Insider Info On "The Biz" by Conrad Sprout
What is FILM NOIR?
What is SCREWBALL COMEDY?
What is the PRC?
"Film Noir" is a special category of Mystery drama. The French were to define a particular group of crime literature as "Serie Noire". Composed of the writings of such authors as James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler, and Dashiell Hammett it represented a dark, brooding view of society. As films were made from these works they were identified as Noir. This became an overall label for films involving crimes and downbeat stories. The American Noir film owes its form to the influence of both German expressionism and French realistic crime dramas. The style developed from the quick paced crime stories found in the pulp publications of the thirties, evolving into an introspective view as opposed to the action oriented pulp product. The typical Noir protagonist is caught by the events which lead to a fatalistic and tragic conclusion. While some authorities limit the Noir definition only to contemporary crime, in our opinion it is also acceptable to recognize other media such as Westerns and Period Drama as reflecting the Noir tradition of downbeat criminal action which is the real defining source of Noir. The media and not the setting defines the genre.
We offer an extensive collection of Noir titles.
PRC Studio Release Plan
The Producer's Releasing Corporation (PRC) was one of three major 1940's minor studio operations. Progressive Pictures Corporation became Producers Distributing Corporation which led to Sigmund Neufeld Productions and finally became Producer's Releasing Corporation which itself became Eagle Lion and was finally absorbed by United Artists. Only during the 1940's was PRC to be a significant contributor. Run on a shoestring. Producing on minimal budgets. And yet in those threadbare celluloid pictures an array of simple but interesting films were produced and are worth revisiting. Talent on its way up and on its way down populated PRC. Elmer Clifton, Christy Cabanne, William Beaudine, Albert Herman, Lew Landers, Arthur Ripley, Joseph H. Lewis, Jean Yarbrough and most importantly Edgar G. Ulmer all talented directors and employed by PRC. They were the guiding influences that created an array of entertaining films. We offer the PRC collection to permit the connoisseur of film to examine the product from this very special small "B" film studio. PRC was known as Producer's Pictures which after two pictures became Producer's Distributing Corporation and which in turn after four films became Producer's Releasing Corporation.
The genre of "screwball comedy" involves eccentric characters in unusual situations and Locations. Frequently "screwball" comedy breaks the barrier of rational behavior to entertain with a series of improbable events treated as normal. The characters in "screwball" comedy frequently are outside the norm in appearance, behavior and motivation. Such comedy focuses on those unique "screwball" situations which involve displays of extreme eccenticity in unusual locations and with equally unusual movtivation. Despite the apparent "madness" of the form, "screwball" comedy is a particularly enjoyable style.