CRY OF THE CITY, Robert Siodmak, director/BFI Blu-ray The series of films which come under the ‘film noir’ heading includes some truly memorable piece of cinema, often directed by European émigrés such as Otto Preminger and Robert Siodmak. The latter director, one of the most talented filmmakers to travel to Hollywood from Germany, is responsible for Cry of the City, one of the most celebrated films of the genre here receiving a striking wash and rinse courtesy of the BFI. Every element here — writing, direction and cinematography — is perfectly tuned to deliver a diamond-hard product with the inventiveness and inspiration which is the hallmark of the director. The film, made in 1948, features bad guy Martin Rome (Richard Conte) escaping Lieutenant Candella (Victor Mature), a tenacious cop and onetime friend. The two men clash in a tense game of cat and mouse, leading to a dramatic showdown on the streets of New York. As gripping as it is influential; Scorsese is a fan.
THE BORDER, Various Directors/Arrow Blu-ray If you are feeling the slightest surfeit of Scandinavian crime dramas (after all, let’s face it not every one of them is of the order of The Bridge or The Killing), you might find it worthwhile investigating the gritty Polish crime drama The Border which is a very different kettle of fish from most of the product issued by Nordic Noir & Beyond (although the company has always been happy to issue the best crime dramas from other European countries). This is tough, uncompromising fare which addresses the currently topical issue of people trafficking by focusing on an uncompromising, no-nonsense border patrol, whose members we see being put together during the first episode. Performances and direction are pared down to solid effect (though the washed-up hero struggling back from alcoholism is a cliché), and this is very much a series worth investigating. The first episode of the series premiered on Channel 4. At the extreme Polish-Ukrainian border. Captain Rebrow’s unit, which specialises in human-trafficking, becomes the target of a disastrous bomb attack leaving only Rebrow as the sole survivor. When Rebrow becomes the main suspect in the bombing, he is determined to prove his innocence and embarks on a dangerous investigation uncovering a dark political conspiracy.