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#21 cigarjoe

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 07:40 AM

The Young Savages (1961) East Harlem Gang Noir

 
TYS%2Bposter.jpg
"A lot of people killed your son, Mrs. Escalante."
East Harlem 1961, a time of genuine upheaval. The demise of the 3rd Avenue el and its demolition 1955-56 opened up Yorkville and East Harlem to real estate redevelopment. A roadway reconstruction project widened 3rd Avenue to 70 feet and rows upon rows of tenements on either side were raised for the new highrises to come. This is the tableau vivant, frozen in time, that director John Frankenheimer presents in The Young Savages. The story is based on Evan Hunter's novel "A Matter of Conviction." Evan Hunter was the legally adopted name of Salvatore Albert Lombino who also wrote under the name Ed Mcbain among others. He was born in East Harlem in 1926 and his early life on the streets obviously informed the tale. The screenplay was written by Edward Anhalt and J.P. Miller.


Screenshot%2B%25288403%2529%2B-%2BCopy.p Arthur Reardon (John Davis Chandler), Danny DiPace (Stanley Kristien), and  Anthony "Batman" Aposto (Neil Nephew)
The excellent cinematography was by Lionel Lindon (The Blue Dahlia (1946), Alias Nick Beal (1949), The Turning Point (1952), Hell's Island (1955), The Big Caper (1957) I Want to Live! (1958), The Manchurian Candidate (1962)). The nice jazz and bongo score was by David Amram (Splendor in the Grass (1961), The Manchurian Candidate (1962)).

It looks like a war zone. Wrecking balls are battering brick flophouses and tenements to rubble. Walls left standing are occasionally seen with rectangles of wallpaper or paint denoting the outlines of recently vanished rooms. Piles of salvage, wood, bricks, lead, copper festoon the cityscape.

Three street hoods, Danny DiPace (Stanley Kristien), Arthur Reardon (John Davis Chandler) and Anthony "Batman" Aposto (Neil Nephew) phalanx through the destruction on a mission. They are part of the Thunderbirds gang. They are warring over turf with a gang of Puerto Ricans called the Horsemen who control three blocks.

Screenshot%2B%25288411%2529.png Roberto Escalante (uncredited) Louisa Escalante (Pilar Seurat)
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Danny, Arthur, and "Batman", in broad daylight walk right up to Roberto Escalante a blind member of the Horsemen and stab him to death with switchblades. They run but are cornered by NYPD and caught. They are questioned by assistant district attorney Hank Bell (Burt Lancaster) who discovers that Danny is the son of his old neighborhood flame Mary diPace (Shelley Winters).

Screenshot%2B%25288426%2529.png Hank Bell (Burt Lancaster)
 
They separate out DiPace because he's under sixteen. When Hank tries to question Reardon he gets wiseass ****. From "Batman" he gets a song.

"Batman"(sung to my Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean): My mother sells snow to the snowbirds. My father makes barber shop gin, my sister sells gas for a livin', and that's why the money rolls in.

When he discusses the case with district attorney Dan Cole (Edward Andrews), Hank tells him he knows DiPace's mother and that he is actually from the same neighborhood. Hank's father changed the family surname from Bellini, to fit in better in whatever he was pursuing. Hank went to law school and married Karin (Dina Merrill) a Vassar girl. Karin isn't impressed with Hanks zealotry.

Karin: Oh, by the way, your old girlfriend Mary DiPace called today... twice. I referred her to your office, did you talk to her?
Hank: I don't know what to say to her.
Karin: Oh why don't you just tell her that you're going to burn her son for old times sake.
 
Screenshot%2B%25288434%2529.png "tell her that you're going to burn her son for old times sake." When Hank meets Mary, she tells him that Danny promised he'd never join a gang. Digging into the facts Bell visits the hangouts, the tenements, the families and all that were involved. He gets attacked on a subway, and his wife gets threatened in an elevator.

The film through Hank's investigations, interactions and trial evolves into an indictment of society as a whole. The broken homes, the ethnic discrimination, the high levels of poverty, the squalid conditions, the instability, the lack of education, the low I.Q.s, the gangs and the local political machines are all to blame. Society as a whole is going to Noirsville.

Noirsville
 
Screenshot%2B%25288463%2529.png  Karin (Dina Merrill)
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The film also features Larry Gates as Randolph, Telly Savalas as Detective Gunderson, Pilar Seurat as Louisa Escalante, Roberta Shore as Jenny Bell, Milton Selzer as Dr. Walsh, David J. Stewart as Barton.

All the performances are top notch the film doesn't disappoint.

The Young Savages is a message picture, the old establishment forces marshalled towards capital punishment, against the new science of criminology and sociopathic behavioral studies with their treatments. Basically the law and its technicalities against damaged humanity, and both exposed under by the microscope by news cycle of the times. On the personal level it's Hank the by the book prosecutor vs. Karin the third generation progressive against the political circus of his boss's run for gubernatorial nomination.

Entertaining time capsule of NYC. Screencaps from Youtube 7/10. Full Review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-young-savages-1961-east-harlem-gang.html

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#22 cigarjoe

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 06:02 AM

Body Double (1984) L.A. Café au lait Noir

 
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"A seduction. A mystery. A murder."

Another film dealing with voyeurism. My, how perceptions and attitudes swiftly zig-zag. In 1954's Rear Window it was a wheelchair-bound good guy photographer who spies on his neighbors, 1960's Peeping Tom he's depicted as an irredeemable murderer, 1964's Strange Compulsion dealt with it clinically in an exploitive sort of way. Body Double deals with it as one of the perks of living in a Jetsons style flying saucer-like California hillside highrise.

Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) is an actor in Hollywood, genre de jour is Horror film. Jake is playing an androgynous glitter bloodsucker in some low budget vampire flick. But Jake has a problem with claustrophobia, when he has to do a scene in a coffin he freezes, and gets fired.

Part Film Noir/Hollywood homage, part Hitchcock homage to Rear Window, and in one aspect also to Vertigo, part black comedy, director Brian De Palma gives us a nice peak into 1984 era tinseltown.

Jake heads back to his wife's house early and finds her in bed with someone else. Devastated Jake batches with a bartender buddy of his while trying to get another job. While going to various auditions he meets a friend of a friend Sam Bouchard (Gregg Henry) who tells him that he's got a gig in Seattle and he can house sit the hill top flying saucer style house (Chemosphere House), that belongs to a millionaire buddy who is in Europe.

 
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Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) rt.

 

 
Jake is ecstatic, besides the luxury digs Sam clues him into a neighbor woman who puts on a exhibitionish show every night in the large picture windows of her apartment on a ridge across the way. Sam even has a telescope trained on the windows.
 
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One night while Jake is watching the show, he spies a man rummaging around in the woman's bedroom. Later Jake also spots a man who looks like a Native American perched on a satellite dish also watching the woman. 
 
 
 
He becomes anxious for her and begins to follow the woman who he discovers is named Gloria Revell (Deborah Shelton) around, sort of keeping an eye on her. He tails her to a Rodeo Drive shopping mall, and to  the Beach Terrace Motel in Long Beach. 
 

Screenshot%2B%25288362%2529.png Gloria Revell (Deborah Shelton)
When the woman takes a stroll on the beach the same man he spotted on the satellite dish grabs her pocket book and runs off with Jake in pursuit. He catches up to him in an underpass beneath Ocean Blvd, but Jake's claustrophobia overwhelms him and prevents him from further actions save collecting the woman's emptied pocketbook. She thanks him profusely, and after some heavy petting she takes off. Jake is more than smitten.
 

Screenshot%2B%25288363%2529.png Claustrophobia  
 
That night with Jake watching through the telescope he sees her get attacked. He calls the police and runs over to help. He's too late. The woman is dead and the police consider him a suspect especially after they find out that he was peeping on her. The police would have likely suspected the woman's ex husband but Jake's testimony points to the Native American.
 
 
Jake is now doubly depressed. He's drinking heavily, and watching the porn channel on the TV, but something catches his eye. He notices a blond actress called Holly Body (Melanie Griffith) making the exact same moves he watched Gloria dance every night. Jake decides to track Holly down and that entails Jake breaking into the porn flick business and of course it all goes Noirsville.
 
Noirsville

Screenshot%2B%25288311%2529.png Tail o' The Pup 
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Holly the Body (Melanie Griffith) in grave 

Craig Watson (The Outsider (1979), Carny (1980), Ghost Story (1981) The Pornographer (1999)) is highly believable as the good guy, a regular Joe Schmoe, he looks a bit like Bill Maher. Gregg Henry (Scarface (1983), Payback (1999)), is a chunkier Dan Duryea. Deborah Shelton (Dallas TV Series (1978–1991)) is the unattainable beauty, her part is mainly visual. Melanie Griffith (Night Moves (1975), The Drowning Pool (1975), Something Wild (1986), Mulholland Falls (1996), ) is coming to the end of her early eye candy phase in this. Dennis Franz (NYPD Blue TV Series (1993–2005))  plays the independent film director, and Guy Boyd (Ghost Story (1981)) plays the police detective.

Director Brian De Palma (Dressed to Kill (1980), Scarface (1983), Carlito's Way (1993), The Black Dahlia (2006)) is amusing himself and us with various genres and at the same time poking a little fun at Hollywood show business in general. A few vintage L.A. institutions are lovingly lensed, others i.e., Angels Flight are faintly hinted at in the inclined access railway to the Chemosphere House. The film also has some quite humorous lines.

Body Double was written by Robert J. Avrech (screenplay) from a story by Brian De Palma. The cinematography was by Stephen H. Burum (8 Million Ways to Die (1986), Carlito's Way (1993)) and the music was by Pino Donaggio (Don't Look Now (1973), Dressed to Kill (1980)). Noir light 7/10. More NSFW screencaps from the Sony Pictures Home Entertainment DVD here:  http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/04/body-double-1984-la-cafe-au-lait-noir.html


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#23 cigarjoe

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 06:06 AM

Strange Compulsion (1964) Fringe Noir/Lost Noir

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I'm finding a lot of interesting films in the 1960-68 range with some new talented, innovative directors and actors that emerged after the demise of the Motion Picture Production Code, the rise of TV, and the end of "B" unit studio production.  The 1958/59 years usually given for Film Noir style cut off was just arbitrary. There are still a few B&W Film Noir up to 1968.

I think, what was going on is, as the Motion Picture Production Code weakened and 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.

With nothing really giving some of some of these directors & producers some parameters, or putting the brakes on, there was no speed limit they just shot past the limits of contemporary common sense, cultural acceptability and good taste. Good taste can block out entire subjects deemed dangerous or unworthy. What makes these low budget films worthwhile, to quote V. Vale & Andrea Juno in Incredibly Strange Films, is the "unfettered creativity. Often the films are eccentric-even extreme-presentations by individuals freely expressing their imaginations..." To quote Picasso "Ah, good taste! What a dreadful thing! Taste is the enemy of creativeness."

With nowhere else to get distribution these low budget mavericks eventually just dispensed with almost all plot at all and just followed the easy money into hardcore. Shame cause you can clearly see artistic talent in these early proto "Grindhouse" features.

Screenshot%2B%25288194%2529.png Fred (Solomon Sturges) Directed by Irvin Berwick (The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959, )The 7th Commandment (1961), The Street Is My Beat (1966)). The screenplay by Jason Johnson. The Cinematography was by Joseph V. Mascelli (The Thrill Killers (1964), The Street Is My Beat (1966)) and the cheap jazz music was provided by the S.F. Brownrigg of the Sound Department.

The film stars the son of Preston Sturges, Solomon Sturges (Synanon (1965), Charro! (1969)) as Fred (credited as Preston Sturges Jr.), Jason Johnson a veteran of many Westerns and also (Sergeant Preston of the Yukon TV Series (1955–1958), The Abductors (1957), A Hatful of Rain (1957), Playhouse 90 TV Series (1956–1961), I Want to Live! (1958), Arson for Hire (1959), The Twilight Zone TV Series (1959–1964), One Step Beyond TV Series (1959–1961), 13 West Street (1962)) as Owen J. Hazzlett, the psychiatrist, Annabelle Weenick (The Street Is My Beat (1966), Don't Look in the Basement (1973), Deadly Blessing (1981), Palmetto (1998)) as Fred's Mother (credited as Anne MacAdams), John Harmon (They Made Me a Killer (1946), Fall Guy (1947), Fear in the Night (1947), Brute Force (1947), Flaxy Martin (1949), The Crooked Way (1949), Man in the Dark (1953), The 7th Commandment (1961)) as Photo Studio Manager (uncredited) and Helen Melene, Shirlee Garner, June Oliver, Patricia King, Mitzie Dickey, Barbara Tomlin, Jane Hall, and Mamie Carroll.

Strange Compulsion is the story of Fred, a twenty-two year old pre med student trying to follow in his late father's footsteps and become a doctor. Fred lives in an affluent household with his mother and their maid.

Fred is a smart, good looking, young man with an irresistible compulsion to voyeur women. He is very aware of the problem and is seeing Dr. Hazzlett about his neurosis. Throughout the film we see the various sessions Fred has with Dr. Hazzlett. These sessions consist of Fred telling Dr. Hazzlett of his various compulsive acts and these are shown mostly as voice over narrated flashbacks.

Freds first experience with his compulsion started when he was sixteen. He was caught, by his mother, peeping on the maid as she took a bath through a keyhole. She slapped him, took away his allowance for a month, and fired the maid. His next experience was the very next day in his father's home office. A woman patient was admitted to see his father and Fred left through the changing room. Fred though had a compulsion to listen in and he hid in the closet where he could peer out through the slatted door (you get the impression viewing this sequence that it may have been David Lynch's inspiration for a similar sequence in Blue Velvet.

Screenshot%2B%25288191%2529.png

 
Fred that day made an important discovery the most exciting experience in his life was seeing a woman naked and from then of he was going to repeat the experience as much as he could. He also realized that if he was to become a good doctor he'd have to cure himself of this compulsion. The doctor tells him that one of the first stepping stones to a cure is admitting you have a problem.

Fred: I don't want to touch them I just want to take pictures of them.


Screenshot%2B%25288203%2529.png peeping Eloise the maid

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Screenshot%2B%25288209%2529.png Stalking
Screenshot%2B%25288218%2529.png Filming Dr. Hazzlett also has Fred do experiments to see if he has any reaction "getting kicks" at venues where women are normally naked, He tells the doctor of a negative reaction to a medical clinic class with a naked woman, and of his tests going to a life model class at an art studio, and to a "camera club" type nude shoot where many **** photographers (and Bettie Page) got their first starts at. The doctor surmises that it was because he didn't have to make an overt effort to watch the girls and they knew you were there and paying for the privilege, and that you knew that they knew.

 
When Fred gets to the next phase in his neroursus the need to touch his victim he seeks the service of a prostitute, but discovers after he's in her dive flop that when it comes to an aggressive woman he can't go through with it. The prostitute is first **** of at the loss of a trick and then laughs at him as he flees into the night.

Screenshot%2B%25288268%2529.png Flop House Apartment
After an incident at the swimming hole where Fred saves a drowning woman, he begins a relationship with her. This relationship with Wanda combined with the sight of a rape victim at the medical college clinic tempers Fred's impulses and he finds he's more excited about going on his date with Wanda than watching Eloise through the two way mirror.

Fred and Wanda almost consummate their relationship. Wanda's only problem is that she is separated from her husband, and when he shows up at her place after a hot date with Wanda, Fred has to beat him up. Fred decides he's got enough problems, and taking on Wanda's also is too much.

Strange Compulsion has it too ways, on one hand it's really an interesting piece on the clinical treatment (at least in 1964) of voyeurism, on the other it's equally effective as a sexploitation film showing the lurid idiosyncrasies and progressions of a peeping tom and numerous women in various states of undress. You have your cake and eat it too circa 1964. During the years of the Motion Picture Production Code, and individual like Fred would have been depicted as some low life creep with no redeeming qualities, and would have either ended up behind bars, or somehow been struck blind or met some other just moralistic end. 

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Solomon Sturges is very good in the part of Fred, he lionizes his dead father while he agonizes over his compulsion and the wreck it could make of his career. He's confident and forthright and makes the character entirely believable. Jason Johnson is equally effective as the surrogate father like psychiatrist Hazzlett. Of the rest of the cast only the Wanda, Helen, and Fred's stepfather characters have minimal speaking parts, aside from Fred's sessions with Hazzlett the film is pretty much all flashbacks and narration.

Apparently voyeurism is not as "strange" as it was once believed.

"research found voyeurism to be the most common sexual law-breaking behavior in both clinical and general populations.(The DSM Diagnostic Criteria for Exhibitionism, Voyeurism, and Frotteurism) In the same study it was found that 42% of college males who had never been convicted of a crime had watched others in sexual situations. An earlier study indicates that 54% of men have voyeuristic fantasies, and that 42% have tried voyeurism.( "Patterns of sexual arousal and history in a ?normal? Sample of young men". Archives of Sexual Behavior) In a national study of Sweden (Exhibitionistic and Voyeuristic Behavior in a Swedish National Population Survey) it was found that 7.7% of the population (both men and women) had engaged in voyeurism at some point. It is also believed that voyeurism occurs up to 150 times more frequently than police reports indicate. This same study also indicates that there are high levels of co-occurrence between voyeurism and exhibitionism, finding that 63% of voyeurs also report exhibitionist behavior.

Strange Compulsion is available on DVD from Something Weird Video. Incredibly seedy surreptitious entertainment, you'll need to take a shower afterwards, 7/10. Full review with NSFW screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/04/strange-compulsion-1964-fringe-noirlost.html

*About the director
"Irvin Berwick, he was "a child prodigy, playing concert piano before the age of ten. Although he never gave up playing privately, his career was to be in films. His first job, in Hollywood, was as a dialogue coach, working under contract at Columbia Studios in the mid- to late 1940s and frequently with William Castle. Berwick was employed at Universal-International throughout much of the 1950s, working often with Jack Arnold on several science-fiction thrillers and westerns, and was dialogue coach on Against All Flags (1952) starring Errol Flynn, who gave him a case of expensive liquor for his services (although Berwick did not drink). During the same time period, he worked (uncredited) on the TV series Topper (1953). In 1958-59 Universal-International laid off many of its employees. Berwick then joined with make-up expert Jack Kevan to form a production company, Vanwick Productions. The company's first picture was  The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959)"
( IMDb Mini Biography by Ted Newsom)

 

 



#24 cigarjoe

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 05:55 AM

Palmetto (1998) Just Another Sucker Southern Noir

 
Palmetto%2Bposter.jpg

A Southern Noir, from the Sunshine State. Based on the James Hadley Chase novel "Just Another Sucker." Chase had a number of his novels turned into films, No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948), The Grissom Gang (1971), and others. The film was directed by Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum (1979)) and the screenplay was by E. Max Frye (Something Wild (1986)). The cinematography Tak Fujimoto (Fear (1996)). The bluesy soundtrack was by Klaus Doldinger (Das Boot (1981)).

The film stars Woody Harrelson (Natural Born Killers (1994), The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), No Country for Old Men (2007)) as Harry Barber. Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas (1995)) as Mrs. Donnelly/Rhea Malroux, Gina Gershon (Bound (1996), This World, Then the Fireworks (1997), Killer Joe (2011)) as Nina, Rolf Hoppe (Mephisto (1981)) as Felix Malroux, Michael Rapaport (True Romance (1993), Kiss of Death (1995). Cop Land (1997)) as Donnely, Chloë Sevigny (American Psycho (2000), The Brown Bunny (2003), Zodiac (2007), ) as Odette, Tom Wright (Matewan (1987), Honeydripper (2007)) as John Renick, Marc Macaulay (China Moon (1994), Wild Things (1998), Lonely Hearts (2006), Killer Joe (2011)) as D.A. Miles Meadows, and Florida's Gulf Coast in all its seedy, steamy, aquamarine, green palm, and liquid sunshine splendor.

 
Sunset Coast, Florida. Harry Barber (Harrelson) = ex reporter. Harry Barber = convict. Harry doing time. Framed. Harry going buggy. Palmetto bug = flying cockroach. To jail bird Harry pugs = pets.

Screenshot%2B%25288077%2529.png Harry Barber (Harrelson)
Harry uncovered a town council/gamboling corruption scandal. Bribe offered. Bribe rejected. Follow the Moola. $2,000 mysteriously found in his bank account. Arrested and sentenced. Doing quattro in county.

Two years. Suddenly Sprung. Harry happy. Ex-cop testimony clears Harry. Harry and girlfriend Nina (Gershon) reunited. Back in the saddle again. Harry looks for work in Palmetto. Discouraged after days of dead ends he becomes a barfly is a seedy Palmetto dive, but doesn't drink, he's on the wagon. He'll order a shot and a soda but doesn't drink the shot.

Cue Rhea Malroux (Shue), a hot bodacious blond piece of cheesecake in a clinging dress that shows practically everything she's got. She breathtakingly slinks into the bar dripping desirability. Bona fide bang bait, she trolls hapless Harry. She very obviously "leaves" a cash filed handbag in a telephone booth. The down and out Harry "finds" it and, with his newly acquired jailbird smarts, pockets the cash. Rhea "runs into" Harry back in the bar and thanks him for finding her bag, offering to buy him a drink.

 

 

Screenshot%2B%25288092%2529.png Rhea Malroux (Shue)
 

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Harry bites and she offers him a job. She wants him to help her and step-daughter Odette (Sevigny) stage a phony kidnapping. They want to scam her husband (Hoppe) out of $500,000 and Harry will get 10%.  Rhea sweetens the pot by **** Harry stupid. Harry hooked.

Rhea Malroux: I'm just a girl with a little ambition.
 
Harry wants to meet Odette to make sure everything is square. Once Odette shows up Harry plans his end of the ruse. Odette is to make an appointment to meet her friend at a dance pier, she'll show up and then change clothes, don a wig and split with Harry who'll drop her off at the airport where she'll catch a red eye to Miami and hole up in a Holiday Inn. After Odette's missing for a few days her father will receive the ransom note that Harry gave to Rhea. Harry will then make the call and ask for the half million and give details for the drop. Odette will fly back, Harry will pick her up and deposit her at a ocean side cabin he rented, and then go and get the money.

It all goes Noirsville when Harry gets back with the loot and finds Odette dead.

Noirsville
 

 
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Every-time Elisabeth Shue is on screen the film sizzles. She in the running for admittance into the Pantheon of Great Femme Fatales. She turns it on like a **** in heat. She gets a certain wild eyed, out of control look when she's telegraphing obvious sexual come and get it signals all the while the brain in your upper head is strobe flashing danger ahead warning lights. But baby you don't care.

 
Gina Gershon (Nina) the other woman in Harry's life is the down to earth, metal artist, the loyal girl he left behind. Gershon's part is pretty tame comparatively in this film, with not much to work with. If you want to see her in a similar performance to Shue's catch her as the incest-full sister in This World Then The Fireworks, or catch her trailer trash stepmother in the recent Killer Joe.

 

Woody Harrelson as the chip on his shoulder ex reporter, plays Barber with "some" degree of street smarts, he's bitter, resentful, and wants to get back the two years he's lost even if he has to play the angles to do so. He's stewing inside, scowling, grousing and edgy. The femmes play him like a fiddle.

Odette comes off like a rode hard and put away wet piece of jailbait. Chloë Sevigny enhances her slutty performance with a don't give a **** attitude, bedroom eyes, and revealing clothes.

Of the rest of the cast only Michael Rapaport makes some sort of impression. He was born to play sleazy, when I see him I think of Classic Film Noir actor Zachary Scott. He's got a natural aura of shifty un-trustworthiness, that taints all his characters, but his part is somewhat undeveloped and he's coasting on fumes. 

 

Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/04/palmetto-1998-just-another-sucker.html
 

 
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#25 cigarjoe

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 12:17 PM

Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) Sleazy New York Noir Creepshow

 
 
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Camp Cult Classic? Late Night Shlock? Sleazy Trash? Decadent Depravity? Homoerotic Hoke? Sexual Psychodrama? Lost Noir? Yesssss!!! All of the above and beyond.

Five years after giving us Girl Of The Night (1960) director Joseph Cates returns to the underbelly of New York City with Who Killed Teddy Bear? The film was written by Arnold Drake (The Flesh Eaters (1964)) and Leon Tokatyan a writer for TV. The cinematography was by Joseph C. Brun (Walk East on Beacon! (1952), Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), Girl of the Night (1960)). The Music was by Charles Calello (The Lonely Lady (1983)) and the disco songs used in the film are composed by Bob Gaudino (of The Four Seasons) and Al Kasha.

DSCN3957.JPG Larry (Mineo) DSCN3835.JPG Nora (Prowse) DSCN3939.JPG Marian (Stritch)
 
DSCN3872.JPG Madden (Murray) The film stars Sal Mineo (Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Crime in the Streets (1956), Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)) as Lawrence (Larry) Sherman, busboy at a Manhattan Discotech. Juliet Prowse (supposedly from Rochester NY, but from the sound of her accent, by way of South Africa, India, and London) plays Norah Dain the DJ of the club. Elaine Stritch (The Scarlet Hour (1956)) plays Marian Freeman the clubs manager.  Another implausible acting choice was Borscht Belt stand up comic Jan Murray (imprinted forever for me as a staple TV game show host and more comedic type actor) as Lt. Dave Madden.

Margot Bennett (O Lucky Man! (1973)) as the slightly addled Eddie Sherman a victim of arrested development. Frank Campanella (Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), Naked City (1958–1963), Seconds (1966), Dick Tracy (1990),) as Police Captain. Rex Everhart (The Seven-Ups (1973) as Rude Customer, Dianne Moore as Dave Madden's daughter Pam (Jan Murray's real life daughter), Dan Travanti (Hill Street Blues TV Series (1981–1987) as the mute club bouncer Carlo, and last certainly not least Times Square New York circa 1965.

 
Who Killed Teddy Bear is the story of Nora (Prowse) a virginal "Goldilocks" and the three weirdos, Larry (Mineo), Dave (Murray), and Marian (Stritch). Nora is a slightly jaded dancer/actress looking to break into Broadway. She has a gig at a chi chi discotech as a DJ. Her job is to keep the records spinning and customers dancing, the more they dance the more they drink. She has to fight off the various patrons unwanted advances all night.

Nora works for Marian the hard boiled swaggering manager, with Larry the busboy, and Carlo (Travanti) the mute bouncer. Nora starts to get obscene phone calls. Then one day she comes home to find a decapitated Teddy Bear in her apartment and everything goes Noirsville.

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Mineo as Larry is doing a sort of mini Marlon Brando/James Dean riff. Though Larry isn't gay he's filmed that way put on obvious display, laying around in tighty-whities touching himself while calling Nora, wearing painted on pants, pumping iron, and swimming in what can only be described as a **** ertotic boy toy fantasy. Prowse, playing the slightly demure and yet volatile when cornered, virgin seems from a time long, long, ago. Murray is surprisingly believable. Stritch is good as the tough, hard as nails butch broad.

One of the big attractions of the film for me is the sequences in Times Square. For me it's a trip down memory lane. I went to school in Manhattan from the mid to late 60s. My school was on W54th Street and Times Square was my playground. The typical trip would begin with an after school walk West to the corner of 6th Avenue. There one encountered one of NYC wacky denizens, the blind Viking Moondog.  Wearing a helmet with a nose guard and horns and holding a staff his designated parking spot was the sidewalk in front of the Warwick Hotel, where he hawked his poetry. Continuing to 7th Ave one turned South towards Times Square. The Metropole Cafe was a magnate on 7th, it's blackened front window had a head sized peephole where you could watch the topless go go dancers do their stuff until you were shooed away by the door bouncer. It seems that the rest of the avenue and into the square was a mix of perpetually "going out of business" businesses, peep shows, theaters, cheap or tourist centric restaurants (The Brass Rail, Tad's Steakhouse, Howard Johnson's, Horn & Hardart, The Stage Delicatessen) sidewalk Sabrett's dirty water hot dog vendors, Orange Julius juice bars, pretzel vendors, sidewalk newsstands, Follies Burlesk, Playland arcades, movie palaces, souvenir shops, and adult bookstores. I even remember vividly the stripper attire shop that Mineo stops in front of, in the film, to gaze upon the various g-strings, pasties, and other burlesque accoutrements. 47th street East of 7th was loaded with whores, the cops must had standing orders to herd them all off the square, it was hooker heaven. Our usual goal was extra large the Playland arcade below the Majestic Dancing Ballroom, which BTW still had taxi dancers. All through this odyssey you had to negotiate weirdos, women in see through tops, shoeshine boys, three card monte scam artists, guys selling watches, the blind selling pencils, punks, drunks, and geezers.  It was creepshow but an infinitely entertaining one.

Times Square

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Who Killed Teddy Bear is a very dark and bleak film that wallowed in quite a few taboos, ****, voyeurism, incest, child abuse, and lesbianism at the end of the Motion Picture Production Code. It's a time capsule that shows a New York City and Times Square about to free fall into the abyss of decadence. It's cheap, rough, sordid, lurid, prurient, and even a bit artsy fartsy.  The title song Who Killed Teddy Bear? was sung by Rita Dyso. Screencaps are from the R2 Network DVD, I've read that there are versions that have a clear, not blurred credit sequence showing Mineo in his tighty whities groping a woman in a bra and half slip, Network has it blurred, it needs a complete restoration. Grindhouse Noir 6/10, may go up a peg with a restoration,

Full review with NSFW screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/04/who-killed-teddy-bear-1965-sleazy-new.html

 


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#26 kjrwe

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 03:29 AM

Tonight I watched the 1950 film In a Lonely Place, which I've seen dozens of times. That movie is one amazing psychological thriller-noir-drama. I might have already mentioned it on this thread. I can't remember.

 

A scriptwriter (Humphrey Bogart) is accused of murdering a young woman whom he had brought to his home in order to get the plot of a novel summarized. His alibi turns out to be a neighbor (Gloria Grahame), and they fall in love. Meanwhile, she begins to have doubts about him because of his violent behavior and because she suspects that he might have committed the crime. Powerful movie with a memorable final 10 minutes or so.

 

Another excellent noir by Nicholas Ray is On Dangerous Ground. Usually I watch them back-to-back. I didn't this time.



#27 kjrwe

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 04:02 AM

Currently watching the 1962 French film The Seventh Juror. I'm quite sure I've mentioned it on this thread. Someone recommended it to me and I've seen it numerous times in just several months. Why this film isn't better known is beyond me. It's better than the 1950s film Diaboliques, in my opinion...with a better ending and all that.

 

Anyhow, in this film, a man murders an "easy" woman (as she's called in the film) and he's selected to be on the jury to defend the man who is charged with the crime. Amazing movie. It really needs to be better known.


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#28 cigarjoe

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 10:49 AM

Seconds (1966) A Rat Race Reboot

 
seconds%2B1966.jpg Daliesque title sequence
Bizarre Noirdirected by John Frankenheimer (The Young Savages (1961), Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Seven Days in May (1964), The Train (1964)), written by Lewis John Carlino (The Mechanic (1972)) based on the novel by  David Ely. The excellent cinematography was by James Wong Howe (Nora Prentiss (1947), Body and Soul (1947). He Ran All the Way (1951), Sweet Smell of Success (1957)) and the music was by Jerry Goldsmith (Seven Days in May (1964), The Satan Bug (1965)).

The film stars Rock Hudson (Undertow (1949), One Way Street (1950), ) as Antiochus "Tony" Wilson, Salome Jens (Angel Baby (1961)) as Nora Marcus, John Randolph (The Naked City (1948), Fourteen Hours (1951), Serpico (1973), ) as Arthur Hamilton, Will Geer (The Tall Target (1951), In Cold Blood (1967)) as Old Man, Jeff Corey (The Killers (1946), Brute Force (1947), The Gangster (1947), Fourteen Hours (1951), In Cold Blood (1967), ) as Mr. Ruby, Richard Anderson (The People Against O'Hara (1951), Forbidden Planet (1956)) as Dr. Innes, Frances Reid as Emily Hamilton, Khigh Dhiegh (The Manchurian Candidate (1962)) as Davalo, and Murray Hamilton (The Twilight Zone TV Series (1959–1964), Naked City TV Series (1958–1963). The Untouchables TV Series (1959–1963), The Graduate (1967), The Drowning Pool (1975)) as Charlie Evans.

Screenshot%2B%25287902%2529.png Arthur Hamilton (Randolph) Second Chance Inc. Candidate Arthur Hamilton (Randolph). Banker burnout. Suburban somnambulist. Rolex rat racer. Wife, Emily (Reid). Empty nesters. Lovelife on low. New York Central commuter. Scarsdale - Manhattan - Scarsdale. Day in day out. Over and over.

Late night call. Charlie Evans (Hamilton). Who? Charlie, best friend, tennis buddie, a voice from the dead. Artie can't wrap his head around this. He thinks it's a prank. He's sweating. He can't sleep. Day two. Artie heading home. Grand Central Terminal. He picks up a tail. The tail follows him across the main concourse and down a ramp to track 24. Just as Artie gets on his train the tail calls out his name and hands him a piece of paper with an address 34 Lafayette Street.
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That night Charlie calls again, he describes Artie's fireplace mantel, their tennis picture, the tennis trophy with the crude inscription they scratched in its base "fidelis eternis". Charlie tells Artie to show up it's a new chance at life and he's to tell them his name is Wilson.

 
 

Screenshot%2B%25287928%2529.png 34 Lafayette St.
The address is a rat hole dry cleaner. They send Artie to a meat packer. They put him in the back of a truck and take him to loading dock at the back of a nondescript building.

 
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 "The Company." It's a warren of bleak corridors that finally lead to a secretary who then gives him a drink and leaves him in an empty office, sitting on a sofa. In a surreal sequence, Artie stumbles into a room and approaches a girl on a bed, he falls on her and she screams. He wakes up and he's back on the sofa. It was a dream.

 
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A Mr. Ruby (Corey) enters, gives him the details of the contract. $30,000 will get him a fake death and a new life with a new identity a second life. They tell him that his wife will be generously provided for. When Artie seems hesitant Ruby asks him what does he have now? To force the issue and coerce Artie, Ruby shows him a movie of Artie's assault on the woman, it wasn't a dream. Artie signs. Artie next meets "The Old Man" (Geer) who comes off as the folksie "Colonel Sanders" of re-birth. They tell him that they'll arrange his death in a hotel fire, they have a "fresh" corpse ready to take his place.

Screenshot%2B%25287970%2529.png Mr. Ruby (Corey)
Screenshot%2B%25287979%2529.png Artie transformed into Tony (Hudson)
They give Artie, through plastic surgery, a new face, new teeth, new fingerprints, a new body with the identity of Antiochus "Tony" Wilson (Hudson) and they eventually drop him off in a "Peace Love Dove" schtick, bacchanalian, hedonist, cliché, left coast community in, where else? Malibu, California.
 
 
East meets West, meets Crazy. He's now an rich artist, with a manservant. He meets Nora (Jens) and they begin a relationship. They changed him on the outside but not on the inside. Things are a bit too "Far Out" for Tony/Artie in the Age of Aquarius. 

<spoilers ahead>

The community he's in, he realizes too late, is full of "reborns." At a cocktail party Tony/Artie gets smashed and begins to talk too much, revealing who he actually is. This was a big no, no. He also finds out that Nora and his manservant where employees of the company.
 
Tony/Artie heads back to New York accompanied by his manservant, he wants a different rebirth, but he firsts goes to visit Emily as a painting acquaintance of Artie.


Emily Hamilton: You see, Arthur had been dead a long, long time before they found him in that hotel room.

After the reunion with Emily he goes back to the company and told that he must recommend a new client for them. He tells Ruby that he can't think of anyone. Ruby then tells him to wait until they can provide a new identity. In the "waiting" room he meets his old friend Charlie.

 

Tony/Artie: I couldn't help it, Charlie. I had to find out where I went wrong. The years I've spent trying to get all the things I was told were important - that I was supposed to want! Things! Not people... or meaning. Just things. And California was the same. They made the decisions for me all over again and they were the same things, really. It's going to be different from now on. A new face and a name. I'll do the rest. I know it's going to be different. I suppose you do too.

Tony/Artie doesn't have long to wait for his trip to Noirsville.

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Both John Randolph and Rock Hudson are excellent. The rest of the cast, some with Classic Film Noir creds, provide some cinematic memory to the film.

The film does an excellent job right from the get go in the Daliesque title sequence of providing the Surrealistic tone for the whole film. Experimental POV camera shots disorient the viewer and draw you fully into the bizarre riff on Murder Incorporated. Paned at the time of release the film was just too ahead of it's time. A new Criterion release is available. 8/10

 

Full review with NSFW screencaps herehttp://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/04/seconds-1966-rat-race-reboot.html



#29 cigarjoe

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 07:51 PM

The Savage Eye (1960) Experimental "Dramatised Documentary" Noir
 
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A passion project, directed and produced by a triumvirate of Ben Maddow who was also a prolific screenwriter and documentarian noted for (Framed (1947), Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948) (adaptation), The Asphalt Jungle (1950)), film director and editor Sidney Meyers (The Quiet One (1948)), and director, producer and screenwriter Joseph Strick (The Big Break (1953), Tropic of Cancer (1970), Road Movie (1974)).
 
They worked on this project, both writing and editing it in the city of Los Angeles, California, over a number of years in the late 50's strictly on their weekends for roughly $65,000. The music was by Leonard Rosenman. The outstanding cinematography was by Jack Couffer, Helen Levitt and Haskell Wexler. 
 
The Savage Eye is a feast for Noir eyes.
 
The film stars Barbara Baxley (Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV Series (1955–1962), Naked City TV Series (1958–1963), The Twilight Zone  TV Series (1959–1964), No Way to Treat a Lady (1968)) as Judith McGuire, Herschel Bernardi (Mike Hammer TV Series (1958–1959), Stakeout on Dope Street (1958), Murder by Contract (1958), Peter Gunn TV Series (1958–1961)) as Kirk, Jean Hidey as Venus the Body, Elizabeth Zemach as The nurse and narrated in part by Gary Merrill (Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), A Blueprint for Murder (1953), Witness to Murder (1954), The Incident (1967)).
 
The Savage Eye is the dramatized documentary of a year in the life of a young divorcée Judith McGuire who has recently relocated to Los Angeles, California after a bitter separation from her husband. He dumped her for another woman.
 
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Judith McGuire (Barbara Baxley)
 
The somewhat absurd and outlandish strangeness of her new surroundings in tinseltown is juxtaposed against the discarded broken dream lives of the disenchanted, the down and out disillusioned, and the lost and aged waiting to die. The film is a beautiful and poignant snapshot in time, giving us a neo realist, cinema vérité feel.
 
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pet cemetery
 
Screenshot%2B%25287782%2529.pngDive Bar
 
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Venus the Body (Jean Hidey) 
 
Judith is a fish out of water, both in her new surroundings and in the changing mores of the time, the sexual revolution train is definitely coming. She lives between the alimony paychecks on "bourbon and cottage cheese", in a Murphy bed furnished apartment. She survives her depression through beauty treatments, body spas, bingo/poker parlors, yoga classes, and boozing it up, sometimes starting as early as 2PM in the afternoon in an L.A. dive. She gets the Dutch courage to call her ex but only finds out that he's getting married again and couldn't be happier.
 
When Judith finally decides to start dating she agrees to go out with Kirk, a married man. She tells herself it's revenge. Kirk takes her to movies, to dinner, to a prize fight, wrestling match, to a roller derby match, to a burlesque strip show.
 
Screenshot%2B%25287817%2529.pngJudith and Kirk (Herschel Bernardi)
 
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Near 'N Far Burlesque
 
Her relationship with Kirk comes to its culmination after a New Year's Eve party and a degrading session on her pull down mattress.
 
Quaintly she feels very "fifties" soul tortured, dirty,and unclean. She washes herself, her sheets, her car. She "goes to Jesus" to wash her sins in the form of an evangelical church service, but decides she isn't going to confess to **** with a married man in front of a huckster faith healer. She tries to commit suicide by automobile but survives. During her recovery she does a self reboot and embraces life and all its absurdities.
 
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Barbara Baxley, as the moderately depressed woman seems to absorb her surrounding situations without coming off as being too desperate despite her personal tragedy. She and Gary Merrill trade the lines of narration. Herschel Bernardi making his moves, is convincing as the straying husband out to score.
 
What makes The Savage Eye special is that practically every frame of the film could grace the walls of a photographic art gallery in Noirsville. Screencaps are from Image Entertainment October 10, 2000 DVD.
 
Full review with mucho screencaps (some NSFW) here: http://noirsville.bl...perimental.html

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#30 cigarjoe

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 07:59 AM

Despite its many shortcomings, I think The Thrill Killers is probably the best movie from Ray Dennis Steckler. The Incredibly Strange Creatures... became the big cult hit, though. My favorite Steckler anecdote is connected with his 1966 movie Rat Pfink a Boo Boo, a terrible attempted parody of the Batman TV show. The story goes that the title was originally Rat Pfink and Boo Boo, the latter being the stand-in for Batman's Robin. But the people making the titles misread it, and thought it was "a" rather than "and", and the meager amount of money needed to fix it was too much for Steckler. He later denied this story, stating that the "a" was always intended, as that's what his young daughter said at the time. 

 

I have a handful of Steckler's later (70's) films still to watch. I found a box-set of them cheap at a local flea market. He eventually drifted even further into the fringe and made hardcore porn films in Las Vegas. He later started to self-release a lot of his old movies, and he participated in the bonus features on most of the DVDs. He died in 2009, aged 70. He has a place in the upper pantheon of all-time great bad-movie directors.

The Thrill Killers is undeniably a lot of fun.

 

I'm finding a lot of interesting films in the 1960-67 range with talented and innovative directors that emerged after the demise of the Motion Picture Production Code. The 1958/59 years usually given for Film Noir style cut off was just arbitrary. There are still a few B&W Film Noir up to 1968.

 

I think what's going on is as the Motion Picture Production Code weakened and independent film creators were allowed more artistic freedom, so those Noir that went too far over the line depicting violence started getting classified as Horror, Thriller (even though they were just say, showing the effects of a gunshot wound, or dealing with weird serial killers, maniacs, etc.), those that went too far depicting sexual, drug, torture, etc., situations were being lumped into or classed as Exploitation (even though they are relatively tame comparably to today's films), 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 were labeled Experimental.

 

With nothing really giving some of some of these directors & producers some parameters, or putting the brakes on, there was no speed limit they just shot past common sense and good taste and eventually they just dispensed with almost all plot at all and just followed the easy money into hardcore. Shame cause you can clearly see artistic talent in these early "Grindhouse" features. 

 

P.S. I just watched Reflections In A Golden Eye (1967) the other day again (on TCM) and without a doubt it's a Film Noir in the vein of the psychological type noir, but everyone is distracted by its "sensationalism" and maybe some of the atrocious accents and the mumbling of Marlon, lol . 


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#31 LawrenceA

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 07:54 PM

Despite its many shortcomings, I think The Thrill Killers is probably the best movie from Ray Dennis Steckler. The Incredibly Strange Creatures... became the big cult hit, though. My favorite Steckler anecdote is connected with his 1966 movie Rat Pfink a Boo Boo, a terrible attempted parody of the Batman TV show. The story goes that the title was originally Rat Pfink and Boo Boo, the latter being the stand-in for Batman's Robin. But the people making the titles misread it, and thought it was "a" rather than "and", and the meager amount of money needed to fix it was too much for Steckler. He later denied this story, stating that the "a" was always intended, as that's what his young daughter said at the time. 

 

I have a handful of Steckler's later (70's) films still to watch. I found a box-set of them cheap at a local flea market. He eventually drifted even further into the fringe and made hardcore porn films in Las Vegas. He later started to self-release a lot of his old movies, and he participated in the bonus features on most of the DVDs. He died in 2009, aged 70. He has a place in the upper pantheon of all-time great bad-movie directors.


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#32 cigarjoe

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 07:17 PM

The Thrill Killers (1964) SoCal Film Soleil - Fringe Noir - Horror

 
thrill_killers_poster.jpg

Here's a film that's got to be seen by my fellow noiristas and aficio-noirdos. 

For not having a pot to **** in or a window to throw it out of, working with an extremely low budget, director and cult film auteur, Ray Dennis Steckler (The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!? (1964)) and crew, crafted a delightfully over the top work of aesthetically camp art.

Yea, it's chock full of C&D list actors most of whom never really went anywhere in show biz. And yea, the story is about not one, not two, not three, but four homicidal maniacs. And when it was shown in theaters it was not only promoted by Ormond (Ormond Dale McGill), a hypnotist, who before the feature would "hypnotise" the audience with a Twilight Zone like spinning spiral allegedly to induce "Hallucinogenic Hypno-Vision", but apparently they also, with a William Castle type gimmick, placed paid actors, to play homicidal maniacs sprinkled amongst the theater audience.
 

The film was written by Ron Haydock, Gene ****, and Ray Dennis Steckler. The film contains some really innovative and incredibly up to date feeling cinematography by Joseph V. Mascelli and Lee Strosnider. Film editing was by Austin McKinney. The music, a sort of bongo beat jazz score was by André Brummer.

The film stars Ray Dennis Steckler credited in the film as Cash Flagg played Mort "Mad Dog" Click,  and Liz Renay (The Sound of Fury (1950), The Naked and the Dead (1958), Date with Death (1959), Desperate Living (1977)), as Liz Saxon.

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Mad Dog Click (Ray Dennis Steckler ) Screenshot%2B%25287608%2529.png

Liz Saxon (Liz Renay)

 

The rest of the cast has Joseph Bardo credited as Brick Bardo (The Beverly Hillbillies TV Series (1962–1971)) playing Joe Saxon, Carolyn Brandt as Carol, Gary Kent (Hells Angels on Wheels (1967)) as Gary Barcroft, Herb Robins (Convoy (1978)) as Herbie Click, Keith O'Brien as Keith Rogers, Laura Benedict as Linda, Ron Burr as Ron, Titus Moede (The Twilight Zone TV Series (1959–1964)) as Motorcycle Officer / Yes Man at Party, Erina Enyo as Erina Devore, Atlas King as Dennis Kesdekian, Nancy Crawford as Mrs. Kesdekian, George J. Morgan as himself, and Gene **** as the Detective.

<Spoilers ahead>

A typed title card tells us that the story is supposedly based on true events occurring "back" in 1965. We get a voiceover by actor, director, and writer Coleman Francis (The Tattooed Stranger (1950), Stakeout on Dope Street (1958), The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)), about struggling actor Joe Saxon (Bardo). Coleman tells us that Joe lives in a world of "non-reality". He's trying to break into tinseltown showbiz. He spends money throwing wild parties trying to impress Hollywood phonies. His wife Liz (Renay), an ex actress now an artist, is worried about making payments.
 

 
We cut to ridiculously bouffant haired Greek immigrant Dennis Kesdekian (King) he lives in a world or "reality," he's got a wife and kids and responsibilities. Heading through the San Gabriel Mountains towards Mojave on what looks like the Sierra Highway, Dennis stops to pick up a hitchhiker, Mort "Mad Dog" Click (Steckler). Bad Idea. Mad Dog shoots Dennis dead and steals his '53 Plymouth Plaza Wagon.

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That evening Joe throws another shindig trying to impress movie producer George J. Morgan. He's hoping to get a part in his next feature, while down on Main St. in Los Angeles Mad Dog picks up a taxi dancer/hooker Miss Devore (Enyo) for quickie at her flop.

Screenshot%2B%25287578%2529%2B-%2BCopy.p
 
 

She turns on a cheap plastic radio to set the mood, she pulls out some glasses and a bottle of booze. When the woman starts to get physically friendly Mad Dog goes berserk. Slapping her around.

Miss Devore:What did you do that for?
Mad Dog: You're cheap.
Miss Devore: Cheap! What's so cheap about fifty dollars.

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"Cheap! What's so cheap about fifty dollars."

 
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Mad Dog grabs a pair of scissors and repeatedly stabs her. Meanwhile a radio bulletin breaks into the music and we hear that three lunatics Keith (O'Brien), Herbie (Robbins) and Gary (Kent), have escaped from the Camarillo State Mental Hospital and are on the loose. The same bulletin is broadcasting on the radio in Joe and Liz's bedroom.

Liz: At least we didn't have all the lunatics at our party tonight

The next day, Liz decides to leave Joe. She drives up Topanga Canyon to her cousin Linda's (Benedict) rustic, roadside, greasy spoon, diner the Pleasant Inn.

In the diner are an engaged couple Ron (Burr) and Carol (Brandt). They get in their '61 Ford F100 and drive up to see the nearby house they just bought, but their love nest is infested with lunatics, their handyman is decapitated. Mayhem ensues and soon both Ron and Carol meet the same fate. Note, a few of these sequences are quaintly cheesy by today's horror standards, which add to the films charms.

Joe and producer Morgan arrive at the Pleasant Inn soon joined by the three lunatics Keith, Herbie, and Gary who drive up in Ron and Carol's pickup looking for a cup of coffee after a hard morning's "work." Herbie calls up his brother on the phone to tell him to come quick and pick him up, he wants to get away from these "nuts" that he's with. Herbie tells to come to the Pleasant Inn at the bottom of Topanga Canyon. His brother turns out to be surprize, surprize, Mad Dog.

Of course everything goes beautifully and chaotically Noirsville, with some exciting and exceptionally well choreographed action sequences.

Noirsville
 

 
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Ray Dennis Steckler does an amazing job as director, writer and actor. It surely helps that he actually looks crazy, perhaps it's his beady eyes which seem to be set just a tad too close together, or his close cropped haircut, which gives him a bit of a pinhead appearance. The combination bestows upon him the aura of sewer rat. A rat who is a few cards short of a full deck.

His stunt work during the final chase is excellent. He started making films with an 8mm camera, he was an Army photographer serving in Korea. He also spent a year at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Astoria, Queens with the Army Pictorial Service of the Signal Corps before driving to Hollywood to try and break into the "Big Time".   He worked on Timothy Carey's The World's Greatest Sinner becoming  director of photography. He ended up in the B and independent film circuit working for Arch Hall Sr.'s Fairway Pictures. In 1963 he co-produced his first solo film, The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies, co-starring his then wife, Carolyn Brandt. Filmed for a budget of $38,000, the film was photographed by cinematographer Joseph V. Mascelli with at that time newcomers László Kovács and Vilmos Zsigmond as camera operators.

Liz Renay is the films eye candy. As the ex movie star now artist/housewife she'll remind you of a more voluptuous Ginger (Tina Louise) from Gilligan's Island, however at 38 this Ginger is nearing the end of her starlet shelf life. Liz admirably provides the films hints of T&A. She is also excellent doing her own stunt work scrambling barefoot over the grass, sage scrub, and chaparral mountain sides during the films final chase sequences. When she gets all that she got going for her in motion, in a barely concealing slinky sheath dress it's hard to take your eyes off Liz, you expect her to fall out that dress at any moment. Renay was born Pearl Elizabeth Dobbins, to  "evangelical parents." She broke bad running away from home and won a Marilyn Monroe lookalike contest. She then became a showgirl during World War II. Liz eventually became a squeeze to Los Angeles hoodster Mickey Cohen. After his arrest she refused to sing to the cops and was sentenced to a trey in Terminal Island prison. Later she became a stripper, and performed a mother-daughter strip act. She wrote a tell all book titled "My First 2,000 Men."

The rest of the cast of Hollywood castoffs are good enough to varying degrees. Watch for Titus Moede's ridiculous "Yes" man, he also plays the motorcycle cop at the final denouement. Joseph Bardo is convincing as the struggling actor though it probably wasn't much of a stretch for him ditto for George J. Morgan. Bardo, Liz Renay and Gary Kent have some exciting fight and flight sequences.

Don't expect much and you'll be amazed at what can be done for peanuts. Screencaps are from the Shriek Show 2004 DVD. Also known as The Maniacs Are Loose! 7/10 More screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-thrill-killers-1964-socal-film.html

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#33 cigarjoe

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 06:31 PM

The Iceman (2012) Bio Noir

 
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A Bio Noir film based on the true story of longtime New Jersey hitman Richard Kuklinski. The film was directed by Ariel Vromen. Based on the book by written by Anthony Bruno and the documentary by James Thebaut, the screenplay was written by Morgan Land and Ariel Vromen. The cinematography was by Bobby Bukowski (Arlington Road (1999)). The music was by Haim Mazar.

The film stars Michael Shannon (The Missing Person (2009), Nocturnal Animals (2016)) as Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski, Winona Ryder (Beetlejuice (1988), Night on Earth (1991)) as Deborah Kuklinski, Chris Evans (Snowpiercer (2013)) as Robert "Mr. Freezy" Pronge, Ray Liotta (The New Mike Hammer TV Series (1984–1989), Something Wild (1986), Goodfellas (1990), Cop Land (1997), Hannibal (2001), Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)) as Roy DeMeo, James Franco as Marty Freeman, David Schwimmer (NYPD Blue TV Series (1993–2005),American Crime Story TV Series (2016– )) as Josh Rosenthal, John Ventimiglia (Cop Land (1997), The Notorious Bettie Page (2005), The Sopranos TV Series (1999–2007), The Missing Person (2009) ) as Mickey Scicoli, Robert Davi (Gangster Wars (1981), City Heat (1984), Die Hard (1988)) as Leo Marks and Stephen Dorff as Joseph Kuklinski.

Screenshot%2B%25287504%2529.png Kuklinsky (Shannon)
Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski looks somewhat normal on the outside, but he's seriously bent, totally wacked, a nutjob, crazier than a **** house rat. He is a ****, I mean a real total ****, but he's a **** with principles, he doesn't kill women or children. He compartmentalised his life, a good principled family man in one slot, a dubber for bootlegged pornographic films (he tells his wife (Ryder) he's working on Disney cartoons) in another, and a cold blooded mob killer in the next.

He had a Polish immigrant father who brutally beat both him and his brother (Dorff). The film barely touches on this. But we get the message and all it's implications quick. We see him cut the throat of a guy who just insulted his future wife after a game of pool. His own seriously **** up brother Joseph (whom he never tells his wife about and he himself basically disowns) is serving time for **** and murdering a twelve-year-old girl.

Roy DeMeo (Ray Liotta), is a Jersey mob boss. DeMeo is **** because his dubbed pornfilm product is late. He decides to visit his operation to see what's what. He confronts Kuklinski who stands up for himself. It's never explained but the porn film biz is going down the tubes, perhaps DeMeo is seeing the future in VHS tapes. DeMeo is closing down his porn lab, Kuklinski is out of a job. DeMeo sees a bit of potential a bit of spark in this hard case ex employee. He gives him a test, he hands him a gun and tells him to kill a homeless man. Richard passes with flying colors.

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    Mickey Scicoli (Ventimiglia) lt. and Kuklinsky
 

Screenshot%2B%25287532%2529.png  Roy DeMeo (Liotta)
Screenshot%2B%25287517%2529.png  Josh Rosenthal (Schwimmer)  
Richard begins a new career. It's basically Murder, Inc. All goes well until Kuklinski lets a teenage girl (who was hiding in a closet) live after he whacks a porn photographer. Killing women and children is against his principles. Interestingly this taboo against killing women led to the demise of Vince Edwards in the Classic Film Noir  Murder by Contract (1958). Anyway letting this witness live puts his **** in the wringer. DeMeo, cuts him off, puts him "on suspension." Kuklinski, after a few months in dry dock begins to go bonkers (if that's even possible). He gets into fights with his wife, and gets a serious case of road rage when he get's into a fender bender.

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During his "active" period he'd met another hit for the mob Robert "Mr. Freezy" Pronge (based on Robert "Mister Softee" Pronge) who drives around in an ice cream truck. Pronge does contract assassinations for DeMeo's boss Leo Marks (Robert Davi).

I remember the ice cream truck coming around to my neighborhood as a kid growing up in Astoria, Queens in the 50s and 60s. Mr. Softee eventually replaced the Bungalow Bar ice cream trucks. Bungalow Bar sold hard ice cream, while Mr. Softee sold twistie soft ice cream and the trucks were modern self contained soda fountains. Hell, for all I know, I may have bought some ice cream from Pronge, lol.

Kuklinski remembers Pronge, seeks him out, and asks him if he could sub contract sort of "freelance" for him. Kuklinski will take all the chances on the hits and they'll split the disposal work and the profits. Part of the genius of the operation was that Pronge and Kuklinski would use the ice cream truck to transport the victims and the freezer at the ice cream warehouse to store the bodies for indefinite periods of time.

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., Robert "Mr. Freezy" Pronge ( Evans)  
Of course it all goes even more Noirsville. DeMeo eventually finds out about Kuklinski's self employment. Kuklinski kills Marks when he threatens his family, and when Kuklinski's daughter is hit by a hit and run driver he suspects it was done by Pronge, who he kills. In 1986 Kuklinski is caught up in a sting operation and put out of business.

Noirsville
 

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It's Michael Shannon's film all the way, he plays a 180 from the somewhat dysfunctional alkie detective in The Missing Person. His is a powerful performance, he exudes dread, while displaying a normal perfectly composed exterior to his family and friends. If you saw this guy he plays on the sidewalk you'd cross to the other side ot the street. The rest of the cast is pretty much pitch perfect, with performances that punctuate the various sequences. The cinematography and production design recreates beautifully the grimey NY-NJ metro area of 60s,70s, 80s.

Screencaps are from the Millennium 2014 DVD. 7/10 

 

Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-iceman-2012-bio-noir.html 


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#34 cigarjoe

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 09:55 PM

Tell Me In The Sunlight (1965) Sweet & Sleazy

 
 

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Tell Me In The Sunlight was Directed by Steve Cochran. Writing Credits go to Steve Cochran, Jo Heims, and Robert Stevens. The cinematography was by Rod Yould and the music by Michael Andersen. 

 

In Nassau in the Bahamas, an American Supercargo on leave picks up a beautiful exotic dancer for a casual fling, but falls in love with her in spite of having just met her. She seems to feel the same way for him, but she already has a boyfriend. This leads to an awkward and unpredictable love triangle that could become dangerous. (from IMDb)

 

The film stars Steve Cochran (The Chase (1946), White Heat (1949), The Damned Don't Cry (1950), Highway 301 (1950), Storm Warning (1951), Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951), Private Hell 36 (1954), Il Grido (1957), I Mobster (1959), The Beat Generation (1959), ) is excellent, he's weathered and a bit rough around the edges and fits the part admirably. Shary Marshall (Panic in Year Zero! (1962), Your Cheatin' Heart (1964), The Street Is My Beat (1966)) is an eye opener, she's totally believable as the stranded beauty who uses her body to make a life for herself. She's a natural talent and you have to really wonder **** happened to derail her career. I wouldn't be surprised if the death of Cochran and the delay of the release of this film had something to do with it.

The rest of the cast has some nice vignettes Jay Robinson plays a friendly Nassau Barber. Dave Bondu is the cheapskate club owner Alex, who fines his strippers for various infractions. Patricia Wolf is earthy as Julie's fellow stranded dance trooper Chata who does her strip to "Beautiful Dreamer." George Hopkins plays is one of Dave's laidback shipboard buddies Tony, along Rockne Tarkington who plays the black lothario Rocky. Jill Walden plays Carol the pregnant girl in the park who is thinking of committing suicide, and George Roberts is the young pickpocket.

 

 

Screenshot%2B%25287350%2529.png Dave (Steve Cochran)

 

 

 

   

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Julie (Shary Matshall)
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Screencaps are from the 2009 Televista DVD. A must see for Steve Cochran fans. 7/10

 

Complete review with more NSFW screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/03/tell-me-in-sunlight-1965-sweet-sleazy.html
 

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"Home....too far away... too far back."


#35 cigarjoe

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 05:29 AM

The Friends Of Eddie Coyle (1973) New England Neo Noir

 
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With friends like these you don't need enemies.

Directed by Peter Yates (Bullitt (1968)). Screenplay by Paul Monash based on the book by George V. Higgins. Cinematography by Victor J. Kemper and Music by Dave Grusin (The Long Goodbye (1973), The Nickel Ride (1974), Mulholland Falls (1996)). 

The film stars Robert Mitchum (veteran of eight Classic Noir, and, Cape Fear (1962)The Yakuza (1974), Farewell My Lovely (1975), The Big Sleep (1978), ), Peter Boyle (Crazy Joe (1974), Taxi Driver (1976), Hardcore (1979), Hammett (1982)), Richard Jordan (Naked City TV Series (1958–1963), The Yakuza (1974), Delusion (1991)), Alex Rocco (Motorpsycho! (1965), The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967), The Godfather (1972)), Steven Keats (Death Wish (1974), Black Sunday (1977)), Mitchell Ryan (Dark Shadows TV Series (1966–1971)TV ), Electra Glide in Blue (1973), and Joe Santos (Flesh and Lace (1965), The Panic in Needle Park (1971), Blue Thunder (1983), The Sopranos TV Series (1999–2007)).

Screenshot%2B%25287252%2529.png Eddie  "Fingers" Coyle Eddie "Fingers" Coyle (Mitchum). A small time wiseguy. Lives in an older, rundown, Dorchester, Boston neighborhood. He's got a wife and three kids. Eddie's got loads of "friends."

Currently he's a middleman supplying untraceable guns to a bunch of freelance goomba bank robbers Jimmy Scalise (Rocco) and Artie Van (Santos).

The gunrunner is Jackie Brown (Keats). Jackie runs around in a muscle car a 1971 Plymouth Road Runner. Jackie gets his goods from a junkie who boosts what Jackie needs from gun shops up in New Hampshire. When Eddie gets anxious about the next "package" Jackie asks Eddie why he's in such a hurry?

Eddie 'Fingers' Coyle: One of the first things I learned is never to ask a man why he's in a hurry. All you got to know is I told the man that he could depend on me because you told me I could depend on you. Now one of us is gonna have a big fat problem. Another thing I learned. If anybody's gonna have a problem, you're gonna be the one.
Jackie Brown: You finished?
Eddie 'Fingers' Coyle: No, I am not finished. Look, I'm gettin' old, you hear? I spent most of my life hanging around crummy joints with a buncha punks drinkin' the beer, eatin' the hash and the hot dogs and watchin' the other people go off to Florida while I'm sweatin' out how I'm gonna pay the plumber. I done time and I stood up but I can't take no more chances. Next time, it's gonna be me goin' to Florida.
 
Screenshot%2B%25287254%2529.png Dillon (Boyle)
Eddie Coyle is also a stoolie. He feeds lawman Dave Foley (Jordan) underworld table scraps hoping to get out of doing time for a truck jacking job he got pinched for up in New Hampshire. That job was supposed to be "a pipe", easy money. Coyle did it for for another mobbed up hood named Dillon (Boyle). Dillon runs a downtown bar, but he doesn't have the liquor license. That license is held by a third party. Dillon is also a freelance hit man and he's passing info to Foley too. Eeh, forgedaboudit, this outfit is the "gang that couldn't shoot straight." There is no honor among these thieves.

When it comes down to the wire for his date at court, Eddie Coyle tries to get some bargaining chips from Foley.

Eddie 'Fingers' Coyle: I was thinkin' in terms of you maybe talkin' to the prosecutor up there, and havin' him drop a word to the judge how I been helpin' my Uncle like a bastard?
Dave Foley: Well, I would. But then again you haven't been.
Eddie 'Fingers' Coyle: What? I gave you a couple of calls.
Dave Foley: Yeah, you give me some real stuff, too. You tell me about a guy that's gonna get hit, 15 minutes later he gets hit. You tell me about some guys on a job, but you don't tell me till their coming out the door with the money. That's not helping Uncle, Eddie. You gotta put your whole soul into it.

Eddie in desperation feeds Foley a tip about a hippie couple who wants to buy machine guns. He rats out Jackie. When Foley tells him that it's not enough, Eddie then rats out Scalise and Van, but Foley has already arrested them from a tip he got through Dillon.

Eddie 'Fingers' Coyle: I shoulda known better than to trust a cop. My own **** mother coulda told me that.
Dave Foley: Everybody oughta listen to his mother.

A mob enforcer meets with Dillon who tells him that Scalise thinks Eddie Coyle fingered them to the cops. Dillon isn't going argue since that will take the heat off him. The mob wants Eddie dead and Dillon is picked to do the hit.

 
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Mitchum eyes perpetually at half mast now gives off a look more world weary than that of a cool nonchalance of his earlier roles. He's very convincing as the two time loser faced with doing some serious time.  Boyle is good as the unassuming, under the radar, hit man. Rocco is believable as the lead bank robber, Santos equally as his second banana. Keats steals all the scenes he's in, and Jordan plays the manipulating lawman well.

 
 
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The film really captures the ambiance of the dives and dumps of the South end of Boston in the early 1970's. Screenshots are from the Criterion DVD. 7/10

 

Full review with more screenshots here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-friends-of-eddie-coyle-1973-new.html


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#36 cigarjoe

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 06:59 AM

Twilight Of Honor (1963) What if "Anatomy Of A Murder" had went Noirsville?

 
 

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"Any man whose wife turns him in is better off dead."
Directed by Boris Sagal (Mike Hammer TV Series (1958–1959), Johnny Staccato TV Series (1959), Mr. Lucky TV Series (1959–1960), Peter Gunn TV Series (1958–1961), The Twilight Zone TV Series (1959–1964), Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV Series (1955–1962)). The screenplay was written by Henry Denker based on the novel by Al Dewlen. The excellent cinematography was by Philip H. Lathrop whose credits include camera operator on (The Raging Tide (1951), Touch of Evil (1958), Hammett (1982)), and as cinematographer for (Mr. Lucky TV Series (1959–1960), Peter Gunn TV Series (1958–1961), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Experiment in Terror (1962), Lonely Are the Brave (1962), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), The Americanization of Emily (1964), Point Blank (1967)). Music was by Johnny Green (They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)).

The film stars Richard Chamberlain as David Mitchell, Nick Adams (Rebel Without a Cause (1955), I Died a Thousand Times (1955), Hell Is for Heroes (1962)) as Ben Brown, Claude Rains (Moontide (1942), Casablanca (1942), Angel on My Shoulder (1946), Deception (1946), The Unsuspected (1947), Rope of Sand (1949), Where Danger Lives (1950)) as Art Harper, James Gregory (The Naked City (1948), Nightfall (1956), The Big Caper (1957), The Manchurian Candidate (1962)) as Norris Bixby, Joey Heatherton (My Blood Runs Cold (1965)) as Laura Mae Brown, Pat Buttram as Cole Clinton, Joan Blackman as Susan Harper, Jeanette Nolan (The Big Heat (1953), Psycho (1960)) as Amy Clinton, Edgar Stehli (Boomerang! (1947)) as Judge James Tucker, Bert Freed (Black Hand (1950), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), 711 Ocean Drive (1950), No Way Out (1950), Detective Story (1951), Why Must I Die? (1960)) as Sheriff B.L. 'Buck' Wheeler, and Linda Evans as Alice Clinton.

Twilight of Honor is a courtroom drama along the lines of Anatomy of a Murder (1959). Otto Preminger's film deals with a service man (Ben Gazzara) accused of killing a popular backwoods Michigan resort owner who the defense (James Stewart) claims allegedly rapped his wife (Lee Remick). The state prosecutors (George C. Scott and Brooks West) are determined to impinge the reputation of the service man's wife, claiming that her revealing attire (she went around "bare legged") and intense sexuality signified her as a woman of loose morals. The fact that both the service man and his wife were heavy boozers also enters into the equation.

 
Twilight of Honor begins with the Big Sky, a plane, a twin engine job, like the one in "Sky King" tracks across it. It's a Western Neo Noir. We see with eyes used to reading Western codes what looks like a lynch mob. It is, just updated to the 20th Century.  A cut to the aircraft and the sheriff is dragging USAF vet Ben Brown (Adams) out of the plane like a dog on a chain. He's wanted for the murder and robbery of a rich and beloved native New Mexican scion, Cole Clinton (Buttram). Brown is brought into Clinton's Durango County seat hometown for arraignment before a grand jury. That lynch mob atmosphere is duplicated with another angry crowd at the courthouse. David Mitchell (Chamberlain) a local attorney is appointed by Judge Tucker (Stehli) to defend Brown. Norris Bixby (Gregory) the state's special prosecutor has ambitions. He wants to use the case to run for governor. Mitchell's old friend and law associate Art Harper (Rains) is a renowned retired attorney. He encourages the seemingly in over his head, and very discouraged Mitchell to agree to take on the case. Mitchell hasn't tried a case in three years. Harper with some sort of heart condition will act as Mitchell's mentor.

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At the county jail Mitchell meets Ben's cheap, shapely, slutty, round-heels wife Laura-Mae (Heatherton). Laura-Mae ratted out her own husband Ben. Mitchell also find out that after his arrest Ben signed a confession. When Mitchell questions Ben about his confession he tells him that it was made under coercion and that the document he signed left out parts of his original statement.

 

When Mitchell and Harper conduct a research of New Mexico’s criminal code, they discover No. 12-24 which provides that a husband is innocent if he kills another man whom he discovers in the act of adultery with his wife.

Mitchell and Harper's monumental task now, is to convince a jury that is made up of friends, business associates, club members, and acquaintances that their favorite son Cole Clinton was a lecherous adulterer.

What makes Twilight Of Honor different from Anatomy Of A Murder and tips the film directly into Noirsville is the use, by director Boris Sagal, of vivid and extremely lurid true and false story flashbacks of the sleazy details of the Ben-Laura-Mae-Cole Clinton relationship that lead up to the death of Cole Clinton.

Noirsville

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Richard Chamberlain in one of his first major roles does an adequate job as David Mitchell he's no Jimmy Stewart, he actually pull it off. Claude Rains in one of his last screen appearances is effective and touching as Art Harper, though he's relegated more to the background. James Gregory is doing his big blowhard schtick to perfection and Jeanette Nolan as the conniving widow are both convincing in their supporting roles. Arch Johnson is nicely slimey as the Palomino Bar bartender, and Pat Buttram is in the movie role of a lifetime as the sleazy rancher Cole Clinton trolling watering holes for young ****. Other early 60s TV staples are glimpsed in minor roles, Gene Coogan, Chubby Johnson, Burt Mustin, and Henry Beckman. The two standouts for me are Nick Adams, and in her big screen debut Joey Heatherton.

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Nick Adams was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, he plays, docile, bewildered, desperate, defeated, demoralized, betrayed, dumb, calculating and vicious, however I've read that many of his most intense scenes were cut from the final released version, and he subsequently lost to actor Melvyn Douglas for his role in Hud (1963). They should have left his parts in. They probably sacrificed his screen time to beef up the Chamberlain/ He could have been a contender but sadly life gave him a one way ticket to Palookaville.

 
Joey Heatherton's first role as a dramatic actress came in 1960 when she guest starred on TV's Route 66, in Twilight of Honor as Femme Fatale Laura-Mae Brown she displayed an eye catching and incredibly sizzling aura of sleazy eroticism. She sort of had a shooting star career, she either peaked just a bit too soon, or Hollywood didn't know how to take advantage of her, too bad. She was a bonafide sex symbol and had mainly a television career appearing in countless variety shows. If the film had been made five years later after the demise of the Motion Picture Production Code, one can guess what heights she would have achieved in this, she had it.

Don't get me wrong, Anatomy Of A Murder is the better film, but Twilight Of Honor is the Noir-er one. It only makes me speculate how much better (from a Noir point of view, of course) both films may have been had former had flashbacks of Laura Manion's (Lee Remick) encounter with Barney, and the later had a more accomplished late Classic Film Noir actor in the lead. Better yet the film would have been even more up to date if it was told from the Browns POV from the get go. This film needed more Adams, Heatherton, Buttram, New Mexico, West Texas, and less everyone else.

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The soundtrack was adequate nothing special, however all the sequences showing Laura-Mae dancing at the juke box would have been much better if they had used actual hits from the time, i.e., Blue Velvet/Bobby Vinton, Sugar Shack/Jimmy Gilmer And The Fireballs, The Lion Sleeps Tonight/The Tokens, etc., etc., rather than the elevator type music that was used. Screencaps are from the Warner's Archive Collection DVD 7/10.

 

Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/03/twilight-of-honor-1963-what-if-anatomy.html



#37 kjrwe

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:43 PM

Tonight I'll be watching Elevator to the Gallows, which I've seen a number of times and enjoyed each time. A younger fellow has been carrying on with his much older boss' younger wife and they come up with a plot to kill the boss/husband and to make it look like suicide. From then on, things start to go downhill for them and interesting for me.

 

Wonderful French 1950s noir with a touch of comedy to it!


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#38 cigarjoe

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 11:17 AM

Girl Of The Night (1960) New York Call Girl Noir

 
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Surprisingly good Psychological Woman's Neo Noir with an Oscar worthy performance by Anne Francis. Based on the book "The Call Girl: A Social and Analytic Study" by Dr. Harold Greenwald it was a doctoral dissertation on the psychology of prostitutes. Published in 1958.

Directed by Joseph Cates (Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)), the screenplay was written by Ted Berkman (Murder on Diamond Row (1937), The Green Cockatoo (1937), Short Cut to Hell (1957)) and Raphael Blau (Edge of Fury (1958)). The films cinematography was by Joseph C. Brun (Walk East on Beacon! (1952), Edge of the City (1957), Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965)), and the music was by Sol Kaplan (Trapped (1949), 711 Ocean Drive (1950), The House on Telegraph Hill (1951), Niagara (1953) and, The Burglar (1957)).

 
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The film stars Anne Francis (Rogue Cop (1954), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Forbidden Planet (1956), The Satan Bug (1965), ) as Bobbie, Lloyd Nolan (veteran of & Classic Noir) as Dr. Mitchell, Kay Medford (The Undercover Man (1949), Guilty Bystander (1950), A Face in the Crowd (1957), BUtterfield 8 (1960)) as Rowena Claiborne, John Kerr as Larry Taylor, Arthur Storch as Jason Franklin, Jr., James Broderick as Dan Bolton, and Eileen Fulton as Lisa.

Girl%2BOf%2BThe%2BNight%2B1960%2B06.jpg Bobbie and Dr. Mitchell (Nolan) Girl Of The Night tells the story of Robin "Bobbie" Williams (Francis) a relatively "low mileage" call girl. When we first view her she is running terrified through the streets of Manhattan. A taxi cab picks her up and the driver takes her to her address. In the same building there is the office of Dr. Mitchell, who agrees to take a look at her, even though he is a psychologist. She tells Mitchell that she is a prostitute.

 
Dr. Mitchell is intrigued by all this and asks Bobbie if she'll agree to regular sessions on the couch... get your minds out of the gutter. Bobbie accepts the offer and we begin to hear and see her story in both audio and visual flashbacks.

 
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Bobbie's sugar daddy "finesse pimp" is her "boyfriend" Larry (Kerr). He was supposed to watch out for weirdo S&M johns, but instead of accompanying Bobbie to the job decided to sit in cocktail bar and chat up a potential new "stable" gal named Lisa (Fulton). 
 
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Rowena Claiborne (Medford) sort of the Madam of the call girl operation schedules the various tricks. Bobbie and new turnout Lisa are sent on a "date" with two business men of of whom is the out of town client of the other. When the out of town client leans a bit too heavily on new girl Lisa, he finds out that the girls are hookers. He begins to torment Lisa.  She freaks out and accidentally backs away and over a balcony falling quite a few stories to her death.

 
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Bobbie is stunned when Larry gets angry with her for letting Lisa screwing up "date."  He roughs her up and she decides to leave the biz. She gets a job as a file clerk and with Dr. Mitchell's help begins to lead a normal life.

 
The film employs numerous sessions of questions and answers with Dr.Mitchell to reveal to the audience how a broken childhood, an absentee father, and being violated on a regular basis with a delivery boy who paid her off in candy, contributed to her present situation. Through all his help Bobbie begins to understand that her attraction to Larry is motivated by disgust and hatred. By giving Larry the money she makes, she sees him as lower than herself on the human trash heap.

 

 

 

 

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It's all in all a pretty interesting film with quite a bit of insight into the sex worker business. The film is exceptional when you remember it was produced when the Motion Picture Code was still enforced. Anne Francis really gives an Oscar worthy performance. Lloyd Nolan plays the analyst to perfection. John Kerr as Bobbie's manipulating, suave, alcoholic pimp is equally good he reminds me of Steve Franken who played Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. in "The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis" (1959–1963). Kay Medford who deals with life's unpredictabilities by staying heavily "on the sauce", she is equally convincing as the crumbling madam coasting on the down side of life.

Dark, uncomfortable, and at times noirish you can see why Girl of the Night disappeared from the cultural consciousness in the uptight 50s early 60s it was a bit ahead of it's time, then but the same film would need to be a bit more exploitive for today's audiences. It deserves way more recognition. Screencaps are from the Warner's Archive collection. A Café au lait Noir 7-8/10.

 

Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/03/girl-of-night-1960-new-york-call-girl.html


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#39 cigarjoe

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 01:22 PM

Why Must I Die? (1960) Forgotten Noir

 
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C noir Directed by Roy Del Ruth (Red Light (1949)), Screenplay was written by Richard Bernstein, Herbert G. Luft ( The Naked Kiss (1964)) and George Waters. Cinematography was by Ernest Haller (Blues in the Night (1941), Mildred Pierce (1945), Deception (1946), The Unfaithful (1947), The Come On (1956), Plunder Road (1957), The 3rd Voice (1960), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)). Music was by Richard LaSalle.

The film stars Terry Moore (Mighty Joe Young (1949), Gambling House (1950), Shack Out on 101 (1955)), as Lois King, Debra Paget (Cry of the City (1948), House of Strangers (1949), Fourteen Hours (1951)), as Dottie Manson, Bert Freed (Boomerang! (1947), Black Hand (1950), 711 Ocean Drive (1950), No Way Out (1950), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), Detective Story (1951), Twilight of Honor (1963)) as Adler, Juli Reding (Vice Raid (1960), Tormented (1960)) as Mitzi, Lionel Ames as Eddie Rainey, Phil Harvey (Touch of Evil (1958)) as Kenny Randall, Fred Sherman as 'Red' King, and Sid Melton (White Heat (1949), Hi-Jacked (1950)) as Morrie Waltzer.

why%2Bmust%2BI%2Bdie%2B1960%2B01.jpg Lori King (Moore)
Lori King is a torch singer at The Cockatoo nightclub. She has been so popular that she has been signed on for another month. Originally from the Midwest she keeps her past under wraps. Her father Red (Sherman) is a con serving time, but he's soon to be released. She's trying to make a new life for herself. Her boss, Kenny Randall, (Harvey) has the hots for Lori.

Enter Eddie Rainey (Ames), the ex partner of her father. He tells Lori that he's going to tell the prison authorities enough dirt on Red to extend his sentence to life, if she doesn't help Eddie and his female accomplice, safe cracker Dottie Manson (Paget), rob The Cockatoo's wall safe.


why%2Bmust%2BI%2Bdie%2B1960%2B07.jpg Dottie (Paget) Lori is also worried about what Randall will think about her shady past. All Lori has to do is give Eddie the key to the front door. Their plan is to send the nightwatchman a thermos of drugged coffee as a "gift" from Lori. Once he's knocked out Dottie will let herself into the club and blow the safe. Eddie will act as the lookout.
 

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When Randall goes, after hours, to the club on the night of the planned heist he interrupts Dottie emptying the safe. She guns him down in his office with the gun she got from Lori's apartment and scoots. Lori who was trying to contact Randall also heads for the club. She discovers Randall, and her gun. The watchman comes to and stumbles upon Lori bending over Randall with the gun in her hand.

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The police put Lori on the hot seat, she tells them what happened, but since they can't find either Eddie or Dottie, they pin the murder on her. In the meantime Dottie double crosses Eddie and takes off with all the loot. Eddie is destitute and living in a dump with a floozie Mitzi (Reding) on Bunker Hill.

Lori is tried and convicted and sentenced to death row at a prison in Noirsville awaiting the electric chair.

Noirsville


why%2Bmust%2BI%2Bdie%2B1960%2B18.jpg Mitzi (Reding)
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Why Must I Die? is low rent, and chuckle inducing at times. During the robbery Dottie and Eddie communicate with walkie-talkies as big as fireplace logs. Terry Moore is functionally somewhat believable as Lori, and she signs a few forgettable numbers, but Debra Paget's "mad ****" Dottie has a bigger pair than partner in crime Eddie. She is way way over the top. Dottie blows the nightclub safe in stilettos and capri pants, then tells Eddie over the walkie-talkie "so long sucker", and hysterically, with the money in her greedy little hands, sprints off away from the getaway car and dumbstruck Eddie.

Eddie, puts the pedal to the metal and tries to run her over, but crashes into a back alley wall. Later, Dottie, has burned through the take from The Cockatoo. Desperate she holds up a liquor store. During the robbery she panics and shoots a blind newsboy in the back, who innocently walked in to deliver the papers. When the clerk asks why , she tells him that "he can talk, he can yell copper, can't he."

The rest of the cast is adequate. Noir vet Freed is good as Adler and Juli Reding's Mitzi provides more eye candy than either of the leads.

This film is mildly entertaining, if not taken too seriously, but it's not a must watch. It does have nice surprise ending, I'll give it that much. 6/10

 

Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/03/why-must-i-die-1960-forgotten-noir.html



#40 LawrenceA

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 08:19 PM

Cigarjoe, I'm glad you liked Angel Heart. It's a personal favorite of mine, too. It has atmosphere to spare, and a genuinely unsettling tone. 


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