From a poster on IMDb who quote:
I bought a collection about 5 years ago of several thousand tv episodes of various series. The fellow had worked at a tv station in Texas for 40 years and kept everything the station threw out. I'm only about half way through and have found hundreds of noir type episodes.
by gordonl56 (Tue Jul 10 2012 14:01:45)
During the last several years i developed a major film noir problem: exhausting the supply of titles at a greater rate than i could find new ones. It seemed my noir addiction was fated to end with a nasty case of withdrawal. But then i discovered a vast untapped source: Early television.
Between 1947 and 65, television was simply saturated with noir. The various police, private eye, lawyer, gentelmen sleuth and anthology series from the era provide all that is needed for the noir veteran.
The clapboard sets and 250 dollar budgets fit nicely into the noir style. With the death of the studio system, famous actors moved to tv. The likes of Dan Duryea, Barb Stanwyck, Howard Duff, Ida Lupino, Alan Ladd, Cornel Wilde, Tim Carrey, Charles McGraw, Ruth Roman, William Bendix, Edmond O'Brien etc all worked in television.
Familiar behind the camera personal also moved to television to keep the pay days coming. Jacques Tourneur, Lewis Allen, Frank Tuttle, John Brahm, Robert Florey, Phil Karlson and Felix Feist are a few of the directors who made the switch. Camerman and directors of photography who also moved over, include the likes of Joseph Biroc, Hal Mohr, Harry Wild, Guy Roe, Russ Harlan, George Diskant, and Nick Musuraca. Same thing with the writers etc, if they worked in film they also worked in television.
Here are a couple of examples (SPOILER ALERT)
TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT - Lux Video Theater - 1957
No need to retell the story as we all know it. I will just describe the changes from the 1944 film. The two leads are played by Edmond O'Brien in the Bogart role and Beverly Garland filling in for Bacall. O'Brien plays the role with a far more violent and menacing edge than the laid back "leave me out it" style Bogart used in the film. Beverly Garland likewise turns it up and does her part as if she in just a step away from being a tramp. This really causes the sparks to fly when the two are in the clinches. One would swear they were going to drop their linen any second. There is some real chemistry here. John Qualen does a straight up copy of the Walter Brennan role and does not stand out at all. Dan Seymour reprises his role from the film as the slimy head of the Vichy Secret Police. Frances Bergen does the role played by Polly Moran while Lyle Talbot plays the American fisherman. Though there is no Hoagy Carmichael, we do have Sir Lancelot belting out a calypso tune. Lancelot had a small role in the 44 film but most will recall him from BRUTE FORCE. He was the soulful singer of the cell block in that film. Making up in the rest of the cast is Ken Terrell, Richard Flato, Edward Barrier and Jean De Val. There seems to be some dispute as to who the director was. IMDb says it was Jean Yarbrough but the episode I watched credits a James Yarbrough. A James Yarbrough worked on several series in the 50's. Given the confines of television at the time this production works very well. There is the odd short cut. For example, we only get to see the cast going to, or from the boat. None of these short cuts hurt the story and in fact speed up the action. This is one of the best bits I've ever seen Garland in. A top flight TV noir.
CONFESSION - THE BARBRA STANWYCK SHOW - 1961 (SPOILER ALERT)
The scene opens with Barbara Stanwyck sitting in a small room surrounded by police detectives. "Yes, Yes, I killed him!" She shouts! Then the picture flashes back to several months earlier. Stanwyck is a woman trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband, Kenneth MacKenna, is a jealous tyrant who believes that Stanwyck is having an affair. A trip out for just cigarettes sends MacKenna over the edge thinking Stanwyck must be having a rendezvous with a beau. Enough is enough and Stanwyck decides she needs a divorce. She goes looking for a lawyer. Short on cash, she ends up in the office of a low rent ambulance chaser played by Lee Marvin. Marvin is somewhat reluctant to get involved with a divorce. "No money in it", he says. That quickly changes when Marvin hears about the $300,000 plus in negotiable bonds in hubby's wall safe. Marvin, a real smooth talker, puts the moves on Stanwyck who falls big time for the heel. A few candlelight dinners and a couple of rounds of clutch and grab soon has Stanwyck hooked. Marvin now suggests instead of just a divorce, Stanwyck should really get even with her husband. And of course Marvin just happens to have the "perfect" plan. They are going to fake Stanwyck's murder so it looks like MacKenna did it. Stanwyck waits for hubby to go into one of more or less daily tirades and flees to the house next door. MacKenna of course follows screaming he will kill her if he catches her with someone. This now gives Marvin and Stanwyck several witnesses to MacKenna's temper. A couple of days later Stanwyck slips a sleeping pill into MacKenna's nightcap. Once he is out, Stanwyck slashes her hand, spreads blood over one of her blouses and stuffs it in the fireplace. She empties the safe and heads off with Marvin. Marvin caches the bonds and Stanwyck at his apartment . Now they just need to wait and see what happens with MacKenna. The next morning MacKenna calls the police to report the missing bonds and wife. The police soon find the blood soaked blouse. A quick trip around the neighborhood gives the police plenty of reason to suspect MacKenna of Stanwyck's murder. The way the police see it, MacKenna lost his temper, killed Stanwyck, disposed of the body, tried to burn the bloody evidence and finally staged a fake robbery. Off to jail he goes on second degree murder charges. Now all Marvin and Stanwyck need to do is sit tight till things cool off before they are off to Brazil. Stanwyck lays low in Marvin's apartment while Marvin keeps up appearances at his office. Several months go by while they wait for MacKenna to go on trial. Stanwyck is starting to get cabin fever being cooped up. Feelings of guilt about MacKenna do not help matters. Everyday she listens to radio reports about the murder trial which just eat away at her. MacKenna is soon found guilty and sentenced to death. Marvin now shows up with the cash from the bonds. "Our problems are solved. Pack your bags! We are heading south!" Stanwyck informs Marvin that even though MacKenna was a swine, she can't bring herself to let an innocent man be killed. She is going to go to the police and confess everything. She tells Marvin to take the cash and go adding that she will not implicate him. Marvin of course knows she will break down and spill to his part in the scheme. Stanwyck has become a rather annoying loose end. A gun is swiftly produced and a struggle ensues. Several shots ring out and Marvin hits the floor in a heap. The picture then fades back to the detective's room with Stanwyck crying, Yes, yes, I killed him!
The director of this bit of film noir was Jacques Tourneur . OUT OF THE PAST, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, BERLIN EXPRESS, NIGHTFALL to just name a few of his films. The D of P was two-time Oscar winner Hal Mohr. His films include, UNDERWORLD U.S.A. THE GUNRUNNERS, THE BOSS, THE WILD ONE, BABY FACE NELSON, THE BIG NIGHT, ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST, RANCHO NOTORIOUS and WOMAN ON THE RUN.
This is an excellent little film noir with a tight story, great cast and a top-flight crew. A real winner in my books!