There are many film noir movies which are worthy of the label “classic.” MALTESE FALCON, CHINATOWN and THE BIG SLEEP, just to name a few. However, there are others which are vastly different from the mainstream and breathtakingly original. It’s those films which this gallery honors. The genre-defying, risk takers who put it all on the line and made crime films more than a little bit different from the usual.
The Naked Kiss is a 1964 American neo-noir melodrama film, written and directed by Samuel Fuller and starring Constance Towers, Anthony Eisley, Michael Dante, and Virginia Grey. The film follows a former prostitute who attempts to assimilate in suburbia after fleeing her pimp, but finds that the small town to which she has relocated is not as picturesque as she had believed. It was Fuller’s second film for Allied Artists after his 1963 film Shock Corridor.
Kiss Me Deadly is an independently made 1955 American film noir, produced and directed by Robert Aldrich, and starring Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Juano Hernandez, Wesley Addy, and with Maxine Cooper and Cloris Leachman in their feature film debuts. The screenplay was written by Aldrich and A.I. Bezzerides, based on Mickey Spillane‘s crime novel Kiss Me, Deadly. The black-and-white film was released by United Artists.
Vengeance Is Mine (Japanese: 復讐するは我にあり, Hepburn: Fukushū Suru wa Ware ni Ari) is a 1979 film directed by Shōhei Imamura, based on the book of the same name by Ryūzō Saki. It depicts the true story of serial killer Akira Nishiguchi, played by Iwao Enokizu.It stars Ken Ogata as Enokizu, with Mayumi Ogawa, Rentarō Mikuni, Mitsuko Baisho, Nijiko Kiyokawa and Chocho Miyako. The film won the 1979 Best Picture Award at the Japanese Academy Awards, and won Best Screenplay at the Yokohama Film Festival, where Ken Ogata also won Best Actor.
Battles Without Honor and Humanity (Japanese: 仁義なき戦い, Hepburn: Jingi Naki Tatakai), also known in the West as The Yakuza Papers, is a Japanese yakuza film series produced by Toei Company. Inspired by a series of magazine articles by journalist Kōichi Iiboshi that are based on memoirs originally written by real-life yakuza Kōzō Minō, the films detail yakuza conflicts in Hiroshima Prefecture. Five films directed by Kinji Fukasaku and starring Bunta Sugawara as Shozo Hirono, who was based on Minō, were produced between 1973 and 1974. They were both critically and commercially successful and popularized the subgenre of yakuza film called Jitsuroku eiga, which are often based on true stories. Fukasaku directed an additional three standalone films under the New Battles Without Honor and Humanity title between 1974 and 1976. Three more films by different directors were produced in 1979, 2000 and 2003.
Violent Cop (その男、凶暴につき, Sono otoko, kyōbō ni tsuki, Lit. ‘That man, being violent’), also known as Warning: This Man is Wild and So No Otoko Kyobo Ni Tsuki, is a 1989 Japanese film directed by and starring Takeshi Kitano. It was Kitano’s directorial debut, and marked the beginning of his career as a filmmaker.Kitano plays detective Azuma, a Dirty Harry-type who uses violent methods when confronting criminals. After the suicide of his friend and colleague Iwaki (a vice cop who was involved with drugs), and the kidnapping of his sister by yakuza gangsters, Azuma breaks all the rules of ethical conduct. He responds to every situation with violence, and resorts to unethical methods if they produce results.
READ OUR BLOG ARTICLE ON THE FILMS OF TAKESHI KITANO
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (Korean: 복수는 나의 것; RR: Boksuneun Naui Geot; lit. “Vengeance Is Mine”) is a 2002 South Korean action thriller film directed and co-written by Park Chan-wook. The film follows a young, deaf man trying to earn enough money for his sister’s kidney transplant by holding the daughter of a wealthy man for ransom and the path of vengeance that follows when the plan goes wrong. It is the first film in Chan-wook’s Vengeance Trilogy and is followed by Oldboy (2003) and Lady Vengeance (2005).
City of God (Portuguese: Cidade de Deus) is a 2002 Brazilian crime film co-directed by Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, released in its home country in 2002 and worldwide in 2003. The story was adapted by Bráulio Mantovani from the 1997 novel of the same name written by Paulo Lins, but the plot is loosely based on real events. It depicts the growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus suburb of Rio de Janeiro, between the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1980s, with the closure of the film depicting the war between the drug dealer Li’l Zé and vigilante-turned-criminal Knockout Ned. The tagline is “If you run, the beast catches you; if you stay, the beast eats you.”