Noir in Color

Noir in Color

15 Episodes

When you think of film noir, the first images that come to mind are invariably shaded in moody, chiaroscuro-laden black and white. But there exists a parallel tradition of postwar crime films in blazing color that are every bit as cynical, subversive, and strikingly stylized as their monochrome counterparts. Coinciding with the rise of television—when studios turned increasingly to widescreen, Technicolor productions in order to compete with the alarmingly popular new medium—these films bring noir out of the shadows and into a world of heightened, luridly expressionistic color. Ranging from classics like LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, and HOUSE OF BAMBOO to fascinating curios like the jaw-droppingly queer DESERT FURY and the European-shot Robert Mitchum rarity FOREIGN INTRIGUE, these brightly lit films can’t mask their dark hearts.

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Noir in Color
  • Noir in Color Teaser

    Episode 1

  • Leave Her to Heaven

    Episode 2

    Directed by John M. Stahl • 1945 • United States
    Starring Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, Jeanne Crain

    Novelist Richard Harland (Cornel Wilde) seems to have found the perfect woman in Ellen (Gene Tierney), a beautiful socialite who initiates a whirlwind romance and steers him into marriage before he...

  • Desert Fury

    Episode 3

    Directed by Lewis Allen • 1947 • United States
    Starring John Hodiak, Lizabeth Scott, Burt Lancaster

    Lurid Technicolor, deep-dish melodrama, and gay subtext abound in this pulpy noir firecracker. In the desert town of Chuckawalla, Nevada, tempers flare, passions spark, and violence erupts when Pa...

  • Inferno

    Episode 4

    Directed by Roy Ward Baker • 1953 • United States
    Starring Robert Ryan, Rhonda Fleming, William Lundigan

    Megawealthy industrialist Donald Carson III (Robert Ryan) breaks his leg while on a trip through the Mojave desert, and rather than find help, his scheming wife (Rhonda Fleming) and her lover...

  • Niagara

    Episode 5

    Directed by Henry Hathaway • 1953 • United States
    Starring Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters

    Marilyn Monroe dazzles in her star-making turn as a devious femme fatale in this sultry tale of seduction and murder. While on vacation at Niagara Falls, Rose Loomis (Monroe) plots to murder her...

  • Black Widow

    Episode 6

    Directed by Nunnally Johnson • 1954 • United States
    Starring Ginger Rogers, Van Heflin, Gene Tierney

    Ginger Rogers, Van Heflin, Gene Tierney, and George Raft lead an all-star cast in this lavishly mounted murder mystery set amid the glittering lights of Broadway—the rare film to be photographed ...

  • Bad Day at Black Rock

    Episode 7

    Directed by John Sturges • 1955 • United States
    Starring Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis

    Ace genre craftsman John Sturges directs Spencer Tracy and Robert Ryan in this taut western noir. Tracy is the one-armed war veteran John J. Macreedy, who arrives in the remote desert outpost of Bla...

  • House of Bamboo

    Episode 8

    Directed by Samuel Fuller • 1955 • United States
    Starring Robert Ryan, Robert Stack, Yoshiko Yamaguchi

    Samuel Fuller makes explosive use of the widescreen frame in this dynamic thriller shot entirely on location in postwar Tokyo. Down-and-out ex-GI Eddie (Robert Stack) arrives in Tokyo and, whil...

  • I Died a Thousand Times

    Episode 9

    Directed by Stuart Heisler • 1955 • United States
    Starring Jack Palance, Shelley Winters, Lori Nelson

    Definitive film-noir classic HIGH SIERRA receives a sleek update for the 1950s—this time in vivid widescreen Technicolor. Jack Palance fills in for Humphrey Bogart, bringing a simmering menace t...

  • Accused of Murder

    Episode 10

    Directed by Joseph Kane • 1956 • United States
    Starring David Brian, Vera Ralston, Sidney Blackmer

    Legendary Poverty Row studio Republic Pictures trotted out its knockoff Technicolor process, Trucolor, for this handsomely mounted noir in which a police detective (David Brian) finds himself entan...

  • Foreign Intrigue

    Episode 11

    Directed by Sheldon Reynolds • 1956 • United States
    Starring Robert Mitchum, Geneviève Page, Ingrid Thulin

    One of the first Hollywood films to be based on a hit television series, this crackling spy thriller stars Robert Mitchum as a curious press agent who is determined to uncover the past of h...

  • A Kiss Before Dying

    Episode 12

    Directed by Gerd Oswald • 1956 • United States
    Starring Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, Virginia Leith

    He had looks, charm, and killer instinct! This Sirkian noir stars Robert Wagner as Bud Corliss, a handsome college boy so obsessed with wealth that he’d do anything to get it. When his rich girl...

  • The River’s Edge

    Episode 13

    Directed by Allan Dwan • 1957 • United States
    Starring Ray Milland, Anthony Quinn, Debra Paget

    Bored city slicker and ex-convict Meg Cameron (Debra Paget) is languishing on the remote ranch owned by her devoted husband, Ben (Anthony Quinn), on the California-Mexico border. Her dead-end life gets...

  • Man of the West

    Episode 14

    Directed by Anthony Mann • 1958 • United Kingdom
    Starring Gary Cooper, Julie London, Lee J. Cobb

    In one of his last and finest performances, Gary Cooper plays the reformed outlaw Link Jones, who is unwittingly drawn back into his criminal past when his train is held up by his former gang. One of...

  • Party Girl

    Episode 15

    Directed by Nicholas Ray • 1958 • United States
    Starring Robert Taylor, Cyd Charisse, Lee J. Cobb

    Hollywood iconoclast (and favorite of the French New Wave auteurs) Nicholas Ray brings plenty of punch to this offbeat noir musical based on the life of Dixie Davis, the lawyer for infamous mob boss...