Columbia Noir #4
Spies, stakeouts, corrupt cops, and crime syndicates. It can only mean that our Columbia Noir series is back for its latest instalment.

Indicator’s Columbia Noir #4 continues the deep dive into Columbia’s vaults to bring us six more exquisitely packaged film noir titles. Actually, with this collection, only two of the films are what could be considered strictly noir. The rest of the tangentially noirish films offered are two espionage pictures, a straight-on gangster flick, and the first colour offering in this series that is a pseudo-psycho melodrama, not noir.

Columbia Noir #4, released 20 September 2021, presents six world premieres on Blu-ray – Walk a Crooked Mile (Gordon Douglas, 1948), Walk East on Beacon! (Alfred Werker, 1952), Pushover (Richard Quine, 1954), A Bullet is Waiting (John Farrow, 1954), Chicago Syndicate (Fred F Sears, 1955) and The Brothers Rico (Phil Karlson, 1957) – as well as a wealth of bonus materials.

4xBD25, 2xBD50 | 1080p AVC | 540 min | 171 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English
Genre: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller, Western

The first film in the set (if you run through them chronologically) is the early Cold-War spy movie Walk a Crooked Mile. Its story begins with the murder of an FBI agent whilst he’s on the phone with his superior, Daniel O’Hara (Dennis O’Keefe), telling him “I think I’ve run into something red hot”. The deceased agent was only supposed to be tailing the suspect of an illegal border entry case, so O’Hara, on top of wanting to catch the killer, wants to find out what this ‘red hot’ discovery was that led to the man’s death.

Walk East on Beacon! is based on a Reader’s Digest article called ‘The Crime of the Century’, credited to J Edgar Hoover himself.

In Walk East on Beacon!, George Murphy plays FBI Inspector Belden, who investigates a leak in the top-secret ‘Falcon’ project. Professor Albert Kafer (Finlay Currie) is the lead scientist on it and approaches the bureau after the Soviets blackmail him into giving up secrets, threatening the life of his only surviving son (his other two were killed in concentration camps during the war).

Pushover sees the return of the femme fatale to the Columbia noir fold, and in this case it is the introduction of Kim Novak to our screens.

What begins as a seemingly accidental meeting between Novak’s character ‘Lona’ and plain clothes cop Paul (Fred MacMurray), is soon shown to be deliberate, as he wants to get information from her about her mobster boyfriend who is suspected in being involved in a bank robbery and the death of a policeman.
Paul’s staged friendly relationship with Lona soon develops into something more passionate, leading to both of them being in trouble on either side of the law.

A Bullet is Waiting is a bit of a weird one, and certainly stands out from the other movies in the set.

Eschewing the usual city based drama, this is set in rural America after a plane carrying Sheriff Munson (Stephen McNally) and his prisoner Ed Stone (Rory Calhoun) crashes near the property of father and daughter David & Cally Canham (Brian Aherne & Jean Simmons).
With her father currently away, it is left to Cally to try and keep the peace between the 2 men, as well as trying to deduce what the true story between them is.

Chicago Syndicate sees accountant Barry Amsterdam (Dennis O’Keefe) talked by the authorities into working undercover for a crime syndicate run by Arnold Valent (Paul Stewart), after the boss’ previous accountant Nelson Kern is murdered.
Amsterdam slowly gains Valent’s trust and is brought into his inner circle as his chief accountant. In this role, Amsterdam works to try and find evidence of the gangster’s criminal dealings, which proves tricky seeing as Valent cunningly keeps his name off the books.

Rounding off the set is The Brothers Rico, involving yet another accountant... this time retired mob accountant Eddie Rico (Richard Conte), who has forged a successful laundry business in Florida.
Eddie and his wife Alice (Dianne Foster) are close to adopting a child, but those plans are put into jeopardy when Eddie is brought back into mob activity due to the actions of his 2 brothers.

As with the previous collections, there are no shortages of extras. Each film includes a Three Stooges short that reflects the theme of the main feature. One of the most interesting features is Routine Job: A Story of Scotland Yard (1946) a short film following the day-to-day work of a Scotland Yard detective. Then there is a dramatised edition of The March of Time newsreel entitled Policeman’s Holiday(1949) about an American detective who assists Scotland Yard while in the UK. There are two more March of Time newsreels that provide a safe for public consumption view of the FBI thwarting spies. The Brothers Rico is introduced by Martin Scorsese, whose admiration for the film is palpable (unlike his feelings for Marvel), there are several documentaries looking at the careers of Jean Simmons, Kim Novak, as well as directors Phil Karlson and Richard Quine, and audio commentaries with the most notable being Kim Newman for A Bullet is Waiting.

Download Columbia Noir #4: Walk a Crooked Mile (1948), Walk East on Beacon! (1952), Pushover (1954), A Bullet Is Waiting (1954), Chicago Syndicate (1955), The Brothers Rico (1957) 6 x Blu-Ray Powerhouse Films Indicator Series: