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I Cover the Waterfront

Director: James Cruze
Country/ Year: USA 1933



“Away from the city that hurts and knocks I’m standing alone by the desolate docks.” So it is, as in the jazz standard and title song, sparked by Max Miller’s eponymous novel about harbor hardship.

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He Walked by Night

Director: Alfred L. Werker, Anthony Mann
Country/ Year: USA 1948



Exhausting and wearisome are many criminal hunts according to voice over. The same goes for the police procedural movie that can’t shake off its didactic perseverance and dragging story-telling.

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The Fast and the Furious

Director: John Ireland, Edward Sampson
Country/ Year: USA 1955



Freshly escaped from jail, unjustly imprisoned Frank races towards the Mexican border. On his side a hottie hostage, on his heels thuggish truck drivers. One of Roger Corman’s ideas ignited the chase.

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Bulldog Drummond

Director: F. Richard Jones
Country/ Year: USA 1929



H. C. McNile’s series makes its smooth transition from pulp to pictures in this much praised early talkie. Still, it was the last film for Jones, who died shortly after, as it was the first of Joan Bennet.

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They Made Me a Criminal

Director: Busby Berkeley
Country/ Year: USA 1939



“Johnnie be good”, goes the lection of the uptight crime tale about a young champion who gets framed for murder. Dead end? No, just the Dead End Kids and some highly moralistic values.

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The Woman in Green

Director: Roy William Neill
Country/ Year: USA 1945



Though it borrows from to classic “Sherlock Holmes”-stories as well as Jack-the-Ripper-lore, the minatory murder tale retains some suspenseful originality as well as the classic cast of the series.

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Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon

Director: Roy William Neill
Country/ Year: USA 1943



Arthur Conan Doyle would have marveled at his detective donning a nazi uniform; of course, only as ploy to protect the titular McGuffin. Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce and Lionell Atwill shine out.

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Machine Gun Mama

Director: Harold Young
Country/ Year: USA 1944



What sounds like a biopic about Ma Baker is nor more than an inept romp with El Brendel and Wallace Ford (“Freaks”) standing in for Abbott and Costello. As if the originals weren’t bad enough.

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Dick Tracy’s Dilemma

Director: John Rawlins
Country/ Year: USA 1947



“I wish I was a super criminal.”, sighs Tess Trueheart about hardly seeing her Dick of a boyfriend. Considering what the third installment shows of the undaunted detective, she isn’t missing much.

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Dick Tracy

Director: William A. Berke
Country/ Year: USA 1945



Actor Morgan Conway and the scenery are both too smooth to fit the edgy title character of Chester Gould’s hard-boiled stories. Still, the first of four picturizations holds on with harsh humorousness.

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