From the early '40s to mid-'50s, Hollywood fell in love with dark shadows, tough guys, and the dangerous dames who led them to oblivion. The genre, of course, was film noir, and it gave us classics like The Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity. Lately, dozens of these doom-drenched pulp fictions have been pouring onto DVD and Blu-ray, and they're worth checking out. Take The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946, 1 hr., 53 mins., Not Rated), a top-notch window-fogger starring John Garfield as a drifter who takes a job at a roadside diner and falls for the boss' wife (Lana Turner). As a hot-to-trot man-eater, Turner has never looked better than she does on this Blu-ray even when she's plotting her hubby's murder with her new lover. Infidelity is also the theme of the excellent three-disc DVD set Dark Crimes: Film Noir Thrillers (1942-46, 4 hrs., 31 mins., Not Rated), featuring The Blue Dahlia, which stars Alan Ladd as a Navy flyboy who returns from the South Pacific to find his wife two-timing him. When she winds up dead, he goes on the lam (with the dreamy Veronica Lake) to prove his innocence before the heat closes in. As for the Blu-ray anthology Film Noir Collection: Volume 1 (1949-50, 6 hrs., 11 mins., Not Rated), it's most notable for providing an early look at future A-listers like Burt Lancaster (Rope of Sand), William Holden (Union Station), and Charlton Heston in Dark City a brooding crime drama that has the Man Who Would Be Moses playing an unscrupulous grifter. It's bleak, twisty, and loaded with tough-talking hoods in fedoras. In other words, noir heaven.
Film Noir Collection: Volume 1: B