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Noir's Goon Squad
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March 28 2015

Noir’s Goon Squad: Brad Dexter

Brad Dexter has evil eyes. There are a lot of guys who have that whole hollow-on-the-inside steely-eyed-gaze thing going on in classic noir, but no one does it better than Brad Dexter. To catch...
February 2 2015

Noir’s Goon Squad: Barton MacLane

In the classic era, Warner Brothers was the most hardboiled of the major studios. It was the home of the gangster flick and the detective movie. In short, it was the kind of place that gave steady work...
December 24 2014

Noir’s Goon Squad: Jeff Donnell (This Goon’s a Gal)

Jeff Donnell just seemed nice. Maybe that’s why she was the resident Nice Girl of film noir. She was always cast as the chipper best friend, or the perky wife, or the goofy roommate. No matter...
November 14 2014

Noir’s Goon Squad: Percy Helton

For a guy who was only about five foot two, Percy Helton was the biggest creep in film noir. He has one of those indispensible faces that is as essential to the genre as cigarette smoke and low key...
October 8 2014

Noir’s Goon Squad: William Talman

We've recently featured a post on the noir career of Raymond Burr. Although he’s best remembered today as the stalwart defense attorney Perry Mason, Burr spent much of the 40s and 50s...
July 7 2014

Noir’s Goon Squad: Raymond Burr

I loved Perry Mason as a kid, and something that I always felt without ever quite being able to put my finger on it at the time was that Raymond Burr was kind of creepy. He was the hero of the...
August 16 2013

Noir’s Goon Squad: Laird Cregar

Film actors subject themselves to a level of scrutiny that most of us would find unbearable. True, they do this out of ego and ambition, but that doesn’t change the cold hard fact that they make...
May 29 2013

Noir’s Goon Squad: Ted de Corsia

Let us establish here and now the Ted de Corsia Rule: Any movie with Ted de Corsia is worth watching. That’s not to say that Ted can redeem a complete stinker but he’ll always be worth the...
February 14 2013

Noir’s Goon Squad: Dorothy Malone

The one scene that every film noir fan remembers Dorothy Malone for is her brief appearance in Howard Hawks’s 1946 adaptation of The Big Sleep. Private eye Philip Marlowe is investigating a phony...
December 16 2012

Noir’s Goon Squad: Dan Duryea

After watching a good Dan Duryea performance, I’m always reminded of Dashiell Hammett’s description of Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon: “He looked rather pleasantly like a blond Satan.”...
December 4 2012

Noir’s Goon Squad: Frank Lovejoy

Frank Lovejoy just had one of those faces. He looked like 1952. Reserved and calm, under most circumstances anyway, he was perfectly believable as a white collar working stiff—an insurance salesman...
October 4 2012

Noir’s Goon Squad: Thelma Ritter

This series looks at the great character actors occupying the margins of film noir. You may know some of these faces, if not the names. Most of these performers were never famous, but noir couldn’t...
August 23 2012

Noir’s Goon Squad: Hope Emerson

Women rarely get to be scary in movies. Late career Bette Davis notwithstanding, this was even more true in the days of classic cinema. Women in film noir, for instance, could be bad news—they...
August 3 2012

Noir’s Goon Squad: Neville Brand

Neville Brand was the king of the thugs. Pure and simple. Big and beefy, built like a garbage truck, squinty-eyed and greasy-faced—he was a thing of pure pulp beauty. Almost always playing the...
June 20 2012

Noir’s Goon Squad: Elisha Cook Jr.

This post will kick off a semi-regular look at some of the great character actors who occupy the margins of film noir. If you have even a glancing familiarity with classic crime, you will recognize...