TCM has come out with a terrific collection of four of the all-time best classic murder mystery movies, the TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Murder Mysteries, featuring:
“The Maltese Falcon” Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Mary Astor are after the item in the title, a jewel-encrusted sculpture. Double and triple cross has never been better or more entertainingly portrayed. An indispensable film, number 23 on the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 American films of all time.
“The Big Sleep” William Faulker worked on the screenply but the oppressive gothic overtone of the narration is straight from the Raymond Chandler novel in this story so filled with corruption and plot twists that when director Howard Hawks wrote to Chandler to ask him who had committed one of the murders and he admitted that even he didn’t know. The repartee between Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart sizzles.
“Dial M for Murder” One of the nastiest plots ever put on screen, this claustrophobic thriller stars Grace Kelly and Ray Milland. It was originally shot by Alfred Hitchcock in 3D and you can almost feel Kelly’s desperate hand reaching out of the screen — the hand holding those very sharp scissors.
“The Postman Always Rings Twice” The camera is in love with Lana Turner in this movie, made when she was at her most delectably seductive. Poor drifter John Garfield doesn’t have a chance in this Tay Garnett-directed version of the James M. Cain novel about the plot to kill an inconvenient husband. One mystery? The meaning of the title, which is not explained in the book and which has provoked some interesting theories, one of which is mentioned in the movie.