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Recently watched Noir

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#1 cigarjoe


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Posted 19 September 2017 - 06:55 AM

The Crooked Way (1949) The Most Graphic Noir

(SLWB  February 06, 2012 republished Noirsville 9/19/2017)
John Alton's chiaroscuro cinematography imparts upon The Crooked Way what could arguably be the most Graphic Novel look to a Classic Film Noir.

Director Robert Florey (The Vicious Years (1950), Johnny One-Eye (1950), segued into TV early did some Alfred Hitchcock Presents,  Twilight Zones and Outer Limits), Director of Photography was Master Cinematographer John Alton (about fourteen Classic Noir to his scorecard). Music was by Louis Forbes.

The film stars John Payne (Miracle on 34th Street (1947), Larceny (1948), Kansas City Confidential (1952), 99 River Street (1953), Slightly Scarlet (1956), Hidden Fear (1957)), Sonny Tufts (No Escape (1953), Cat-Women of the Moon (1953), The Seven Year Itch (1955)), Ellen Drew (Johnny O'Clock (1947)), Rhys Williams (Nightmare (1956)), Percy Helton (nine Classic Noir), and John Doucette (eight Classic Film Noir), Ester Howard (Murder, My Sweet (1944), Detour (1945), Born to Kill (1947), No Man of Her Own (1950), Caged (1950)), Frank Cady, Charles Evans, who also had some Noir on their curriculum vitae. Cady I just watched the other day in The Asphalt Jungle.
Eddie Rice (Payne)


Eddie Rice (Payne), wakes up in a San Francisco Veterans Hospital after WWII with a Silver Star but no memory. The Doc tells him his amnesia is "organic" and that the piece of shrapnel in his head has permanently erased his past. The Doc suggests that he attempt to piece his life together by returning to familiar surroundings. His enlistment hometown was L.A., maybe if he goes home he will run into someone who knew him.


Eddie buys it. We buy it. Yes, a chance. A once upon a time like big dream, about how, just out of plain crazy **** dumb luck, he'll walk around in The City of Angels and will run into somebody he knows. Then, maybe that person will lead him to another, and then that person to yet another and he'll happily put together his story piece by piece. He figures it's gonna be hard, it's gonna take time. He diligently studies a pamphlet about Los Angeles riding the train on the way down.



Yo. The friggin minute he steps out of Union Station he's pinched by the cops. They are there looking for somebody else, and look who drops into their laps.  He's picked up and hauled down to the police station. They know who you are, Eddie.



Sgt. Barrett (John Doucette) and Lt. Joe Williams (Rhys Williams) 

At the station Eddie Rice finds out he's Eddie Riccardi. Foregedboudit, Eddie's gotta be really scrambled in the head. He can't even remember that he was Italian.

From the cops file he reads that he worked with a sort of Southern California hillbilly hood/mob boss Vince Alexander (Sonny Tufts), whom he framed before he joined the Army and disappeared into WWII.

He also finds out he was married to B-Girl (Nina) Ellen Drew, who also has mob connections. She is working in an illegal gambling parlor, she oversees the girls, always on the lookout for those with new "talents." Thanks to the MPPC we can allow our wildest imagination figure out what that meant, lol.

Caught between the cops and the mob, Payne eventually wakes up in a car with a gun in his hand, a dead cop in the seat next to him, and a siren in the distance is getting louder. Just before the tipped off police arrive, Eddie scrambles out into the night.

This Film is a gem. Alton's cinematography is extremely dark and claustrophobic and fits the subject matter well, a feast for Noir eyes with a nice juxtaposition of studio set & seedy location shots that make a fine example of the noir aesthetic. The large and varied cast actually enhances the amnesia angle to the story since minor character actors flicker for a few moments of screen time out of the shadows and then are gone, and just like Eddie, you don't  know whether they are a part of Eddie's past life or not.

Noirsville Alton's stylistic cinematography








Western Swing Bar




Like a lit stick of dynamite mad dog (Sonny Tufts)


Payne plays a convincing amnesia victim, Drew is good as his ex wife, but Sonny Tufts as the mob boss is excellent, he is very convincing as an unhinged, wild eyed, mad dog, barely in control when angered, hood. He should have been in more Film Noir, his performance here is both impressive and very memorable. He spits, snarls, and I wouldn't be surprised if he bit, actually after checking his bio, he does bite. "In 1949 he had been found drunk on a Hollywood sidewalk. In 1950 he was sued by two women for allegedly biting each of them in the thigh." (IMDb mini bio)

This film may also have the distinction of being one of the only Film Noir to feature some Western Swing its diegetic soundtrack.

The screencaps are from the Geneon DVD, it's cheap, adequate but featureless, still a personal 9/10 for me. Full review with more screencaps here: https://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/09/the-crooked-way-1949-most-graphic-noir.html

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#2 LawrenceA



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Posted 17 September 2017 - 01:48 PM

I hadn't heard of that one. Thanks for the write-up on it, cigarjoe.

#3 cigarjoe


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Posted 17 September 2017 - 01:37 PM

The American Side (2016) Neo Noir Niagara Redux

"There are three sides to every story... the truth, the lie, and the American side."

Directed by Jenna Ricker, written by Greg Stuhr and Jenna Ricker. Cinematography by Frank Barrera, and Music by David Shire.

The film stars Greg Stuhr as Private Detective Charlie Paczynski, Camilla Belle as Emily Chase, Alicja Bachleda-Curuś as Nikki Meeker, Matthew Broderick (Glory (1989), Manchester By The Sea (2016) as Borden Chase, Janeane Garofalo (Dogma (1999), as Agent Barry, Robert Forster (Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), Jackie Brown (1997), Mulholland Drive(2001), Breaking Bad TV Series (2008–2013), Too Late (2015), Twin Peaks  TV Series (2017– )) as Sterling Whitmore, Grant Shaud (Wall Street (1987)) as The Professor, Robert Vaughn (cameo) (Mike Hammer TV Series (1958–1959), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. TV Series (1964–1968), Bullitt(1968)), Harris Yulin  ('Doc' (1971), Night Moves (1975), Scarface (1983), Narrow Margin(1990)) and Joe Grifasi (The Deer Hunter (1978), Matewan (1987), Ironweed (1987), Ironweed (1987), Auto Focus (2002), ) as The Serb, Norm Sham as Maguire the Detective,  and Kelsey Siepser as Kat the stripper/confidence gal.

Buffalo, what was at one time our Frontier, analogous to The Stick's or The Wild West. It's the capital of the "other" New York.  Upstate. "The Queen City" it spawned "daredevils," and pioneered steam powered grain elevators, and what could be a more iconic symbol of The Great American Fly-Over Country. You could probably say Buffalo is the prototype typical Mid Western/Great Lake, U.S. city.


Greg Stuhr and Jenna Rickers script works into The American Side, in a similar fashion to Robert Towne's Chinatown L.A. water wars some Queen City historical atmosphere. In this scenario the early 1900s hydropower, the electrical invention history of genius Nikola Tesla, Buffalo and Niagara Falls is woven into a tale that bridges to the 21st century. This happens in the form of the missing pages of Tesla's notebook which may contain valuable inventions, or of those left unfinished, or just hinted at i.e. free energy systems, invisibility, death rays, etc.

Who is Nikola Tesla?, a genius pioneer of electrical technology and a world-class eccentric. Who, as D.A.R.P.A. Agent Barry in the film, puts it  "you could say invented the 20th Century.... When people were getting around on horseback Tesla envisioned a device so small that it could fit into your pocket it would let you check the news, or the stock market or talk to anyone anywhere in the world"  sound familiar? He was a dreamer of ideas though, rather than a builder. A nice opening montage traces part of this timeline.

The writers, using the locals around the Buffalo–Niagara Falls metropolitan area including the Canadian Side of 2.25 million, create another sort of Sin City universe, a Northern version of say El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, only instead of  Mexicans and more Southern neighbors we have a completely different mix nationalities clustered along the Northern border.

"The most intriguing of Tesla’s inventions are the ones that got away. Visitors to the Tesla Museum in Colorado Springs are told a story reminiscent of UFO conspiracy tales: In a raid on his house immediately after his death, government agents seized all of Tesla’s apparatus — some 85 trunks full — either because timid bureaucrats felt the world wasn’t ready for the wonders of Tesla technology or for more sinister reasons. Exactly what all this top-secret Tesla technology may be isn’t known, but some of it, so goes the story, may make time travel possible." (Skeptical Inquirer 1994)

The script also nicely incorporates some ironic hardboiled humor into the dialog.


American%2BSide%2B33.jpg Charlie Paczynski (Stuhr) The only P.I. in the phonebook, a retro, scruffy, looking Charlie Paczynski, is playing pinball in a dive bar. He's Polish. A perpetual cigarette dangling. He drives a '69 "monkey poop brown" Dart Swinger. He's waiting for his mark.

Like the Mike Hammer in Kiss Me Deadly, Charlie is a "bedroom dick", a "window peeper." Like Mike and Velda, Charlie and a stripper named Kat are hooking and scamming marks, Kat tipping Charlie so that be there to take photographs of compromising positions. Charlie contacts the husband, and  claims he's working for the wife, tells the mark that the wife hasn't seen them, but that she paid $1000 for them. The mark in this case a Professor can buy the photos and himself off the hook. Nice racket.

Apparently college professors and top electrical engineering technologists, on the Eastern Rim of the Midwest, go to Buffalo/Niagara Falls for their quota of boobage.
When Kat gets assassinated in a carnival parking lot while Charlie is there to shoot some new blackmail images, everything goes down a rat hole of intrigue to Noirsville involving pages from Tesla's notebook of inventions, Serbian foreign agents, competitive energy czars, The F.B.I., and an obscure U.S. agency called D.A.R.P.A., Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The film has got an excellently convoluted plot that homages a bit of Kiss Me Deadly (1955), and visually revisits Niagara (1953). Two running gags poke fun at Paczynski's penchant for constantly sucking a tar bar, and the fact that private detectives still exist.

Maguire (a police detective): Get the hell out of here.
Charlie: You got the road jammed up.
Maguire: You're a long way from Polonia.
Charlie: Working a missing persons case.
Maguire: You couldn't find a hole in a donut.
Charlie (pointing to Maguire's cigarettes): Can I get one of those?
Maguire (handing Charlie his pack): No.
Charlie:  Male or female?
Maguire:  The jumper is male.
Charlie:  Got a light?
Maguire:  This is the season, the place is a magnet, honeymoons and suicides.
Charlie:  What's the difference?
Maguire:  Ha! You should take that routine to Vegas. I'll escort you to the airport.
Charlie: I told you, I've got a job and I've already found the guy. Some nut out of Pittsburg name of Soberin.
Maguire:  Which one of these maroons put you up to it?
Charlie:  I don't get it?
Maguire:  Soberin, (a stretcher goes by with a covered body) you can help tuck him in.


American%2BSide%2B48.jpg Charlie & Sterling Whitmore (Robert Forster)
Maguire:What would you do if I was in your shoes Charlie?
Charlie:  I'd burn my socks.

American%2BSide%2B26b.jpg The Silver Haired Man (Robert Vaughn)


Silver-Haired Man:  Everyone looks the same in a suit, like a rat.

After giving Charlie tons of info. Charlie asks him something specific,

Silver-Haired Man: How should I know, I don't go nosing around in other people's business.




More P.I. Charlie Paczynski quotes:

Charlie:  I don't mind getting paid for somebody I'm already looking for.
Emily: I'm not paying you to look for him, I'm paying you to find him.
Security Guard: No, no, no, no, no, you just don't walk up here.
Charlie:  What do we do?
Security Guard: Well if we're lucky we schedule an appointment.
Charlie:  Appointments are for assholes...  you probably make them all the time.

Charlie:  That's a gene pool screaming for chlorine.

The American Side is a good example of what can be accomplished in an fly over country production. It's nice to see the the middle of the country again in a Noir with some cinematic memory. Greg Stuhr carries most of the load, he impressed, with the rest of the cast putting in good but pretty much extended cameos of various lengths, one standout was Norm Sham who stole a couple of scenes.

For Noir & Detective enthusiasts it's a winner. Screencaps are from the Sony Pictures 2016 DVD. Almost a low rent Chinatown. 7/10 Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/09/the-american-side-2016-neo-noir-niagara.html

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#4 cigarjoe


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Posted 07 September 2017 - 10:55 PM

Dick Tracy (1990) Crayola Comic Pulp Noir (on a rewatch)

(SLWB July 11, 2013)+

Director: Warren Beatty, Cinematography: Vittorio Storaro, Writers: Chester Gould (characters), Jim Cash, and Jack Epps Jr.
Stars: Warren Beatty (Dick Tracy), Charlie Korsmo (The Kid), Madonna (Breathless Mahoney), Glenne Headly (Tess Trueheart), and Al Pacino (Big Boy Caprise) with huge supporting cast includding William Forsythe (Flattop) Seymour Cassel (Sam Catchem) Charles Durning (Chief Brandon) Mandy Patinkin (88 Keys) Paul Sorvino (Lips Manlis) R.G. Armstrong (Pruneface) Dustin Hoffman (Mumbles) Kathy Bates (Mrs. Green) Dick Van Dyke (D.A. Fletcher) Henry Silva (Influence) James Caan (Spaldoni) Michael J. Pollard (   Bug Bailey) Henry Jones (Night Clerk) Estelle Parsons (Mrs. Trueheart) John Schuck (Reporter) and Noir vets Henry Jones (Night Clerk) Ian Wolfe (Forger) Mike Mazurki (Old Man at Hotel).
Chester Gould's comic strip Dick Tracy brought to life in Pulp Noir a pastiche of comic strip/graphic novel, Poetic Realism, Pulp Fiction, and Film Noir.
Beatty and Vittorio Storaro along with Art Direction by Harold Michelson, Set Decoration by Rick Simpson, the Buena Vista Visual Effects Group and Costume Design by Milena Canonero create an enjoyable fantasy world of late 30's early 40's Chicago in a pallet limited to the six main colors that the original comic strip appeared in: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, plus black and white.

Beatty's Tracy is a nice "good guy", always doing the right thing, tough and seemingly incorruptible, but as played by Beatty he is human, tempted determinedly by his femme fatale wanna be, Breathless Mahoney (Madonna). Glenne Headly plays Tess his long time sweetheart, the "good" girl. Charlie Korsmo plays tough street urchin "Kid", who is taken under Tracy's wing. 
Tess & Dick

Screenshot%2B%25283344%2529.png Tracy (Beatty) and  Tess (Hedley)
The Kid
Screenshot%2B%25283358%2529.png The Kid (Charlie Korsmo)

Some of the best sequences are of Breathless practically showing everything she's got while trying to work her womanly charms on a stoic Tracy.

Breathless Mahoney

Dick Tracy: No grief for Lips?
Breathless Mahoney: I'm wearing black underwear.

Dick Tracy: You know, it's legal for me to take you down to the station and sweat it out of you under the lights.
Breathless Mahoney: I sweat a lot better in the dark.


Breathless trying to seduce Tracy it a dress slit crotch high:

Breathless: What's a girl got to do to get arrested in this town?
Dick Tracy: That dress is a step in the right direction


Breathless: Aren't you gonna frisk me?

Screenshot%2B%25283354%2529.png Big Boy Caprice (Al Pacino)
Madonna's Breathless is stunning, she plays is Lip's Manliss' girlfriend/torch singer working his club, when Manlis is whacked she becomes the property of Big Boy Caprice mob boss. Caprice (Pacino) is not only an over the top mobster but a closet choreographer and in a hilarious segment he joins Breathless and the chorines on stage trying to spice up their new number.







The diegetic music is great, the songs sung by Madonna by Sondheim, and the soundtrack music by Danny Elfman not really that memorable, maybe they will grow on me with repeated viewings.

Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2015/08/dick-tracy-1990-crayola-comic-pulp-noir.html

A fun film 7/10


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#5 cigarjoe


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Posted 07 September 2017 - 07:26 AM

I rated those as 2/10 (F), 3/10 (D-), 3/10 (D-), and 3/10 (D-), respectively, so not really. There were a few moments of inspired trash in P.P.S. and Run Swinger Run, but I wouldn't go out of my for them, unless you have a taste for bad movies.

Pretty much what I've heard too. Mahon was obviously in it for the quick bucks.  B)

#6 LawrenceA



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Posted 06 September 2017 - 08:21 PM

BTW, Any of them worth a look-see?  :D


I rated those as 2/10 (F), 3/10 (D-), 3/10 (D-), and 3/10 (D-), respectively, so not really. There were a few moments of inspired trash in P.P.S. and Run Swinger Run, but I wouldn't go out of my way for them, unless you have a taste for bad movies.

#7 cigarjoe


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Posted 06 September 2017 - 08:06 PM

That's wild about Barry Mahon's World War Two record. I've known of him for years thanks to his sleazy film efforts, and wouldn't have imagined him being the inspiration for the "Cooler King". I've seen The Beast That Killed WomenProstitutes Protective SocietyRun Swinger Run!, and Sex Club International, all thanks to Something Weird video.

BTW, Any of them worth a look-see?  :D

#8 LawrenceA



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Posted 06 September 2017 - 03:57 PM

That's wild about Barry Mahon's World War Two record. I've known of him for years thanks to his sleazy film efforts, and wouldn't have imagined him being the inspiration for the "Cooler King". I've seen The Beast That Killed WomenProstitutes Protective SocietyRun Swinger Run!, and Sex Club International, all thanks to Something Weird video.

#9 cigarjoe


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Posted 06 September 2017 - 03:38 PM

The Sex Killer (1967) Nut Job Noir


Another Grindhouse Sexploitation entry in what we should call the "Transitory Noir" canon when Classic Noir unshackled from the Motion Picture Production Code was unravelling and sans restraints was morphing into Neo Noir.  Blame Hitchcock, Psycho (1960), cracked the door open for some Noir to deviate into a psycho-sexual taboo direction, what before had been hinted at or cloaked in subtext was now openly becoming exploited. 

 (The Last Drive In)

The Sex Killer aka The Girl Killer was directed by Barry Mahon.  Barry Mahon who (believe it or not) was a distinguished fighter pilot during WWII. He was shot down and imprisoned in Stalag Luft III where Mahon worked on the same escape tunnels made famous by the movie The Great Escape (1963). It has been said that the part played by Steve McQueen in that film was in fact partially based upon Mahon. He's mainly known for legitimately producing a couple of Errol Flynn and Gina Lollobrigida pictures Crossed Swords (1954), Cuban Rebel Girls (1959), as well as four children's films, but mostly for the quickie, low budget, mostly bad, sexploitation features.

With 70 director credits to his name roughly 85% are trashy sexploitation features and shorts some quite hilariously titled i.e., Fanny Hill Meets Dr. Erotico (1969), Fanny Hill Meets the Red Baron (1968), A Good Time with a Bad Girl (1967), Run Swinger Run! (1967), Fanny Hill Meets Lady Chatterly (1967), The Art School for Nudists (1965), Nudes on Tiger Reef (1965), The Girl with the Magic Box (1965).  Out of this substantial oeuvre of essentially, what even most devotees of sexploitation deem cheap celluloid crap, it's not particularly surprising that at least one would get enough of all the elements and ingredients right to make a Transitory Noir. That two of them, The Sex Killer and the previously reviewed Hot Skin and Cold Cash (1965), did is remarkable. What tips both these two features into a "thumb's up" inclusion into the Noirsville universe is the noir-ish, neo-realistic nature of the uncredited cinematography, combined with the unique also uncredited storyline for Hot Skin and Cold Cash, and in the case of The Sex Killer its particular bizarre, again uncredited, storyline.

The films are also unique gritty time capsules for the 1960's New York City's Mid Town Time Square/42nd Street area and lower Manhattan's Greenwich Village area. Just like Los Angeles' Bunker Hill and Downtown Broadway functioned in Classic 1940s and 50s Classic Noir so does Times Square, Greenwich Village, and Harlem function in these New York City based, amorphous, Transitory Noirs.

The film "stars" and we use the term loosely, (info from IMDb) Bob Meyer as Tony (uncredited), Bob Oran as Tony's Boss (uncredited), Rita Bennett as Sunbather (uncredited), Helena Clayton (uncredited), Uta Erickson as Hooker (uncredited), and Sharon Kent as the Blonde on Couch (uncredited), from their performances all pretty much amateurs. The rest of the cast are probably just real people doing their everyday jobs.

Like Norman Bates in Psycho, Tony (Meyer) is a loner with issues. Tony's standoff-ish. Tony is a peeping Tom. Tony is also a bonafide, sexually dysfunctional, a dangerous sicko, a whack job. He works on the Hell's Kitchen side of Times Square among " the naked mannequins with their Cheshire grins," in a Mannequin Factory (shades of Kubrick's Killer's Kiss (1955), Experiment in Terror (1962), and Aroused (1966).

We first meet Tony in one of those ubiquitous forever "Going Out Of Business," merchandise stores in the 60s-70s pre disneyfied Times Square. He's buying a pair of binoculars. Back at work he tells his fellow questioning workers that he's going to use them for "bird watching" up in Central Park, they don't believe him.

The%2BSex%2BKiller%2B003.jpg Tony Tony (Meyer), that look is guaranteed to get you women....

The%2BSex%2BKiller%2B011.jpg Heading home to "bird watch"


I guess working around a lot of busty naked female mannequins has been giving Tony a bit of an angle on his dangle, if you start off as a mannequin fetishist, it's gonna be all downhill from there.

After he clocks out he puts his newly hatched peeping tom plan into action. He heads downtown to a new "Now Renting" apartment tower near where he lives. The fact that it just opened assures that most of the apartments are still empty and that he probably won't be noticed. He still wisely goes down the buildings driveway and in through a service entrance and from the basement, up to the roof. He's hunting for "birds' alright,  topless sunbathers scattered on the various "tar beaches" that surround the West Village tower. For those of you wondering unfamiliar with the term, "tar beach" is what New Yorker's call the roofs of their walk up apartment houses.





Who says seploitation is just uncultured junk? The gal on the left is actually sporting some Haute couture, she's wearing Rudi Gernreich's sensational monokini, the first topless bathing suit, it was initially published in Women's Wear Daily on June 4, 1964.

Tony's wildly successful first attempt at voyeurism jump starts his other compulsions. His libio shifts from park into first gear, he now needs not only to, passively watch, but also to actively possess, but he's still not quite ready for a real "live" woman. Back at the job Tony starts getting overly friendly with some of the mannequins.

The Mannequin Factory (Tony's budding romance")


"Hi honey wanna go on a date?"

During the day Tony is getting excited and turned on as he moves mannequins around. He hatches a simple plan to "borrow" one of the gals from storage and taker her home. Now, hey,  Tony is just a mental case he's not stupid. He knows he can't sneak a whole mannequin out of the shop so for his woman, he'll settle for a head and ****. Hey, Tony's trying, just look at it like practice, doesn't The Red Cross have "Annie." Of course he gets caught by the boss at the door who asks he what the hell does he think he is doing?  He takes the mannequin away and tells Tony to go home.

Shot out of the saddle without ever getting out of the barn Tony is now frustrated. Tony is desperate. Tony is pathetic. Walking down the sidewalk it's love at first sight, he passes a sort of whatnot/antique shop window display. Beckoning him, with a come hither look, is a "cute" mannequin head sitting on a chair. She's making "eyes" at him. "are you looking at me, are you looking at me!, What, You think I'm sexy,.. are you calling me sexy?" He slips into the shop, looks around a bit sees nobody around watching and snags her right out of the window. Holding her gently, caressingly, under his arm he whisks her to a bar down the street.


Tony orders a drink, and it looks like he chats up the head.
Hey baby, how about a drink?  I think you got a real nice mouth.

Of course Tony attracts a couple of looks from the patrons and the bartender. One thing you learn being a native New Yorker, being born and raised around a lot of people you learn young the important art of getting along with your fellow travelers in this World of ours. Everybody's got their own personal kinks, none of us are perfect. You see someone acting weird but harmless you usually don't want to but in. It's live and let live.

Done with the small talk Tony makes his move.


He baby let's go to my place


Tony leaves the bar date in arm. What follows is a great neo realist guerilla shot sequence, a piece of visual history, an archive of a typical subway ride downtown on the old BMT 7th Avenue line in 1967. And, you  damn well know, that with the low budgets of these sexploitation films had to work with, that it's shot without permits, an excellent candid time capsule of the 60s.

NYC Subway circa 1967


It won't be long now honey


Above a token booth, the bank of the original heavy token accepting wooden turnstiles, on the wall in the b.g. one of the varied  "You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's Real Jewish rye" bread advertizing campaign posters that were plastered all over Manhattan. That poster had the Navajo.

So Tony heads downtown, the film is edited a bit out of sequence however. Apparently he got on at 42nd street Times Square Station, and went downtown, then apparently got off at 14th. Where above he's shown waiting for a train. But in the next sequence below we are back to the downtown train pulling into the 42nd Street station. When Tony finally leaves the train for his neighborhood he's shown riding an Astoria bound QT train that's heading uptown. The only New Yorker explanation I can give you is that perhaps he was on a downtown express, had to go past his local stop to the next express stop, then double back on a local. This strategy can sometimes be quicker than riding a pokey local through every stop all the way downtown, and Tony's in a hurry to score.

Tony gets back home with his date, to his spartan apartment. His only decorations are a few pin ups tacked on the wall above his bed, Lovingly Tony lays the head gently down on his bed. What Tony does with the head after that is left to our wildest imaginations. So see, it still works just like in the old Classic Noir days of the Motion Picture Production Code, it's just that the cultural yardsticks have changed.
Successfully stealing the head only accelerates Tony's deviant behavior. He shifts it into second gear. He gets up the courage to approach a hooker. He knows how to chat them females up now. Tony talks her into coming up to his I guess we can call it the "love shack." Getting there, she of course, asks for money up front, unfortunately he doesn't have enough. What he's got isn't even good enough for a ****. She tells him it's only worth a peek at her goods.


I only have $10

Back at his peeping tower perch Tony is now in third gear, actively looking for victims. Tony is in effect window shopping. He starts to track down the women to the addresses of buildings they are sunbathing on and then he goes about waiting and then he stalks them. He's even carelessly taken to randomly peeking in street level windows to see what he can see.


In High gear now Tony's deviancy turns deadly. First targets from peeping, and now just randomly following women to their offices or home. He pulls them into whatever is handy, i.e., the ladies room or breaks into the women's apartments, strangles them and then (always off camera) has sex with their bodies, like warm mannequins. Tony is a necrophiliac wing nut. 

Of course with Tony really going of the deep end and taking more and more chances he inevitably hops on the crazy train express to Noirsville.


Again, the film is about a 6/10, it's no technical masterpiece there are peeping tom sequences where the camera angles change inexplicably, and one sequence completely out of left field, it's just an insert voyeuristic peek at a woman in her apartment, though I'm not even sure if it's one of the sunbathers. Maybe the creative "team" though the film needed a bit of a jolt at this juncture. Who knows, it may have been left over footage from another Mahon opus, snicker.

For me originally a native New Yorker, it gets another point for the neo realist captures. The smoggy Manhattan depicted is the city I spend my late teens and early twenties in, that's my Times Square. It was my high school backyard. I went to school between 6th and 5th Avenue on 54th Street, it was one long block over to 7th Ave., then five short blocks down to the North fringe of Times Square. The mid 60's Times Square, where just casually walking down the street you'd see women wearing see-through tops, clusters of Hookers gravitating around 47th street, or encounter a myriad of grifters, Sabrett hot dog and pretzel vendors, shoe shiners, and people wound just a bit too tight.

The Metropole, across from a big Playland Arcade, afforded a nice free peek at topless dancers inside to sidewalk gawkers. Around the corner South of Playland between 7th and Broadway on 47th St., there was a Burlesque supply store with an a large audacious display window. There were still active Dime a Dance Joints around with genuine taxi dancers, one was the Majestic Ballroom above the Playland in the triangle block bordered by Broadway and 7th and 47th and 48th. The Follies Burlesque was above the Howard Johnson's further South in competition with the numerous "Live Nude Girls" peep shows and adult bookstores. All this among the the the legitimate Broadway theaters, the Movie Palaces and 42nd St. grindhouses.

Added to the above, the candid cinema verite like "Vanishing/Forgotten New York" subway and the West Village sequences are just surprise bonuses. It's interesting to note, to a subway geek, that the complete conversion from the original incandescent to fluorescent lighting in the subway stations had not been completed.

The story holds both faint similarities to the works of Peckinpah, and Lynch and cinematic memories to Kubrick. Screencaps are from the Something Weird Video. Archivally interesting and culturally entertaining, an oddity of a time past. Remember though, it's still a grainy sexploitaion film with a depraved story at heart. When it comes to these Times Square centered films there is always the distinct possibility that one of my friends or even I may have been candidly caught on film.  A 6-7/10 and that's being sentimentally generous. Full review with more screencaps at Noirsville the Film Noir.

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#10 cigarjoe


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Posted 01 September 2017 - 08:23 AM

Hard Eight (1996) Reno Neo Noir


Christmas Noir

Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights (1997), There Will Be Blood (2007)). The cinematography was by Robert Elswit (The River Wild(1994), Boogie Nights (1997), There Will Be Blood(2007)) and the great music was by Jon Brion and Michael Penn.

The film stars Philip Baker Hall (Zabriskie Point (1970), Kiss of Death (1995) Hit Me (1996)), John C. Reilly (The River Wild (1994), Gangs of New York (2002) ), Gwyneth Paltrow (The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999),  and Samuel L. Jackson (Sea of Love (1989), Goodfellas(1990), White Sands (1992), True Romance (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997) The Hateful Eight (2015)), with small supporting appearances by Robert Ridgely, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Melora Walters.

Sydney (Hall). Hard guy. An ex gangster. Maybe it's just the Christmas season or maybe Sydney is seeking perhaps a personal redemption. He's in some Mojave desert pitstop trying hard to weasel some wings.


Hard%2BEight%2B16.jpg Sydney (Hall)  John (Reilly). ****. Loser. Down and out. Transient at Jack's. Went from Los Angeles to Vegas to, get this, try and win the six grand he needs to bury his mother. Sydney "finds" John and offers him a cigarette and a cup of joe. Sydney we find out later has an Atlantic City connection to John. At the booth Sydney offers to give John fifty bucks. He asks John what he'd do with the fifty, Johns says he'll eat. Sydney  answers and then what? Sydney tells him that with the fifty dollars I'll take you to Vegas and show you how to survive. John wonders what's the catch, but he agrees to let Sydney show him and they drive back to Vegas.

Hard%2BEight%2B%2B04.jpg John
Two years later. Christmas time. John and Sydney have been up in Reno now a couple of low rollers working the casino circuits. John is getting by on his own thanks to Sydney. John has also fallen in love with a cocktail waitress/B-girl/amateur hooker named Clementine (Paltrow). John also has made a new friend name of Jimmy (Jackson), he is a hard drinking, suave, cocky, casino security man who moonlights as  "player."

Hard%2BEight%2B20.jpg Clementine (Paltrow)

Sydney wants the best for John, treats him like a son. Sydney becomes interested in Clementine when he sees that John is head over heels for her. Questioning Clementine, Sydney finds out that she is also expected to be friendly to the customers.

Sydney: [at the cocktail lounge] Tell me something. Are you required to flirt, to behave as you do toward that table of men over there? Maybe... it's some part of your job?
Clementine: Uh, they don't say to do it.
Sydney: But if you don't?
Clementine: Well, then I get questioned, like: "Why were so rude to them?", and, I mean, I can't talk back. I can't tell them to **** off and leave me alone.
Sydney: As a rule?
Clementine: I'd also lose the tip.


Jimmy (Jackson)

Tailing her after work he finds out that she's hooking on the side. That night, Sydney confronts Clementine and takes her up to his room. Clementine suspects that he wants to play hide the sausage, but he only wants to set her up with John.

The next day Sydney sends Clementine and John out to the mall to buy her some clothes.

That night, Sydney receives a frantic call from John. John asks Sydney for help, and John won't tell him why, he just asks him to come to a motel room. Sydney gets to the room. ****. He finds out that John and Clementine are not the sharpest tools in the shed. They have  taken a trick of Clementine's hostage. He **** Clementine and didn't pay her. They've knocked him out and are holding him for ransom. They called his wife and demanded $300. 


Sydney: You know the first thing they should've taught you at hooker school? You get the money up front!
Hard%2BEight%2B51.jpg I want my three hundred dollars Sydney, can't believe it. Then to top it all off John tells Sydney that he married Clementine. When Sydney asks who knows that they are there, John finally tells him that Jimmy brought him the gun. Sydney takes charge tells John and Clementine to get out of town, go on a honeymoon. The head out to Niagara Falls.

Everything goes Noirsville when Jimmy blackmails Sydney with the knowledge that Sydney shot John's father in the face back in Jersey.
Jimmy: What I mean - what I believe... is that you killed his father... like the stories I heard go. Now, if somebody killed my father... I would feel the need to do something. The stories I heard - you know, stories get around - is that you used to be a hard-****. You were a hard-**** and you took his dad out, Sydney. So you think - what? You can just walk through this life... without being punished for it? ****, man. I know all those guys you know. Floyd Gondolli, Jimmy Gator, Mumbles O'Malley. They like to sit around in Clifton's and talk, talk, talk. They love to tell stories. You can sit there and look at me sideways all you want. You probably think I'm some kind of **** or something... but I'm not a killer... like you. You walk around like you're Mr. Cool, Mr. Wisdom... but you're not. You're just some old hood. The other night in the bar, you asking me a question... like do I do parking lot security? Well, the answer is no! I'm trusted security inside the casino. I'm trusted with security, and I don't **** it up.
Sydney: Good that you have such a sturdy sense of responsibility.
Jimmy: Don't! Don't! Don't ****' do that! You understand? I can see right through that ****! You look at me as some idiot, huh? I know you do. I know you. You old guys, you old hoods... you think you're so ****' above it... so high and mighty. What am I to you? Some loser? Not with a gun in my hand. Not with the facts I know. Bottom line, Sydney. No matter how hard you try... you're not his father.

Jimmy's is also, for all his coolness and hip threads, another dumb ****, and yes also another loser.  In his above monolog we can highlight the section of it that will be his famous last words, that being, "but I'm not a killer... like you." Bingo!




All the principals are superb. Hall portrays the tough love pseudo father figure in a solemn, standoffish way, you know he doesn't suffer fools normally but his humanity is leaking out of his exterior shell and he does his best for the two dimwits he has chosen to help. Riley is the loveable idiot, taking every wrong direction when he has a choice. His soul mate Paltrow plays the equally dense, a marriage made in a mental hospital. Soon after the ceremony John turns around and Clementine is gone off with a trick. Jackson as the not quite smart enough Mr. Cool, shows his chops here. There is an excellent transition of a tune that is originally called Sydney's Theme. It happens when Sydney is waiting on the return of Jimmy.

Jimmy is high rolling it at the crap table. He bets a hard eight and makes it. Mr Cool now gets a hooker in tow and brings her back to the apartment. Opening the door they grope in the dark. Jimmy begins to ask the woman to "see your p***y." She lays back on the couch spreading her legs wide while Jimmy flips the switch on the light. She is showing Jimmy everything she's got. And at that moment Sydney's Theme transitions into what I call the White **** Blues for Jimmy.

It's a Reno of noisy ding, ding, ding, casino hotels with bad lounge acts, dive motels, and small dumpy vinyl greasy spoons, all with the barest hints of Christmas, i.e., faint elevator music yuletide carol's on autopilot, or a pathetically stingy string of lights on a front porch. Bravo 9/10. Full review with more screencaps here. http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/08/hard-eight-1996-reno-neo-noir.html

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#11 papyrusbeetle


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Posted 22 August 2017 - 11:56 AM

Thanks so much for these unusual "noirs"-----I can't wait to find DATE WITH DEATH, and ALL FALL DOWN.


but one of my fave films of all times (I've memorized it!) is  THE LATE SHOW.

Every thing about it is great, so low-key, and so hilarious!

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"I don't want to die."

"Neither do I, baby, but if I have to, I'm going to die last." -OUT OF THE PAST


#12 cigarjoe


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Posted 17 August 2017 - 08:48 PM

Date With Death (1959) New Mexico Noir


The second Hollywood movie filmed in "psychorama," a process using subliminal information through film by flashing images on the screen so quickly that they cannot be perceived by the conscious mind. The subliminal communication was by Precon the Precon psychologist was Dr. Robert E. Corrigan, and the Precon engineer was Mr. Hal C. Becker.

Directed by Harold Daniels (Roadblock (1951),  written by Robert C. Dennis (Crime Against Joe(1956), The Man Is Armed (1956), Mike Hammer TV Series (1958–1959), Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV Series (1955–1962).  The cinematography was by Carl E. Guthrie (Flaxy Martin (1949), Backfire (1950), Caged (1950), Undercover Girl (1950), Highway 301 (1950), The Tattered Dress (1957), Hell Bound (1957) the appropriately sleazy music was by Darrell Calker.

The film stars Gerald Mohr (Lady of Burlesque(1943), Gilda (1946), Undercover Girl (1950), Hunt the Man Down (1950), Detective Story (1951), The Sniper (1952), ) as Mike Mason / Louis Deverman, Liz Renay
(The Naked and the Dead (1958), The Thrill Killers (1964)) as Paula Warren, Robert Clarke (Desperate (1947), Mike Hammer TV Series (1958–1959)) as Joe Emmanuel, Stephanie Farnay as Edie Dale. Harry Lauter (Moonrise (1948), Roadblock (1951), The Big Heat (1953), Crime Wave (1953), The Crooked Web (1955), The Case Against Brooklyn (1958)) as Lt. George Caddell, Ed Erwin as Det. Lt. Art Joslin, Lew Markman as Nicky Potter - Chief Thug, Ray Dearhorn as Sam the Jailer, Kenne Duncan as Andrews  the Freight-Train Watchman.



taking the siding
A Santa Fe freight drag bound for L.A.takes siding out in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico. We see a hobo Mason (Mohr) smoking his pipe leaning against an open boxcar door. Mason had a used car lot in New York City and went flat broke so he's bumming his way to L.A. and a new start.

Mason%2BDate%2BWith%2BDeath.jpgMike Mason (Mohr)


A railroad brakeman walks along the top of the cars spotting Mason and another 'bo now sitting in the open doorway. The brakeman has words with the men, when he kicks Mason, Mason belts him and jumps off the car just as a passing freight roars by.

Mason now on foot is seen walking towards a dirt road rail crossing. At the road Mason looks at desolation in both directions. He flips a coin and goes to the right. after a few miles he spots a 54 Pontiac pulled off in the brush. He slips on his jacket, sticks his pipe in his pocket making it look as if he has a gun.


He approaches the car, spots a woman's initialed scarf, draped out of the window next to a hanging sport coat blocking a view of the back seat. It looks as if there may be some hanky-panky going on. Mohr announces "sorry to interrupt your party, I wanted a ride into the next town." He gets no response, going to the window he sees a man slumped in the front seat. Mason shakes the man thinking he's just passed out drunk. He's not, he's dead, shot through the heart.

He searches the man and finds a NYPD police detective badge his name is Louis Deverman. Next we see Mason driving the Pontiac dressed in the sport coat that was hanging in the back window, shaving with an electric shaver plugged into the cigarette lighter, and speeding down the two lane fast enough to attract two motorcycle cops. They pull him over see his driver's license assume he's Deverman then escort him into the town of Mindon.

At the courthouse he's sworn in as the new police chief, then shown around the department by the acting chief Lt. George Caddell (Lauter).

At the jail he meets Paula Warren (Renay) the jail keeper calls her a transient, she's sitting in a cell awaiting a court date for attempting to defraud a hotel manager and simple assault. Paula tells him that she hit him with a lamp "it was self defence." Mason/Deverman tells the jailer to let her out.

Then he takes her to the hotel and tells the manager to drop the charges and give her back her room or he'll start hounding him about code violations. Mindon is rife with corruption, we see a tobacconist shook down by two thugs that threaten his daughter. Half the businesses in town pay protection to a racketeer named Joe Emanuel (Clarke) who runs his operations out of the Country Club. Mason/Deverman quickly finds himself in the middle of the corruption scandal and the investigation of the murder of a dead man found outside town, i.e. the real Deverman. Mason/Deverman heads out to the Country Club to confront Emanuel.

He sees Paula auditioning for the floor show just before he meets with Emanuel. He suspects that Emanuel had the real Deverman killed and Emanuel all but confirms it. Mason/Deverman makes a deal telling Emanuel that since he's chief of police he can name his successor. Emanuel says he'll think about it.

After giving Paula a ride back to the hotel she invites him up to her room. While she takes a shower, Mason spots a scarf just like the one in the back of the murder car, while at the same time Lt. George Caddell finds out that Mason is an imposter. Everything goes twistedly Noirsville.




Paula Warren (Renay)








This film is an interesting watch if you can find it. The shakedown sequence with the two goons slowly cutting off the buttons on tobacconist's daughters tight sweater, and then right through her bra must have been quite daring for 1959, ditto the shower sequence with Liz Renay (at the time a gal pal of Los Angeles gangster Mickey Cohen). Mohr is believable, Renay and most of the major principals are adequate, the rest of the cast though seem like amateurs, probably the actual townsfolk of Roswell, New Mexico. This could use a restoration, what I had to watch left much to be desired. 6/10 


Full review with more screencaps here: https://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/08/date-with-death-1959-new-mexico-noir.html

#13 cigarjoe


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Posted 23 July 2017 - 08:44 PM

Dark Country (2009) Honeymoon To The Twilight Zone

Detour for two on their honeymoon to hell.

Inspired by the Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and EC Comics, i.e., it's Tales from the Crypt series, Thomas Jane and Tab Murphy (Gorillas in the Mist (1988)) fashioned the screenplay from Murphy's eerie short story.

"I wanted to make a movie that was for people who enjoy movies that are off the beaten track, you know?" said Jane. "I wanted to make a movie for fans of cult films, for fans of "The Twilight Zone", for guys who stayed up late to watch "The Outer Limits" when they were probably too young to do that." Thomas Jane

Directed by Thomas Jane (Jonni Nitro (2000)), with cinematography by Geoff Boyle (Enemy at the Gates (2001), Mutant Chronicles (2008)), and the films music was by Elew, and Film Editing was by John Lafferty and
Robert K. Lambert.

The film was shot in 3D high definition and 2D high definition, and according to Wikipedia"Wanting to have as many graphic novel elements Jane brought on-board comic artist Tim Bradstreet to work as the visual consultant and production designer in addition to Berni Wrightson, who provided the designs for the character Bloodyface, and Ray Zone as the 3D supervisor. Jane chose to do the film in 3D as a way to prove to the filmmaking community that you could create a low-budget film in 3D and have it turn out looking great." 

I'm not a fan of 3D, nor for that matter a fan of most current popular comic centric cinema, so I never saw this upon it's initial release. In 2D on the home screen it's entertaining enough.

The film stars Thomas Jane (Boogie Nights (1997), Magnolia (1999),The Punisher (2004), Give 'em Hell Malone (2009)) as Dick, Lauren German (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre(2003)) as Gina, Ron Perlman (Romeo Is Bleeding (1993), The City of Lost Children (1995)) as Deputy Thompson, Con Schell as Double, Chris Browning as Stranger, and Rene P. Mousseux as Crime Scene Trooper.

Screenshot%2B%25281542%2529.png Dick (Thomas Jane) Screenshot%2B%25281637%2529.png Gina (Lauren German) Dick and Gina. Lust/Love at first sight. Dick just passing thru Vegas. Gina, girl of his dreams. Gina ex Cheetahs stripper. Gina, working a casino table, looking for a way out. Hitched. A quickie Vegas marriage. A hot sheet motel, consummation. The Scorpion.



They decide to take Gina's '61 Dodge Polara and head to **** hometown, Sonoma California. Desert in all 360. Beat the heat drive at night. The The Big Chief Gas Station/Diner. Top off the tank. A stranger at the counter warns Dick to stay on the interstate. The backroads double back, they dead end.




Dick and Gina take a shortcut anyway. The headlights spot a road sign for Searchlight 25 miles. They took the wrong fork. They make a U-ey. The road is deserted. A big half moon lights up the desert. Dick shuts off the headlights and drives by moonlight. Gina feels hot. Gina feels frisky. 

When Dick turns the headlights back on there is a guy standing in the middle of the road. Dick swerves to miss him and goes off the shoulder. The man was in an accident his flipped over car is just down the road. The man has no recognizable face. Dick tells Gina to call 911. She can't get service. They pick up the guy and put him in the back seat. Looking for a light of a hospital, they drive to a dead end.


They make another U-ey and head back they way they came. Dick and Gina argue about getting lost.

The bloody-faced man in the back comes to and screams. He gets hysterical. He tries to strangle Dick. It's all Gina can do to keep the car on the road. Slamming on the breaks Gina steers to the shoulder. Dick and the man tumble out of the car.


Dick grabs a rock and smacks him upside the head. Then keeps pounding him until he's dead. Dick not thinking too clearly tells Gina they have to bury the body and forget it ever happened. Driving off on a dirt road they dig a shallow grave with a tire iron and dump the body in.

While Gina is scooping dirt into the hole Dick goes and gets a drink out of their cooler. He rummages around in her handbag and finds a gun. When Gina gets back into the car he asks her about it. She tells him about working at Cheetah's when she had first gotten to Vegas, and about the creep that was obsessed with her. Dick naturally asks Gina if the guy they just buried was the creep. She replies that without a face it;s hard to tell.

Dick and Gina finally pull into a rest area and clean up. While washing up in the men's room Dick discovers that he lost his watch. Gina tell him to forget about it but Dick tells her his name is engraved on the back. He has to go back and get it. Gina refuses to go, so Dick tells her to wait there with the gun while he drives back. While leaving the rest area Dick must have missed seeing the signpost up ahead indicating he just passed the border of Noirsville and into The Twilight Zone.

Thomas Jane's directing is competent with an excellent grasp of Noir stylistics. His acting is fine. Lauren German is very believable as Gina with a top notch performance. Ron Perlman has a nice cameo. Working with a $5,000,000 dollar budget this film fits nicely into the low budget slot once occupied by the old poverty row studio cheapy noirs. Fans of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Night Gallery will also get a nice jonze from this, at least this fan did. A straight to DVD Sony Pictures Entertainment release 7/10.


Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/07/dark-country-2009-honeymoon-to-twilight.html

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#14 cigarjoe


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Posted 22 July 2017 - 07:03 AM

Across the Hall (2009) Noir Hotel


Sleeper Neo Noir that's surprisingly entertaining, well made, and very interesting to look at. Directed competently and stylishly by Alex Merkin who, to quote IMDb is "A New York native hailing from the prestigious Boston University College of Communication, Merkin is noted as being a "talent to watch" by Daily Variety".

The film was written by Alex Merkin, Jesse Mittelstadt, and Julien Schwab and is actually an expanded version of his short film which was written by the same three above with the addition of Kris Johnson. The excellent cinematography was by Andrew Carranza, and the Music was by Bobby Tahouri.

The film stars Mike Vogel as Julian, Danny Pino as Terry, Brittany Murphy as June, Brad Greenquist as The Porter, Arie Verveen as Lucas, Natalie Smyka as Anna, Guillermo Díaz as The Cook, Dov Davidoff as The Bellhop.

The story is told in real time, flashforwards, and flashbacks and takes place in the once ritzy now slowly decaying, past it's prime, Riverview Hotel. A  drunk and very distressed Terry (Pino), who has suspected his fiancée June (Murphy) of infidelity has followed her to The Riverview, where, he suspects she is playing hide the sausage with another guy.  Terry goes to the reluctant night porter (Greenquist) and bribes him to give him room 508 across the hall from June's room 507.

Screenshot%2B%25281467%2529.png The Riverview Hotel Terry waits in the room. He uses his cell phone and calls his best friend Julian (Vogel). Julian is relaxing in a tub with an icepack on his knee. Terry tells him that he broke into his house took Julian's revolver and followed June to the hotel. He plans to gun the lovers down. Julian asks Terry where he is at, and when Terry tells him that he is in the room across the hall Julian freaks.


He freaks, you see, because it's Julian who is with June in room 507, in the Riverview Hotel, in Noirsville.

Screenshot%2B%25281495%2529.png Night Porter (Greenquist)
Screenshot%2B%25281494%2529.png "Out Of The Past" quote
June (Murphy)
Screenshot%2B%25281478%2529.png the cell phone call to Julian (Vogel)
Terry (Pino)


The Director Merkin sticks in a few Classic Noir quotes, i.e., June registers as Kathie Moffet, Jane Greer's character from "Out Of The Past," and Terry later walks under a Theater Marquee that's playing "Nightmare Alley," there may be a few more. The four leads are excellent, the cinematography and music a treat. 7/10  Full review with more screencaps here: https://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/07/across-hall-2009-noir-hotel.html

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#15 cigarjoe


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Posted 19 July 2017 - 05:44 PM

Rage (El mal) (1966) Mexican Film Soleil Neo Noir

Director Gilberto Gazcón fashions an interesting Neo Noir that feels like a Western, is part InfernoWages of Fear and Guilty Bystander mixed with a bit of the anxiety of both Panic In The Streets and The Killer That Stalked New York.

The screenplay was jointly written by Gilberto Gazcón Teddi Sherman, Fernando Méndez, Guillermano Hernández, and Jesús Velásquez. The cinematography was by Rosalío Solano and the Soundtrack was by Gustavo César Carrión.

The film's vivid color palette gives it a pulp-ish paperback cover look, it's similar in that respect to the color Noir Slightly Scarlet (1956).

The film stars noir vet Glenn Ford (Gilda (1946), Framed (1947), The Undercover Man (1949), The Big Heat (1953), Human Desire (1954), Experiment in Terror (1962)) as Doc Reuben, Stella Stevens (Man-Trap (1961)) as Perla, David Reynoso ( Presage (1974), Que viva Tepito!(1981), El último túnel (1987)) as Pancho, Armando Silvestre ( La Impostora (2014), Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)) as Antonio, Jose Elias Moreno (Santa Claus (1959)) as Fortunato, Dacia Gonzalez (The Shark Hunters (1963)) as Maria, David Silva (Los Fernández de Peralvillo (1954), Campeón sin corona (1946) Espaldas mojadas (1955)) as Bus Driver and Isela Vega (Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)) as a prostitute.

Wages Of Fear quote


Doc Reuben (Ford) runs a medical clinic in a small Mexican village. The village is booming with the influx of construction workers who are blasting a new road across the backcountry. Except for practicing medicine, Doc is a bit alienated from normal human contact outside of his medical duties, and obsessed with drinking himself to an early grave. You see, Doc blames himself for not being able to save his young wife and baby during childbirth. He drinks to forget. His main companion is his german shepherd dog.
Pancho (Reynoso) is a local who got a job on the road crew as a dynamiter. He learned his trade in the mines. Pancho and his wife Maria (Gonzalez) are going to have a baby, and Doc is happy to check Maria's progress, but tells Pancho that she will need a specialist when the time comes because she will need a caesarean section.

Pancho's friend Fortunato (Moreno) is a dozer operator on the road crew. His pet cat Princesa is acting strange. When the crew drives back to town Pancho's cat jumps out of his arms and attacks Doc's dog. The general consensus is that Princesa is pregnant. A few days later Doc gets bit by his own dog.

DSCN4346.JPG Dog bites Doc At the end of the week the supply truck brings a load of prostitutes to entertain the road crew. One of
prostitutes is Perla (Stevens), and at the "fiesta" she is very attracted to Doc who is quite drunk. Doc sneaks off to the clinic with a couple of bottles of booze and Perla follows. Doc throws her out and starts to hallucinate in a very graphic noir-ish sequence. In the morning a very hung over Doc finds Perla asleep upon his examination table, she has missed the truck.

DSCN4343.JPG Perla (Stevens) at Docs
The next day Fortunato drug into town by ropes, he is delirious and foaming at the mouth, he has rabies. Perla and Doc get to know each other but Doc is still standoffish. Doc explains about the death of his wife. Ten days later the supply truck arrives and Perla leaves town.

DSCN4400.JPG Rabies
Pancho arrives in town on his donkey cart early the next evening and tells Doc that Maria is contracting, Doc tells Pancho to hurry back and he'll follow in a company jeep. On the way back to his place Pancho runs into Doc's dog, the dog is bloody and foaming at the mouth and snarling at the Donkey's legs. The dog is rabid.

Doc drives up sees the situation and shoots the dog. He now realizes that he was bitten ten days ago and that he is also infected. He counts the days back to when he was bitten and realizes that he has 48 hours to get treated. When Doc tells Pablo that he has to get to the nearest big city to get shots Pablo grabs Docs gun and threatens to kill him. Doc says OK but floors the Jeep leaving Pablo in the dust as he speeds off in the growing darkness to Noirsville.






Glenn Ford is compelling as the weathered Doc Reuben even though haunted by his failure to save his wife and child and drinking himself to death he can still keep his skills sharp and show compassion and kindness towards Maria. Stella Stevens at 30 is at the height of her beauty, she is the proverbial hooker with a heart of gold looking for a way out of the life. She is sexy, sassy, and sweet. David Reynoso is great as Pancho he holds his own with Ford and displays his acting chops. The rest of the cast is very good and the landscapes around Durango are beautiful. Very entertaining, This film needs a good restoration. Café con leche noir. 7/10


Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/07/rage-el-mal-1966-mexican-film-soleil.html

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#16 cigarjoe


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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:36 AM

Some Like It Violent (1968) Comparatively, an Exploitation "Roughie" Masterpiece


When the "B's" went out of production low budget guerrilla Exploitation Grindhouse "C through Z's" took over. I can count probably just using the fingers of both hands how many of them are worth a look. Some Like It Violent is one of them.

 (The Last Drive In)

Vice Raid. Times Square Area. A two squad cars converge on a West Side flop. It's one of Johnny "Big Daddy" Scaro's many houses of  prostitution scattered around Manhattan. Vice Detective Scott Lehman in charge. Hookers and their Johns/tricks, are caught in the net. Two of  Scaro's goombahs are watching the **** hit the fan from their Chevy sedan across the street.

They should have been inside making the collection. They got lucky goofing off. One of them Frankie Shive has got a ridiculous upside down Groucho Marx-ish moustache, it must have been cool in '68. Frankie is getting nervous, he can't stand the sight of "fuzz." Bruno the Buffalo is the driver. They split.

Meanwhile, Big Daddy is up in his apartment enthusiastically showing bad girls what happens when they get "outa" line. He's gleefully, systematically, dismembering a female mannequin with his machete in front of his two terrified personal hookers, Zelda and the Blonde. They are his "private stuff." Their sole purpose is to lounge around the apartment until Johnny gets a itch, and then they'll scratch it, and maybe both at the same time. Johnny's got big needs. They are topless. Their standard uniform. They are being watched by a captive audience of other mannequins. Apparently Johnny is a bit of a wacko.

A misogynist through and through, Johnny treats his women like bitches.

Whacking Mannequins

Screenshot%2B%25281147%2529.png Johnny "Big Daddy Scaro (Bob O'Connell)



The private stuff agrees "Big Daddy" is crazy

Frankie and Bruno get caught in a Mid Town traffic jam. Frankie Shiv hops out of the car and walks to Scaro's Hell's Kitchen apartment house and breaks the bad news. Frankie tells Johnny that he should move to a better dump.


"I like it here!"


Frankie: I was just about the make the collection on the house and the heats crawling all over like roaches out of the woodwork. They got the girls and some customers also.
Johnny: Uuuh, and you say Scott was there. How long ago did this happen?
Frankie: About forty-five minutes, I left Bruno in some traffic. Hey Johnny why don't you get out of this lousy place? It stinks!
Johnny: Ahaa, I like it here, I got business here, I got friends here, and I feel safe here. I was born only two blocks from here. Now you know why I like it here. What are you the D.A. or something?

Johnny, **** off, calls his shyster to see what happened to his protection. He hears the lawyer out and hangs up the phone.

Johnny: A bunch of doofus punks I gotta deal with these days, no class, and no honor. [he looks at the two hookers sitting around like pets taking the proceedings all in] What are you looking at, what is this a zoo or something? Go on, beat it, scram, get outta here. Get the hell outta here you make me sick.

Dapper Dan stops by and gives Johnny information about a computerized dating service. Dapper confirms that he did indeed get the straight dope on its potential from Johnny Basto. Wider Horizons Social Contact Service. He tells Johnny...

Dapper Dan: I never seen anything like it, machines do all the work, and the broads come out of the walls. The broad is really raking it in. You think she's going to go along with the plan?
Johnny: don't worry I'll take care of it.
Dapper Dan: We're gonna need Brinks.
Johnny: That's funny, we're gonna need Brinks, Brinks for Johnny Scaro!

Johnny is now excited. After Johnny's boys "convince" Alma Mae Cookson to let them take over her service,  Detective Scott Lehman is busy recruiting an old acquaintance Delores, the daughter of a cop shot by Scaro's boys to pose as a client of the new operation. Delores fills out the questionnaire with the help of Scott and gets matched up with none other than Johnny Scaro.

The "date" doesn't go well and Johnny rapes Dolores. When Johnny finds out from his mouthpiece's informers that Dolores was working for the police he goes ape. Scott camps out at Dolores' Westchester house expecting trouble Scott and Dolores hit it off.

Johnny and his crew plan an assassination, Johnny wants to make the hit himself. It all goes Noirsville.


Screenshot%2B%25281142%2529.png Times Square


Screenshot%2B%25281160%2529.png Frankie Shiv 


Screenshot%2B%25281237%2529.png Johnny trapped like a rat in the sewer

Directed by Kemal Horulu and well written also by Kemal Horulu.  Camera was by Joe Mangine, Assistant Camera Bill Tobin, Edited by Phil Fitzpatrick, Sound by T.A. Dougher, Production Manager Ian Merrick, Assistant Production Manager Al Lee, Script Girl Kathleen Lee, Negative Cutting Bing Jong, Laboratories  Arta Lab, and Sound Recording by Magno Sound. It was produced by Barry Mahon (Hot Skin, Cold Cash (1965)).

The film stars Bob O'Connell as Johnny Scaro, Sharon Kent (who looks a bit like Kathryn Leigh Scott in a blonde wig) as Dolores, and Natara as prostitute Zelda. Scaro's blonde hooker  uncredited starred in producer Barry Mahon's (Hot Skin, Cold Cash (1965)).  That's it, the rest of the cast is lost to history and they probably didn't use their real names anyway.

O'Connell is a blast to watch, bug-eyed, and channeling Cagney in his his crazed monologues about making on his own it in the streets. The opening sequence of Scaro chopping up the mannequins is reminiscent of  Sam Fuller's intense opening sequence for The Naked Kiss. As with most all of these cheapy productions, the whole range of acting ability and lack of it is apparent and, of course, the requisite T&A is displayed.

These bottom of the barrel exploitation films bridge some of the the gaps between B production Noirs and the Hollywood output of Neo Noirs that picked up again in the 70's. Needs a good restoration, worth seeking out, more than just a "skin flick" 6-7/10.


Full review with more NSFW screencaps at Noirsville.

#17 cigarjoe


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Posted 10 July 2017 - 08:09 AM

Give 'em Hell Malone (2009) Hyper Hammer


Another great Neo Noir flick that's either written off most lists, or just never made the radar screens of most noiristas and aficio-noirdosThis one I'd heard negative comments about, particularly how it resembles a first person shooter game.

What Give em Hell Malone does is grab you, whether you are into these games or not, with this opening sequence that indeed inserts you a video game-ish scenario, and what it effectively does, is quicken the tempo of Noir. It gets you up to the speed of Mark Hosack's hard boiled dialog, homaging both Chandler, Hammett, and the better parts of Mickey Spillane. It's tongue in cheek picaresque, and a lot of fun.

This film is a great boiling stew of the Classic Hard Boiled Detective, Sergio Leone, Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, and the Coen Brothers with some homage to true crime. It's so stylish and knowing that it gives a fresh look particularly to the hard boiled detective and noir.

I'ts almost like what a Fistfull Of Dollars does to the Western, this has the blueprint on how to tweak the old school Hard Boiled Detective.

Similar to Miller's Sin CityGive 'em Hell Malone takes place in an unspecified time in what star Thomas Jane calls a Noiriverse, Noirsville by another name. It manages to do this with the help of Inland Empire railroad hub, Spokane, Washington, a city that still has a lot of 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s era buildings, grit, and atmosphere. The anti-hero Malone (Jane) strides through bodies like the Man With No Name through the Rojo and Baxter's, making Mike Hammer-esque wisecracks in voice over, nice! It can also boast of a decent convoluted story, many memorable characters, and an ominous, black, exhaust rumbling, souped up, 51 Merc that, compared to 2000s era vehicles looks like a small tank.

And this is another big **** to critics in 2009, this film delivers, especially if you are tuned to noir. If you have been wading through the lists of some of reviewers, and those "hop on the band wagon" shills of basically, what I call, softcore-ish compilations of what they think are Neo Noirs, and are looking for a Noir Fix, this film is mainlining it.

Screenshot%2B%25281105%2529.png Malone (Thomas Jane) Directed stylishly by Russell Mulcahy (Highlander, Resident Evil: Extinction, Razorback) and a bunch of other stuff I've never seen or heard of, but from the merits of this I will check out next years In Like Flynn (filming)). Good noirish cinematography by Jonathan Hall, and music by  David C. Williams, again with both I've not really seen nor heard of anything else they've done.

Screenshot%2B%25281056%2529.png Evelyn (Elsa Pataky) The film stars Thomas Jane (Boogie Nights (1997), Magnolia (1999), The Punisher (2004),
Dark Country (2009)) as gruff ex P.I. Malone, Ving Rhames (Miami Vice TV series (1984–1990), Pulp Fiction (1994), Kiss of Death (1995) Dark Blue (2002)) as hired gun Boulder, Elsa Pataky as Femme Fatale Evelyn, French Stewart (3rd Rock from the Sun TV Series (1996–2001), Leaving Las Vegas (1995)) as Frankie the Crooner, Leland Orser (Se7en (1995), Baby Face Nelson (1996), Taken (2008)) as Murphy, Chris Yen (Adventures of Johnny Tao (2007)) as Mauler, Gregory Harrison (Razorback (1984)) as mob king Whitmore, Eileen Ryan (The Twilight Zone TV Series (1959–1964), The Detectives TV Series (1959–1962), Magnolia (1999)) as Mother Gloria and David Andriole (Barb Wire (1996), Freeway (1996)) as Pencil Stache.

Screenshot%2B%25281070%2529.png Matchstick ( Gregory Harrison) Malone. Tough. Wisecracker with a Bogart growl. Hard Drinker. Ex-Private Eye. Now Gun For Hire. Hired through his sort of appointment maker Murphy by a dame named Evelyn to retrieve a metal briefcase from a mob headquarter building. A mob territorial war is going on between two factions when Malone arrives.. Playing both ends against the middle he decimates both sides equally. He gets both wounded and the case but knows it was a setup. He just don't know the why yet.

He heads to his mother Gloria's nursing home for assistance. Gloria is a hard drinking ex nurse. She digs out Malone's bullet. While there he breaks open the briefcase and finds it stuffed with newspapers and a small blue elephant that Malone dubbs "the meaning of love."   This cryptic appellation stirs up the interest of a number of underworld figures who are trying to figure out what it is in Noirsville that is worth so much in dead men.


Screenshot%2B%25281043%2529.png '51 Merc




Thomas Jane is highly entertaining as mercenary Malone. His quick paced gravelly voice overs punctuate the action, he grumbles wisecracks like gunshots. Jane and equally hard boiled costar Pataky spit sexual banter like two alley cats. It's reminiscent of Bogart and Bacall's banter in The Big Sleep but more believable. 

All the bad guys in the film are fearful of Malone, there are varying stories of the brutal demise of Malone's family (Shown in Black & White flashbacks) and how the experience warped Malone into a cold blooded killing machine.

Pataky is the pieces sharp tongued femme fatale. At times Pataky's foreign inflections of English breaks through, but after all she's supposed to be a European prostitute. In this respect she reminds me of classic femme fatales Faith Domergue, Viveca Lindfors, and Peggy Cummins.

Ving Rhames is Malone's ex partner, Rhames is the heavy, he is imposing. Gregory Harrison the Mob King "goes Capone" on Malone's ****. Chris Yen plays a Crazy 88 type of sadistic assassin Mauler. Doug Hutchison, reminiscent a bit of a combination of Klaus Kinski and Jack Nance, is a bit over the top as wacko pyromaniac Matchstick.

A big shout out to French Stewart as bad lounge act Frankie the Crooner, part of his act is singing Lou Reed's "Good Night Ladies" at dive bars and old folks homes. His other gig is supplying visas for money or sex, to illegal alien prostitutes for Harrison. Stewart kind of reminds me of classic Film Noir bit player Edmond Ryan. Other memorable performances are David Andriole as Pencil Stash, and Eileen Ryan as Ma Gloria.

This film is a real hoot. It's oozing updated hard boiled style, with a tablespoon of Kill Bill from Tarantino, a pinch of Mulholland Drive from Lynch, a bite of Point Blank from Boorman, a cup of Blood Simple from the Coen Brothers, a ladle of Fistfull Of Dollars from Leone, a wallop of The Lady From Shanghai from Welles, the graphic scribble of Sin City from Miller, Rodriguez, and even some of Dick Tracy from Chester Gould, the film borrows from all. Screencaps from the January 26, 2010 DVD. Full review with more screencaps here: https://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/07/give-em-hell-malone-2009-hyper-hammer.html

#18 cigarjoe


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Posted 10 July 2017 - 06:48 AM

All Fall Down (1962) Tis The Season To Be Dysfunctional


The streetcar named Film Noir went off the Crime Genre rails early, basically right at the onset of it's second coming. The Lost Weekend for example, reviewed here a few weeks ago delved into addiction and human frailties, not crime, Noir in its original 1930's use meant any films with subject matter considered immoral and demoralizing.

Director John Frankenheimer's (The Young Savages (1961), The Manchurian Candidate(1962), Seconds (1966)) second feature All Fall Down is about the seriously dysfunctional Willart family of Cleveland, Ohio and their satellite of influence the 30 year old virgin Echo O'Brien. 

"Family love is messy, clinging, and of an annoying and repetitive pattern… like bad wallpaper." Friedrich Nietzsche

The film was based on the novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy whose mentor was Tennessee Williams, and who would gain fame later from his novel Midnight Cowboy. The screenplay by William Inge (Picnic (1955), Bus Stop (1956), Splendor in the Grass (1961)) deviates quite a bit from the beginning scenarios of the novel.

Screenshot%2B%2528813%2529.png The Overseas Highway, A1A , Florida Keys Regardless though, it's no surprise how intriguingly well gay writers can write about dysfunction. Inge infuses the screenplay with a nagging, overbearing, suffocating, psychopathic mother Annabell Willart (Angela Lansbury) whose devotion, bordering on worship of her seriously **** up, hyper chick magnet son, Berry-Berry (Warren Beatty), hints at incest. Berry-Berry has serious mother issues.

Annabell reigns over the first floor of the house and spends her evenings enthusiastically listening to Guess That Song (Name That Tune) on the radio. All this drives Ralph Willart (Karl Malden) Annabelle's long suffering husband, a closet socialist, real estate broker, to spend his evenings in the shelter of his cosy basement domane in an easy chair with the company of a good bottle of booze and a jigsaw puzzle.

Clinton Willart (Brandon De Wilde), Berry-Berry's younger brother is sort of the audio equivalent of a peeping tom, i.e., an "eavesdropping eddie." He is compulsively listening in on his parents arguments, his mother's phone calls, and on other people's conversations. These he meticulously all writes down in his ever present notebook. Clinton also idolizes his older brother.  When Bernice's daughter come to visit, Clinton is in love at the first sight of Echo."You don't actually see her quiver you just feel it. She's all alive and quivering."

Enter the fifth wheel in this tableau, Echo O'Brien (Eva Marie Saint), the gorgeous, practically old maid daughter of Annabelle's best friend Bernice. In Herlihy's novel Bernice is an obese wheelchair bound clairvoyant who is also interested in phrenology, which, combined with a long taxing relationship she had with an alcoholic (who finally shuts his own lights out by sucking a carbon monoxide cocktail in a garage), offers some explanation of Echo's lack of beaus. There is also a sequence later in the film where she is very upset and we see her open up a bottle and take a spoonful on the contents, is she a closet opioid addict? It's never explained in the film. We'd have to go to the source.

So what we, the viewers/interpreters, of all these films based on these dark "noir" works of Herlihy, Williams, and Inge, are dealing with are at least three layers of obfuscation. The first is what the writer put in the original works, the stories or plays, these men are writing straight male and female characters through gay tinted glasses, or gay characters written as straight characters to pass stringent societal norms, so some of their protagonists and antagonists are in a way, seemingly to me anyway, either overly burlesqued, seriously twisted, or just a tad off base. The second are the changes made, by screenwriters or the authors themselves, in their original works, i.e., expositional scenarios jettisoned, plot points cut or streamlined etc., etc., so the film scripts would be green lighted by the studios. The third layer would be the additional changes made during filming, or changes demanded so that the films would get the approval of the Motion Picture Production Code.

I'm not really familiar enough with any of the authors mentioned above to comment too much on the first layer, or movie savvy enough on the third, but Bosley Crowther's original NY Times review alludes to the second in his review of All Fall Down.

"there is one fatal flaw in the arrangement of elements in this film that makes it implausible, unnatural and extremely hard to take. It is the essential arrangement that everyone in the story is madly in love with a disgusting young man who is virtually a cretin.

The scenes that make me think of Crowther's review are the first meets between Berry-Berry and Mrs. Mandel (Constance Ford) the wealthy yacht owner and the one with the schoolteacher played by (Barbara Baxley) they seem to play out like gay pickups where almost, just over long, knowing glances alone and minimal conversation, Berry-Berry picks up both women. It just seems a tad off, and very decadent, or just maybe I've never met that desperate a woman.

Examples of the second  in this film are the missing dream sequences in the novel that reveal the psychology of Clinton. There are also major changes made in the whole Bonita Key sequence. In the the scenario of the novel, Berry-Berry wires Ralph asking for $200 to buy into a shrimping business and Clinton decides to travel by bus to join his brother. When Clinton gets to Key Bonita he finds Berry-Berry has checked out and left town. Instead of leaving town Clinton goes to the Festival Night Club where he meets a **** named Shirley.  Shirley in the novel is an important figure in Clinton's life as it is with her that he loses his virginity and becomes a man. In the film version of Tennessee Williams' Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Brick's actual relationship to Scooter is greatly obscured and his problems explained away as alcoholism, that makes Maggie The Cat's dedicated devotion to him all the more perplexing. In A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche causes her young husband to commit suicide. after discovering him with an older man, this in turn turns her into an alcoholic roundheels who screws everyone in town. Williams' Suddenly Last SummerThe Fugitive Kind and Inge's Picnic have equally salacious undertones. All these shifts in perspective and obscuring of genders renders these films into dark, sometimes creepy, and as sleazy as your imagination will take them, Noirs.

 Anyway in the film version the entire tale is told from Clinton's point of view. Clinton is sent down by bus to  Key Bonita (Key West) Florida, with the $200 dollars Berry-Berry asked for, to start a shrimping business. When Clinton arrives at the dilapidated Tin Pot Arms looking for Berry-Berry, the desk clerk tells him he's not there, he's in jail, but also points him to a dive called the Festival Bar at the end of the pier. Tells him to ask for Hedy and that maybe she'll tell him why he's where he is.

At the Festival Bar there is a stripper doing her bumps and grinds to audience of prostitutes, sailors, and a very bored house band. A blond hooker casts off from the bar, launches herself towards Clinton and ties up to him at his table trying to score a trick. The scarily dyke-ish bar owner/bartender (Madame Spivy) buts in to throw the underage Clinton out of the bar.


A nice composition, Clinton looking at stripper, Hedy looking at Clinton,

bartender looking at Clinton

Hedy tells Clinton that Berry-Berry threw her across a room and into a TV. She shows him the stitches in her scalp. The Bar Owner throws Clinton out of the bar.


Hedy follows Clinton out and tells him to tell Berry-Berry that he can come back to her anytime he wants to.

This is the first inkling we get of Berry-Berry's violent misogynist behaviors and the masochistic women he attracts, the second incident is when he decks a schoolteacher (Barbara Baxley) in Louisville.

Screenshot%2B%2528862%2529.png bad boy, our first view The $200 goes to make bail for Berry-Berry, who's told to get out of town and the two of them start hitching their way out of Florida. Their first ride is in a convertible with two women. One yells out "get in stud" and they argue over who saw Berry-Berry first.


At another dive bar Berry-Berry, like a gigolo, gets picked up to do stud service for Mrs. Mandel (Constance Ford) on a yachting jaunt to Bermuda, but not before he gets her to give Clinton a $50 dollar bill for bus fare home to Cleveland.

So Clinton returns home. Meets Echo, develops a serious crush, and spends Christmas Eve with three stew bums his tipsy father brings home, and a mother who's hoping for a miracle, that Berry-Berry will be home for Christmas.

In the spring Berry-Berry is practically running a whorehouse at the nearby Happy Valley Orchard, he supplies the owner with secondhand broads and booze, in exchange for room and board. When Berry-Berry finally meets Echo, he too is immediately smitten and Echo is in turn equally attracted. Anabelle gets jealous.She starts nagging Berry-Berry about settling down and jobs. Berry-Berry and Echo make love, a couple of months later she gets pregnant, and everything skids off the road into Noirsville.





Screenshot%2B%2528960%2529.png opioids? triple Echo
Screenshot%2B%2528921%2529.png decking the schoolmarm

Directed with style by John Frankenheimer (The Young Savages (1961), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), The Train (1964), Ronin (1998)),  Music by Alex North (A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), The Rose Tattoo (1955), The Misfits (1961), Goodfellas (1990)), Cinematography by Lionel Lindon (The Blue Dahlia (1946), The Turning Point (1952), I Want to Live! (1958), The Manchurian Candidate (1962)).

All the major cast put in strong performances, Warren Beatty (Splendor in the Grass (1961),Bonnie and Clyde (1967), McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), Bugsy (1991)) plays the films twisted narcissistic going with the flow, bad boy, in a "what me worry?" fashion.  Eva Marie Saint (On the Waterfront (1954), North by Northwest (1959), ), projects a fragile beauty, refinement and vulnerableness with body movements and facial expressions. Angela Lansbury really corners the market on portraying an overbearing character in a very low key fashion. Karl Malden (Boomerang! (1947), Kiss of Death (1947), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), The Sellout (1952), On the Waterfront (1954), Baby Doll (1956)) puts in a good passive supporting performance. Brandon deWilde fits the role of the kid brother perfectly, he blends in with the cast and is very believable.

The bit part players are also quite entertaining, Evans Evans (Bonnie and Clyde (1967)) as the young naive hooker, Madame Spivy (The Fugitive Kind (1960), The Manchurian Candidate(1962), Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962), ) is totally believable as the bull dyke bar owner, Constance Ford (A Summer Place (1959)) as the **** yacht wife, and Barbara Baxley (The Savage Eye (1960) No Way to Treat a Lady (1968)) as the desperate schoolteacher. Also watch for the two deputies in Bonita Key, and the three bums who visit the Willart House on Christmas Eve.

The whole Bonita Key sequence is a wonderful time capsule of Key West, Florida circa 1960s, check it out. Screencaps are from the Warner's on demand DVD. 7/10 


Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/07/all-fall-down-1962-tis-season-to-be.html

#19 cigarjoe


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Posted 02 July 2017 - 06:36 PM

The Late Show (1977) The Screwball L.A. Detective

A surprisingly good Neo Noir bookend to the Classic Hardboiled Detective.

"If you took the whole country and stood it on edge, all the loose nuts would roll to California."
Frank Lloyd Wright's Continental Tilt Theory

Directed and cleverly written by Robert Benton (Bad Company (1972), Still of the Night (1982), Nadine (1987), Billy Bathgate (1991)). Cinematography was by Charles Rosher Jr. (Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971), 3 Women (1977), The Onion Field (1979)), and some excellent moody music by Kenneth Wannberg.

Screenshot%2B%2528700%2529.png Ira Wells (Art Carney) The film stars the great Art Carney (The Honeymooners TV Series (1955–1956), The Jackie Gleason Show TV Series (1952–1959), The Twilight Zone TV Series (1959–1964), Harry and Tonto (1974), Going in Style (1979)) as semi-retired P.I. Ira Wells.

Screenshot%2B%2528810%2529.png Margo (Lily Tomlin) Lily Tomlin (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In TV Series (1967–1973), Nashville (1975), I Heart Huckabees (2004)) as free spirit Margo Sterling, Bill Macy (N.Y.P.D. TV Series (1967–1969), The New Mike Hammer TV Series (1984–1989), Analyze This (1999) as agent/bartender Charlie Hatter, Eugene Roche (Naked City TV Series (1958–1963), Route 66 TV Series (1960-
1964), Slaughterhouse-Five (1972)) as fence Ron Birdwell, Joanna Cassidy (The Outfit (1973), The Laughing Policeman (1973), Blade Runner (1982), Lonely Hearts (1991), Too Late (2015), as Laura Birdwell, John Considine (The Detectives TV Series (1959–1962), The Twilight Zone TV Series (1959–1964), The Outer Limits TV Series (1963–1965), The F.B.I. TV Series (1965–1974), The Rockford Files TV Series (1974–1980)) as sadistic goon Jeff Lamar,  (A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (1945) as Mrs. Schmidt, the quaint landlady, and Classic Noir veteran Howard Duff (Brute Force (1947), The Naked City (1948), Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949), Shakedown (1950), Private Hell 36 (1954), While the City Sleeps (1956)) as Ira's old partner Harry Regan.

Screenshot%2B%2528701%2529.png Harry Regan (Howard Duff) Screenshot%2B%2528811%2529.png Charlie (Bill Macy)
The Late Show is about an out of date gumshoe, small time losers and two bit hustlers in a smoggy, seedy, quick buck, wasteland, L.A.  The Big Orange, La La Land. Ira Wells (Carney) is a washed up 59 year old, honest, old school, hard boiled detective with a bum leg, poor eyesight, and an ulcer. After 31 years in the business he's on the big slide to nowheresville. Ira used to be one of the best in game. He has outlived his milieu. He gets around Tinseltown by public transportation. Ira is a loner. Ira's days are reduced to typing up his memoirs, reading the racing forms, chain drinking alka seltzers, watching TV, taking occasional cases between bouts in a VA hospital, while living and working out of a cheap boarding house.  One night his ex-partner Harry Regan (Duff) shows up with a .45 slug in his belly. Ira gets some cryptic deathbed mutterings about "a lot of dough", out of Harry before he kicks the bucket.


At Harry's funeral Ira runs into a former associate, sleazeball Charlie Hatter (Macy), a film/theatrical agent/part time bartender, scam artist and useful flunky. Charlie has a dolly named Maro Sterling in tow who has a cat (Winston) that's been stolen and held for ransom by Brian Hemphill.

Hemphill is a punk who arranges the transportation of stolen goods for a guy named Birdwell. He splits the money with Margo who uses her van. Margo kept the last $500 payment so Hemphill stole her cat. Margo is a slightly wound too tight one time actress, part time dress designer, transporter of stolen goods, talent manager and pot dealer. Margo wants to hire Ira to find her cat. Ira is at first insulted that Charlie is trying to stick him with such a chicken ****, penny ante, job, and wants to blow them both off. Margo showing Ira pictures of Winston pleads frantically for her cat.

Margo Sperling: This little kitty is just a little honey bun. Give this little cat a break!

Later at the shoeshine stand at Charlie's office building Ira gets the skinny from Charlie that Reagan was working for Margo when he stumbled upon a much bigger swindell. At Iras boarding house Margo tells her story while Charlie fills in the details. Harry Regan while looking for Winston stumbled onto the perpetrators of Whiting Case a murder robbery with a big insurance reward for a stolen stamp collection.

Margo: Well, OK, as long as we are going to be working together. Umm you see Brian had this creepy friend, and far be for me to go around passing judgement on people, but Ray Escobar is truly pittsville, and he had some kind of arrangement see a deal going with this guy named Birdwell.
Charlie: Ronny Birdwell?
Margo: Yea
Charlie: He's a fence, new since your day got a setup on Sunset Place.
Ira: Check around the street Charlie, see what you can pick up on Escobar.
Charlie: Can do.

Ira: One more thing, doll, about my fee... My fee. I get paid $25 a day, plus expenses.
Margo Sperling: What's he talking about?
Charlie: Listen, sweetheart, you're talking to Ira Wells.
Ira: Not some low-rent gumshoe. I'm the best, and I get paid like the best.

The facts Ira picks up from Margo leads him to Ron Birdwell (Eugene Roche) who lives in a Sunset Place mansion/warehouse filled with stolen goods instead of furniture. Lamar (John Considine) Birdwell's goon roughs up the unsuspecting Ira when he rings the doorbell. When Birdwell finds out that Ira knows less than he does he sends him on his way, with a stolen shirt, after telling Ira Hemphill's real name Hampton. 

Ira and Margo next go to Escobar's apartment, there they find, along with Laura Birdwell (Joanna Cassidy) hiding in the shower, Escobar dead and stuffed in the fridge, a one way ticket to Noirsville.







The films highlight is the totally believable way Robert Benton juxtaposed the Hard Boiled 40s & 50s relics Ira and Charlie with the denizens of the Age of Aquarius 70s. The two fossils Ira and to a lesser extent Charlie have a hard time making sense of "enlightened" Margo's tangential mumbo jumbo psycho-babble ramblings.

Ira (to Charlie and Margo): .... if you two clowns would simmer down and tell me what's going on I'd appreciate it.
Margo: OK, you wanted to take a meeting with Brian right? So He called me and I'm listening to him very carefully because I've know him a long time, and Brian's not very evolved in fact he's rather de-evolved, and I was talking to him and I'm very sensitive to the vibrations he's giving out because I know what kind of karma he has....
Ira (to Charlie): What the hell is she talking about?

The film also has a nicely convoluted plot that ranks right up there with the film versions of the works of Chandler and Hammett.

Art Carney's performance in this and in 1974's Harry and Tonto are eye openers.  Just like his comedy partner Jackie Gleason (Requiem For a Heavyweight & The Hustler), he shows his acting chops. He is excellent as Ira the street smart, quick thinking, but a bit rusty and age battered PI. He brings strength to the role and personifies Raymond Chandler's man "who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it."   

Lily Tomlin shines as the eccentric free spirit, too cool Margo. But she's not dumb, she's quick to pick up that Ira and Charlie are always making her come up with the scratch, when they all got a stake in the reward. 

Margo: You know what I had to go through to hassle up this dough? I laid off four ounces of pure red Colombian for $15 an ounce. I mean, it's disgusting. Some freak over on Pico thinks I'm Santa Claus, I swear to God. $15 an ounce... $15 an ounce. This grass was so great, I can't tell you. There was so much resin in it, it made your lips stick together.

Tomlin's non stop seemingly free association chatterbox palaver is quite humorous, it wouldn't be hard to believe that some of it is ad libbed.

Margo (hanging up the phone and addressing Ira and Charlie): Aaaah, Pit City, I mean Pit City. Not only did I still not get my cat back, thanks to you, not only did I almost get mowed down here tonight, not only did I sit here in the livingroom with yellow socks (Charlie) and perjure myself in front of practically the whole Los Angeles Police Department, but on top of that I promised this singer I managed that I would be there tonight for a very important audition, and of course you can probably tell I am not there, and on top of that I got my period.

Bill Macy is great as the slightly hipper, slightly bent, oldster Charlie. He looks like a seedy used car salesman and drives a two tone 1954 Cadillac Eldorado convertible.

Eugene Roche's Birdwell is a nice piece of work. He's a sort of a big marshmallow. A muppet version of a tough guy. Roche infuses the character with an oddly idiosyncratic compulsive sales pitches, always trying to close a deal on the hot merchandise he has.

The rest of the cast are spot on in their portrayals. Considine as the low IQ mod-ish heavy Lamar, and Ruth Nelson is almost homaging Katie Johnson's old lady Wilberforce from The Ladykillers. Joanna Cassidy is the eye candy of the film. If I had a wish I would have had just a tad bit more of noir vet Howard Duff. It's also great to see the low rent characters getting around by either walking riding on public transportation or driving a few 10 year old junkers , Margo's '64 Dodge A-100 van, and Lamar's '68 Toyota Corona.

Screencaps are from the Warner Archive Collection DVD. Café au lait Noir 7/10. Review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-late-show-1977-screwball-la.html

#20 cigarjoe


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Posted 30 June 2017 - 06:38 PM

Night Tide (1961) Fringe Noir/Quasi Noir

Night Tide is one of those fringe/quasi noirs. As the Motion Picture Production Code weakened and B unit productions ceased at the major studios independent poverty row and low budget film creators were allowed more artistic freedom.

So those Film Noir that went too far over the line depicting violence started getting classified as HorrorThriller (even though they were just say, showing the effects of a gunshot wound, or dealing with weird serial killers, maniacs, and psychotics, etc.). Those that went too far depicting sexual, drug, torture, etc., situations were being lumped into or classed as various Exploitation flicks, (even though they are relatively tame comparably to today's films). The the noir-ish films that dealt with everything else, except Crime, concerning the human condition were labeled Dramas and Suspense. Those that tried new techniques, lenses, etc., were labeled Experimental. Some films are so so bad in all aspects that they acquire the "so bad it's good" Cult status. What was happening is Classic Noir was beginning to morph into Neo Noir.

Night Tide is a thriller written and directed by Curtis Harrington (What's the Matter with Helen? (1971), Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1972)) and shot in the noir style. Cinematography was by Vilis Lapenieks (The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), Fallguy (1962), and Floyd Crosby (High Noon (1952), Man in the Dark (1953), Shack Out on 101 (1955), I Mobster (1959)). Music was by David Raksin (Laura (1944), Fallen Angel (1945), Force of Evil (1948), Whirlpool (1950), The Big Combo (1955)).


The film stars Dennis Hopper (Naked City TV Series (1958–1963), River's Edge (1986), Blue Velvet (1986), Red Rock West (1993), True Romance (1993)) as Johnny, Linda Lawson (Mike Hammer TV Series (1958–1959), Peter Gunn TV Series (1958–1961), 77 Sunset Strip
TV Series (1958–1964)) as Mora, Marjorie Cameron as Madame Romanovitch, Luana Anders as Ellen Sands, (Reform School Girl (1957), Dementia 13 (1963), The Two Jakes (1990)), Gavin Muir (Nightmare (1942), Chicago Deadline (1949))  as Captain Murdock, and Marjorie Eaton as Madame Romanovitch.


A sailor on shore leave, Johnny Drake (Dennis Hopper) meets Mora (Linda Lawson) in the Blue Grotto a waterfront jazz club. Mora is a mermaid at an amusement pier sideshow. Captain Murdock is the sideshow's owner and barker.

Mora and Johnny hit it off, but all the denizens of the amusement pier wonder if Johnny will be the next victim of Mora's curse. It seems that all her previous boyfriends die. Mora believes that she is a descendant of the Sirens  mythic ocean creatures who lure men to their deaths.

As Mora and Johnny's relationship grows stronger Mora is afraid that on the night of the full moon she will kill Johnny. During a diving trip with Johnny on the day of the full moon Mora cuts Johnny's air line so that he must surface, while she drowns herself. By sacrificing herself Johnny will live.

When Johnny visits the Mermaid sideshow the next night he sees Mora's lifeless body in the tank. A deranged Captain Murdock confronts Johnny with a gun. It was a jealous Murdock who was killing Mora's suiters and who convinced her that she was an actual mermaid. 













The film is shot in the Noir style and again, is a good example of how at the end of the Classic Noir and Motion Picture Production Code era combined with the switch of B unit Film Production into TV Productions, the Noir style began to slowly diffuse/fuse into genres other than pure Crime, though here there is a Crime element linked to sort of a bogus Fantasy/Occult con, in this respect it's similar to Nightmare Alley (1947), and The Amazing Mr. X (1948). Screencaps are from Youtube 6/10. More screencaps here :http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/06/night-tide-1961-fringe-noirquasi-noir.html

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