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(aka "Nocturno" )


directed by Edwin L. Marin
USA 19

The moody mystery melodrama Nocturne was produced by longtime Alfred Hitchcock associate Joan Harrison. The film wastes no time getting started, with a caddish Hollywood composer (Edward Ashley) dropping dead right after the opening credits. The police think it's a suicide, but maverick lieutenent Joe Warne (George Raft) suspects foul play. Checking around, Warne discovers that the dead man had broken at least ten female hearts in the past few years, providing a motive for murder for all ten. The principal suspect is Frances Ransom (Lynn Bari), who may or may not have been avenging her sister, nightclub thrush Carol Page (Virginia Huston). Pursuing the case with such dogged diligence that he's eventually tossed off the police force, Warne nonetheless refuses to give up, and by film's end he has collared the murderer. It wouldn't be fair to reveal the killer's identity, except to note that the actor in question went on to quite a different career at Universal Pictures. Like the previous RKO George Raft vehicle Johnny Angel, Nocturne was a box-office bonanza, posting a then-impressive profit of $568,000.


Tinseltown tough guy supreme George Raft (Scarface) stars as a rogue detective obsessed with finding the femme fatale inside a rogues’ gallery of eye-popping pinups after a composer’s supposed suicide. Successful songsmith Keith Vincent is a serial seducer of women – all brunettes, all dubbed “Dolores” – and he displays his long lone of conquests on his wall in a series of portraits. As he is composing a kiss-off tune for his latest fling, the haunting “Nocturne,” Vincent learns the true meaning of lady killer. Vincent’s shooting may prove the perfect crime, as all evidence points to suicide. But dogged homicide dick Joe Warne (Raft) isn’t buying it, and he’s willing to go to any lengths to prove his hunch that it’s murder. Joe’s fixation only deepens when he encounters Vincent’s most recent flame, Frances Ransom (Lynn Bari), who appears to command a very high proved. Produced by frequent Hitchcock collaborator Joan Harrison.


Former Warner Brothers star George Raft lends his iconic presence to RKO's Nocturne (1946), a film noir-styled tale of a police detective who risks his job to prove his superiors wrong when they rule a composer's mysterious death a suicide. Thanks to moody direction, an astute producer and a cast of B-movie stalwarts, Nocturne was a surprise success, earning more than half a million dollars on its initial release.


Theatrical Release: November 11th, 1946

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Film Noir Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:27:00

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.51 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Dolby Digital 1.0 (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: February 14th, 2014
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Chapters 8



Nocturne is on our 'Essential Noir' listing page and I have wanted to see it for a while. It's good with a dark, obsessive tone - reminiscent of Preminger's 1946 Laura to some respects.

It's standard single-layered but progressive in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and looks a bit soft - but consistent. This is labeled under the Warner's "Film Noir  - Archive Collection" marquee and the image is thick, heavy and quite clean with decent, if not stellar, contrast. Considering its age - it is very watchable.

The mono sound is decent but unremarkable and there are no subtitles offered, nor supplement available.

I think Nocturne is certainly a film worth re-visiting. It's hidden characteristics make it a very worthwhile 'dark cinema' effort. Those keen should indulge as this 'hit' was not easily available before now.  

  - Gary Tooze



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