Among the 50 titles here yes, 50 are some genuine classics, such as 1950s D.O.A., Edward G. Robinson in 1947s The Red House and Samuel Fuller's The Naked Kiss, but I dont recommend picking up this massive set for those three, as much better prints can be found from, respectively, Image Entertainment, Film Chest and The Criterion Collection. No, I recommend Dark Crimes for the movies that will never see treatment any more special. This is all about quantity vs. quality.
Like 1936s The Mandarin Mystery, an Ellery Queen whodunit, this one centered on a young woman having the "most valuable stamp in the world" stolen from her. Its good to see a mystery centered on the philatelic instead of the philandering, for a change.
Like 1947s Fear in the Night, which begins with Star Treks DeForest Kelley relating a dream he had in a mirrored room: "There was danger there!" The dream sequence doesnt come close to rivaling Hitchcocks, but hey, it's something. Trying to crack its code, he places a very specific classified ad, wanting to buy or lease a "house with octagonal mirrored-paneled room or alcove." Based on a short story by Rear Windows Cornell Woolrich story, the film has a reveal that is unique, even all these decades later.
Like 1948s Inner Sanctum, not to be confused with the radio show or its resulting Lon Chaney Jr. movies of the same name. It has a murderer hiding in a boardinghouse, where he has to share a room with an ugly kid who wears a propeller beanie. There are two drunk hobos for comic relief, and a good girl getting romantic with the murdered, who tells her, "You're very pretty when your lips aren't moving."
Like 1939s The Mystery of Mr. Wong, with the un-PC casting of Boris Karloff as the Asian detective others refer to as Chinaman (its not nearly as offensive as Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffanys). The murder here during a game of charades, no less is over a Chinese jewel thats supposedly cursed. One character is named Strogonoff, pronounced just like the beef dish.
Like 1947s Things Happen at Night in which a poltergeist takes over a stuffy familys home. Like 1950s There Was a Crooked Man, actually an episode of the TV anthology Studio One (several others exist here), complete with Westinghouse sponsorships. Like 1932s Ten Minutes to Live, featuring an all-black cast.
Like, you get the picture. Actually, you get 50 of them, and if you have any love for early crime films and would rather see iffy transfers vs. perhaps not seeing them at all, buying this is a no-brainer. Rod Lott
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