Hammer Noir: A Poster Gallery

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This evening (5 PM PST and 8 PM EST) an interesting batch of British noirs produced by Hammer Films will be making their debut on Turner Classic Movies. The four films scheduled to air include HEAT WAVE aka The House Across the Lake (dir. Ken Hughes, 1954) featuring Hillary Brooke as a seductive blonde who convinces an American writer (Alex Nicol) to help her murder her wealthy husband. This is followed by PAID TO KILL aka Five Days (dir. Montgomery Tully, 1954) where Dane Clark plays a suicidal man with money problems who has second thoughts after he hires a hit man to kill him and the aptly titled GAMBLER AND THE LADY (dir Patrick Jenkins, 1952), which also features Dane Clark as a successful gambler who attempts to “buy his way into British society.” The programming comes to a fun finish with WINGS OF DANGER aka Dead on Course (dir. Terence Fisher, 1952) starring Zachary Scott in one of his more sympathetic roles as a former pilot plagued by unpredictable blackouts who learns that a friend and fellow flyer may be involved with smugglers.

I’ve written about my fondness for these low-budget crime thrillers in the past, particularly Terence Fisher’s STOLEN FACE (1952) starring the recently deceased femme fatale, Lizabeth Scott. So in celebration of TCM’s continued efforts to introduce American audiences to the fascinating, crime-ridden and fog shrouded world of British noir I thought I’d share an image gallery of noir (and “noirish”) posters from the Hammer archives. I hope the bold graphics and suggestive taglines will entice viewers to tune in tonight!

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CLOUDBURST (1951)

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THE DARK LIGHT (1951)

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SCOTLAND YARD INSPECTOR aka Lady in the Fog (1952)

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MAN BAIT aka The Last Page (1952)

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STOLEN FACE (1952)

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GAMBLER AND THE LADY (1952)

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WINGS OF DANGER aka Dead on Course (1952)

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TERROR STREET aka 36 Hours (1953)

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BAD BLONDE aka The Flanagan Boy (1953)

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PAID TO KILL aka Five Days (1954)

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THE DEADLY GAME aka Third Party Risk (1954)

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RACE FOR LIFE aka Mask of Dust (1954)

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THE UNHOLY FOUR aka A Stranger Came Home (1954)

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THE BLACK GLOVE aka Face the Music (1954)

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BLACKOUT aka Murder by Proxy (1954)

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HEAT WAVE aka The House Across the Lake (1954)

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THE GLASS TOMB aka The Glass Cage (1955)

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BLONDE BAIT (1956)

 

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HELL IS A CITY (1960)

12 Responses Hammer Noir: A Poster Gallery
Posted By Ben Martin : March 26, 2015 8:08 pm

The image gallery is great – but what a tease. I was hoping TCM was showing all the titles above. Oh well. Maybe someday. Still, I’m very grateful to see the four tonight.

Another treat for American audiences who cant get enough of movies made by and for strictly British audiences are the Carry On films playing every Saturday morning on TCM. What a treat. I’d love a blog on those perhaps??? HInt hint. They sometimes include some of the same cast as the Hammer noirs, I see. (Sidney James, for example.) Thanks – The Unholy Four poster is now my laptop wallpaper.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : March 26, 2015 8:14 pm

Hi Ben – TCM has aired most of these films in the past such as STOLEN FACE, which I linked to in my piece and I’m sure they will again. If you visit the TCM.com website and do a search you’ll find lots of informative articles about many of the films listed above. Happy hunting!

Posted By Jonathan Barnett : March 26, 2015 8:25 pm

Wow. I had no idea about some of those Hammer films. So much so that I feel as if I should turn in my Hammerhead fan club card. I’ll keep an eye out. CLOUDBURST is streaming on Netflix.

Posted By Emgee : March 26, 2015 9:22 pm

I thought i was pretty well up on my noir films, but apart from Stolen Face these are all unknown to me.
Many thanks for the great images from an era when they knew how to design a gripping movie poster; and what about those tag lines!

Posted By Qalice : March 26, 2015 10:09 pm

“Their wheel of fortune was spun by the cold steel of an automatic” I love, but “They called me bad … spelled ‘M-E-N’” I just don’t get!

Posted By Richard Brandt : March 26, 2015 11:25 pm

Well, she has trouble with men. And spelling.

Posted By Murphy’s Law : March 26, 2015 11:54 pm

Should Bad Blonde be Bad Art? She looks like a poorly assembled mannequin

Posted By swac44 : March 27, 2015 12:43 pm

Weird, the poster for Man Bait has “Blonde Blackmail” as a sub-title, and I have a poster for a movie called Blonde Blackmailer that has “Man Bait!” written across the top of it, but as far as I can tell, they’re two completely different movies.

http://www.wkmleisurewear.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/0f396e8a55728e79b48334e699243c07/b/l/blonde_blackmailer_1.png

Here’s another UK noir I have a one-sheet for, Spin a Dark Web with Faith Domergue (Any tips on how to pronounce that? For years I’ve been saying “da-MERG” but I’ve also heard “DAW-mer-goo”), released by Columbia in North America (and available as a MOD from Sony).

https://www.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/63/MPW-31692

Posted By Mike D : March 27, 2015 9:30 pm

The results of Cesar Romero mixing a cocktail in ‘Scotland Yard Inspector’ has to be seen to be believed!

Posted By george : March 27, 2015 11:44 pm

I see the trend of hiring American stars who were down on their luck (or who just wanted a paid vacation in Britain). American stars probably made the movies an easier sell in other countries, at least until Hammer developed its own stars in Cushing and Lee.

Posted By swac44 : March 29, 2015 12:21 pm

My Middlesex-born father-in-law went on a field trip in 1959 (can’t remember if it was with the Boy Scouts or his local group of newspaper carriers) to England’s Pinewood Studios and got to see the filming of some of the Howard Keel picture Floods of Fear, directed by Charles “Lavender Hill Mob” Crichton. From his account, Keel (recently released from his MGM contract) didn’t seem like he was having the greatest time making it, probably because most of the time he was soaking wet on a flooded Pinewood soundstage (probably one of the ones used for James Bond spectaculars a few years later).

He says Keel’s co-stars Anne Heywood and Cyril Cusack were much friendlier, although Keel’s darker days of summer stock and heavy drinking were still a few years away.

Posted By george : March 29, 2015 8:04 pm

Scott Eyman’s John Wayne biography has a story about Wayne and Howard Keel nearly coming to blows on the set of THE WAR WAGON. Apparently Keel had a hot temper and was sensitive to what he perceived as patronizing behavior.

He especially didn’t appreciate Wayne taking over the direction (as Wayne tended to do, when he wasn’t working for Ford, Hawks or Hathaway) and ordering the other actors around. He reportedly grabbed Keel and moved him where he wanted him to be.

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