DVDs from the Vault: Forgotten Noir, Jungle Thrills - Plus! Rock, Doris, Popeye, Penrod and Sam (and More!)
Let's begin this week's feast of vintage features on DVD with a newly remastered quintet of lessr-known noir, all culled from the Warner acquisitions library and released via their manufacture on demand imprint, Warner Archives. Monogram's The Fall Guy (1947) benefits greatly from its source material - the short story "Cocaine," by Cornell Woolrich,, whose doom-laden work also served as the inspiration for The Leopard Man (1943), Phantom Lady (1944), Rear Window (1954), The Bride Wore Black (1968) and countless other films. The Fall Guy draws from one of Woolrich's favorite tropes - the crime commited in the wake of an alcohol- or drug-fueled blackout (see also Black Angel and The Guilty, both 1947) - with actor/director Leo Penn (father of Sean, Chris and Michael Penn, and here billed as Clifford Penn) discovering that he may have murdered a woman while in the grip of a bender. The left-field upbeat ending and budget-driven is balanced by the presence of Robert Armstrong (King Kong, 1933) as Penn's cop brother-in-law and Elisha Cook, Jr., in full ferret mode as a highly suspicious stranger.