Southside 1-1000

I find myself somewhat on the fence when it comes to documentary style film noir. Henry Hathaway is usually credited as pioneering the approach with The House on 92nd Street,  and it’s certainly not without its attractions – the increased reliance on location filming, the sense of urgency that accompanies topical material, and the overall heightening of realism. On the other hand, these factors can serve to date a piece (although one could initiate a separate debate on whether or not being “dated” actually constitutes a drawback) and there is, after all, much to be said for the artistry of unreality. Anyway, this all just serves to introduce Southside 1-1000 (1950), an obscure but enjoyable low-budget example of this noir variant.

With one war having ended a few short years before and a new cold one putting a chill on international relations, the film opens with one of the more hawkish and cautionary examples of the voiceover narration – grim end-of-days stuff which  starts with dire warnings about the threat to liberty and moves on to the role of money in maintaining the nation’s security, and then to the vital part played by the treasury agents, the T-Men, in protecting the integrity of the currency and running down the counterfeiters. The purpose of this quite lengthy build up is to draw the viewer into an examination of one particular investigation, and it all begins with a small-time pickpocket being nabbed relieving a mark of some bad money at the racetrack. What follows is an absorbing account of T-Man John Riggs (Don DeFore) and his efforts to trace the money back to its source. The first part of the story unfolds much like a police procedural, a methodical following up of leads and clues via observation and tails. All until the link in the chain gets broken pretty spectacularly due to a headlong exit from a 12th floor window. After that, the focus shifts and our hero puts himself directly in the line of fire by going undercover and posing as a flash hood looking for a way into the racket.

Southside 1-1000 was directed by Boris Ingster, a man with a tiny list of directing credits (3) but one of which, Stranger on the Third Floor, is frequently referenced as the first film noir. That’s not a bad association to have, although he does deserve mention too for his significant body of work as associate producer and producer on a number of high-profile TV shows, especially Wagon Train and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Southside 1-1000 is a brisk picture that doesn’t waste much time, coming in at just under 80 minutes, yet it does lose some of its impetus in the middle when the undercover sting is being set up. Still, the opening section is strong and then the latter stages sees the pace pick up again and the atmosphere is highlighted through the moody cinematography of Russell Harlan and the editing of Christian Nyby.

Southside 1-1000 doesn’t have any big names in the cast, but there are plenty of familiar faces for movie fans to enjoy. Don DeFore takes the lead and he’s a man I know mainly from a couple of excellent pictures, Ramrod and Too Late for Tears. There’s an easy-going quality to the man which makes him appear comfortable on the screen and he’s the type you find yourself rooting for almost automatically. Nearly everybody else is a shady character of varying degrees of importance, with George Tobias, Morris Ankrum and Barry Kelley all making memorable contributions. The only woman with anything much to do in the cast is Andrea King and she has a part that is both meaty and interesting. While she seems to have had a long, active and varied career, I think the only movies I can say I remember her from are The Lemon Drop Kid and Dial 1119.

The film is available on DVD as part of the Warner Archive range, and it looks quite decent for the most part, perhaps a little soft in places but there’s really not much to complain about. I don’t imagine this is an especially well-known movie – it only came to my attention a year or so ago and I don’t think I ever saw it pop up in the TV schedules back in the day. Overall, I have to say I liked it – I guess the less familiar cast and its relative obscurity helped pique my interest and then the talent behind the camera, not to mention the location work around Los Angeles and San Quentin, kept me watching. All told, this is by no means a bad little film and it’s worth a look  if you can track down a copy.

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46 thoughts on “Southside 1-1000

    • Indeed, doesn’t it just? And the narration at the beginning lays everything out as very serious business, so much so that I did think this was going to be a dull and preachy affair but then settles down and becomes a rather absorbing crime drama.
      I doubt many people will be familiar with the movie but it’s kind of nice that obscure little items like this are out there and can be viewed.

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    • You’re welcome, John! I reckon most people would find the film pleasing s it really very nicely done. I guess the main problem may be its relative rarity, and the fact few will know enough about it, (or even have heard of it in the first place) to actively seek it out.

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  1. SOUTHSIDE 1-1000 will forever be in the shadow of the superior T-MEN but in it’s own right it’s a more than decent crime thriller.
    T-MEN recently had a most impressive make-over courtesy of Classicflix and very nice it looks too. I was not too impressed by the Warner Archive transfer and I’d buy a remastered Blu Ray of SOUTHSIDE 1-1000 in a heartbeat. I love those “hawkish” prologues that introduced several 50’s crime thrillers. Such a feel for the place and the time. I found SOUTHSIDE 1-1000 constantly fast moving and intriguing; a second string cast serves this film very well. Morris Ankrum I thought was a standout and Andrea King very good as the femme fatale of the piece. Nice “in joke” – a cinema showing RED RIVER; a homage to Harlan and Nyby.
    The King Brothers were certainly on a roll at the time having just produced the excellent Western BAD MEN OF TOMBSTONE (also out on Warner Archive) and the classic GUN CRAZY.

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    • T-Men is a much stronger film, there’s no doubt about that. I like the look of the screen captures I’ve seen to the restored film, and all the Classicflix titles really but the combination of the prices and, I think, the region coding issue has meant I’ve not gone for any, and I keep hoping they may surface somewhere in Europe – Koch, Arrow, Indicator, Eureka etc.

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  2. This film has been on my to-watch list for quite a while, though I’m sure T-Men – a movie I love – is the better picture. The stentorian voice-overs in the beginning of these docu-dramas can be incredibly heavy-handed to the point of being silly, as in Highway 301. They’re usually mercifully short though.

    As for a film being dated – the dreaded D-word – I always want to kick people who say this. As you say dated does not constitute a drawback. Of course old movies are “dated”. They are dated for the era they were made in. And there’s nothing wrong with this. They are a snapshot of their time which to me is the most fascinating thing in the world.

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    • As John said before, the narrations can give a glimpse of the mood of the times, and they are usually quite brief. I felt this one went on a bit though, but it does lead in to the actual story eventually.

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  3. Very much my kinda movie this, and I recall John K.’s recommendations of it a while back. I’ve sadly never seen it (yet). Clearly, this needs to be remedied. Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Colin.

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  4. Colin,its odd but I don’t even remember recommending this at Pupkin’s but I do recall mentioning it at RTHC sometime back.
    Yes Colin, the high price of certain USA imports is a problem especially as in the UK or Europe we cannot take advantage of the various sales. At the moment I am going for quality over quantity as I did with the Classicflix Mann releases. I’ve been eyeing the Olive Signature INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and like yourself I hope that it gets a UK or Euro release. The Classicflix releases of T-MEN,RAW DEAL and HE WALKED BY NIGHT were superb and I hope that they eventually get a European release.
    My own take on all of this is that I am buying far less so that I can concentrate on buying expensive “essential” releases. I don’t know if this makes any sense but the three Classicflix releases were not available in good quality whereas Criterion’s forthcoming FORTY GUNS is; so on that title I’ll pass. I remember some 10 years ago when Warner Archive started the MOD thing suddenly very hard to see movies started appearing The Cinema Bookshop in London was charging £25.00 a title. Remember, The Cinema Bookshop was hit with import duties and “West End” rents ( which incidentally put them out of business) and people were happily paying £25.00 a hit to get these rare films. I might add I was not,at that time prepared to pay that price for a MOD disc despite the fact in 2008 the £ was very strong indeed.

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    • John, I use a similar rationale for my own purchases or upgrades – if I have a version which I feel happy with or that I think looks as good as can be expected, then I don’t bother with new versions. On the other hand, if I have something in what I feel is inferior or substandard quality then I will add any replacement to the list.

      I haven’t gone for Siegel’s Body Snatchers, and still rely on my old Olive DVD in fact, but I’d buy a Euro version on Blu in a heartbeat – I must get round to featuring the film on the site regardless though.

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  5. Speaking of pricey American imports I’ve just seen the impressive list of extras on Shout Factory’s forthcoming DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS listed over at
    Toby’s Hannibal 8
    Quite frankly, I’m getting fed up with having to rely on America for releases from a great British brand. To add insult to injury releases from the likes of
    Warner Archive and Kino Lorber used to turn up on Amazon UK at affordable prices-that sadly,happens less and less these days.

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    • Recently Warner Archive titles (both Blu-ray and DVD) have been going for very good prices on WOWHD and I’ve been picking up some desired films – Blu-rays for £10 or so delivered and some of the MOD DVDs for as little as £6 and change delivered.

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  6. Colin – Thanks so much for the WOWHD tip off …very keen prices but from the UK they do charge VAT but this is more than compensated by their very competitive prices and no postage charges. I’ve just ordered the Olive Signature version of “Invasion” which is on Amazon UK but at a far higher price.
    Can you believe arch Siegel fanatic that I am I actually don’t already have this film in my collection. Several reasons-I’ve seen this film on the big screen on many occasions and I have been totally confused about which was the best Blu Ray version available,prior to this Olive release. I always knew that it would turn up someday in a definitive version and now it has. I also note that they have several “guilty pleasures” like THE CYCLOPS and QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE at highly affordable prices. I did mean to get involved in the “Guilty Pleasures” debate on the previous thread but decided not to. Sorry, but I really do not feel there is an element of snobbery or even elitism in regarding a film like THE CYCLOPS as a guilty pleasure which it is; and is no slight against the film-makers, or indeed some of the actors who had had far better paydays in their prime. I don’t watch these films to laugh or sneer at them,actually I love them –
    and I loathe that “Golden Turkey’s” thing that arose several decades ago. I do however reject the whole “Auteur” thing or I should say the attitudes of some folk who subscribe to this theory. I think Walter, myself and others discussed this over at Toby’s recently and I really don’t want to go there again…I’m sure you get my point.
    Anyway Colin, thanks again for the “heads up” on WOWHD it’s always good to know of other outfits that can supply us with the films that we love.

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    • The guilty pleasures thing was a bit of a throwaway remark on my part, John. However, I think we’d be broadly in agreement – MST3K-style demolitions aren’t my style either – but I’m not sure I’d rail against the auteur approach so much as I think it has merit and also I don’t think it has to be elitist or snobbish, although like any theory it’s always possible to find adherents who do exhibit such traits.

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  7. Looking further at WOWHD’s prices I see there are many tempting treats to be had there. I will certainly go now for Kino’s LISBON especially at WOWHD’s really keen price.
    I’m none to fond of the “international Intrigue” genre generally though the Universal Flynn vehicle ISTANBUL in colour and CinemaScope I would buy in a heartbeat. LISBON’s attraction for me is Ray Milland, Trucolor, Naturama and Toby Roan’s commentary which has been getting rave reviews at DVD Beaver and Cinesavant. Glenn at Cinesavant says Toby has given us a beautifully researched insight into the final years of Republic…..SOLD!

    To backtrack somewhat and bring us back on topic – I would go for an upgrade of SOUTHSIDE 1-!000 as I found the DVD less than stellar. I would love to see this film restored in similar quality to the Classicflix Mann releases. With the case of HIGHWAY 301, however I found the Warner Archive DVD exceptional quality so I’m very happy with that, unless it appeared with a raft of extras which I very much doubt. The “Hawkish” prologue,however,goes on for ever,some of these guys on the “right” side of the law seem scarier than the hoods – it’s all something of a hoot if in the right frame of mind. Once the film finally gets going however it’s fine. I note on WOWHD that the Classicflix Mann’s are still rather pricey but apart from the high quality transfers there are quality booklets on high art paper and super commentaries from Julie Kirgo,Allen K Rode and Courtney Joyner. There’s something rather appealing about seeing these
    esteemed commentators talking to us from a cinema. I’m looking forward to the day when we can see our Toby in a visual commentary, after all he is such a handsome fellow – it surely cannot be too far down the pike.
    Finally…gasp! Colin as I name dropped Flynn earlier have you noticed Warner Archive have just announced THE SEA HAWK on Blu Ray.

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    • Hadn’t seen that, John, but more Flynn (and prime Flynn at that) is always most welcome.

      Toby’s involvement on the Lisbon Blu-ray is an attraction for me too, although I think the film itself is just about OK. I do like the “foreign intrigue” subset but some can be dull once you get past the travelogue aspect.

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  8. Interesting! I like these docu-style crime movies too, and really enjoyed Ingster’s STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR. I’ve seen Andrea King here and there, including the hostage drama DIAL 1119, and RED PLANET MARS (love that one).

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  9. This is interesting- I just ordered LISBON and was not charged VAT. Perhaps,like Amazon USA they do not charge tax unless the order exceeds £15.00 or so. I’m interested to see how this progresses – certainly a Kino Lorber Blu Ray for little over £14.00 is a bargain these days. If all this works out OK I will use WOWHD for everything in future, certainly as far as USA releases go….thanks again Colin.

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  10. Round up time in the High Country………….

    Firstly,Vienna I’m intrigued where you got to see ISTANBUL. I always thought it was one of those Universal CinemaScope films destroyed in the fire some years back…did you get to see a widescreen version. Secondly I’m very impressed by RIDE THE PINK HORSE one of the few “ex pat in trouble in an exotic locale” type films that I really enjoyed…I don’t usually enjoy those type of films but I thought RIDE A PINK HORSE was exceptional not to mention downbeat and totally unpredictable. Certainly not for all tastes. The Cinema Bookshop (perhaps I got the name wrong) I mentioned was the huge shop in St Martin’s Lane-I used to spend ages drooling over the racks of Warner Archive titles they had-they had hundreds of them so obviously people were paying £25.00 a hit for them-rich European tourists,no doubt. The other Cinema Bookshop was in Little Russell Street, I think, or near Centrepoint..the gentleman who ran it was constantly
    chain smoking and quite a character,to say the least.

    Colin, RED PLANET MARS was the initial effort as a director by Harry Horner, also better known as a production designer. Horner made a couple of good Noirs BEWARE MY LOVELY and VICKI the latter title I have never seen, and would really like to…Wasn’t VICKI an alternate take on LAURA? Horner also directed the unheralded, but excellent Western THE MAN FROM DEL RIO.

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    • John, I’m surprised you’ve never seen Vicki, it’s been out on DVD for years. I think it’s an OK version of I Wake Up Screaming, rather than Laura, and has a good role for the great Richard Boone, although I still prefer the original film.
      Beware, My Lovely is another OK film, it should probably be better given the talents of Lupino and Ryan but I’d still love to see it officially released.
      Seeing as you mentioned Laura, I guess you’re aware that film is coming on Blu-ray in the UK via Eureka in the new year – I’m looking forward to it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I guess my copy of Istanbul was from TV and was wide screen. A shame it is not on dvd.
      The Cinema Bookshop in Great Russell St,London was always a must visit for me on my many trips to London. It closed in 2005. It was a treasure trove of books and photos.
      And I remember the very expensive American dvds in the Cinema Store (St.Martins Lane) which closed I. 2016.

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      • Ah! The Cinema Bookshop in Great Russell Street. Happy memories! I discovered it in 1969 on a work lunch break (I was late back) and the manager (Fred Zentner, I think Vienna said) was responsible for introducing me to the National Film Theatre. The NFT was about to show “RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY”, which I had not seen since its release here in 1962. I went, found a packed cinema and a treasure trove of films, many rare, over the next 14 years.

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  11. More Andrea King….
    I was about to ask the help from Toby’s posse to glean more info on OUTLAW QUEEN and would you believe there is an Andrea King website,and it’s certainly
    worth a look! Mike,if he’s with all this nonsense will love the 1-sheet for OUTLAW QUEEN. 🙂 It’s the sort of “gals with guns” B Western that I love (GUNSLINGER, ROSE OF CIMARRON,TWO GUN LADY……) I’ve never seen OUTLAW QUEEN and doubt if I ever will,these indie oddities are so hard to track down.
    Apart from the fact it seems to have been written by Ed Wood,I note that the film was shot by Brydon Baker. It’s interesting that Baker shot many sub poverty row Westerns up until 1935,then vanished for 20 years,then re-surfaced with the cheapie THE PHANTOM FROM 10.000 LEAGUES. From then on Baker mostly worked on ultra cheap fare and several RegalScope films. He is, I guess, best known to RTHC readers for his work on CATTLE EMPIRE EMPIRE and RETURN OF THE FLY…..wonder what he was doing in his 20 year lay off.

    Colin, returning to the Auteur thing-it’s just the attitude of some of the people who subscribe to this theory that gets my goat! I have an friend,an
    industry insider, in fact, who considers Raoul Walsh an Auteur but not Henry Hathaway..go figure. His yardstick to prove the Auteur thing is the extensive work at Fox from both John Ford and Henry King. He states that all Ford’s films are masterpieces whereas most of King’s work is merely studio fodder. Perhaps this person’s rather foolish views have clouded my judgement on the whole issue,though I have heard others offer similar absurd views. It’s also interesting that even a director with Ford’s clout had a masterpiece like MY DARLING CLEMENTINE taken out of his hands and key scenes re-shot by another director.

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    • Oh yes John, there are odd interpretations of auteur theory, although I’d say there are odd interpretations of almost every theory – personally, I don’t let the extreme takes on anything influence me too much and try to form my own judgements, but some of the more dogmatic & inflexible approaches can certainly be off-putting.

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  12. Thanks Vienna,…Yes I did notice that ISTANBUL
    was on You Tube,but I will not be watching it especially as it’s
    4×3. I still live in hope that these “lost” Universal titles will turn up in
    a fire proof vault sometime.
    As I mentioned over at Kristina’s recently a whole heap of George Nader
    titles on the missing list,mostly in CinemaScope:
    CONGO CROSSING,FOUR GIRLS IN TOWN,THE SECOND GREATEST
    SEX and several Noirs,FLOOD TIDE,MAN AFRAID and APPOINTMENT
    WITH A SHADOW. Kristina did mention that the latter title turned up
    recently at a Noir festival.
    I’m also very keen to see the Cagney vehicle NEVER STEAL ANYTHING
    SMALL (color,CinemaScope)
    Now that Kino Lorber have a new deal with Universal perhaps some of
    these films will surface.

    Liked by 1 person

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