Noir City: THE DEVIL STRIKES BY NIGHT and FLY BY NIGHT

A series of unfortunate events conspired to make me to miss the Siodmak double feature on Sunday afternoon. That being said, I’ve seen one of the two films already and was able to find the other on YouTube, so I’m still going to provide a quickie write up for all you Noiristas playing along at home. Because I’m a giver.

First up, the German film THE DEVIL STRIKES AT NIGHT.

I watched this one (and you can to, if you’d like) on YouTube. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles. I maybe know 15 German words, most of them dirty. Not very useful.

The story is based on real life serial killer Bruno L├╝dke. Weirdly, it seems like that aspect of the plot is far from central here. The real point of this movie is to highlight the evils of the swiftly collapsing Nazi regime, their propaganda and their attitudes towards the mentally ill.

I really like the actor playing the killer and it did have some visually striking scenes, including a sequence where he runs through the woods reenacting his crime in his head. But honestly, you do need to understand what people are saying to appreciate this one, and I couldn’t. Here’s hoping I’ll get another chance to see it with subtitles.

Interesting side note: check out this contemporaneous review from the New York Times.

Next up, FLY BY NIGHT.

I was sure I’d already written this one up. but I guess not. Anyway this is a fun, twisty little screwball Noir. Richard Carlson, who would later tangle with the Creature from the Black Lagoon, plays a doctor on the lam from a murder frame up. There’s a beautiful, negligee-clad artist, an escaped maniac who may or may not be crazy, weird science, snappy patter, a creepy sanitarium, and Nazi-punching! It’s no 39 STEPS, but it’s a sexy and entertaining romp, and there’s a surprisingly naughty gag about a shoehorn. Personally, I prefer darker, less romantic stuff. But hey, your millage may vary.

The Sunday night shift was the sublimely unhinged THE HOUSEMAID and MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS. Write up coming tomorrow.

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