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Spy Noirs, US, from Reference Books

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Introduction

The table below has 48 US spy noirs that are cited in at least one of the following reference books. These films were released during the classic period of spy noir.

John Grant, A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir: The Essential Reference Guide (Limelight Editions, 2013)

Michael F. Keaney, Film Noir Guide: 745 Films of the Classic Era, 1940-1959 (McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003)

Spencer Selby, The Worldwide Film Noir Tradition (Sink Press, 2013)

Andrew Spicer, Historical Dictionary of Film Noir (Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2010)

For each film I have cited the author(s) who identify it as a film noir.

The information in the table about each film’s director and cinematographer complements the page Noir Style: Natives – Not Émigrés.

The table provides additional evidence that film noir didn’t arise in the United States because of émigrés from France or Central Europe. With very few exceptions, the directors and cinematographers responsible for the development of US film noir were were born in America; or, if they were born elsewhere, their film careers were substantially if not entirely in the US.

Here are two examples that show how I cite information about the directors and cinematographers.

Robert Siodmak (Germany; France, US career: 1933)

Robert Siodmak was born in Germany, and his career started in France and then began in US in 1933.

Robert Florey (France; US career)

Robert Florey was born in France and his career was entirely in the US.

When the literary source of a spy noir is a novel or a play, I only provide the title when it is different from the film’s title.

The information in the table about each film’s writer(s) shows how rarely a spy noir was adapted from an espionage novel (e.g., by Eric Ambler or Graham Greene). Instead, stage plays or novels not associated with espionage literature are more often the basis for spy noirs. Most frequently, spy noirs come from original screenplays or screenplays adapted from original, unpublished stories.

Therefore, contrary to the suggestions of James Naremore (Nothing More Than Night: Film Noir and Its Contexts) and Jon Tuska (Dark Cinema: American Film Noir in Cultural Perspective), spy noirs aren’t derived from spy novels. The table shows the independence of spy noirs from spy novels. For my critique of Naremore and Tuska, see the sections “Full Recognition of America’s Forgotten Ally” and “Postscript,” respectively, in the page Spy Noirs & the Origins of Film Noir.

Presentation

Date

Title & Source(s)

Director

Cinematographer

 Writer(s)

1939

The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt — Grant Peter Godfrey (UK; US career) Allen G. Siegler (US) Jonathan Latimer (screenplay); Louis Joseph Vance (story)

1939

Nick Carter: Master Detective — Grant Jacques Tourneur (France; US career) Charles Lawton Jr. (US) Bertram Millhauser (screenplay); Bertram Millhauser & Harold Buckley (story)

1940

Sky Murder — Grant George B. Seitz (US) Charles Lawton Jr. (US) William R. Lipman (screenplay)

1941

Dangerously They Live — Grant Robert Florey (France; US career) L. William O’Connell (US) Marion Parsonnet (screenplay)

1941

Federal Fugitives — Grant William Beaudine (US) Arthur Martinelli (Italy; US career) Martin Mooney (screenplay & story)

1941

Man Hunt — Grant Fritz Lang (Germany; US career: 1934) Arthur C. Miller (US) Dudley Nichols (screenplay); Geoffrey Household (novel, Rogue Male)

1941

Meet Boston Blackie — Grant Robert Florey (France; US career) Franz Planer (Czech Republic; US career: 1937) Jay Dratler (screenplay & story)

1941

Pacific Blackout [Midnight Angel] — Grant Ralph Murphy (US) Theodor Sparkuhl (Germany; US career: 1928) Lester Cole & W.P. Lipscomb (screenplay); Franz Schulz (as Frank Spencer) & Curt Siodmak (story)

1941

Roar of the Press — Grant Phil Rosen (Poland; US career) Harry Neumann (US) Albert Duffy (screenplay); Alfred Block (story)

1942

All Through the Night — Grant Vincent Sherman (US) Sid Hickox (US) Leonard Spigelgass  & Edwin Gilbert (screenplay); Leo Rosten & Leonard Spigelgass (story)

1942

Blue, White and Perfect — Grant Herbert I. Leeds (US) Glen MacWilliams (US) Samuel G. Engel (screenplay); Borden Chase (story)

1942

Casablanca — Grant — Keaney — Spicer Michael Curtiz (Hungary; US career: 1926) Arthur Edeson (US) Julius J. Epstein Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch (screenplay); Murray Burnett & Joan Alison (play)

1942

Counter-Espionage — Grant Edward Dmytryk (Canada; US career) Philip Tannura (US) Aubrey Wisberg (screenplay)

1942

A Date with the Falcon — Grant Irving Reis (US) Robert De Grasse (US) Lynn RootFrank Fenton (screenplay)

1942

The Falcon’s Brother — Grant Stanley Logan (UK; US career) Russell Metty (US) Stuart Palmer & Craig Rice (screenplay)

1942

Fly-By-Night — Grant — Keaney Robert Siodmak (Germany; France, US career: 1933) John F. Seitz (US) Jay Dratler & F. Hugh Herbert (screenplay); Ben Roberts & Sidney Sheldon (story)

1942

Keeper of the Flame — Keaney — Selby George Cukor (US) William Daniels (US) Donald Ogden Stewart (screenplay); I.A.R. Wylie (novel)

1942

Nazi Agent — Grant Jules Dassin (US) Harry Stradling Sr. (US) Paul Gangelin, John Meehan Jr. & Lothar Mendes (screenplay)

1942

Quiet Please, Murder — Spicer John Larkin (US) Joseph MacDonald (US) John Larkin (screenplay); Lawrence G. Blochman (story)

1942

Saboteur — Grant — Spicer Alfred Hitchcock (UK; US career: 1940) Joseph Valentine (US) Peter Viertel, Joan Harrison & Dorothy Parker (screenplay)

1942

This Gun for Hire — Grant — Keaney — Selby — Spicer Frank Tuttle (US) John F. Seitz (US) Albert MaltzW.R. Burnett (screenplay); Graham Greene (novel, A Gun for Sale)

1943

Background to Danger — Grant — Spicer Raoul Walsh (US) Tony Gaudio (Italy; US career: 1906) W.R. Burnett (screenplay); Eric Ambler (novel, Uncommon Danger)

1943

The Fallen Sparrow — Grant — Selby Richard Wallace (US) Nicholas Musuraca (Italy; US career) Warren Duff (screenplay); Dorothy B. Hughes (novel)

1943

Hangmen Also Die! — Grant — Keaney — Selby Fritz Lang (Germany; US career: 1934) James Wong Howe (China; US career) John Wexley (screenplay); Bertolt Brecht & Fritz Lang (story)

1943

Hitler’s Children — Keaney Edward Dmytryk (Canada; US career) Russell Metty (US) Emmet Lavery (screenplay); Gregor Ziemer (novel, Education for Death)

1943

Journey into Fear — Grant — Keaney — Selby — Spicer Norman Foster (US) & Orson Welles [uncredited] (US) Karl Struss (US) Orson Welles & Joseph Cotten (screenplay); Eric Ambler (novel)

1943

London Blackout Murders — Grant George Sherman (US) L. William O’Connell (US) Curt Siodmak (screenplay)

1943

Passport to Suez — Grant André de Toth (Hungary; US career: 1942) L. William O’Connell (US) John Stone (screenplay); Alden Nash (story)

1943

Submarine Base — Grant Albert Kelley (US) Marcel Le Picard (France; US career) George M. Merrick & Arthur St. Claire (screenplay)

1944

Address Unknown — Grant — Selby William Cameron Menzies (US) Rudolph Maté (Poland; US career: 1935) Herbert Dalmas (screenplay); Kressmann Taylor (novel)

1944

The Conspirators — Grant Jean Negulesco (Romania; US career) Arthur Edeson (US) Vladimir Pozner & Leo Rosten (screenplay); Frederic Prokosch (novel)

1944

Crime by Night — Grant William Clemens (US) Henry Sharp (US) Richard WeilJoel Malone (screenplay); Daniel Mainwaring (novel, as Geoffrey Homes, Forty Whacks)

1944

The Mask of Dimitrios — Grant — Keaney — Selby — Spicer Jean Negulesco (Romania; US career) Arthur Edeson (US) Frank Gruber (screenplay); Eric Ambler (novel, A Coffin for Dimitrios)

1944

Ministry of Fear — Grant — Keaney — Selby — Spicer Fritz Lang (Germany; US career: 1934) Henry Sharp (US) Seton I. Miller (screenplay); Graham Greene (novel)

1944

To Have and Have Not — Grant — Keaney Howard Hawks (US) Sidney Hickox (US) Jules Furthman & William Faulkner (screenplay); Ernest Hemingway (novel)

1944

The Unwritten Code — Keaney — Spicer Herman Rotsten (US) Burnett Guffey (US) Leslie T. White (screenplay); Charles Kenyon & Robert Wohlmuth (story)

1944

Voice in the Wind — Grant — Keaney — Selby — Spicer Arthur Ripley (US) Dick Fryer (UK; US career) Friedrich Torberg  (screenplay); Arthur Ripley (story)

1945

Betrayal from the East — Spicer William Berke (US) Russell Metty (US) Kenneth Gamet & Aubrey Wisberg (screenplay); Alan Hind (novel)

1945

Confidential Agent — Grant — Keaney — Selby — Spicer Herman Shumlin (US) James Wong Howe (China; US career) Robert Buckner (screenplay); Graham Greene (novel)

1945

Cornered — Grant — Keaney — Selby — Spicer Edward Dmytryk (Canada; US career) Harry J. Wild (US) John Paxton (screenplay); John Wexley (story)

1945

Escape in the Fog — Grant — Keaney — Selby — Spicer Budd Boetticher (US) George Meehan (US) Aubrey Wisberg (screenplay)

1945

House on 92nd Street — Grant — Keaney — Selby — Spicer Henry Hathaway (US) Norbert Brodine (US) Barré Lyndon, Charles G. Booth & John Monks Jr. (screenplay); Charles Booth (story)

1946

Cloak and Dagger — Grant — Keaney — Spicer Fritz Lang (Germany; US career: 1934) Sol Polito (Italy; US career) Albert Maltz & Ring Lardner Jr.(screenplay); Boris Ingster & John Larkin (story)

1946

Notorious — Grant — Keaney — Selby — Spicer Alfred Hitchcock (UK; US career: 1940) Ted Tetzlaff (US) Ben Hecht (screenplay)
 1946 Step by Step — Spicer  Phil Rosen (Poland; US career) Frank Redman (US) Stuart Palmer (screenplay); George Callahan (story)

1946

The Stranger — Grant — Keaney — Selby — Spicer Orson Welles (US) Russell Metty (US) Anthony Veiller (screenplay); Victor Trivas (story)

1946

Tangier — Grant George Waggner (US) Woody Bredell (US) M.M. Musselman & Monte Collins (screenplay); Alice D.G. Miller (story)

 

Addendum

The source books include the following WWII-related spy noirs that were released after my cutoff date of 1946.

1947

My Favorite Brunette — Keaney — Spicer Elliott Nugent (US) Lionel Lindon (US) Edmund BeloinJack Rose (screenplay)

1947

13 Rue Madeleine — Spicer Henry Hathaway (US) Norbert Brodine (US) John Monks Jr.Sy Bartlett (screenplay)

1947

Violence — Grant Jack Bernhard (US) Henry Sharp (US) Lewis Lantz & Stanley Rubin (screenplay)

1948

Arch of Triumph — Selby — Spicer Lewis Milestone (Moldova; US career) Russell Metty (US) Lewis Milestone & Harry Brown (screenplay); Erich Maria Remarque (novel); Irwin Shaw (uncredited)

1948

The Argyle Secrets — Selby — Spicer Cyrus Endfield (US) Max Stengler (US) Cyrus Endfield (screenplay)

1948

Berlin Express — Grant — Spicer Jacques Tourneur (France; US career) Lucien Ballard (US) Harold Medford (screenplay); Curt Siodmak (story)