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Recently watched Noir

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#21 kjrwe


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Posted 08 March 2017 - 04:12 AM



I love that film. I've seen it a few times this winter season!


I love the cast: Lucille Ball, Charles Coburn, George Sanders, and I adore Boris Karloff in his brief role. All the others were great, too.

#22 kjrwe


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Posted 04 March 2017 - 03:12 AM

The Seventh Juror (1962 French):


A man murders a local woman and her partner is arrested for the crime. The man (the killer) is selected to be on the jury for the partner's trial.


I've seen this film about 3 or 4 times in the past month. Terrific noir-thriller with a memorable final line.

#23 cigarjoe


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Posted 03 March 2017 - 08:05 AM

Mirage (1965) Big Budget Bust


1965 Neo Noir thriller directed by Edward Dmytryk (Murder, My Sweet (1944), Cornered (1945), Crossfire (1947), The Sniper (1952)). Screenplay was by Peter Stone. Cinematography was by Joseph MacDonald (The Dark Corner (1946), Call Northside 777 (1948), The Street with No Name (1948), Panic in the Streets (1950), Fourteen Hours (1951), Niagara (1953), Pickup on South Street (1953), House of Bamboo (1955)). Music was by Quincy Jones (The Pawnbroker (1964), In Cold Blood (1967)).

The film stars Gregory Peck (Spellbound (1945), Cape Fear (1962)), Diane Baker, Walter Matthau (Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1957), Charley Varrick (1973)), George Kennedy Leif Erickson, Walter Abel, and Kevin McCarthy.

A lower Manhattan skyscraper has a blackout. David Stillwell (Peck) an accountant decides to leave by the darkened stairs rather than wait for the lights to come back on. He meets a woman Shela (Diane Baker) on the landing, She seems to know him but he does not know her. Alarmed, she flees down from the street level into a sub-basement.




Splattered on the pavement outside is the body of peace activist Charles Calvin (Walter Abel) an apparent suicide. When Stillwell returns to the stairwell, there is no sub-basement. A man coveralls in the building's power plant, Willard (George Kennedy), tells him to leave.


At Stillwell's apartment, a stranger, Lester (Jack Weston), pulls a gun on him. He orders Stillwell to go meet "the Major" and to take his briefcase with his papers. Stillwell swings his briefcase at the gun man catching him off guard. He knocks him out and dumps him in a janitorial closet out in the hall.


Reporting this assault to NYPD he gets agitated by basic questions about his background information. He storms out and finds a psychiatrist, Dr. Broden (Robert H. Harris). He realizes he has no memory, Broden tells him that amnesia for two years without being aware of it is impossible.

Stillwell sitting by Columbus Circle spots a sign for the AAA Detective Agency. In the office is Ted Caselle (Walter Matthau). He tells Stillwell that he's his first case. With Caselle's and Shela's help Stillwell begins to remember and piece his life back together.






The film is a bit of a mess, it's never explained why Stillwell thinks he was an accountant, when he really was a research scientist, or why he thinks he has an office where there is none. It's almost as if the creators couldn't make up their minds which way to go, or they left some key parts of the novel that would have explained all this out. 1966's Mr. Buddwing also set in Manhattan with James Garner does the amnesia trope way better.

The whole love story with Shela has zero chemistry and feels both rushed and tacked on. There is some nice noir-ish cinematography that bookend the piece and good NYC location work but for a noir way too much in the middle seems to be either on what looks like Hollywood sets or shot in broad daylight. It's a film where nothing seems to gel. Screencaps are from the Universal DVD. Worth a watch if you can rent it 6/10.


Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/03/mirage-1965-big-budget-bust.html

#24 kjrwe


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Posted 03 March 2017 - 04:29 AM

Diaboliques (1955):


My second viewing (last time was about 10 years ago). A wife and the hubby's mistress cook up a plan to murder the hubby. Later, the body vanishes.


This is a great example of an impossible crime, but I admit that I had some suspicions about the ending when I first saw this movie.


Highly recommended.

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#25 cigarjoe


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Posted 02 March 2017 - 07:16 AM

The Love Statue (The Love Drug) (1965) The Beat Turns On

Dig this. There's this struggling loft dauber in The Village named Tyler, he's kept in bread by this angel, Lisa, a leotard dancer grooving her stuff at The Bitter End Café down around the corner.

Tyler is a snagged stag. This chick Lisa is jazzing it with Tyler, whenever she makes the scene at the loft. This arrangement of lustful convenience with no real love, has both Tyler and Lisa blowing their jets.

Tyler's creativity is not the only thing he's struggling with apparently his sex life with Lisa is also sputtering. They have another row. Things get rough and Lisa hits him over the head with a vase. Lisa tends to his wounds, sticks a wad of bills in his hand, puts on her rags and splits. Tyler runs up to the roof and screams that he doesn't want her money. He throws the wad of cash down to the street. Lisa struts back and picks it up out of the cobblestones and tells Tyler to pick her up after her set.

Love%2BStatue%2B01.jpg Tyler (Ratray) and Lisa (Seay)
Love%2BStatue%2B09.jpg "I don't want your money"
Stan, Tyler's crazy sculptor buddie drops by schlepping buckets of clay. He's a sort of cheep creep. He got evicted from his studio and needs a place to crash. Tyler gives him shelter from the storm.
Love%2BStatue%2B17.jpg "Tyler you're getting some style." After helping him carry in his clay, Tyler heads down to The Bitter End Café. At the cafe he catches Mashiko (actually Hisako "Choco" Tsukuba - was in 1964 "Big In Japan") a Japanese torch singer doing her number.


The Beats are cool with her and her song thinking she's The End even though they can't dig a word. Tyler is spotted by some of his friends and waved over to their table.


Bitter End Buddy: What's the kick?
Tyler: Hey you know same old thing.
Josh: Lisa huh? Our little sex symbol putting you down?
Tyler: Nothing seems to be going right. I can't paint, I can't do anything. I feel Like I'm being smothered, you know what I mean?
Josh: Yea I'm hipped man you're bugged, and I know what you need.
Tyler: What's that?
Bitter End Buddy: Nothing, Josh was just jiving, aren't you Josh?
Josh (to the stage): Hey Mashiko come over here.
Bitter End Buddy: Why don't you cool it man.
Josh: Buddy don't sweat it. Come over here honey, Mashiko I'd like you to meet Ty. Honey you were groovy. Honey our boy Ty here has a problem, you think we could sort of help him out? Guide him up the path to eternal freedom.
Bitter End Buddy: Why don't you lay off.
Josh: Why don't you lay off Batman, I'm just looking out for Ty's welfare. Ty's got problems and we're all concerned right, ain't that right Mashiko? He needs a release and it's up to us to show our brothers the light. Dig me.
Tyler: Come on cut it out.
Josh: You need a new dream right? New revelations, put yourself in old Daddy Josh's hands.
Mashiko: You wish to experience new horizons make you feel the power of the earth and of the sky.
Bitter End Buddy: The sky above and the mud below.
Tyler: Hey what is all this jive?
Mashiko: In my world dreams become true.
Josh: Anamorphic images.
Bitter End Buddy: Dig my man Webster.
Josh: Mythic revelations.
Tyler: Hey ah, maybe I'm drunk but I don't get what you're rapping about at all.
Josh: LSD
Tyler: LS what?
Mashiko: LSD it's the newest thing in dreams.

Love%2BStatue%2B78.jpg LSD the newest thing in dreams Bitter End Buddy: Instant psychoanalysis babe.
Tyler: Aaay, if you're talking about what I think you're talking about, no you got the wrong pigeon, I like my nightmares just the way they are.
Josh: Man you don't know until you get (snaps fingers) turned on yourself.
Tyler: Ah you're pushing Josh, I said forget it.
Mashiko: If you should change your mind. You can reach me anytime (gives him her card).

Tyler splits the table, content on being a just a juicehead. He orders a double from Arnie a waiter. Lisa comes on doing her "leo-tart" dance shaking her buns of steel booty hypnotically for the beats. Tyler, now drunk, stops the dance and asks the audience "now that you've seen the merchandise do I have any bids." Lisa kicks him off the stage and walks right over him.

Love%2BStatue%2B25.jpg Lisa's "leo tart" dance
Tyler, stumble/stomps out of the café, later, sloppy drunk he's passed out along an iron fence on a Greenwich Village street. In what may be the first depiction of a predatory gay pick-up, a homosexual man tries to take advantage of Tyler offering him a tar bar/kick stick and asking him if he'll let him "help" him back up to his apartment. It's sort of an attempted date rape without the date. Tyler's not that drunk figures it out and begs off.

The Predator Gay Pickup


Later Lisa drifts up to the loft and she and Tyler, after an attempt at sex, have another war of words. Lisa verbally castrates him and Tyler throws her out.

Frustrated, Tyler remembers Mashiko's offer, and finds her card and the address to her pad. He runs out of the loft passing Stan on the stairs who is bringing a model up to pose. At Mashiko's there's an acid party going on, there Tyler makes it with Mashiko and drops acid he turns on, tunes in, and drops out.

Love%2BStatue%2B42.jpg Acid Party
Three days later at the loft Stan has finished a sculpture of a goddess in clay. Lisa is desperately questioning him frantic about Tyler's disappearance, thinking she should call the fuzz. Stan tells her not to worry.

Tyler has been on a three day acid trip. Mobile again, but still tripping, he stumbles out of Mashiko's into The Village and he hallucinates his way back to the loft (accompanied by a crazy bongo leitmotif) where he imagines that Stan's clay sculpture comes alive, and that he has made love to her.

He finally comes down when laying on the floor of the loft, Lisa pokes him awake with her high heel. Lisa tells him that she has been terribly worried, then she tries to embrace him, but Tyler rejects her, telling her that "it's over Lisa." He takes off out of the loft and heads up to Central Park free from manipulating Lisa and high on life. Lisa is stunned and incensed.
Lisa comes back down to the loft later while Tyler is still out traipsing about Central Park and destroys everything even Stan's precious sculpture. Stan arrives back at the loft sees all the destruction and totally freaks out killing Lisa with his knife. When Tyler finally gets to the loft he finds Lisa's body amongst the wreckage. He panics and flees into the city.

Wandering about lower Manhattan slightly dazed, he spots Stan's model and follows her down into a subway station, onto an uptown train. Desperate he finally convinces her to help him, telling her to call if she hears from Stan.


When Stan finally calls she sets up a rendezvous at Central Park. When Tyler confronts Stan, he pulls his knife and abducts his model, dragging her into his lead sled and taking off upstate for a little dam in Noirsville.


The Love Statue is an interesting and curious melange of Breakfast at Tiffany'sThe Man With The Golden ArmStakeout On Dope Street, and Lost Weekend. Capturing that curious fringe time between the end of The Beats and the beginning of The Age Of Aquarius. A non union film, The Love Statue was shot guerilla style on the streets of New York, it also captures nicely the Greenwich Village Art Scene and NYC circa 1965.  Durston informs us that the films original title "The Love Drug" could not be used because theater managers would not put it on their marquees. It's a "C" picture throughout showing some humorously pathetic attempts at some "European" style but it's a film with a lot of heart. Some of the performances and sequences are well done others are lacking in ability or clunky, but it's still a fun watch.

Directed by David E. Durston, written by David E. Durston and Robert A. Poore. Cinematography was by Amin Q. Chaudhri, Music by Sandy Barnett (musical director), and Rudy Traylor (music editor).  The film stars Peter Ratray as Tyler, Tyler, Beti Seay as Lisa, Harvey J. Goldenberg as Stan, Nancy Norman as The Model, Gigi Darlene as The Statue, Hisako Tsukuba as Mashiko, Coleman Younger as Nick, Mario DeRosa as Gay guy on street, and Liz Otto as Loud woman at bar.

Peter Ratray reminds me of Matt Damon, his performance is excellent. Harvey J. Goldenberg has an aura of Woody Allen, he's quite funny when he's critiquing Tyler's work. Beti Seay's Lisa gives off a Laura Petrie, Mary Tyler Moore vibe, but it's her evil twin. The uncredited actor who plays Josh the pusher is quite good also. Hisako Tsukuba couldn't speak a word of English so her lines are all done phonetically, but it adds to the overall "spaciness" of her character. Director Durston in the extras on the DVD tells us that he did indeed drop acid prior to directing the film in order to give it authenticity.

Apparently the film had some added sexploitation scenes inserted once The Motion Picture Production Code was canned. The Secret Key has restored the film to it's original premier version. The Love Statue, according to Durston had a two week original run. A curious artifact 6/10.


Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-love-statue-love-drug-1965-beat.html

#26 kjrwe


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Posted 25 February 2017 - 10:19 PM

Lured is a fine film with an interesting cast.    Both Ball and Coburn are known more for comedic roles but they do fine here in straight roles.    Love everything George Sanders did in his stellar career and there is good chemistry between Ball and him (something I wasn't sure would 'work' when I first heard about this film).


Then we have Karloff.   Memorable performance as well as ruse.   (well at least I believe at first that Karloff had to be the killer, since, well,  he is Karloff)!


I prefer Lucille Ball in this film to her comedy roles. Coburn could handle any sort of role - very versatile actor!


Good point about Sanders. Teaming him up with Ball might seem like an odd match, but it worked. (I loved in in All About Eve, by the way.)


Karloff's character seemed suspicious at first, but soon I realized that he wasn't the killer. His character was nuts, but I always thought that the killer was someone who could appear normal with the general public. It had to be someone who wouldn't be so obvious. Karloff was a red herring, and an obvious one at that. Still, I absolutely love the 10 minutes or so that we get to see him in the film.

#27 cigarjoe


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Posted 25 February 2017 - 08:37 PM

A Gun, a Car, a Blonde (1997) New Age Noir
Here is nice enjoyable Neo Noir. A film that I've never heard of, that is surprisingly not listed in the American noir bible, i.e., Film Noir The Encyclopedia by Alain Silver, Elizabeth M. Ward, James Ursini, and Robert Porfirio.
The film was brought to my attention by a fellow aficionado or should we say "aficionoirdo," who gave me the heads up on this title on the recently demised IMDb message boards .
A Gun, a Car, a Blonde has slipped under the "Noirdar," while quite a few really questionable titles apparently make the grade. One has to wonder if some inclusions are something like Noir-ola (promoters trying to cash in on the Noir bandwagon) reminiscent of the equivalent payola record business scandal.
The film is sort of a tongue-in-cheek riff on The Singing Detective (1986), Hammett (1982), also possibly Slaughterhouse Five (1972), and an homage to Classic Film Noir like The Woman in the Window (1944), and a few others, with a pinch of TV's The Twilight Zone thrown in for good measure.
Directed, produced and written by Stefani Ames (along with Tom Epperson The Gift (2000), One False Move (1992). The cinematography was by Carlos Gaviria and the excellent melodious jazz score was by Harry Manfredini and Frank Palmieri.
The film stars Jim Metzler (River's Edge (1986), Delusion (1991), L.A. Confidential (1997)) as Richard Spragins / Rick Stone, Victor Love as Bobby / The Black Chinaman, Kay Lenz (Breezy (1973)) as Peep / Madge, Norma Maldonado (Breaking Bad TV Series (2008–2013)) as Adele / Bunny, John Ritter (Sling Blade (1996)) as Duncan / The Bartender, Andrea Thompson (NYPD Blue TV Series (1993–2005)) as The Blonde / "Angel Puss" Jade Norfleet, Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade (1996), U Turn (1997), A Simple Plan (1998)) as two bit greaseball Syd / Detective Charles "Monk" Moler, Paul Parducci as Bear / "Pickle Puss" Petrovich, Time Winters as Ed / Catalina Eddie, Paula Marshall as Deborah / Girl In Photograph, and Vann Johnson as The Singer.
Richard and Peep (Lenz)
Richard (Metzler) was living the American Dream, as a well to do California "retread tire czar". His hillside house in what looks like Inceville, has a view of PCH, (The Pacific Coast Highway), and Will Rogers State Beach. Spinal cancer (currently in remission) has confined him to a wheelchair, made him a paraplegic, lost him his wife and most of the joys of life. He is cared for by his health care specialist Bobby (Love), his housekeeper Adele (Maldonado), and his only living relative, sister Penelope "Peep" (Lenz). He spends all his time viewing vintage Films Noir on cable 24/7 and either agonizing in horrific pain, doped up on painkillers "trapped in a marshmallow" he calls it, or sucking on tar bars, boozing it up, and being annoyed by his busybody sister.
 His long time buddy and good friend Duncan (Ritter), (who makes a living finding vintage "dream" cars for wealthy collectors, i.e., doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc., etc.), tells him to seriously cut down on the smoking and hooch. Duncan is also into the New Age Movement. He plies Richard with exotic cure-all concoctions and tells him to experiment with a sort of mind hypnosis called Objectification Therapy.
Duncan: You remember what Milton said?
Richard: Milton who?
Duncan:  Milton Berle, Milton who.... John Milton, "the mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven."
A%2BGun%2BA%2BCar%2BA%2BBlonde%2B1997%2BFilm Noir 24/7
This trance like state involves the imagineering in his mind of alternate self in a parallel universe. Duncan tells him that "you are not you anymore, you are somebody else minus the suffering. Richard is hard to convince thinking that his life has become a ghastly joke. That night though, while watching a Film Noir, Richard talks/dreams/hypnotizes himself into being a hard boiled private detective living in a Black & White, Noir, 1960s City Of Angels, or as Rick says in voice over narration, "Everyone has an angle in The City of Angles", and all of his employee's, friends, neighbors, and family take on fanciful alter egos in his new Noir cosmos.
A%2BGun%2BA%2BCar%2BA%2BBlonde%2B1997%2BI'm a detective named Rick Stone
The next day on his terrace Richard peeps on a beautiful blonde in a bikini sunbathing on her back porch. She is a new neighbor and Richard is transfixed while watching her apply lotion. This mysterious blonde neighbor in one reality becomes Mrs. Jade Norfleet in the other.
The film sort of strobes back and forth between these two realities. Detective Rick Stone Private Eye is hired by the overtly sexy Mrs. Jade Norfleet to find out who is trying to kill her, while Richard is dealing with his self inflicted deterioration and his sister Peep's increasingly intrusive behavior.
Mrs. Jade Norfleet (Thompson)
The film even goes one step beyond when he wakes up one night in Richard's reality, and he can again walk, he goes out on his seaview terrace and is joined by his wife Deborah (Marshall) who asks what's the matter? Richard tells her that he dreamt that he was very, very sick and couldn't walk anymore. Is it all a dream within a dream? This imagery is double downed upon even further within Richard's Rick Stone parallel reality when Mrs. Jade Norfleet, tells him that she dreamt that she was peeped on while sunbathing in her backyard echoing Richards experience on his terrace.
Stefani Ames has crafted a fun, knowing, and entertaining film to watch especially for fans of Classic Noir. A Gun, a Car, a Blonde lovingly tickles a bit of humor out of Richards reconstruction of what he imagines are Rick Stone's hard boiled dialog and voice overs. If you watch it cold turkey without a lot of Film Noir in your viewing experience the dialog may sound a bit cheesy, but it's actually supposed to be that way.
Rick Stone:You're driving a '59 Cadillac, driving, driving, driving down a sunny rotten street in the City Of Angles...
Jade Norfleet (speaking to Detective Monk Moler and Rick Stone): How do you two know each other?
Rick Stone: Well one day I lifted up a rock and Monk's looking up at me blinking in the sun.
After making love to Jade out in her backyard.
Rick Stone: It's a funny thing about me, I get really starved after a roll in the hay.
Jade Norfleet: And that's what it was to you, a roll in the hay?
Rick Stone: Nah you're right, it was grass.
Richard's desperate escape from reality is into his personal reflection of a reflection, the Hollywood Noir world depicted through the 40s, 50s and early 60s, re invigorates him. He gets the courage to take care of business.
It's interesting to watch as his everyday interactions with employee's, friends, neighbors, and family are all entwined, reshuffled, and finally Twilight Zoning their way to Noirsville.
The Black Chinaman (Love)
A%2BGun%2BA%2BCar%2BA%2BBlonde%2B1997%2BDuncan (Ritter) as the bartender
Monk (Thornton) and Pickle Puss (Parducci) 
Rick Stone (Metzler)
Jim Metzler's performance is excellent, he displays a nice range from from the desperate housebound recluse Richard, to hardboiled cool as Rick. Andrea Thompson's Jade gives off a Barbara Stanwyck/Phyllis Dietrichson vibe, oozing sex appeal. Kay Lenz is appropriately grating as trashy slutty Peep, and no good as the "been around the block a lot" femme fatale Madge. Billy Bob Thornton plays Syd as a dopey hayseed huckster and Monk as a rotten crooked cop. Victor Love's convincing live in nurse Bobby is genuinely caring, his addiction for Chinese Food sparks his conversion, by Richard into a Chinese restaurant owning gangster the Black Chinaman. Watch also for Vann Johnson's cabaret torch song sequence, she's great.
A Gun, a Car, a Blonde is a film for Noiristas. The screencaps are from the Echo Bridge
DVD June 22, 1999 release. This DVD can be had for pennies plus the cost of shipping from Amazon. Entertaining 7/10
Full review with NSFW screencaps here: http://noirsville.bl...w-age-noir.html

#28 jamesjazzguitar


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Posted 25 February 2017 - 01:50 PM

Lured (1947):


A killer is on the loose, targeting attractive young women. The friend of one of the victims (Lucille Ball) wants to help to find her friend's killer. She joins the police force and she has to answer every ad in the paper where a man wants to meet a woman. Dangerous work, but she's willing to trap the killer. She encounters various situations, including some romance.


Great film and I love Boris Karloff in a brief but memorable role!


Highly recommended.


Lured is a fine film with an interesting cast.    Both Ball and Coburn are known more for comedic roles but they do fine here in straight roles.    Love everything George Sanders did in his stellar career and there is good chemistry between Ball and him (something I wasn't sure would 'work' when I first heard about this film).


Then we have Karloff.   Memorable performance as well as ruse.   (well at least I believe at first that Karloff had to be the killer, since, well,  he is Karloff)!

#29 kjrwe


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Posted 25 February 2017 - 12:49 AM

Lured (1947):


A killer is on the loose, targeting attractive young women. The friend of one of the victims (Lucille Ball) wants to help to find her friend's killer. She joins the police force and she has to answer every ad in the paper where a man wants to meet a woman. Dangerous work, but she's willing to trap the killer. She encounters various situations, including some romance.


Great film and I love Boris Karloff in a brief but memorable role!


Highly recommended.

#30 kjrwe


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Posted 24 February 2017 - 02:46 AM

The Asphalt Jungle: probably my 10th viewing or something. One of the best heist movies out there, for sure.


A group of criminals get together to rob a jewelry store, and things start to fall apart for them. The movie does give viewers a glimpse into the personal lives of the criminals (some characters are focused on more than others).


SPOILERS AHEAD (Does this forum have spoiler tags I can use?)


I'm completely convinced that the lawyer's assistant, that Brannom fellow, would have betrayed him if he hadn't been shot dead. He was the one with the gun. The lawyer wouldn't have been able to do anything about it if Brannom had gotten it into his head to take off with ALL the jewelry.


Also, I think that the lawyer hadn't been laid by the blonde. She drew away from him pretty quickly when he tried to kiss her. He got cracking on tracking down some money right after she walked away from him - straight into the bedroom without inviting him in. That was motivation enough for him to get a hold of some money. 

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#31 cigarjoe


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Posted 17 February 2017 - 07:52 AM

Flesh and Lace (1965) Kinky Dive Bar Noir
A cheap masterpiece of the sleazy side of Noir, in what could not be more appropriate, an independent "B" feature, shot somewhere in the bowels of NYC.
05%2BFlesh%2Band%2BLace%2B1965.jpgGo Go Dive Bar
Flesh and Lace has been pigeonholed into the genre of film dubbed Sexploitation and it's small sub genre "The Roughie". But now, looking back on it, through the lens of time, you will see that it will easily surpass in feel and cinematic style most modern Film Noir trying to achieve that very zeitgeist of the late 50s early 60s. The real deal is always better than an imagined recreation of the past, rough edges, warts and all.
What stood out as exploitive then, is commonplace R fare now, today's films just have bigger budgets better actors and are more polished. Other than T&A there is no sex in Flesh and Lace and just like during the Classic Noir era, it's what's implied that's more effective than what is shown. It doesn't get any noir-er than this, even the "hero" is a warped sleazeball.
Flesh and Lace would make a good double bill with Aroused (1966) another great New York City late Noir. 7/10
A P.S., One thing you have to keep in mind when exploring the Sexploitation catch all genre, especially when searching for reviews is that reviewers reviewing Sexpliotation are usually looking for just that sexploitation, films that are rated low, are so sometimes because they don't quite fit into this pigeonhole, those are the films that may be Noirs that just went over the edge. You can keep in mind the same when searching the Horror Genre for lost Noirs. A recent good example is the recently reviewed Stark Fear and Fright the first labeled on IMDb as a Drama/Thriller and the second labeled as a Horror.
*The full NSFW review with Screencaps from Something Weird Video's release here http://noirsville.bl...e-bar-noir.html

#32 cigarjoe


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Posted 16 February 2017 - 01:44 PM

Stark Fear (1962) Hokie Okie Oil Patch Noir


Directed by Ned Hockman his only film. Written by Dwight V. Swain. The absolutely horrible music was by Lawrence V. Fisher and John Williams (Valley of the Dolls (1967), Images (1972), Star Wars (1977)). Cinematography was by Robert Bethar.

The film stars Beverly Garland (D.O.A. (1950), The Glass Web (1953), New Orleans Uncensored (1955), The Desperate Hours (1955), Sudden Danger (1955)) as Ellen Winslow, Skip Homeier (Black Widow (1954), Cry Vengeance (1954)) as Gerald Winslow, Kenneth Tobey (He Walked by Night (1948), The File on Thelma Jordon (1950), Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950), Angel Face (1953), Cry Terror! (1958), Marlowe (1969) ) as Cliff Kane Hannah Stone as Ruth, and George Clow, Paul Scovil, Edna Newman, John Arville, Cortez Ewing, Barbara Freeman, Darlene Dana Reno.

Oklahoma City. Ellen Winslow (Garland) is unhappily married to abusive, sadistic, alcoholic, possible latent ****, momma's boy, total wacko, husband Gerry (Homeier). It's Gerry's birthday and Ellen has bought him a birthday cake and a new lace bra to spice up their relationship. Gerry is extremely ticked off that Ellen agreed to work for for is past business rival Cliff Kane (Tobey). Cliff develops oil fields with his senior business partner Joe Vincent. When Gerry sees the new bra he assumes she bought to to flirt with Cliff. Gerry makes Ellen call Cliff to tell him she's quitting her job.

03%2BStark%2BFear.jpg Ellen (Beverly Garland)
07%2BStark%2BFear%2B1962.jpg Gerry (Skip Homeier) Gerry and Ellen then engage in some makeup sex only Gerry stops, coitus interruptus. Has he got "plumbing" problems? He announces to Ellen that he's getting a divorce for his birthday accusing her of being a tramp. After Ellen runs out of the house Gerry disappears. When Ellen inquires at Gerry's office as to his whereabouts, she discovers from his boss that he has taken a month’s unpaid vacation.

Ellen, trying to find Gerry before he gets himself fired traces, through their mutual friend Ruth, Gerry's old girlfriend Elizabeth "Liz" Cromwell. Liz Cromwell apparently operates what looks like a cat house for roughnecks. Liz gives Ellen the first big shock when she tells her that Gerry is not from Pennsylvania as he told her but from Quada, Oklahoma. Ellen also finds out that Gerry's best friend is Harvey Suggett. So now she has a place to look and a contact.

Unfortunately, Ellen, is taken for "new talent" by the leering Johns at Liz's Cat House. A fight breaks out and Chief, a half Cherokee, half Polack roughneck is the victor and Ellen becomes the spoils. Ellen is about to be "plowed" but resourcefully she breaks a handy bottle of booze in Chief's face and makes her escape.

15%2BStark%2BFear%2B1962.jpg fleeing the whorehouse
Ellen heads off to Quada hoping to find either Gerry or Harvey. She's a fish out of water in Quadda, a bit too sophisticated for the backwater flyspeck. She finds Harvey who, though married, is a drunk and a notorious womanizer.  Harvey takes Ellen to the town graveyard to supposedly "show her something". He tries to seduce her.

That evening Ellen is surprised by an angry Gerry who again calls her a tramp and threatens her. She jumps out of her car and is chased by both Gerry and Harvey. It's Harvey who catches her. He forces her into his truck and takes her to a Cherokee Pow Wow, a "stomp dance" he calls it. Ellen escapes but is again caught in the nearby town graveyard and raped brutally by Harvey, while Gerry looks on from his mother's grave.




29%2BStark%2BFear%2B1962.jpg Harvey **** Ellen on a grave Ellen overcomes this traumatic experience by going full bore into her work for Cliff. This brings them very close together and a mutual attraction is very much evident when they take a break to visit Cliff's home town the resort /tourist trap Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Ellen however, cools the emotional embers down because she still feels that it's her fault that her marriage to Gerry failed.

32%2BStark%2BFear%2B1962.jpg Cliff (Tobey) and Ellen Everything of course all goes to Noirsville, when Gerry arranges a bit of deadly mischief at the El Nora Motel.





30%2BStark%2BFear%2B1962.jpg Gerry (Homeier) watching the rape of Ellen from his mother's tombstone
Beverly Garland is very convincing as the confused, and conflicted wife who takes all the blame on herself for her failed marriage. Probably part of the confusion can be attributed to director Ned Hockman working on his first and only feature. Skip Homeier, to me anyway, in every thing I've ever seen him in, looks like a complete nut case, much like Lee Van Cleef always had an aura of evil in his beady eyed stare, Homeire emits a radiation of lethal lunacy. Kenneth Tobey's Cliff is decent as Ellen's paramour. He always played a second fiddle in "A" pictures, he's not really leading man material but with the whole film being set in Oklahoma we are not Hollywood after all, Dorothy, we are in "B" and "C" wood. Hannah Stone as Ruth also nails your typical homely MidWest busybody girlfriend, you could run into her type, typically as a waitress, in any beanery in the 50s, 60s and 70s. some of her lines are unintentionally hilarious.

Stark Fear is also unique in that it may be the only noir to ever feature a Native American Pow Wow in it's plot. The score sounds like it should be the background music for a travelog of some Bavarian Oktoberfest.  The film is a curiosity, a guilty pleasure, worth a watch but nothing essential 6/10.

Screencaps above are from thre Oldies.Com video, its part of a double bill with Fright. It is also available from Something Weird Video's Six Weird Noir DVD. Full review with screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/02/stark-fear-1962-hokie-okie-oil-patch.html

#33 cigarjoe


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Posted 09 February 2017 - 03:03 PM

Fright (1956) Fringe Noir - Lost Noir


We can call it a Psychological Noir, a Fringe Noir, a Tail Fin Noir "C" movie cheapo. Shot in Hunters Point and Long Island City, New York. It's a film mistakenly dumped into the horror genre, probably because it's director, (who BTW is the brother of director Billy Wilder), finished his career making SiFi and Creature Features.

Directed by W. Lee Wilder (The Glass Alibi (1946), The Pretender (1947), Once a Thief (1950), The Big Bluff (1955)) and written by his son Myles Wilder. Music was by Lew Davies, cinematography was by J. Burgi Contner.

The film stars Eric Fleming (Rawhide TV Series (1959–1965) as Dr. James Hamilton, Nancy Malone as Ann Summers, Frank Marth (Telefon (1977)) as George Morley, Norman McKay as Inspector Blackburn, Humphrey Davis as Prof. Charles Gore, and and Ned Glass (The Damned Don't Cry (1950), Storm Warning (1951)) as the Taxi Driver.

The tale starts with the escape of a mass murderer George Morley (Marth) from a Welfare (Roosevelt) Island mental hospital. Morley is able to evade the cops and gets across the small bridge to Long Island City.


Welfare (Roosevelt) Island escape
Making his way South along the East River he eventually gets to the Pennsylvania Railroad Powerhouse on 2nd Street and 50th Avenue in Hunters Point.

04%2BFright%2B1956.jpg 50th Avenue with Pennsylvania RR Powerhouse, Hunters Point, NY  He runs East up to Vernon Blvd., then he backtracks North to the Queensboro Bridge. He's spotted, caught in a searchlight. Morley is cornered on the pedestrian walkway at night by NYPD. Police activity causes a massive traffic jam and a crowd of rubberneckers. In a standoff Morley threatens to jump. Police Inspector Blackburn (McKay) with a bullhorn tries to talk him out of it.

05%2BFright%2B1956.jpg The corner of 50th Avenue and Vernon Blvd.




Into this scene walks Dr. James Hamilton (Fleming), a Park Avenue psychiatrist (who apparently was stuck in traffic). Hamilton offers to see if he can talk Morley down. Using the police spotlight shining in Morley's eyes and the power of suggestion Hamilton is able to diffuse the situation. While this is all going on a young woman Ann Summers (Malone) caught in a taxi finds herself equally affected by Hamilton's authoritative voice and the power of suggestion.


14%2BFright%2B1956.jpg Ann Summers (Malone) lt.

Summers begins to stalk Hamilton, wanting him to take her case. She has frequent blackouts, not remembering where she goes during those periods. Hamilton, who finds himself attracted to her is reluctant at first. He caves. Under hypnosis he discovers that Ann has a split personality, her other self being the German speaking Austrian Baroness Mary Vetsera, who was involved in the Mayerling Incident. The Mayerling Incident was the apparent murder–suicide of Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria and Vetsera. However, from a recording of his hypnosis session with Ann, Hamilton's friend and colleague European historian Prof. Charles Gore, who speaks fluent German tells Hamilton that she is speaking imperfect German, hardly what a reincarnation of the Baroness would speak.

Interestingly the whole Mayerling angle storyline is no doubt injected into the film through the Wilder family's Austrian roots.

When Ann disappears again Hamilton tracks down her guardian, who tells him that as a child Ann was taken care of by an Austrian governess. This governess related the story of the Mayerling Incident to an impressionable Ann.

In order to bait Baroness Vetsera/Ann back to reality, Hamilton feeds the tabloids the story that mass murderer Morley is the reincarnation of Crown Prince Rudolf. He hypnotizes Morley into believing he is Prince Rudolf with the cooperation of the NYPD .

18%2BFright%2B1956.jpg Hamilton Hypnotising
19%2BFright%2B1956.jpg Ann/Vetsera
Other Noirs that dealt with hypnotism, Fear in the Night (1947), and Whirlpool (1950), are better known but Fright, fits in nicely with them in a low budget sort of way. Another film that I just recently watched The Hypnotic Eye (1960), is also very noir-ish but it actually does cross over line into the horror genre, whereas Fright does not. Fright is part of a double bill DVD from Alpha Home Entertainment, worth a watch for real New York City location Noir aficionados. 6/10

Review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.bl...-lost-noir.html

#34 cigarjoe


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Posted 04 February 2017 - 06:08 PM

The Fallen Idol (1948) Kid Noir

Directed by Carol Reed (Odd Man Out (1947), The Third Man (1949), The Man Between (1953)) and based on the short story "The Basement Room", by Graham Greene. The Screenplay was by Graham Greene with additional dialogue by Lesley Storm and William Templeton. The excellent cinematography was by Georges Périnal (Blood Of A Poet (1932), and the music was by William Alwyn (The Long Memory (1953), A Night To Remember (1958).

The film stars Ralph Richardson (Our Man in Havana (1959)) as Baines, Michèle Morgan (Port of Shadows (1938) Le quai des brumes (original title)) as Julie, Sonia Dresdel (The Clouded Yellow (1950)) as Mrs. Baines, Bobby Henrey as Philippe, Denis O'Dea (Odd Man Out (1947), Niagara (1953)), as Chief Inspector Crowe, and Jack Hawkins (The Cruel Sea (1953)), as Detective Ames.

00%2BThe%2BFallen%2BIdol.jpg Philippe (Henrey) The Fallen Idol tells its story through Philippe, the nine year old son of a French diplomat. His mother has been very sick and with his father's diplomatic duties keeping him often away, Philippe has the run of a huge diplomatic embassy in the off hours.  His fantasy world consists of a pet snake named MacGregor, which he carries with him in the private living area above the palatial great rooms.

His playhouse is the whole of the embassy with its many levels, rooms, and passageways. Philippe spies down upon all, from behind shadowy staircase banisters, through room high windows, and the private resident balconies. Secrets are learned from bits of conversations eavesdropped on phone calls and staying up past his bedtime.


Philippe idolizes Baines his father's butler. Baines keeps the boy entertained with tall tales of his harrowing exploits in Africa, shooting lions in hunting safaris, quelling restless natives, etc., etc. However, Baines is just a fanciful story teller who is unhappily married to a shrew of a wife who keeps the embassy household staff terrorised.

06%2BThe%2BFallen%2BIdol.jpg Julie (Morgan ) and Baines (Richardson)
Baines is in love with Julie another member of the embassy staff, and when Philippe follows Baines to a cafe after work and finds Baines and Julie together, Baines tells him that Julie is his niece. After Baines has a fight with his wife over Julie, she accidentally falls two stories to her death from a window sill at the end of a landing where she went to spy on Baines and Julie. Her body lays near the bottom of a staircase. Philippe witnessed the beginning of the fight at the top of the stairs, and assumes that Baines has murdered her by pushing her down the stairway. Philippe runs off into Noirsville




  Mrs. Baines (Dredsel) 




When the police investigations begin, Baines tries to keep Julie out of it, and Philippe attempts to help Baines, but all these clumsy evasions and lies only get Baines into hot water with Scotland Yard. It looks like murder.

Richardson's Baine is great as the likeable, efficient, head of the household staff, and he's sort of a surrogate father figure for Philippe. Dresdel as the jealous sourpuss wife is truly vile. Morgan plays Julie both sweet and weepy. Henrey plays the impressionable Philippe to perfection, he is both innocent and trusting, there are no false notes. The rest of the cast are equally enjoyable to watch, the two washer women of the household staff, a London bobby, a lady of the night, and the detectives of Scotland Yard.

The cinematography of the flee in the night through the cobblestone streets of London will remind you of similar sequences in Vienna in The Third Man

The only other Kids Noir that readily comes to mind is The Window (1949), these two films would make great introductions to children to the Noir style. 8/10


Review with more screencaps from the Criterion DVD here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-fallen-idol-1948-kid-noir.html

#35 cigarjoe


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Posted 29 January 2017 - 06:17 AM

White Sands (1992) Andy of Mayberry meets Marv and Jules

Deputy Sheriff  Ray Dolezal (Willem Dafoe) has a dead body and a half million dollars sitting at the edge of the Rio Grande Gorge in the New Mexico desert.

So begins White Sands a Film Soleil Noir directed by Roger Donaldson (The Getaway (1994)) and written by Daniel Pyne (Miami Vice (TV Series)1984 - 1986)). Cinematography was by Peter Menzies Jr. (The Getaway (1994)), and music by Patrick O'Hearn.

The film stars Willem Dafoe (To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), Wild at Heart (1990)) as Ray Dolezal, Mickey Rourke (Body Heat (1981), Angel Heart (1987), Barfly (1987), Sin City (2005), Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)), as Gorman Lennox, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Scarface (1983), Slam Dance (1987)) as Lane Bodine, Samuel L. Jackson (Ragtime (1981), Sea of Love (1989), Goodfellas (1990), True Romance (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), Hard Eight (1996), Jackie Brown (1997), ) as Greg Meeker, M. Emmet Walsh (Midnight Cowboy (1969), Serpico (1973), Blade Runner (1982), Blood Simple (1984)) as Bert Gibson, with James Rebhorn as Agent Flynn, Maura Tierney as Noreen, Beth Grant as Roz Kincaid, and Mimi Rogers as Molly Dolezal.

The film is initially captivating, the body, discovered by an Apache helicopter pilot hauling two amateur archaeologists, is lying in an adobe ruin, with his brains blown out. Coroner Bert Gibson declares "It's a suicide," made even more probable with the discovery of a half million dollars in an attache case. The banter between Gibson and Dolezal about Dolezal's new cowboy hat is amusing. This reprises later at the autopsy where a phone number is discovered on a piece of wax paper as part of the undigested stomach contents. The dead man is named Spencer.


  Dolezal (Dafoe) and Gibson (Walsh)
Normally in Classic Noir the protagonist starts to make stupid decisions that propel the film down the road to Noirsville. In White Sands though there are way too many of these implausibilities to believe. Combined that with interesting but un important characters that appear then just vanish and unnecessary plot complications and you have a film that goes a bit off the rails.







23%2BWhite%2BSands%2B1992.jpg Arms Dealer, (Fred Thompson) lt.

Dolezal, posing as Spenser, calls variations of surrounding area codes plus the number and when he finally gets a connection he is instructed to go to a meeting set up at a motel. So what does he do?

He leaves his wife and son and drives off in his highly conspicuous blue 1966 Chevrolet Corvette, with a half million bucks without any backup to the meeting, implausibility number 1.

At the motel he is robbed by two women and instructed to meet a man named Gorman Lennox at a restaurant. FBI agent Greg Meeker intercepts Dolezal and informs him that Spenser was an undercover agent, an FBI mule carrying money for a payment. Since Dolezal has carelessly lost the money, Meeker tells Dolezal to posing as Spenser to recover the money or help arrest Lennox.

Dolezal meets Lennox (Rourke in a "That's one fine coat you're wearing" long coat) and his deal broker Lane Bodine. Since Lane knew Spencer she knows that Dolezal is an imposter, but since she gets a percentage of the deal she lets him slide implausibility number 2.

The money is for illegal arms. Needing more money when the arms merchants renege on the original deal, Dolezal has to romance Lane so she will attract rich humanitarian donors to fund the increase asking price on the deal implausibility number 3.

 Willem Dafoe puts in a good performance but there is a lot of hesitation evident in which way the director wanted to go. M. Emmet Walsh's character is built up nicely then disappears entirely from the rest of the film, Dolezal's wife and son are treated likewise. Later two apparent lesbian goons assault Dolezal in a motel room then also are never really part of the film except as background. There are a lot of dead ends. Expectations are dangled in front of us but never followed through. White Sands, New Mexico, BTW, makes a very brief appearance in the last 5 minutes, what's up
with that? 

It probably would have worked better if it would stayed a bit simpler. The sum is not as good as it's parts, there was a good film in there someplace. 6.5/10 Full review with more screen caps here http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/01/white-sands-1992-andy-of-mayberry-meets.html

#36 cigarjoe


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Posted 20 January 2017 - 06:38 PM

Private Property (1960) Psychological California Smog Noir


Private Property was long thought lost. It is a lurid psychological noir thriller, based on a sleazy pulp fiction type premise.

It is the first feature written and directed by Leslie Stevens (writer and director of The Outer Limits TV series (1963-1964). The cinematography was by Ted D. McCord (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), Flamingo Road (1949), The Damned Don't Cry (1950), The Breaking Point (1950) and, I Died a Thousand Times (1955)). The films music was by Pete Rugolo (whose credits range from Richard Diamond, Private Detective TV Series (1957–1960), to This World, Then the Fireworks (1997)).

The film revolves around two down and out creepy and twisted drifters, hitchhiking their way to The Sunset Strip. The two become sexually obsessed over a hawt "California Girl" blond housewife driving a white corvette who casually stops for directions at a Pacific Coast Highway Veltex filling station near Malibu. (BTW the Veltex Gas is going for 8 cents a gallon in 1960).

00%2BPrivate%2BProperty%2B1960.jpg Duke and Boots with "The Rock" in the background 03%2BPrivate%2BProperty%2B1960.jpg Boots (Oates)
04%2BPrivate%2BProperty%2B1960.jpg Duke (Allen) One of these losers is a smart sociopath, a sexual predator called Duke, played by Corey Allen (The Night of the Hunter (1955), Rebel Without a Cause (1955), The Shadow on the Window (1957), The Big Caper (1957)). The other is the sexually dysfunctional dimmer bulb Boots, a mama's boy, played by Warren Oates (The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960), The Outer Limits TV Series (1963–1965), In the Heat of the Night (1967), Dillinger (1973), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)).

07%2BPrivate%2BProperty%2B1960.jpg Ann (Manx) The blond housewife Ann is played by Kate Manx the then wife of the director. She's sort of a mix of Stella Stevens and Barbara Eden. Another stock film noir veteran Jerome Cowan (The Maltese Falcon (1941), Moontide (1942), Street of Chance (1942), Deadline at Dawn (1946), The Unfaithful (1947), Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948), Scene of the Crime (1949)) plays a schlub salesman Ed who stops for gas at the filling station. Robert Wark plays Roger, Ann's husband and Jules Maitland plays the filling station owner.

08%2BPrivate%2BProperty%2B1960.jpg Ed (Cowan) We first spot Duke and Boots when they are climbing up a small bluff from a foggy beach onto the blacktop.  “The Rock” a distinct road cut into the California Coast Range at the edge of Malibu rises as a hazy backdrop. Waves ominously break against the shore. The two either spent the night sleeping on the beach or where taking a midday dip. They cross the traffic to the Veltex station and bum some pop and cigarettes from the attendant (Maitland).

When Boots tells Duke about a wall calendar he saw in the station with a scantily clad girl wearing just a cowboy hat, Duke asks him if he's getting ready for a woman yet. Boots whines that Duke always steals the girl he wants, the last one being that redhead in the orange grove, so Duke promises to get him a woman, but not after questioning his manhood with the taunt "what are you waiting for a rich sugar daddy?"

An appliance salesman from Sacramento, Ed Hogate, drives up in his '54 Buick Skylark for gas. Boots and Duke begin to wash his windows and pump him for a ride into The City Of Angels. While so engaged with Ed, Ann drives up. Ann is curvaceous and cute. Duke asks Boots if she'll do for a woman. Boots says yes. Duke and Boots convince Ed to not only give them a ride but to tail Ann as she drives towards her home. When Ed wants to end the game and make his turn for Wilshire Blvd., Duke and Boots convince him to keep following the blond. They do this by threatening him with a switchblade that Boots pulls out of his pocket.

The boys get Ed to drop them off up the street, just after Ann pulls into her driveway. The two next break into the vacant house next door. From a second floor window the two begin to spy on Ann's comings and goings. The two voyeurs peep down on her when she skinny dips in her pool or sunbathes out on her patio.



Duke begins a plan to seduce Ann pretending to be an on the skids landscaper, who lives in his truck while looking for work. He shows up at her door whenever her husband leaves on his various business trips.

Duke slowly wears Ann's defences down by preying on her sympathies. Working in Duke's favor is the fact that her workaholic husband fails to appreciate her "ribbons and her bows". He shuns her advances, as she tries to get him to pay more attention to her sexual needs. This makes her ripe for plucking. Ann's frustrations in the film are semiotically depicted, at one point while speaking to her husband she strokes a burning (phallic) candlestick, later aroused by Duke she repeats the deed with the round stem of a plant. Other images also repeat, her husband's doffed tie she places around her neck as later she does the same with Dukes's belt. Is she subconsciously signifying that she is property?

Dukes plan is to get her hopelessly defenceless, sexually aroused, and liquored up enough to take her next door to empty house drop her on a mattress and let Boots rape her. At 79 min Private Property speeds along quickly down the highway to Noirsville.




Corey Allen's silver tongued devil Duke, is easily convincing as a womanizer, but you don't have to wonder why he never gained traction after this performance, the film opened without Code approval, was condemned by the Legion Of Decency and got slim to none distribution. Warren Oates underplays the malleable simple minded sexual neophyte Boots. Oates specialized most of his career in playing hopeless lowlifes doomed to wallow in eternal misery, always getting the poop end of the stick. Kate Manx excels as Ann with her portrayal ranging from "I Dream Of Jeannie" perky to that of sweet quiet desperation for the attention of her husband. Again one wonders how her career may have went if the film had had a regular release. Four years later she committed suicide, a waste.

So, does the title refer to trophy wife Ann, the house and pool, or the whole gaudy tinseltown world that only the others, the "elites" can inhabit?

Images are digital camera caps of the newly restored Cinelicious Pictures from a TCM premiere. 7/10


Full review with more caps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/01/private-property-1960-psychological.html

#37 cigarjoe


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Posted 16 January 2017 - 06:25 AM

Les Diaboliques (Diabolique) (1955)

A 1955 French psychological noir thriller directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot (Quai des Orfèvres (1947), Le salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear ) (1953), ), starring Simone Signoret (Gunman in the Streets (1950), Casque d'Or (1952), Is Paris Burning? (1966), Army of Shadows (1969)), Véra Clouzot (Le salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear) (1953)), Paul Meurisse (Sergil chez les filles (1952), Army of Shadows (1969), Le Deuxieme Souffle (1966)) and Charles Vanel (The Wages of Fear (1953), To Catch a Thief (1955)).  

The film was based on the novel Celle qui n'était plus (She Who Was No More) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. The screenplay was by Henri-Georges Clouzot, Jérôme Géronimi, René Masson and Frédéric Grende.

Cinematography was by Armand Thirard (Quai des Orfèvres (1947), Le salaire de la peur (1953)), and music was by Georges Van Parys (Casque d'Or (1952)).

03%2BDiabolique%2B1955.jpg Nichole (Simone Signoret) 
05%2BDiabolique%2B1955.jpg Michel (Paul Meurisse)
07%2BDiabolique%2B1955.jpg Christina (Vera Clouzot)
21%2BDiabolique%2B1955.jpg  Inspector Fichet (Charles Vanel)

A cheap boarding school near Paris is run by tightwad headmaster Michel Delassalle (Meurisse). The school is owned by Delassalle's sickly wife Christina, who is also a teacher. Christina has a heart condition which prevents her from performing her wifely duties, so Michel has taken to banging the blonde Nicole Horner (Signoret), another teacher at the school. The prospect of Nicole becoming Michel's mistress has no effect between the two women since Michel is verbally abusive to both of them and woman beater to boot. They both despise him.

Nichole concocts a plan to off Michel. Christina, is indecisive at first, but after more rounds of abuse from Michel agrees to the plan. Threatening divorce, Christina leaves the school, drives with
Nichole to Nichole's hometown Niort and stays at her apartment. This lures Michel away from the school in pursuit of his meal ticket. Using a sedative mixed into a bottle of Johnnie Walker scotch she gets Michel to drink it. Michel passes out. Nichole and Christina carry him into the bathroom and drown him in the bath tub. Hiding his body in a large wicker basket Nichole and Christina drive back to the school and dump Michel into a disused swimming pool. They figure that once the body floats up to the top it will look like an accident.

Of course the body never floats to the top and everything goes exquisitely Noirsville.





Vera Clouzot, is a delight as the pious, frail, nervous, stepped on one to many times, wife. Simone Signoret seems almost butch in comparison. She is a big full figured woman and she towers over Christina both physically and mentally. There have been some critiques that state that Nicole may have lesbian designs on Christina, I got the same faint vibe. Paul Meurisse comes off like a French Jack Webb, and Charles Vanel's Inspector Fichet I hear is the original prototype of Colombo.

One of the best French Noir, screencaps are from the Criterion DVD. 10/10


Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/01/les-diaboliques-diabolique-1955.html

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 02:24 PM

The Conversation (1974) Surveillance Noir


Produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather (1972), The Godfather: Part II (1974), The Cotton Club (1984)). Cinematography by Bill Butler (Hickey & Boggs (1972)) and Haskell Wexler (Stakeout on Dope Street (1958), The Savage Eye (1960), In the Heat of the Night (1967), Mulholland Falls (1996)). Music was by David Shire (Farewell, My Lovely (1975)).

The film stars Gene Hackman (Naked City  TV Series (1958–1963), Night Moves (1975)) as Harry Caul, John Cazale (The Godfather (1972)) as Stan, Allen Garfield (The Cotton Club (1984)) as William P. "Bernie" Moran, Cindy Williams as Ann Frederic Forrest (Hammett (1982), The Two Jakes (1990)), as Mark, Harrison Ford (Blade Runner (1982)) as Martin Stett, Elizabeth MacRae (Naked City  TV Series (1958–1963), Route 66 (1960–1964), as Meredith, and Teri Garr (After Hours (1985)) as Amy Fredericks.

The film is about a Surveillance P. I., Harry Caul (Hackman) an electronics nerd who incrementally becomes paranoid, alienated, and obsessed. Caul is "tops" in his field on the West Coast, a thorough and meticulous, snoop. His headquarters is in a chain link cage in the corner of an empty warehouse floor, at the edge of the rail freight yards of San Francisco. His workbench holds an array of audio equipment. He makes his office calls from various random payphones.



His standoffishness is manifest in the lack of details in his barren relationship with his girlfriend Amy (Garr). Harry has told her nothing of his past, he remains a stranger. When he calls on her, he sneaks to her flop door, putting his key quietly into the lock then flinging open the door as if to catch her doing something. He's a friendless, secretive, overly cautious schlub who wears a cheap plastic raincoat on sunny days, has installed four separate locks on his flat door, and gets anxious flashbacks to the young couple his work has put in jeopardy during a momentary power interruption on a streetcar. His only two release/retreats seem to be the confessional at his church and his saxophone, which he plays to the accompaniment of Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Lady spinning on his turntable.


Anne (Williams) and Mark (Forrest)


05%2BThe%2BConversation%2B1974.jpg Caul (Hackman) lt. Stan (Caszal) rt.
During a big and intricately involved high tech eavesdropping surveillance job on a target couple Ann (Williams) and Mark (Forrest) in Union Square, San Francisco, Caul neglects the first rule of surveillance and begins to get personally involved. His past nagging guilt about previous assignments begins to gnaw on his conscience. As he works on the recordings and transcripts he begins to ponder if this job going to physically hurt or possibly kill the couple under surveillance as happened to others in another job in a similar situation.

Caul's paranoid condition amplifies, he's miffed when his landlord leaves a bottle of wine in his "Fortress of Solitude" apartment, chagrined that his bank has sent him a birthday card, and then later he freaks out after his ominous client "the director" contacts him through his henchman Martin Stett (Ford) who calls him on his private phone that he's never given out the number to.

Caul begins to slowly lose his mind as he descends into Noirsville.... do we see actual events or his guilty by association hallucinations.











Hackman gives a great performance as the wound a bit too tight, idiosyncratic loner. The cast comprising Caul's peers are equally eccentric and nerdy. The rest of the players are more peripheral with only Harrison Ford standing out as an ominous flunkie of the nameless "director." The soundtrack is excellent. Screencaps are from the 2010 DVD. 9/10 Review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-conversation-1974-surveillance-noir.html

#39 cigarjoe


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Posted 05 January 2017 - 09:56 AM

The Big Sleep (1978) Café au lait Noir (White Coffee)
"What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? In a stagnant lake or in a marble tower on the top of a high hill? You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that."
1978's The Big Sleep is best watched cold turkey. If you have never read Raymond Chandler's novel, and didn't know that the original tale took place in 1939, in Southern California, nor ever seen Hollywood's Bogart/Bacall 1945 Film Noir interpretation, you may find this version quite enjoyable.
Comparatively, Chandler's The Big Sleep (1945) with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall was retooled to take advantage of the chemistry that arced across the screen between Bogart and Bacall, the studio added a love story angle and the accompanying dialog.
The Big Sleep (1978) with Robert Mitchum in the Philip Marlowe role, doesn't have that Bacall/Bogart love story, it follows the novel more closely with it's original dialog, and isn't hampered by the Hayes Code. It's biggest complication is the whole story is shifted to The United Kingdom and updated to the present 1978. Instead of ramshackle, decrepit and shabby it wallows in old world opulence. Marlowe drives a '71 BMW instead of a 1930's Marmon.
All this modifying and Anglify-ing is interesting considering that Chandler was sort of modified and Anglicized himself, born in 1888 in Chicago, Illinois, he spent a few years in Nebraska living along the Missouri River with relatives and then moved with his mother at the age of 12 in 1900 after his father abandoned them to a borough of London in the UK. He flipped back again ending up in the States, moving first to San Francisco, then Los Angeles.
So I'll repeat, if you don't know that the original story was supposed to be all taking place in 1939 and was supposed to be in Los Angeles you'll actually find it a pretty good film, the story updates pretty much flawlessly. Marlowe in this version, is an ex US soldier who stayed on in the UK after WWII to open a Commercial and Civil Investigations Agency and all the supporting cast is actually top notch. I can guess that being an English Production, with mostly English actors and with a modest budget in mind it was far easier to update the story to the present and change the local. But what makes all this an even bigger shame was Mitchum played a top notch Marlowe three years earlier in Farewell My Lovely (1975) a remake of 1944's Murder My Sweet. the '75 film kept the story to the year 1941, and it was also not hampered by either the Hayes code nor by the unofficial PC "code" that seems prevalent today . If they would have just followed the previous film there could have possibly been a whole series of Marlowe films that would have been true to Chandler's novels in the correct time period, i.e., The High Window 1942, The Lady in the Lake 1943, The Little Sister 1949, and The Long Good-bye (1953).
The film stylistically lets you know right from the get-go credit sequence you're not in sunny SoCal. It's diffuse light, sunless and somber, a gloomy cloudy day. And it's all a bit off (at least to this Yank). A POV from the cockpit of a 1971 BMW 2500. We are cruising down the blacktop and taking an exit from what looks like an "M" designated high speed motorway, the highway markings are strange, you are driving on the right and exiting on the left, and you continue downshifting through various grades of road, through intersections, including a circle till we steer into the driveway of a country estate.
Mitchum is great throughout, most of the cast is fine in their parts. Aside from Jimmy Stewart's figiting, Candy Clark is a bit too over the top she plays Camilla more like a 13 year old who has just discovered she has boobs rather than a tantalizing seductress. I enjoyed all of the vehicular action sequences with Mitchum tooling around the countryside and negotiating the narrow London streets in his BMW, it's a nice touch. The film has it's own bit of style, it's noir lite, café au lait, it's more jolly ol' England than foggy bleak London, but it's a fun ride.
It took me about three viewings to really warm to the film, to forget where and when it was supposed to take place and just enjoy it for what it is, another Chandler novel adapted to the screen is always a bonus. I like it a bit better than it's companion 70's update take on Marlowe, Altman's The Long Goodbye (1973) with mumbling Elliott Gould. 7/10
Fuller review with more screencaps (some NSFW) from the ITV Studios DVD here:  http://noirsville.bl...fe-au-lait.html

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#40 cigarjoe


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Posted 23 December 2016 - 06:28 AM

Road Movie (1974) Road Noir

Via, The Road, La Strada, the ancient conduit of Civilization. Updated to circa 1974. The place, Arena Diner Truck Stop, meadowlands ****, halfway between Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey.

Road Movie, a Neo Noir no one has heard of, was directed by Joseph Strick (one of the directors of The Savage Eye (1959), and director of The Big Break (1953),Tropic of Cancer (1970)). Strick was a Braddock Pennsylvania native, who has had a successful career primarily as a documentary filmmaker. The Savage Eye which won 1960 BAFTA Flaherty Documentary Award is often considered to be part of the cinema vérité movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

The film was credited as being written by Judith Rascoe (Who'll Stop the Rain (1978)), and by Joseph Strick (story). Cinematography by was by Don Lenzer (Woodstock (1970), Street Scenes (1970)). The excellent melange of blues and country music was by Stanley Myers (The Deer Hunter (1978).

The film stars Regina Baff (Escape from Alcatraz (1979)), Robert Drivas (Cool Hand Luke (1967), Route 66 (TV Series)), Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)), David Bauer (Dark of the Sun (1968), Diamonds Are Forever (1971)), David Challis, Rodney Cleghorn, Beatrice Colen, Rik Colitti, Eileen Dietz, Laura Esterman and the great American road.


Janice (Baff) is a ****. Started young.A born ****. Teeny Bopper with hot pants. Arcade photo booth. Janice nude under her coat. Taking nudie shots of her pink canoe. Prints sell to perves. Caught! Taken to the office. Owner threats to call the cops. Janice tells him "I got one good reason why we shouldn't go to the cops" and she opened her coat giving the owner an eye full and Janice does it with the creep, does it all right in the office. A new career launched.





Road Movie has an opening credit sequence that beautifully captures vignettes along the transient mileposts in the lives of modern teamsters. The film begins with a tearied eye Janice. She's arguing in a car with a john or her pimp. He kicks her out at the Arena Diner Truckstop. He tells her she'll have to work trucks. A highway hooker.

17%2BRoad%2BMovie%2B1974.jpg dumped at the diner

Rolling out of the lot in their Peterbilt with a reefer load of beef, are veteran driver Gill (Robert Drivas) jaded, divorced, woman beater, and Hank (Barry Bostwick) greenhorn trying to follow in his trucker father's wheel tracks, two independent truckers. Gill spots Janice and tells her they are headed to Chicago. Janice says a hundred, Gill counters fifty.

Revenge for Janice is monkeying around with the reefer unit on the truck, losing the refrigeration means they got to dump their load for a loss at the nearest meat locker in Pittsburgh. Janice tells them she can get them a load through her mob connections. Of course the road ahead spiral curves into downtown Noirsville.






Road Movie is a great primer on independent truckers, on all the crapola they steer around and all the hoops they drive through. It's also a depressing 1974 ride through the decaying industrial neighborhoods and the sign polluted retail strips of American cities. We get drive bys of the strip mines of coal country, the refineries, junk strewn lots, auto salvage graveyards, chain link fences netting windrows of trash and desperate roadside attractions. The film evokes both the Classic Noirs Detour (1945) and The Hitch-Hiker (1953).
Regina Baff's Femme Fatale Janice is a spunky piece of work. She is audacious, bitter, destitute, hair triggered and self sufficient. Baff really displays her acting chops as she's degraded, beat up, pushed around, bares her straight razor claw during a mugging, offers her body to highway weigh station officers, and shows her dogged ferocity when Gill finally casts her off. Baff's Janice is the soul mate to Ann Savage's Vera.
Robert Drivas' rough edged Gill has the "life's a **** and then you die" mantra of a life on autopilot, he wants to own nothing to nobody. Barry Bostwick's gentle Hank is the romantic, a dreamer, the down homeboy trying to follow a dream. Both are convincing.


Road Movie is a nice Noir slice of the 70's, the cinematography, music, the sound design, even the diegetic sound of holy roller radio preachers shucking bleeding heart of Jesus statues that actually squirt blood, while the ephemera of cast off americana kitsch constantly rolls past our view is both depressingly bleak and amusingly entertaining. Screenshots are from the Image Entertainment DVD. 7/10.


Fuller review with more ( and some NSFW)screenshots here http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2016/12/road-movie-1974-road-noir.html

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