Fourteen Hours (September 23/06)
Simple yet strangely compelling, Fourteen Hours stars Richard Basehart as Robert Cosick - a young man who sparks a media circus after he climbs onto a 15th floor ledge and refuses to talk to anyone but the cop who first spotted him (played by veteran character actor Paul Douglas). The film follows their conversations and the city's efforts to get him off that ledge, and the subplots that form on the ground and in the adjacent buildings (there's even a tentative romance between two bystanders!) Efficiently directed by Henry Hathaway, Fourteen Hours seems an odd choice for Fox's Film Noir collection - as the movie doesn't entirely fit the firmly-established criteria of the genre (the quasi-documentary feel and hard-bitten dialogue ultimately justifies the film's inclusion, sort of). The uniformly effective performances certainly go a long way towards cementing the vibe of authenticity, with Douglas a standout as the kind-hearted yet slightly impatient cop who unwittingly finds himself forced to cajole Robert out of taking a dive. Viewed in the 21st century, Fourteen Hours essentially comes off as a prolonged episode of Law and Order - though that's not necessarily a bad thing.