feel like a high-stakes fight against time and inevitability. It's a film that races by because of it's lively pace, the characters in it move along like they're on a raft in the rapids - avoiding cops, setting off alarms, getting shot and throwing desperate punches. Lastly, nothing beat watching the massive Sterling Hayden strut his stuff here. I had The Asphalt Jungle at #15 on my ballot.

#15 Mildred Pierce - I really enjoyed watching the noir/drama Mildred Pierce - it's a film that's primarily about money, and the belief we have that having more money will ease what ails us. The more money Mildred Pierce (Joan Crawford) makes, and the more success she has, the less it seems to matter to her personally though - and with a brat of a daughter her entry into the world of business ends with murder. But who did it? There aren't many characters who don't have a smudge on their soul in this - that particular seed of thought is planted at the very outset, when Mildred invites a man over on false pretenses, planning for him to take the fall for the aforementioned murder. Good movie, but it didn't make my ballot.

Seen : 25/86
I'd never even heard of : 47/86
Movies that had been on my radar, but I haven't seen yet : 14/86
Films from my list : 13

#16 - My #15 - The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
#21 - My #17 - Pickup on South Street (1953)
#24 - My #20 - Detour (1945)
#27 - My #14 - Gilda (1946)
#28 - My #11 - Murder, My Sweet (1944)
#31 - My #25 - The Lady From Shanghai (1947)
#33 - My #22 - Nightmare Alley (1947)
#36 - My #16 - Gun Crazy (1950)
#44 - My #19 - Criss Cross (1949)
#54 - My #12 - D.O.A. (1950)
#58 - My #23 - The Breaking Point (1950)
#61 - My #21 - Act of Violence (1949)
#67 - My #18 - The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
Remember - everything has an ending except hope, and sausages - they have two.

Latest Review : Aftersun (2022)

Sterling Hayden will most definitely be reappearing on the countdown in Mr. Kubrick's similar-ish heist-gone-wrong picture. Wouldn't be shocked if that one made it all the way to the Top Five.

This picture of Hayden in the police lineup is my favorite scene in a movie full of great ones. Just because of the intensity of Hayden "looking through" the glass at where he thinks the finger man will be sitting, and being right, and totally intimidating the guy into not naming him. And this is early on. It's the scene that hooked me into the movie, and the rest is history. Leading up to the Countdown, this was already my favorite Film Noir of all-time, that is until I saw another for the Countdown that I'd never seen, and it instantly shot right up into my #1 slot. And I don't buy the whole "recency bias" nonsense. I simply know what I like. But that's okay because The Asphalt Jungle came in on my list at a very respectable #2.

It's been a while since I've seen Mildred Pierce but I remember liking it quite a bit. Crawford gave one of her best performances here, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences agreed. But Oscar don't hold no sway with me 'cause her best performance is definitely as Dr. Brockton in Trog! No, I kid, I joke! Yes, Joan is great in this fine film, and my favorite supporting player is Jack Carson. He's one of my favorite actors in the Golden Age of Hollywood and he certainly acquits himself greatly here. I hated Ann Blyth in this, which meant that she did a great job as the shrew of a thankless daughter. If I were to do a remake, I would have her explode in spectacular fashion, with a horrible shriek to accompany the blast. Like the film very much but didn't vote for it.

#2 The Asphalt Jungle List Proper #16
#4 The Big Combo List Proper #52
#5 Pickup on South Street List Proper #23
#6 Kansas City Confidential List Proper #53
#10 The Big Heat List Proper #17
#12 The Postman Always Rings Twice List Proper #23
#13 Murder, My Sweet List Proper #28
#14 Kiss of Death List Proper #59
#15 He Walked By Night List Proper #88
#16 The Naked City List Proper #60
#17 The Killers List Proper #22
#18 Detour List Proper #24
#20 Gun Crazy List Proper #36
#22 This Gun For Hire List Proper #78
#23 The Narrow Margin List Proper #43
#25 Crossfire List Proper #51
"Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley."

Have you had your weekly dose of Film Noir fun?

Painted Film Noir Posters Quiz

How many can you identify?


Ran out of time

Have you had your weekly dose of Film Noir fun?

Painted Film Noir Posters Quiz

How many can you identify?
12 of 20. Some of those paintings were kinda sketchy. I kept wondering if Broderick Crawford and Lauren Bacall were ever in a movie together. Turned out to be Humphrey Bogart.