Joseph H. Lewis’ taught noir finally makes it to Blu-ray
The joy of loving cinema – and I’m not talking about devouring whatever the latest juggernaut product is being fed to us every Friday night at the multiplex or cheapie lazily streaming on Netflx – is that no matter how much we know or see, there are ALWAYS hundreds upon hundreds of pictures hiding, waiting to be discovered. And if you’re a fan of the unofficial subgenre French film critics dubbed “film noir”, there are so many of them out there, from poverty-row potboilers, to major studio “B” movies. And thank God for boutique labels like Arrow Video for taking the time and effort to dig up many of these mini-masterpieces and give them the affection and attention they deserve.
Among Arrow’s latest offerings is director Joseph H. Lewis’s MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS, a lulu of a thriller that served as the basis of the almost equally obscure 1987 mystery DEAD OF WINTER. That unofficial remake is certainly a fine distraction, with a cast that includes the great Roddy McDowall and Mary Steenburgen, but it can’t hold a candle to Lewis’ original. This is prime nastiness, with a damsel in deep distress, reptilian, money-crazed villains of every age and gender and suspense so thick you can cut it in half.