Film Review Round-up – A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES (2014); CROSSFIRE (1947); CROSSFIRE TRAIL (2001) and DECISION AT SUNDOWN (1957).

51Z-D5DDmkL._SY300_Walk Among the Tombstones, A (2014; USA; Technicolor; 113m) ∗∗∗½  d. Scott Frank; w. Scott Frank; ph. Mihai Malaimare Jr.; m. Carlos Rafael Rivera; ed. Jill Savitt.  Cast: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, Marina Squerciati, Sebastian Roché, Boyd Holbrook, Stephanie Andujar, David Harbour, Briana Marin, Toshiko Onizawa, Purva Bedi, Maurice Compte, Patrick McDade, Luciano Acuna Jr., Hans Marrero, Laura Birn. Matt Scudder (Neeson), an unlicensed private investigator, reluctantly agrees to help a heroin trafficker (Stevens) hunt down the men who kidnapped and then brutally murdered his wife. Neeson is on fine form and although it never strays too far from genre conventions this is a professionally packaged dark thriller. Based on the novel by Lawrence Block. [15]

220px-Crossfire213Crossfire (1947; USA; B&W; 85m) ∗∗∗½  d. Edward Dmytryk; w. John Paxton; ph. J. Roy Hunt; m. Roy Webb; ed. Harry W. Gerstad.  Cast: Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Gloria Grahame, Sam Levene, Paul Kelly, Jacqueline White, Steve Brodie, Lex Barker. This unusual and worthwhile black-and-white film noir was one of the first movies to deal with issues of anti-Semitism. A weary Washington detective must get to the bottom of a seemingly motive-lacking murder, with the prime suspect a boozy soldier who can only vaguely recall the events of the night. Dmytryk (also responsible for MURDER MY SWEET in 1944) directs with a sure and efficient hand giving the story sufficient room to breathe whilst keeping the plot moving along. Whilst this is not a classic, the film is one of the better examples of the atmosphere and tension the genre could create with a gifted director at the helm. Based on the novel “The Brick Foxhole” by Richard Brooks. Also available in a computer colourised version. [PG]

Crossfire_Trail_CoverCrossfire Trail (TV) (2001; USA; Colour; 92m) ∗∗∗  d. Simon Wincer; w. Charles Robert Carner; ph. David Eggby; m. Eric Colvin; ed. Terry Blythe.  Cast: Tom Selleck, Virginia Madsen, Wilford Brimley, David O’Hara, Christian Kane, Barry Corbin, Joanna Miles, Ken Pogue, Patrick Kilpatrick, Rex Linn, William Sanderson, Daniel Parker, Marshall R. Teague, Brad Johnson, Mark Harmon. Rafe Covington promises a dying friend that he’ll watch over the man’s wife and ranch after he’s gone. Well-made western with a strong central performance from Selleck, but an overly melodramatic villain in Harmon. Good support cast headed by Brimley as wisened cow hand. Based on the novel by Louis L’Amour [15]

Decision_at_Sundown_FilmPosterDecision at Sundown (1957; USA; Technicolor; 77m) ∗∗∗∗  d. Budd Boetticher; w. Charles Lang; ph. Burnett Guffey; m. Heinz Roemheld; ed. Al Clark.  Cast: Randolph Scott, John Carroll, Karen Steele, Valerie French, Noah Beery Jr., John Archer, Andrew Duggan, James Westerfield, John Litel, Ray Teal, Vaughn Taylor, Richard Deacon, H.M. Wynant. Scott and his sidekick arrive in the town of Sundown on the wedding day of the town boss, whom the Scott blames for his wife’s death years earlier. Well-made Western where all the characters are shades of grey. Scott delivers one of his best performances as an angst ridden ex-civil war vet out for revenge. Based on a story by Vernon L. Fluharty. [PG]