Columbia Noir

Columbia Noir

13 Episodes

Film noir is a genre often enhanced by the shabby, disreputable trappings of the B movie, so it’s no surprise that some of the finest noirs of the studio era were produced at the notoriously budget-conscious Columbia Pictures, which made something of a specialty of the genre during the forties, fifties, and early sixties. It was there that Gloria Grahame and Glenn Ford rose to stardom and auteurs like Fritz Lang and Jacques Tourneur realized pulp-poetry perfection in classics like THE BIG HEAT, HUMAN DESIRE, and NIGHTFALL. And it was also where lesser-known filmmakers could overcome budgetary constraints through sinister, shadow-splashed atmosphere and directorial vision in genre gems like the gothic MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS and the brutally hard-edged crime procedural THE LINEUP.

Subscribe Share
Columbia Noir
  • Introducing Columbia Noir

    Episode 1

    Critics Imogen Sara Smith and Farran Smith Nehme explore the style and sensibility that Columbia Pictures brought to film noir.

  • My Name Is Julia Ross

    Episode 2

    Directed by Joseph H. Lewis • 1945 • United States
    Starring Nina Foch, George Macready, Dame May Whitty

    An unemployed London secretary is lured to the Cornish coast for a position as an elderly woman’s live-in assistant. Soon, however, she finds herself a prisoner in an isolated mansion, wher...

  • So Dark the Night

    Episode 3

    Directed by Joseph H. Lewis • 1946 • United States
    Starring Steven Geray, Micheline Cheirel

    Joseph H. Lewis, the director of the classic film noir GUN CRAZY, established his reputation as a talented stylist by wrangling this complicated story—of a Parisian detective (Steven Geray) who falls i...

  • The Big Heat

    Episode 4

    Directed by Fritz Lang • 1953 • United States
    Starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Lee Marvin

    Fritz Lang’s hard-boiled cop vs. criminals yarn stars Glenn Ford as Dave Bannion, a police detective and family man driven by grief to conduct a relentless vendetta against a mobster (Alexander Scour...

  • Drive a Crooked Road

    Episode 5

    Directed by Richard Quine • 1954 • United States
    Starring Mickey Rooney, Kevin McCarthy, Dianne Foster

    Mickey Rooney plays Eddie Shannon, a Los Angeles mechanic and race car enthusiast who is seduced by a gangster’s girlfriend and blackmailed into participating as the getaway driver in a bank...

  • In a Lonely Place

    Episode 6

    Directed by Nicholas Ray • 1950 • United States
    Starring Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame

    When a gifted but washed-up screenwriter with a hair-trigger temper—Humphrey Bogart, in a revelatory, vulnerable performance—becomes the prime suspect in a brutal Tinseltown murder, the only person who ca...

  • Human Desire

    Episode 7

    Directed by Fritz Lang • 1954 • United States
    Starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Broderick Crawford

    In this adaptation of Emile Zola’s “La bête humaine,” veteran Jeff Warren (Glenn Ford) returns from Korea to his job as a railroad engineer and quickly succumbs to the advances of his boss's ...

  • Pushover

    Episode 8

    Directed by Richard Quine • 1954 • United States
    Starring Fred MacMurray, Kim Novak, Dorothy Malone

    Paul Sheridan (Fred MacMurray) is one of the duty-bound cops who stake out the apartment of Lana McLane (Kim Novak), the girlfriend of a murderous bank robber. Sheridan makes a move on the bea...

  • Nightfall

    Episode 9

    Directed by Jacques Tourneur • 1957 • United States
    Starring Brian Keith, Aldo Ray, Anne Bancroft

    Directed by Jacques Tourneur from one of the masterful, despairing novels of David Goodis, NIGHTFALL is the tale of an innocent man trapped in a senseless and lethal web of seduction and crime. ...

  • The Burglar

    Episode 10

    Directed by Paul Wendkos • 1957 • United States
    Starring Dan Duryea, Jayne Mansfield

    Based on the pulp-fiction novel by David Goodis, who also penned the screenplay, this little-known crime thriller stars noir mainstay Dan Duryea as a jewel thief who targets the mansion of a wealthy evangeli...

  • The Lineup

    Episode 11

    Directed by Don Siegel • 1958 • United States
    Starring Eli Wallach, Robert Keith

    The dual strands of this thriller follow two criminals involved in a dope-smuggling scheme and the police who follow their trail of violence across the city of San Francisco. Making brilliant use of space and arc...

  • Murder by Contract

    Episode 12

    Directed by Irving Lerner • 1958 • United States
    Starring Vince Edwards, Phillip Pine, Herschel Bernardi

    Vince Edwards stars as a hired assassin whose latest “assignment” (Caprice Toriel) is about to testify against the mob. But this particular target is not so easy to get at. So he waits . ....

  • Experiment in Terror

    Episode 13

    Directed by Blake Edwards • 1962 • United States
    Starring Lee Remick, Glenn Ford

    Following the success of BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S, producer-director Blake Edwards took a detour into noir territory with this ultra-stylish, mood-drenched thriller. Lee Remick plays a San Francisco bank clerk who ...