Hell on Frisco Bay (region-free DVD)
Screen icon Alan Ladd produces and stars in this crime spectacle, shot on location in noir central – San Francisco. Steve Rollins (Ladd) is both ex-cop and ex-con, recently sprung from the stir. Spurning both love (Joanne Dru, as a songstress spouse who strayed) and friendship (William Demarest as his ex-police partner), Steve has one singular quest: Kill whoever set him up for murder, or die trying. Blending adult drama, detective story and noir, Hell on Frisco Bay is a cinema stew that’s heavy on the savor and the flavor, thanks to its colorful CinemaScope and a top-notch supporting ensemble. Heading that ensemble is Edward G. Robinson, delivering one of his most unforgettable mobsters, the utterly repulsive and remorseless Vic Amato. Fay Wray nearly steals the show as a faded screen queen, while Paul Stewart serves up one of his finest performances as Joe Lye, Amato’s hired killer with a conscience.