Category Archives: Crime-Action

They Drive by Night (1940)

93m; U.S.

Director: Raoul Walsh

Cast:  George Raft, Humphrey Bogart and Ann Sheridan

Synopsis (IMDB): Brothers Paul and Joe Fabrini run a trucking business in California mainly shipping fruit from farms to the markets in Los Angeles. They struggle to make ends meet in the face of corrupt businessmen and intense competition. They are forced into driving long hours and one night pick-up waitress Cassie Hartley who’s just quit her job at a truck stop. The three of them witness the death of a mutual acquaintance when he falls asleep at the wheel. This has a profound effect on Paul and Joe and they become determined to find a way to make the business pay so they can quit.



Two Seconds (1932)

67m; U.S.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy

Cast: Edward G. Robinson, Vivienne Osborne and Guy Kibbee

Synopsis (IMDB): Allen claims he his being executed for the wrong murder. Flashbacks show him working with Clark as a riveter. When he makes a killing on the horses he meets Shirley and gets married. When Clark tells him Shirley is unfaithful they fight and Clark falls to his death. Later he finds that Clark was telling the truth.

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Crime-Action, Working Class


The Wages of Fear (1953)

131m; France

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Cast: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel and Peter van Eyck

Synopsis: In a remote part of Venezuela right after World War II various European emigres look for work in the oil fields.  When a giant fire erupts, several of these men are hired to transport large stocks of nitroglycerine, which involves traversing a long stretch of treacherous terrain.  Fantastic acting and a truly suspenseful film.

(NYT) Where to watch: Kanopy and the Criterion Channel; available for rental on Amazon and iTunes.

Few jobs are as harrowing as the one four desperate expatriates undertake in this thrilling film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot.

Men too broke to escape a sweaty Latin American village leap at the chance to earn $2,000 apiece driving an emergency shipment of nitroglycerin 300 miles to extinguish an oil inferno for an American company. The company, circumventing its union drivers and rules, provides open-bed trucks that lack even rudimentary safety features like shock absorbers.

One driver is Yves Montand in a breakthrough role, cigarette hanging from his lip and kerchief rakishly tied around his neck, as he grips the juddering steering wheel along treacherous jungle roads through this relentless, heart-stopping journey of teamwork, cowardice and betrayal. HELEN T. VERONGOS


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Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1989)

Directed by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Pena, USA, Academic Video Store, 1989 (82 minutes)

Synopsis (IMDB): This film recounts the murder of Vincent Chin, an automotive engineer mistaken as Japanese who was slain by an assembly line worker who blamed him for the competition by the Japanese auto makers that were threatening his job. It then recounts how that murderer escaped justice in the court system.

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Crime-Action, Documentary


The Trainee (2006)

9m; Singapore

Director: Craig Rosenthal

Synopsis: This amusing Asian short revolves around a loser whose efforts to rob a convenience store are foiled by his own repeated stupidity.

Contact: Youtube link to the film: Found on 2007 Palm Springs Shorts Film Fest:


Soldiers of the Rock (2003)

94m; South Africa

Director: Norman Maake

Cast: Vuyo DabulaLebo Mathosa and Glen Gabela

Synopsis ( Variety): “A South African gold mining crew struggles with cultural pride, internecine friction and constant danger in the bracing, socially-conscious actioner “Soldiers of the Rock.” Despite overly-ambitious plotting, novelty of milieu and gritty action set pieces will earn pic fest play and distrib interest, with genre elements a good draw in ancillary . . . Seemingly inspired by both Ken Loach and Michael Bay.”

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Crime-Action



Sometimes a Great Notion (1970)

114m; U.S.

Director: Paul Newman

Cast: Paul Newman, Henry Fonda and Lee Remick

Synopsis (IMDB): Hank Stamper and his father, Henry Stamper own and operate the family business by cutting and shipping logs in Oregon. The town is furious when they continue working despite the town going broke and the other loggers go on strike ordering the Stampers to stop, however Hank continues to push his family on cutting more trees. Hank’s wife wishes he would stop and hopes that they can spend more time together. When Hank’s half trouble making brother Leland comes to work for them, more trouble starts.