Larceny (1948) spins a yarn which revolves around a scam, a con. The con man, the grifter if you like, is one who naturally, and as the name implies, trades on confidence. There is of course his own polished brass exterior, his professional mask, but of greater significance is the confidence he inspires, wins, and ultimately betrays in the mark. It’s a dirty business when all is said and done, the sacrifice of something as pure as trust for something as cheap and mired among our base instincts as greed  is the stuff of disillusionment. A famous parting line spoke of the stuff that dreams are made of, but then again it could be said that it’s only a short step from dreams to disillusionment, and therein lies the essence of film noir.

It opens with a sting almost gone wrong. Two sharp and smooth types, Rick Mason (John Payne) and Silky Randall (Dan Duryea), have been bleeding a wealthy Florida citizen and his similarly well-heeled friends, for a yacht club that will never be. They have amassed in the region of a quarter of a million dollars by the time their victim grows suspicious enough to confront them . And so it’s time to move on, this time to small town California and a grieving and gullible war widow. The goal this time is broadly similar: sell the notion of a fictitious war memorial to a scarred soul, and skip out when as much cash as possible has been obtained. A wholly reprehensible scheme, but one with a fair chance of success in a uniquely receptive social landscape, one still reeling from post-war mourning and confusion and casting around for some grain of hope to latch onto. Yet within the soft soap of Randall and Mason there are other gritty little grains: the uncontrolled passion and wandering eye of Randall’s trashy girlfriend (Shelley Winters), the professional and personal jealousy of two mistrustful rivals, an almost impossibly credulous widow (Joan Caulfield) and, most important of all, something called a conscience.

George Sherman is not a man one would normally associate with film noir. This is not to say he wasn’t suited to the form, the movie here is proof he was more than capable of handling its tropes and motifs with great skill, but his real forte lay elsewhere in terms of genre. Sherman’s westerns, particularly those from the golden era of the 1950s, are almost all (those which I’ve seen anyway) imbued with the spirit of redemption and renewal. It’s his apparently natural affinity for and empathy with these positive attributes which make him such a fascinating director of westerns. When it comes to film noir though, these strengths may, for some anyway, be regarded as a handicap. Personally, I don’t buy that; this is partly due to what I’d like to think of as an open-minded or expansionist approach to the genre. Essentially, I’m not keen on locking myself into absolutist positions since it rarely seems to offer us much as viewers if we start excluding and proscribing certain movies as a result of their failure to adhere to rigid, imposed dogma on what should or shouldn’t be permissible. That’s not to advocate a total free-for-all of course, but a little flexibility never hurts.

Just as the director of Larceny didn’t spend his career confined to one genre, neither did its stars. The personnel at the time may not all have been fans but the beauty of the studio system lay in the diversity of material it allowed (or forced, if you prefer) contracted actors and crew to become exposed to and familiar with. John Payne was a personable presence in musicals and romances, but the post-war years saw him shift the focus of his career radically. Larceny represented his first foray into “tough guy” territory and film noir, alongside westerns, saw him do some of his finest work. He’s in great form here, scamming Caulfield, fencing with Duryea and trading clinches and barbs with a spiky and sexy Shelley Winters. And Winters is possibly as good in her role as I’ve ever seen her, firing off some of the finest one-liners anyone was ever handed in a film noir. Duryea is as compelling as he always was (Silky is a superb name for a character and sums up the actor’s manner perfectly) and he displays a marvelous sense of menace. I remember not being all that impressed with Joan Caulfield’s range in The Unsuspected and I found myself having similar thoughts here – I can see how her character needs to project the kind of purity necessary to push the plot in the direction it ultimately takes, but I felt her innocence was overdone at times. But that’s just my take on it. As for support, it’s worth mentioning some fine contributions from Dan O’Herlihy, Dorothy Hart, Percy Helton and Richard Rober.

I would be utterly delighted were I able to post here that I had managed to track down a sparkling and pristine release of Larceny, one which could be eagerly snapped up by fellow movie fans. Sadly, that is not the case; the movie remains, to the best of my knowledge, unavailable for purchase. I watched it online, viewing a print that was very far from optimum condition. This is most certainly not the ideal way to see anything and I only resorted to this as no other option exists at the moment. At the risk of sounding like a hopelessly scratched vinyl recording, I can only reiterate my ongoing dismay at the absence of so many Universal-International title on DVD and/or Blu-ray.

I think it’s worth noting here at the end of this piece that it appears to be the 100th title I have tagged as a film noir, a small milestone. Mind you, I’ve no doubt that a number of those I’ve included over the years will be regarded by some as marginal entries. Ah well, so be it.

66 thoughts on “Larceny

  1. Like you I’ve seen Larceny online in a bad print which is the only reason I haven’t rewatched it yet. Love to see a good copy of it. It’s a nifty little movie. Shelly Winters before she became mopey and sniveling, everybody’s favorite heel Duryea here named Silky (how do they come up with those names?) and John Payne trying to do the right thing in the end.
    John Payne, like Dick Powell and Dennis O’Keefe, reinvented himself as Noir tough guy in the 40s and they were all the better for it.

    You are absolutely right about George Sherman. Usually thought more of as a Western director, clearly the 50s themes of spiritual renewal and redemption found in so many Westerns can already be found in many 40s Noirs. The redemptive aspects of Noir are so often overlooked and Sherman, probably, took some Noir sensibilities with him out West. Though not quite as much as Anthony Mann.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s interesting how the post-war years opened up new avenues for a number of actors formerly associated with lighter fare. I think James Stewart, while not coming from the pronounced musical background of those you mention here, could also be said to belong in this category.


      • Stewart’s image most definitively changed after the war. Again, we have to thank Mann for it but also Hitchcock who so often saw different facets in his actors that neither they nor the audience knew they had.

        Liked by 1 person

          • I’m not sure if Capra really tapped into Jimmy’s dark side. Both Mann and Hitchcock turned his good guy image upside down. In some of his later movies, Stewart was not only ambiguous, he was just one small step away from being an out and out bad guy.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Quite true, I just think It’s a Wonderful Life, in its darker moments, represented an early step along the path Stewart’s post-war career would follow. It does seem that Stewart’s wartime experiences had a profound effect on him, and I think Capra was a changed man too.

              Liked by 1 person

    • “The redemptive aspects of Noir are so often overlooked…”

      Though I always read and enjoy your comments, Margot, I kind of glossed over this the first time, then it caught my eye scrolling through today.

      That is a very interesting observation. Have you written at length about this anywhere? If so, I would like to read it.

      Any film can go anywhere, and there are Film Noir that do go to unexpected places. For example, I don’t believe any of Nicholas Ray”s early three fit the paradigm, at least not in all ways. THEY LIVE BY NIGHT is certainly fatalistic but also with a exquisitely tender side, IN A LONELY PLACE is pretty dark–though if we are honest we might acknowledge it has some challenging truths about what relationships between men and women might sometimes be, even when there is deep love–while ON DANGEROUS GROUND starts powerfully dark and then comes into the light. In none of these three is the female lead a femme fatale–all three are very positive characters, and the best hope for the leading male character.

      But, not to go all auteurist on you folks, this is a great director who was very individual and bound to go his own way. For most directors and films, they go where the genre or style or cycle or whatever you want to call it will go. And it seems to be that the mainstream of Film Noir displays a deeply cynical, pessimistic view of the world, with tough, self-interested men on both sides of the law and a world of treacherous film fatales. I’m not saying that I can easily say what is at the heart of some films that are the apotheosis of Film Noir and do contain these elements. Having seen them so much, it’s hard for me not to say that there is some kind of romanticism, some drive toward a positive experience of life, against the darkness into which the characters fall in such films as CRISS CROSS and OUT OF THE PAST. It’s something that I still think about. After writing this I’m going to look at the entry that I wrote in DEFINING MOMENTS IN MOVIES on OUT OF THE PAST, one that meant a lot to me, and if it does seem to reflect the complexity of my feelings on this subject, I’ll copy it in here.

      Still, I more deeply believe that we are drawn to most Film Noir for what it has that other genres (Westerns, Comedies, even most Melodrama) do not have, an unsparing look at a precarious existence in a treacherous world that is filled with poisons. I would actually choose KISS ME DEADLY as the greatest of all Film Noir movies. That choice should explain itself.

      Well, I didn’t mean to get into this so much. Really, I wanted to ask to hear more about your feelings about this, Margot. You don’t need to address anything I’ve said to do that, though of course I’d be interested in a reply.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rereading it now, I believe it does go with what I wrote before so here it is:

        1947 / Out of the Past – In walked Kathie
        USA (RKO). Director: Jacques Tourneur. Cast: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer.
        Why It’s Key: Exceptional atmospheric and compositional beauty combine with a mature inflection to give poetic power to one of cinema’s most memorable characters in her very first moments on screen, with telling effect on the film in which she a central figure.

        “And then I saw her coming out of the sun…” With this line of flashback narration by Jeff Bailey/ex-Jeff Markham (Mitchum), a wonderfully individualized moment marks this classic film noir off from all the others. As its action moves to Mexico, settling in Acapulco, Tourneur disdains any showy effect as he quickly moves from evocative establishing shots to a few brief, expressive images of Jeff walking toward the Cafe La Mar Azul, the Cine Pico behind him, then sitting in the cafe. Tourneur then cuts between “And then I saw her…” and “…coming out of the sun” as Kathie Moffat (Greer), in white dress and hat, quietly but magically enters in wide shot – in sunlight as the shot begins, moving into shadow, settling into light shade as she reaches the foreground and sits at a table. The same calm in image and sound characteristically defines the closer shots that follow as the two characters meet and talk – even the director’s less immediately striking compositions display the same balance, integrity, and subtle beauty. Beyond this, there is the effect on the narrative. Instead of first meetings of lovers who will always love each other unambiguously, it is this one that casts a spell and remains moving even after Kathie has long been revealed as treacherous. As a grim end approaches, she evokes her entrance by telling Jeff “I want to walk out of the sun again and find you waiting.” Now there are only shadows. Yet somehow, in our imaginations and the emotions they tap, it is the sunlight that remains.

        Blake Lucas

        Liked by 1 person

          • One of the best entrances ever.

            Blake, is the quoted excerpt the whole article on DEFINING MOMENTS IN MOVIES on OUT OF THE PAST? And if not, where did you publish it?

            Liked by 1 person

            • DEFINING MOMENTS IN MOVIES (aka THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK: MOVIES in countries other than the U.S. and possibly Canada) published in 2007–edited by Chris Fujiwara–has 1000 individual entries. This is the approximate length of all them. So they are not long; they needed to be concise as this is.

              This was one of 36 that I wrote. I will say for my part it is easier for me to write a long piece than this kind of piece. It was very challenging trying to find what was of most value to say within the word limit given. But because it was not easy, I felt it was a good challenge for me.

              It wasn’t randomly assigned. We did get to propose our own subjects.

              Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Blake, no I don’t think I’ve written in length about it but I mentioned it in several reviews. So I believe did Colin.

        So often it is said that Noir is nothing but doom and gloom and nihilism but that’s really not true. As the Noir category was a label retrospectively applied, there’s no reason why a certain film has to fit the doom and gloom template. As you say Blake, there’s no reason why Noir shouldn’t go unexpected places. Nicholas Ray is a good example because hard-boiled cynicism wasn’t his thing. Ray imparted his films with strong elements of sentimentality and bitter-sweet romanticism thus offering variations on well-trodden themes.

        Quite a few Noirs have at their core the protagonist’s quest for redemption and showing this quest was explicitly the filmmaker’s intent. The most famous one in this category would be On Dangerous Ground, but we also have Ride the Pink Horse, Fallen Angel and Kiss of Death. The redemptive angle just has to work as an organic part of the movie, it can’t be shoehorned in.

        This would be the case where the material clearly demanded a more downbeat ending than was provided because the studio insisted on a tacked-on happy ending. Worst offenders in this category to me are The Hunted, Where Danger Lives and Tomorrow is Another Day. These movies are straight-up Noir, just in the last act we get a happy ending bestowed on a character marked by logic of the narrative with disaster. Does not work.

        Often though the protagonist finds redemption only in death which is of course very Noir. Here we have The Postman Always Rings Twice, This Gun For Hire, Act of Violence, Raw Deal, Out of the Past.

        “it’s hard for me not to say that there is some kind of romanticism, some drive toward a positive experience of life…” Oh yes! I can’t count the time I’ve heard someone say that there is no place for sentimentality and romanticism in Noir. So untrue.
        There’s an awful lot of nostalgia and romantic idealism in Noir, though obviously it’s not saccharine sweet. This manifests itself in a deep longing for a better life which is the driving force for the protagonist’s actions. Nostalgia pervades Noir because it underlies the desperation and violence that pervade Noir. The protagonist has a yearning for something important that he once possessed. And no risk is too big to chase after the rainbow to recapture it.Wild risks are taken because of a desperate hope that the game can be won, that the lost thing can be recovered.
        The Asphalt Jungle epitomizes this aspect of Noir in its purest form. But there’s also Out of the Past, The Third Man, Side Street and They Live by Night (Ray again).

        Hope that helps.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for sharing those thoughts about it, Margot. The view that you take of it is stimulating.

          It’s an interesting and complex subject–hopefully it was clear I myself don’t feel just one way about it. I know all the films you cite and couldn’t disagree about what you say about them, at least looked at from a dramatic or thematic point of view. I guess I’d observe the tone and emotional feeling varies a lot among those films, but I don’t think you’d disagree too much about that.

          Liked by 1 person

        • So often it is said that Noir is nothing but doom and gloom and nihilism but that’s really not true.

          I tend to divide these movies into noir films and noirish films. Noirish films being those that have lots of noir characteristics but lack the full-blown noir fatalism and nihilism.

          I’ve heard people describe such movies as film gris.


  2. Yes, it’s hard to see. Saw it on TV years ago, and later a 16 print–better than not seeing it but like so many others this deserves better.

    Like so many directors this good, Sherman can be a specialist–Westerns do dominate among his best films–but is also versatile. Among his other films outside that genre there are a fair number of impressive and satisfying works. Of the film noirs, THE RAGING TIDE especially fits in with the Westerns in the redemption theme–it actually expresses this in an openly religious way, kind of bold and it actually works (the excellent Richard Conte stars here, along with, again Shelley Winters, Stephen McNally, Charles Bickford and Alex Nicol). Very absorbing movie, but I like THE SLEEPING CITY even more, mostly because of one intimate scene between Richard Conte (again) and Coleen Gray on a hospital roof, where she articulates her rather dark view of the world, beautifully done and haunting; there is also an affecting ending involving these two characters. As with LARCENY, neither of these is on DVD that I am aware of, but if I’m wrong, hope someone will say so.

    I continue to believe that in time George Sherman will get the recognition that he deserves and never really had in his lifetime. Yes, he worked a lot, but seems to have been taken as just one more director and not as the caring and purposeful artist that he was.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks, it’s now on my list to get (though I’m way ahead of myself with that list and have the usual practicalities that I do try to consider).

        I’ll be interested to see how that one goes for you, Colin. Without giving anything away, I’ll say that from a narrative point of view, the ending is very reminiscent of the ending of a much more famous early film noir. But in my view this film does it better, keeping it simple and extremely effective for not making so much of it.

        As well as the forever underrated Coleen Gray, you’ll see Richard Conte, one of those actors who could play a good guy or a bad guy equally well.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Good to get your take on this one. I reviewed it in 2014 and felt it was about 20 mins too long. Some snappy dialogue – Silky to Rick, “I said I’m sorry but I’m not going to write it on the blackboard 100 times!”
    Or Rick to Silky: “You’ve got no lease on my blood supply. I’ll quit any time I feel like it.”
    Certainly deserves a dvd release. The

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Colin, many congrats on your 100th Noir entry and indeed on your very fine analysis of LARCENY. To be honest, my heart skipped a beat,thinking you had
    tracked down some watchable,obscure Euro DVD of this film, sadly no such luck.
    I’ve only watched ropey versions going around in the “digital underground” but have now finally decided I simply cannot watch these things anymore. As for watching on-line versions well I’m just not interested. Hopefully, LARCENY will surface on Blu Ray someday; heaven knows there are enough boutique imprints with deals with Universal out there. I’m pretty sure Blake Lucas will contribute on Sherman’s other Universal Noirs: THE SLEEPING CITY, SPY HUNT and THE RAGING TIDE all worthy of discussion. Even in Sherman’s B Movie days before Harry Cohn elevated him to A features Sherman made more than his share of B
    Crime Thrillers which folk these days tend to class as Noir, regardless. Many of these little gems were made for Republic and they are all impossible to track down. One I have seen is LONDON BLACKOUT MURDERS the title tells all,and indeed it’s a very moody, darkly comic little piece.
    I also note Sherman directed one of the Crime Doctor films – I have not seen this entry but would really love too. Sherman also directed one of “The Whistler” films and SECRETS OF THE WHISTLER is one of the very best of the series, and yes, it’s certainly a Noir in mood and tone.
    Finally Colin thanks for fighting LARCENY’s corner, I just hope some of the owners of re-issue imprints are tuning in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • John, sorry if I got your hopes up for nothing. I have seen The Crime Doctor’s Courage but I can tell you nothing more about it than that bare fact, and that I enjoyed it. In fact, I liked all the Crime Doctor series, which I was fortunate enough to see when all the movies were run on Irish TV back in the early or mid-80s on Saturday afternoons on Irish TV. If they were to be made available, I’d buy them in a heartbeat.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gosh!
    While I was posting the above Blake has beaten me to the draw! Sorry folks!!
    I wish I was technical savvy enough to post THE CRIME DOCTOR’S COURAGE poster here, it’s a doozy and just seems to sum up the whole B Noir thing perfectly, as I mentioned before I’d just love to see this thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve seen SECRETS OF THE WHISTLER and THE CRIME DOCTOR’S COURAGE, both excellent B films. It’s good to see these in context of the series, and that’s well worth it (CRIME DOCTOR is only a few movies as I recall and THE WHISTLER half a dozen or so). THE WHISTLER was an especially great series–it was always absorbing no matter who directed (even if some were especially good of course). Just wonderful movies to enjoy for an hour. I miss movies like that. And really miss Richard Dix, who was just great and irreplaceable. He was coming to the end with these.

    It’s interesting about George Sherman. I came to know him mostly through his 50s films, the U-I ones mostly, also TREASURE FROM PANCHO VILLA which I saw several times (and made a point to see others I’d missed later). But when I first found a fellow aficionado of Sherman it was the great critic Dave Kehr and he had discovered him initially for the earlier Republics. So we both had catching up to do and it has always confirmed our opinion of him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • As I said to John, I recall seeing all the Crime Doctor movies, and liking them all many years ago. I think I’ve also seen most if not all of The Whistler series.


  7. I caught this on YouTube in the past year – ah, what a tangled web we weave time. I was impressed and felt the same as you about Ms. Caulfield. However, in my YouTube travels, I found an interview on some chat show or other with Joan along with Macdonald Carey. The host was one of those fawning types, but Joan and Mac were very smart and interesting. I’ve been looking at her in a whole new light ever since. (I’ve always been a Mac fan.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, I know what you mean. It can be easy or tempting to form opinions about people based on what we see on the screen. However, it ought to be remembered that we’re talking about performers at work and a couple of flat roles don’t give an indication of how a person is/was in reality. What’s more, as I mentioned, this was the studio era and certain appearances were encouraged and indeed actively pushed, regardless of whether or not they were an accurate reflection of the real person.


  8. One great things about the mainly “off the radar”
    films covered by RTHC is the way it memory jogs
    one into watching films that need another viewing.
    The Steve Cochran element of the previous thread made me
    want to watch again the two thrillers Cochran made with
    Charles Haas and despite their flaws I’m glad I did…it had been
    too long.
    A couple of years back I binge watched a half dozen or so
    Whistler pictures and have been constantly reminding myself
    to give them another view.
    This Sherman thread goaded me into giving
    SECRET OF THE WHISTLER another watch.
    It’s prime B Noir all the way and the sort of effort that persuaded
    Mr Cohn to move Sherman onto bigger budgets,as he had done
    with Henry Levin and Joseph H Lewis.
    As with most of the Whistler films and any good Noir the first
    objective is to make the viewer feel ill at ease.
    This is achieved by the mean spiritedness of the thing and also
    the sheer unlikeable persona of most of the characters.
    Richard Dix plays a no talent Picasso wannabe who’s style
    such as it is,is described by his friends as “splash and dab” or
    more to the point,he should be painting barns not pictures.
    Dix does not need a buyer for his efforts as he is bankrolled by
    his wealthy,but frail mainly bedridden wife.
    Furthermore,Dix uses his studio to entertain his friends who mainly
    despise him but are more than happy to freeload on his food and
    Enter lovely model Leslie Brooks (who should have had a far better career)
    and you can guess the rest.
    I might add there is also that staple element to these type of thrillers
    the creepy,constantly snooping maid.
    I would love these Whistler films to be released as a set,they certainly
    deserve it and I would say that goes for the Crime Doctor films as well.
    To steal a line from Colin I would buy both in a heartbeat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sony did put some (all?) of the Whistler movies out on reportedly good-looking DVDs as part of their intermittent MOD program. However, the pricing was far too rich for my impoverished blood.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, Colin, I understand all but one of them were released as Sony MOD discs-the series now seems to have been discontinued. Sony now are releasing selected catalog titles as (pressed) Blu Ray discs. I did, despite the high price get their Blu Ray of George Sherman’s COUNT THREE AND PRAY an excellent transfer in it’s original ratio (2.55) COUNT THREE AND PRAY is more Americana than Western and I enjoyed the film very much especially the shifts in tone, things get pretty dark towards the end of the picture.
    As far as Sherman’s Westerns go I much prefer his more intimate lone character against the odds type of stories as opposed to his Indian Wars type picture. I consider all the following films excellent: DAWN AT SOCORRO (outstanding) REPRISAL! THE HARD MAN,LAST OF THE FAST GUNS and HELL BENT FOR LEATHER. I might add that Sherman’s Indian Wars type films generally tend to be pretty Native American friendly.
    Hopefully an outfit like Mill Creek or Kit Parker might give the Whistler or Crime Doctor films a go…we live in hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’ve yet to see a Sherman western I didn’t like, although I’ve still a number to catch up with.
      I’d be delighted to see Mill Creek or Kit Parker have a go a those series pictures, not least because they’d probably price them very competitively. I reckon the chances of them appearing in the UK are zero – I have a hunch outfits like Arrow or Indicator would feel they were beneath them, sadly.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. A great choice of film for your 100th Noir review, Colin! I bought a cheaply-priced copy of “LARCENY” on-line (UK source) just recently and was pleasantly surprised. Maybe I’m easier to please than some of you guys out there but truthfully I found this print very watchable. Nonetheless, this fine movie definitely is deserving of a high-def restoration. The plot is a tad unusual and expertly handled by Sherman (as I would have expected) with a terrific cast. John Payne must have been a real surprise to his pre-war musicals fans!!

    So nice to see a lot of love among many great comments above for Georgie Sherman (one of my favourite directors) and also great to hear similar from Blake for Richard Dix, an actor I have enjoyed since my childhood when a number of his westerns aired on BBC TV. I have been fortunate to pick up a number of Dix’s other fine movies with the help of our good friend, Laura. His “Whistler” series was one terrific way to finish off a distinguished movie career. Hope Mill Creek are reading us – they would see evidence of quite a number of sales for any such DVD sets.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The copy of the movie you saw may have been stronger than the one I viewed on YouTube, Jerry. To me, that was watchable, but nothing more.
      To be honest, I don’t imagine my influence extends too far at all, but if anyone with any clout, or even just an ear, at Mill Creek or the like does happen to stop by, I also hope they pass on our eagerness to spend some money with them.


  11. Colin,
    Our friend Toby is a huge fan of the Whistler films,
    he knows the cats at Kit Parker and I’m pretty sure
    that he’s suggested a Whistler set.
    It would do no harm to send an e-mail to Indicator-
    they release lots of Columbia titles and most of the
    Whistler films exist in high def,so that’s a good start.
    Furthermore Indicator are big William Castle fans,
    who directed several Whistlers.
    Oddly enough a week or so ago I recommended
    Kino Lorber released LARCENY as a post on their Facebook
    page…sadly no “likes” thus far!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oddly enough a week or so ago I recommended
      Kino Lorber released LARCENY as a post on their Facebook
      page…sadly no “likes” thus far!

      There is now! 😀

      Yes, an email to Indicator might be a good idea. Having said that, it’s worth remembering that their Castle releases were his high profile horrors, and those kinds of movies have an especially enthusiastic following.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks a whole bunch Colin. 🙂

    It’s interesting that Castle also directed several Crime Doctor
    films as well as a few rather good Universal Noirs,especially
    A Castle Noir set that cross pollinated Whistler,Crime Doctor
    and Universal fare would be highly desirable…one can but dream!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes indeed! Castle made some very entertaining crime/noir movies, not to mention westerns and other genre pictures. It’s a crying shame so many of these get overlooked and are almost entirely overshadowed by his later horror flicks.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree, this one is a rather unseen film-noir gem. And I also agree with you and everyone else that I would do violence to find a decent looking print. Having said that, the film is to me a near perfect example of a film noir. No one on either side of the camera takes a misstep. This one is easily in my top 25 all time noirs!!!!!!


    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s pretty high praise for the movie, Gord. Having seen it myself now, I would also place it well up the scale, which makes it’s elusiveness just a bit more puzzling.


  14. I watched an HD version of “Larceny” last night on Youtube. Paine and Winters excelled. Joan Caufield reminded me of the young Joan Fontaine. Dan Duryea was menacing as usual, but I found his portrayal of Silky wasn’t quite as oleaginous as many of his characters usually are. I’m glad that Sherman and the screenwriters didn’t cave and give us a happy ending.

    I’ve watched a couple of less than satisfying films over the past week. One was William Wyler’s last effort “The Liberation of L. Q. Jones” (1970). I had no interest in the movie and only intended to watch a few minutes, but got sucked in. Despite the involvement of Wyler, Elmer Bernstein, and Robert Surtees I found the film to be marred by late 60s / early 70s production values (maybe I’ll explain what I mean at another time). Suffice it to say that of all the films I’ve rated on IMDB those made in 1970 are at the nadir of my ratings (5.12 vs. 7.26 for 1939). I also found “The Liberation of L. Q. Jones” to be an unpleasant and rather lurid film to watch.

    The other film was “Private Hell 36” with Steve Cochran, Ida Lupino, and Howard Duff. Though it was directed by Don Siegel he claimed that Lupino, her Husband Duff, and her ex-husband but still collaborator, Collier Young, were overly controlling. The script was written by Lupino and Young and young was the producer. Siegel maintains that Cochran was drunk all the time and messed up the production (though he seemed to have sobered up for his screen time). The bottom line for me was that there was no chemistry between the three principals. The film is viewable because of Siegel’s direction. He said that he refused to reshoot some scenes that Lupino and Duff wanted to do over.


  15. I haven’t gotten round to that Siegel movie in full yet (I did catch a bit of it via a TV showing years ago) even though it’s been hovering around the periphery of my attention for some time.

    I haven’t seen the Wyler movie either but I think I know what you mean about the visual aesthetic of films of that era though. There can be a certain look, not ugliness exactly but just an absence of attractiveness, that I sometimes find distracting and even off-putting at times.


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