CineSavant Column

Saturday October 15, 2022



This negligent film noir fan should finally get an opportunity to see the elusive 1948 thriller
The Argyle Secrets, to be presented tonight on Turner Classic Movies’ Noir Alley show, hopefully with Eddie Muller dispensing Everything We Always Wanted To Know about the impressive director Cy Endfield.

The old Alain Silver-Elizabeth Ward Noir Encyclopedia from around 1979 introduced us to a galaxy of noir tales about vice, murder, and other human weaknesses peeking through the Production Code. It was years before we saw Cy Endfield’s devastating Try and Get Me!, a film with a lynch mob conclusion that explains the moral mindset of the January 6 insurrection. Much later, the return of Endfield’s The Underworld Story knocked us out — Henry Blankfort’s uncompromising screenplay is twice as blunt about American racism and greed as any film by Stanley Kramer.

The Argyle Secrets is adapted from Endfield’s own radio play. It was originally released by the lowly distributor Film Classics, and I’ve been warned not to expect a classic. But its abrasive subject matter fits right in with the way Endfield irritated the politcal status-quo of Hollywood filmmaking: it maintains that fugitive ex-Nazis were being shielded from exposure and prosecution. Even if the film stumbles here and there, we know that director Endfield will have some surprises for us.

Such a strong personality was Endfield, that even after being blacklisted and fleeing to England he put together an impressive career, forming a long-term collaboration with actor Stanley Baker.

The Argyle Secrets is the newest noir restoration by the Film Noir Foundation. Noir fans in the Washington D.C. area have the opportunity to see it tonight on the screen of the AFI Silver Theater, in the Noir City: DC film series series.



A week back CineSavant waded deep into the mysterious features in Severin’s House of Psychotic Women boxed set. We’re still working on our review for Arrow Video’s collection Gothic Fantastico: Four Italian Tales of Terror: Lady Morgan’s Vengeance, The Blancheville Monster, The Witch and The Third Eye. They’re Italian, and they’re gothic, mostly pre-giallo.

The stars include Gordon Mitchell, Erika Blanc, Franco Nero, Richard Johnson and Rosanna Schiaffino. An 80-page book is included in the classy packaging, which alone made us want to review it.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson