Saturday, July 4, 2009

PRIVATE HELL 36 (1954)

Tightly-packed crime drama about a man in NYC who's murdered and robbed of $300,000 in marked money. A year later some of the bills start showing up in Los Angeles. Detectives Bruner and Farnum are assigned to follow the money trail. It leads to lounge singer Ida Lupino (THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT, HIGH SIERRA) and eventually to tension and backstabbing between the two partners when they steal $80k of the money.

It might not be action-packed, but PRIVATE HELL 36 is still a great little film. The acting is top-notch. The story is interesting and hard-boiled. The direction by Don Siegel - who'd later go on to direct four Eastwood flicks- is excellent with numerous scenes shot on city streets and a horse track (I loved watching the crowd and seeing the old cars). Any fan of classic film noir and older crime movies should have this in their collection.  Would be a great double feature with ARMORED CAR ROBBERY.