Bad Man [1930]

Genre: Western
Doris Wishman's film noir masterpiece? It's a stretch, but there's a certain grungy edge to the slapdash, shot-on-the-streets aesthetic of Bad Girls Go to Hell. This brilliant title belongs to the bizarre tale of a giddy young newlywed (Gigi Darlene) who changes her name and flees for New York after killing her building superintendent, a sleazy rapist with bad teeth. She seeks refuge with a sadistic drunk who lashes her with his belt, a predatory lesbian, and a pleasant landlady with a sex maniac husband. The feature was shot silent with sound dubbed in, and the odd, alienating quality actually makes her torrid ordeal more nightmarish, and it's got a doozy of an ending. Another Day, Another Man, the story of another newlywed who becomes a hooker to pay for her husband's sudden medical bills, is less lurid but has moments of sheer weirdness. Her pimp dreams of seducing twins and a fresh-faced farm girl into his fold ("My day at the bus terminal had really paid off!"), and the film climaxes with a strange, shocking ending. Known in the trade as "roughies," these films lean to the violent side of Wishman but are more suggestive than literal (especially when she forgets to dub in the sound effects) and feature very little actual nudity. There is, however, plenty of lounging around in underwear and even some headstands. The prints are in nice condition and the DVD also features trailers, stills, and ad art for Doris Wishman films, and kitschy drive-in intermission shorts. --Sean Axmaker

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