I had seen this film before on video, but it come up surprisingly well on a second viewing, especially on the big screen. It stars George Raft as a police detective with, as they say, "unorthodox methods," who is eventually thrown off the force. In this, he prefigures Glenn Ford inThe Big Heat and Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry. He also prefiguresThe Big Heat in the way he throws coffee at a villain, just as Lee Marvin does to Gloria Graham. But he lives with his mother! And she certainly is a piece of work! A lovely performance from Mabel Paige.

It is a definite film noir, with plenty of dark shadows, men in hats and femmes fatales. The director, Edwin Marin, made some routine films and some good ones, including as a good one Johnny Angel, another film noir with George Raft and cinematographer Harry J Wild. Nocturne certainly has an interesing visual style. In the first scenes, the camera floats down a model of the Hollywood Hills and into the window of a modern bachelor pad. We go through a model window, to a matte painting, to the real set, focusing on a man at piano and then moving to a figure in the shadows. This is beautifuly achieved, much in the manner of some of CitizenKane 's visual tricks (same studio - RKO). There's also a wonderful scene in a photographer's studio, which is a wonderful set-piece of suspense, both in tempo and visually, with wafting light and sound and wind adding to the creepy atmosphere.

It's also a fun film in that it is set in Hollywood and we visit nightclubs and even the RKO Studios, when George Raft breezes through the gates, walking that walk of his, waving away the security guards and strolling onto the set of Sinbad the Sailor. There is also a strange scene where a neighbour complains about noise and has the two tough guys cringing and apologising, going off-screen to deliver the coup de gras! The fight scenes are particularly good, and quite savage - another unusual aspect of the film. And Myrna Dell almost steals the film in her role as a brassy wisecracking blonde "housemaid" working for the victim. There's more to this film than many of the critics have noticed.