I was starting Whatever happened to Baby Jane? (1962) starring Bettie Davis and Joan Crawford, and directed by Robert Aldrich, which got me thinking about this little beauty of a film noir that was unjustly left off my “Top 35 Films”, also directed by Aldrich. You may consider Kiss Me Deadly (1955) included.
The film is part of the saga of Mickey Spillane’s private eye, Mike Hammer, who meets a doomed lady hitchhiker, and let’s just say, things get very bad from there. So bad, in fact, the federal government’s Kefauver Commission declared this film the “number one corrupting influence on youth” in 1955. Aldrich took an independent route to making it, so he was not as hamstrung by the Hayes Code. This decree by the feds also started him on a letter writing campaign to vindicate his free speech rights.
As to hard boiled in the ‘50’s (or now for that matter), you don’t get much more so than the stories of Mickey Spillane: what other film noir is capped off with a hydrogen bomb explosion? (Just watch it, you’ll see what I mean)