This second group of Best Crime films allows me not only to extend the list, but to give me the chance to push some favorites.
1. Atlantic City — Burt Lancaster proves he was more than a big star — he is a fine actor. This is an unlikely, unpredictable some would say “quirky” film about a gangster sent out to pasture. Directed by Louis Malle,
2. Key Largo — Edward G. Robinson steals the movie from Bogart and Bacall, though it wasn’t fun seeing the old gangster in a bathtub. Black and white never looked better. Directed by John Huston.
3. Laura — Gene Tierney (no relation, unfortunately) may have been the draw, but Clifton Webb makes a really good film extraordinary. Vincent Price also appears. Directed by Otto Preminger.
4. Red Rock West — Of all the definitions of noir — and I admit a bit of confusion — this one seems to hit all the marks. One bad, desperate, but seemingly harmless decision, leads to trouble, followed by more trouble. Directed by John Dahl.
5. Blood and Wine — It’s worth watching if for no other reason than to see Michael Caine and Jack Nicholson compete for the nastiest character in an entertainingly nasty film. Directed by Bob Rafelson
6. The Good Thief — A sometimes dark, sometimes hilarious and often sexy caper movie. No one could have played the thief better than Nick Nolte. Directed by Neil Jordan.
7. The Thin Man — The best light-hearted mystery movie (or series of movies) ever made. It is often discounted because it has more humor than suspense. Directed by W. S. Van Dyke, based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett.
8. Twilight — In a sense, this is a small, but well-constructed film that may be the best P.I. film in decades. Add to this the performances of Paul Newman, James Garner, Gene Hackman and Susan Sarandon, and you have a jewel. Directed by Robert Benton.
9. To Catch a Thief — Many of Alfred Hitchcock’s films are arresting, fascinating. But none, in my opinion, combine acting, story and setting in as polished a way as To Catch A Thief.