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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Recently watched Noir


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#41 manderstoke

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 11:27 AM

  Something that has always puzzled me about film noir was its virtual disappearance by the mid-50's.  Why did it disappear?  Were larger societal forces at work?  Was this a decision made in Hollywood?  The bleak settings and doomed characters were replaced by banal situations and syrupy endings.  As for plotlines, existential crises gave way to silly romances (will Doris get her man Rock?).  What was this all about?  Often, Hollywood movies went from serious to stupid.  Was this an inevitable fallout from the moguls decisions that film's purpose was first and foremost to entertain?  Any ideas?


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#42 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 07:32 PM

Amen to what TheCid wrote.  I'm losing interest in this thread because of all the inserts.  I can watch the movies on my own, thank you!  Why aren't there any discussions about film noir - its themes, history, problems, stars, etc., etc.  Am I to conclude that no one has thought about these things and no one has anything to say about them?

 

I like the inserts and find them very interesting.    As for discussions;  There are.  But if you want more START A THREAD!

 

(or being up items related to noir to discuss in this thread,  I  (as well as others I assume) will gladly respond).


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#43 manderstoke

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 07:24 PM

Amen to what TheCid wrote.  I'm losing interest in this thread because of all the inserts.  I can watch the movies on my own, thank you!  Why aren't there any discussions about film noir - its themes, history, problems, stars, etc., etc.  Am I to conclude that no one has thought about these things and no one has anything to say about them?



#44 cigarjoe

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 03:29 PM

 

 

Shield For Murder (1954) O'Brien Breaks Bad

 

 

shield-for-murder-movie-poster-1954.jpg

Directed by Edmond O'Brien (Man-Trap (1961)) and Howard W. Koch (Crime Against Joe (1956), The Girl in Black Stockings (1957)). Screenplay by Richard Alan Simmons and John C. Higgins, it was based on the novel of the same name by William P. McGivern. Cinematography was by Gordon Avil (Big House, U.S.A. (1955)).

The film stars Edmond O'Brien veteran of 12 Classic Film Noir as Lieutenant Barney Nolan, Marla English as Patty Winters, John Agar (The Woman on Pier 13 (1949)) as Sergeant Mark Brewster, Emile Meyer another late Classic Noir vet (Panic in the Streets (1950), Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951), The People Against O'Hara (1951), The Mob (1951), Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954) The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) Sweet Smell of Success (1957), The Lineup (1958)), as Captain Gunnarson, Carolyn Jones (The Big Heat (1953)) as Beth, Claude Akins (Down Three Dark Streets (1954)) as Fat Michaels, Lawrence Ryle as Laddie O'Neil, Herbert Butterfield as Cabot, Hugh Sanders (Storm Warning(1951), I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951), The Sellout (1952) The Steel Trap (1952), I Died a Thousand Times (1955)) as Packy Reed, William Schallert as Assistant District Attorney Andy Tucker, Joe Ploski as Man Eating Spaghetti and Vito Scotti as Joe the Bartender.

01%2BShield%2BFor%2BMurder%2B1954.jpg Lieutenant Barney Nolan (Edmund O'Brien) Police Dick Lieutenant Barney Nolan has put in a sixteen year slog with the LAPD. He's fed up with getting nowhere fast. In Barney's world dreaming big is buying a new fully furnished track house gashed into some LA hillside where he and gal pal Patty can make an LAPD Blue Heaven.

Barney hatches a plan to jumpstart his dream. He whacks a bookie carrying a 25G payoff to gangster Packy Reed. Barney also makes it look like The bookie tried to escape from justice. When the police and his partner Sergeant Mark Brewster arrive Barney tells them that he was going to take the victim in when he suddenly made a break for it.

08%2BShield%2BFor%2BMurder%2B1954.jpg

The coroner's report lists the victim having only $300. Packy Reed suspects Barney stole the cash and sicks two shady PI's Fat Michaels and Laddie O'Neil on his tail to recover what's his. When they brace Barney he tells them he doesn't know anything about any stinking 25Gs.

Barney takes Patty (who lives in an apartment) up to the dream house. There he asks her to marry him. While she's digging on the house he slips outside and digs a hole and buries the envelope with the loot.
 
18%2BShield%2BFor%2BMurder%2B1954.jpg

Of course everything goes to Noirsville when a deaf mute shows up claiming to have witnessed the murder of the bookie. Barney tries to buy him off but when he refuses, a hefty shove from Barney causes his head to bounce off the metal footboard of his bed. Barney arranges the body to make it look like an accident and then skedaddles. Unfortunately Barney's protege Sergeant Mark Brewster finds the deaf mute's written account of the murder that pins Barney as the killer.

Noirsville

05%2BShield%2BFor%2BMurder%2B1954.jpg

10%2BShield%2BFor%2BMurder%2B1954.jpg Barney & Captain Gunnarson (Emile Meyer)
 
 
26%2BShield%2BFor%2BMurder%2B1954.jpg

 

27%2BShield%2BFor%2BMurder%2B1954.jpg Barney and B-Girl Beth (Carolyn Jones)
 

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42%2BShield%2BFor%2BMurder%2B1954.jpg
 
This is O'Brien's film and he does a great job portraying a man whose life is coming apart at the seams. He goes from cool confident conniver to desperate desperado with both the hoods and the police after him. The last third of the film constantly escalates the suspense factor. Emile Meyer also put in a good solid showing as the police captain.

Watch for a small cameo by Carolyn Jones as a B girl trying score a trick with Barney, and the stylistic brutal pistol whipping by Barney of the two PI's show only from the terrified perspectives of the restaurant's clientele.

Shield For Murder has some innovative sequences and is an entertaining mid fifties Noir 7/10. More screencaps are from the Kino Lorber DVD here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2016/11/shield-for-murder-1954-obrien-breaks-bad.html

 


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#45 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 03:01 PM

I have gotten a DVD of ONE WAY STREET, but the quality is extremely poor.  In the minority, I really like the plot, the characters, the sound track, and especially the ending, a perfect film noir conclusion.  Some viewers missed the point, liking the fillm but seeing the ending as a Code imposition.  Yet, from the very beginning, ie, the title, the movie signals Mason's fate.  Others complained that there was no passion between Mason and Toren.  Nuts to that.  Mason's was always of the smoldering variety and here it is in fine display.  Toren was lovely and sultry, and it is sad that she died so young.  Anyway, I consider this a film noir gem and wish for its restoration.

 

I would like to see the film so I can judge for myself.   But yea,  what film reviewers said about the film when it was released was that the film was flat and rather uninteresting.



#46 manderstoke

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 02:40 PM

I have gotten a DVD of ONE WAY STREET, but the quality is extremely poor.  In the minority, I really like the plot, the characters, the sound track, and especially the ending, a perfect film noir conclusion.  Some viewers missed the point, liking the fillm but seeing the ending as a Code imposition.  Yet, from the very beginning, ie, the title, the movie signals Mason's fate.  Others complained that there was no passion between Mason and Toren.  Nuts to that.  Mason's was always of the smoldering variety and here it is in fine display.  Toren was lovely and sultry, and it is sad that she died so young.  Anyway, I consider this a film noir gem and wish for its restoration.



#47 cigarjoe

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 06:11 AM

My introduction to films noir was ONE WAY STREET, a film universally panned by the critics and forgotten today.  But I have a fondness for it because it was the beginning of a lifelong passion.  I would love to have a good DVD or even a VHS of it.

I haven't seen One Way Street either. 



#48 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 08:07 PM

My introduction to films noir was ONE WAY STREET, a film universally panned by the critics and forgotten today.  But I have a fondness for it because it was the beginning of a lifelong passion.  I would love to have a good DVD or even a VHS of it.

 

I haven't seen One Way Street.   Being a fan of Dan Duryea and James Mason I wish TCM would show it but since Universal owns the rights to it,  the odds are lower TCM can lease the film.



#49 LawrenceA

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 07:50 PM

Why all this space given to scenes from film noir movies?  Are they supposed to be substitutes for conversations on the subject?

 

Are you asking why there aren't people discussing film noir in the film noir section? This has a multitude of answers.

 

1) There are fewer people total posting now than before.

 

2) Many posters don't know that the genre sections exist, and even if they do, they rarely look at them, sticking mainly to the top section of the message board.

 

3) This thread was started by CigarJoe to talk about films that he just watched. Then it's up to other people to comment on or question him or other posters about the movie. 

 

4) The best way to have a conversation is to start one. Lead by example.



#50 manderstoke

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 06:31 PM

Why all this space given to scenes from film noir movies?  Are they supposed to be substitutes for conversations on the subject?



#51 manderstoke

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 07:21 PM

My introduction to films noir was ONE WAY STREET, a film universally panned by the critics and forgotten today.  But I have a fondness for it because it was the beginning of a lifelong passion.  I would love to have a good DVD or even a VHS of it.



#52 cigarjoe

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 01:54 PM

The Case Against Brooklyn (1958) Pseudo NYPD Noir

 
CAB%2Bposter.jpg

Here is a late "Classic Noir" cop film that has great cinematography, a decent story about NYPD police corruption undercover work fifteen years before Serpico, and the always enjoyable Darren McGavin in the title role. It's missing one thing....


B R O O K L Y N ! ! !


Now  how the hell can you make a film about corruption in the NYPD Brooklyn precincts and NOT have any second unit or even stock footage establishing shots of the boro the film is set in? I'm spoiled, I guess after seeing the likes of The Naked CityOdds Against Tomorrow, and Blast Of Silence, backlot NYC just doesn't float my boat. You expect more not less.

No footage of the Brooklyn, Manhattan or Williamsburg bridge, no East River, no skyline, no subways, no avenues. A two second clip of Brooklyn Boro Hall is it. It's a  big omission.

It's not as if they couldn't afford stock footage, they actually have a clip of a truck going off a curve and turning over from Thieves Highway (1949). It's jarringly out of place, and looks like California where it was shot, lol.


35%2BThe%2BCase%2BAgainst%2BBrooklyn%2B1 A token second unit footage sequence of an el train What they have is a few pathetic still shots of Grand Army Plaza, either the Gowanus Canal or Newtown Creek, a still of part the Brooklyn Bridge and some anonymous avenue but all of these are hidden behind the opening credits. All this spells out cheap.

The film does at least have some cuts to an el train going by along with the audios of passing subway cars during one sequence, but again, it needed a lot more sprinkled here and there, if it was going to compete on a level playing field with all of the more well known New York City noirs, The Naked City,  The WindowThe Dark CornerKiss of DeathWhere The Sidewalk EndsCry Of The CityThe UnsuspectedThe Glass WallThe Killer That Stalked New YorkSweet Smell Of Success, etc., etc.   If those are all considered "B" Noirs The Case Against Brooklyn,  A Columbia Pictures release, looks like a "C" Noir. Hell even cheapo "D" noir, Blast Of Silence has beaucoup more New York City ambiance, of course it had the advantage of actually being shot in New York.

Because of the lack of second unit footage the film has that "stylized" almost dreamlike, depopulated, relatively garbageless, antiquated backlot city look and feel, hell they don't even have the old bishop's crook street lamps, they give us these "California" globe type lamps. You get this exact same look and feeling when viewing The Man With The Golden ArmA Streetcar Named Desire, Rear Window, and the weird split personality look of The Money Trap (1965) which jarringly segues between real LA and a backlot New York brownstone street. That film sorely missed using the old Bunker Hill Locations. But I'm digressing.

17The%2BCase%2BAgainst%2BBrooklyn%2B1958 An antiseptic New York  City backlot, note  the globe street lamp, I never saw those in NYC. 
Also MIA is any New York/Brooklyn accents, you'd think it would have been a casting concern for a film set in NYC, even that would have helped more with the ambiance.

Other than those minuses The Case Against Brooklyn is a tight little film directed by Paul Wendkos who gave us (The Burglar (1957) and that film did include location shots of Atlantic City). The story was by written by Ed Reid based on his story “I Broke the Brooklyn Graft Scandal”, Daniel B. Ullman (screen story), Bernard Gordon (screenplay) (originally as Raymond T. Marcus) and Julian Zimet. Cinematography was by Noir, Crime, and SiFi vet Fred Jackman Jr. (Dangerous Passage (1944), Creature with the Atom Brain (1955), The Night Holds Terror(1955), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1957).


04%2BThe%2BCase%2BAgainst%2BBrooklyn%2B1 Franklin (Stevens) and drop collector (Herb Vigran)
 
The film stars Darren McGavin (Fear (1946), The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), Mike Hammer (TV Series), The Outsider (1967 TV film and 1968-1969 TV), Kolchak: The Night Stalker (TV Series)) as Pete Harris.

The supporting cast provides quite a bit of cinematic memory, Margaret Hayes as Lil Polombo (Saboteur (1942), The Glass Key (1942), ), Warren Stevens (Women's Prison (1955), The Price of Fear (1956), Accused of Murder (1956), The Twilight Zone (TV Series) ) as Rudi Franklin, Peggy McCay as Mrs. Jane Harris, Tol Avery (Where Danger Lives (1950), Gambling House (1950), His Kind of Woman (1951), Naked Alibi (1954), ) as Dist. Atty. Michael W. Norris, Brian G. Hutton as Jess Johnson, Emile Meyer (The People Against O'Hara (1951), Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954), Shield for Murder (1954), The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), The Lineup (1958), ) as Police Capt. T.W. Wills, Nestor Paiva (The Fallen Sparrow (1943), Cornered (1945), Rope of Sand (1949), Split Second (1953), I, the Jury (1953), New York Confidential (1955).  ) as mobster Finelli, Robert Osterloh as Det. Sgt. Bonney, Joe De Santis as Gus Polumbo, Herb Vigran, and Bobby Helms as Himself - Vocalist (his biggest hits were My Special Angel and Jingle Bell Rock).

 

18%2BThe%2BCase%2BAgainst%2BBrooklyn%2B1

 

The story is a quasi police procedural, about the investigation of a breaking news story about police corruption infesting Kings County (Brooklyn). Police corruption was already addressed in earlier Noir films such as The Big Heat (1953) - Philadelphia, is probably the first film that comes to mind, but we also have The Turning Point (1952) -  Los Angeles, Rogue Cop (1954) - New York, and Shield for Murder (1954) - Los Angeles that all travel to some extent down the same track.

Rudi Franklin: You got that cop look
Det. Sgt. Bonney: What's that?
Rudie Franklin: Like you never missed a meal in your life.

The film goes into high gear at the 13:50 mark when Ex-Marine Intelligence Sergeant, Pete Harris, is taken out of his Police Academy Graduating Class due to his undercover experience to investigate and identify police corruption in the 65th Precinct, Brownsville. Dist. Atty. Norris is in charge of the 40 man, police academy graduate, undercover squad. Harris is assigned to illegal betting parlors run by gangster Finelli and his second hand man Rudi Franklin. He also must get close to the widow of Gus Polumbo (a parking garage owner) who killed himself in a truck rollover to collect on a double indemnity policy so that his wife could pay off his gambling debts.

 
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24%2BThe%2BCase%2BAgainst%2BBrooklyn%2B1

 

 

When Pete's hand picked partner Jess Johnson is gunned down by a crooked cop, Pete becomes obsessed with avenging his death to the point of alienating himself from the undercover squad and his wife.
 

43%2BThe%2BCase%2BAgainst%2BBrooklyn%2B1

44%2BThe%2BCase%2BAgainst%2BBrooklyn%2B1

Darren McGavin is excellent, you can see why he was tagged to play Mike Hammer in the 1958-59 TV series, which BTY in case you are interested has quite a few noir-ish episodes The series is available on DVD.

Harris goes around with a chip on his shoulder, a hair trigger temper and a Colt .45 Automatic (too bad the Mike Hammer series didn't include the .45). The rest of the cast is good, my only small quibble is with the female leads, you mean to tell me Columbia couldn't come up with some of their better known female talent, Kim Novak, Anne Bancroft, Jayne Mansfield, Martha Vickers, or Felicia Farr? I guess they were cutting costs all down the line. The film uses plot points and stylistic devices from other films noticeably The Big Heat, and Desperate. It's entertaining enough, 7/10.

37%2BThe%2BCase%2BAgainst%2BBrooklyn%2B1

Screencaps are from the SPHE DVD. Motre screencaps here http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-case-against-brooklyn-1958-pseudo.html

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#53 cigarjoe

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 07:06 PM

Abandoned (1949) Black Market Babies

 
Poster%2B2%2BAbandoned%2B1949.jpg


Directed by  Joseph M. Newman (711 Ocean Drive (1950), Dangerous Crossing (1953), The Twilight Zone (TV Series)). Written by Irwin Gielgud (original screenplay), and William Bowers (additional dialogue). Cinematography by William H. Daniels (Brute Force (1947), Lured (1947), The Naked City (1948), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof(1958).

The film Stars Dennis O'Keefe (The Leopard Man(1943), T-Men (1947), Raw Deal (1948), Walk a Crooked Mile (1948), Woman on the Run(1950)), Gale Storm (My Little Margie (TV Series)), Marjorie Rambeau, Raymond Burr (twelve classic Film Noir), Will Kuluva, Jeff Chandler (Johnny O'Clock (1947), Female on the Beach (1955), The Tattered Dress (1957), ), Meg Randall (Criss Cross (1949)), Jeanette Nolan (The Big Heat(1953), and Mike Mazurki (Murder, My Sweet (1944), Nightmare Alley (1947), I Walk Alone(1948), Night and the City (1950)).

00%2BAbandoned%2B1949.jpg

 

05%2BAbandoned%2B1949.jpg Paula (Storm) lt. Mark (O'Keef)

 

Moving along at a good pace Abandoned makes use of numerous Los Angeles' locations. The iconic LA City Hall looms ominously. A young woman Paula Considine (Storm) arrives at the Missing Persons Detail in search of her missing older sister and her baby. There she meets reporter Mark Sitko (O'Keefe) who takes it upon himself to assist her, it doesn't hurt that she is cute. Stiko spots a man tailing her who turns out to be a PI named Kerric (Burr).

03%2BAbandoned%2B1949.jpg P.I. Kerric (Burr)

 

When Paula and Mark check the morgue's Jane Doe's they find her sister but not the baby. Through various channels, old newspaper articles and various tips they discover a black market baby racket that is protected by the mob.

 

08%2BAbandoned%2B1949.jpg Mark (O'Keef), Paul (Storm), Kerric (Burr)

 

Their next stop is the "Sally Ann" the Salvation Army where they discover that her sister was there, and after talking to one of her acquaintances discover that she hooked up with a woman who promised that she would find a home for her baby. Going to the district attorney they get the assistance of Chief MacRae (Chandler). 


 
 
10%2BAbandoned%2B1949.jpg Marjorie Rambeau
15%2BAbandoned%2B1949.jpg Will Kuluva
21%2BAbandoned%2B1949.jpg
                                                                    Burr & Mazurki
 

25%2BAbandoned%2B1949.jpg

28%2BAbandoned%2B1949.jpg

Gale Storm is quite adequate as the girl from Beaver Brook searching for her sister. Dennis O'Keefe, comes off as your typical Film Noir hero. Chandler is good but underused as the D. A. Baby racket head, Marjorie Rambeau will remind you of Margaret Dumont. Will Kuluva, is mobster Little Guy Decola who bestows protection to the scheme with Mike Mazurki his enforcer. Raymond Burr, is in his trademark "heavy" role as a sleazy private dick, but it's interesting to note the Mazurki is even bigger than Burr.

Its an entertaining film especially if you are not expecting much, could use a restoration screencaps are from an avi file. 6.5-7/10. 

 

Full review with more screencaps here:  http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2016/11/abandoned-1949-black-market-babies.html

 



#54 cigarjoe

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Posted 26 October 2016 - 09:19 PM

Hell Bound (1957) Tail Fin Noir

 

A little gem of a noir from Bel-Air Productions (sounds like the name of dive hotel on Bunker Hill), watching this film was a real hoot.

 

Directed by William J. Hole Jr., Written by Richard H. Landau (screenplay) and Arthur E. Orloff. 

The film stars John Russell, June Blair, Stuart Whitman, Margo Woode, George E. Mather, Stanley Adams, Frank Fenton,  Dehl Berti and Virginia De Lee
 

Poster%2B01.jpg

 

Cinematography is by Carl E. Guthrie, and Music by Les Baxter.

 

Drug smuggling caper brainstormed by Jordan (John Russell) who even shoots a film depicting the plan to show to money man Harry Quantro (Frank Fenton). Quantro's gal pal Paula (Blair) takes a shine to Jordan and attaches herself to the scheme.

 

Of course like in all foolproof plans it all goes spiraling into Noirsville.

 

02%2B%2BHell%2BBound%2B1957.jpg Jordan (Russell)

 

03%2BHell%2BBound%2B1957.jpg Paula, (June Blair)

 

 

24%2B%2B%2BHell%2BBound%2B1957%2B-%2BCop

 

 

 

26%2B%2B%2BHell%2BBound%2B1957%2B-%2BCop

 

 

Highlights...

 
The "infomercial" must have cost Jordan (Russel) quite a bit of moola it has very high production values, besides it lays out the whole crime to all his movie cast and crew, and lets don't forget his narrator who minutely details all the action on the screen, Jordan would have had to commit a mass execution of everyone involved to keep anyone from talking, it's chuckle worthy when you think about it .
 
Paula (Blair) is very hot to trot with with almost anybody wearing pants. Her "boyfriend" Harry the money man for the job even remarks, at the heist meeting, to Jordan "Paula, like she has two heads on her shoulders, one of them for just thinking....." It's left to your imagination what she does with her "other" head. Later when the meeting is over, naughty Paula asks Jordan to help her put on her shoes, when he obliges she flips the recliner up so it suggests that he has a view up her skirt. Later when Paula has Jordan cornered in an apartment, she moves in for the kill only to find that Jordan is not responding in a normal way, she asks him "you better see a doctor Jordan you have a low blood count."
 

 

There is also this whole elaborate meeting of the junkie (George E. Mather) and "Daddy" (Dehl Berti) his creepy looking pusher sitting at a ringside table at a nightclub strip show. The junkie is itchin' and twitchin', slightly freaking out, needing a fix, while the pusher ignores him sitting calmly wearing dark sunglasses, and slicked back hair and is drinking a glass of milk. While the junkie pleads, the stripper (Virginia De Lee who was a cover girl who also BTW appeared in Playboy) gyrates directly in front of the pusher. The Pusher tells the junkie "shut up I want to enjoy this" You don't notice till the end of the strippers set that the pusher is holding on to a seeing eye dog.
 

19%2B%2BHell%2BBound%2B1957.jpg Junkie Stanley (George E. Mather) and "Daddy" (Dehl Berti)

 
13%2B%2B%2BHell%2BBound%2B1957.jpg

 

16%2B%2BHell%2BBound%2B1957.jpg

 

 
32%2B%2B%2BHell%2BBound%2B1957.jpg

 

33%2B%2B%2BHell%2BBound%2B1957.jpg

 

 

Again an excellent little Noir that won't disappoint. Has tali fins galore and a denouement at the Los Angeles trolley graveyard.

 

The screencaps are from the MGM limited edition DVD entertaining. 7/10

 

Full review with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.bl...in-noir_26.html


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#55 cigarjoe

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Posted 24 October 2016 - 09:31 AM

Payback (1999) Point Blank Redux

 
Payback%2BPoster.jpg
Payback is the third interpretation of Donald E. Westlake's novel The Hunter (1962), written under the pseudonym Richard Stark. A crime thriller novel, the first of the Parker novels. The other films are John Boorman'sPoint Blank (1967), starring Lee Marvin and Ringo Lam'sFull Contact (1992), starring Chow Yun-fat.

Payback was directed by Brian Helgeland and written Brian Helgeland (screenplay) and Terry Hayes (screenplay), (theatrical cut). Cinematography was by Ericson Core, and music was by 
Chris Boardman.

The film stars Mel Gibson as Porter, Gregg Henry as Val Resnick, Maria Bello as Rosie, Lucy Liu as Pearl, Deborah Kara Unger as Lynn Porter, David Paymer as Arthur Stegman, Bill Duke as Detective Hicks, Jack Conley as Detective Leary, John Glover as Phil, William Devane as Carter, James Coburn as Fairfax, Kris Kristofferson as Bronson (Theatrical Cut), Sally Kellerman as Bronson (Director's Cut), Trevor St. John as Johnny Bronson (Theatrical Cut), Freddy Rodriguez as Valet, Manu Tupou as Pawnbroker.

Screenshot%2B%25284349%2529%2BPayback%2Bscrape doctor
 

Screenshot%2B%25284355%2529%2BPayback%2B Porter (Gibson)
 
The film was shot during September/November 1997, in Chicago and Los Angeles and it inexplicably has a short sequence of the Queensboro Bridge and Long Island City. Though no city is ever mentioned in the film we might as well call it Noirsville.

The film is not without controversy "although credited as director, Brian Helgeland's cut of the film was not the theatrical version released to audiences. After the end of principal photography, Helgeland's version was deemed too dark for the mainstream public. Following a script rewrite by Terry Hayes, director Helgeland was replaced by the production designer John Myhre, who reshot 30% of the film. The intent was to make the Porter character accessible. The film's tagline became: "Get Ready to Root for the Bad Guy." A potentially controversial scene which arguably involves spousal abuse was excised and more plot elements were added to the third act. After 10 days of re-shoots, a new opening scene and voiceover track also were added, and Kris Kristofferson walked on as a new villain." (Wikipedia)

I've seen both versions. The best film version in my opinion would be roughly, the theatrical release with the narration and blue tint up to the killing of Carter (exorcising most of the Lucy Liu/Tong revenge angle) then go with the director's cut (but keeping the blue tint) to the ambiguous end. I'd keep the beating also.

Screenshot%2B%25284361%2529%2BPayback%2B

Screenshot%2B%25284409%2529%2BPayback%2B Val Resnick (Henry) The story, Porter (Gibson) major bad ****. "Don't **** With Me" might as well have been tattooed on his forehead.  Double crossed. Mal Resnick (Henry) and Lynn (Unger) the culprits. Cowboy-ed. Gunned down. Two slugs in the back. Left for dead.

Crawls to back alley scrape doctor to get patched. Doc is a serious boozer. He gets the job done. Porter recoups. Five months. Porter is ****. Wants revenge. Wants his $70,000. His cut from a $140,000 heist of a Chinatown tong.

 

Screenshot%2B%25284399%2529%2BPayback%2B Lynn Porter (Unger) Porter bloodhounds. First Lynn. His junkie/prostitute wife. Trigger girl. Then the punk kid who delivers the bindle of horse to Lynn. Then Stegmann (Paymer) the pusher who tells him that Resnick is back in the Outfit.

Screenshot%2B%25284453%2529%2BPayback%2B  Carter (Devane) To get his $70,000, Porter has to squeeze Stegman, kill Resnick, deal with Outfit bosses, dodge Chinese Tongs, and outwit two corrupt police detectives Hicks and Leary (Bill Duke and Jack Conley).

The film looks great in a Noir-ish way. It homages beautifully classic noir with it voice over narration, the heavy use of stylistics and locations that evoke cinematic memory. Gregg Henry is impressive he evokes the spirit of Dan Duryea.Unfortunately the film goes somewhat slowly off the rails with various scenarios, i.e. Porter cutting a gas line under a an 80s Lincoln which would be physically impossible to do, you can't squeeze under that type of car, no way, and the unneeded extraneous additions of dominatrix Pearl (Liu ) and the Chinese Tong machine gun battle where it veers off into Action film and touches on Tarantino land, when it didn't have to, a shame. The majority of Films Noir were simple stories when you overload then with action sequences you tip the film past the noir tipping point it becomes more of the Action Genre, for me anyway.

 
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Give it a fair shake your personal noir tuning fork may accept it more than mine does. Watch also the Film Soleil adaptation of the novel, Point Blank (1967), for a comparison, same story set in California. I haven't seen Chow Yun-fat's Full Contact (1992). Screencaps are from the Paramount DVD. 6.5-7/10. Fuller review with more screencaps here:

http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2016/10/payback-1999-point-blank-redux.html

 



#56 cigarjoe

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 05:51 AM

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Cold War Noir

 
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It's amusing to imagine the audience reactions to the film when it first premiered during the Cuban Missile Crisis. A film about an embedded communist assassin effecting a presidential election campaign with the world on the brink of a nuclear holocaust must have additionally upped the anxiety levels of many. I never saw the film when it was first released. I was too busy doing air raid drills, hiding under my school desk with my head between my legs getting ready to kiss my **** goodbye.

Directed by John Frankenheimer. The screenplay was written by George Axelrod and is based on the 1959 novel The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon. Cinematography was by Lionel Lindon. Music was by David Amram, film editing was by Ferris Webster and production design by Richard Sylbert.

The film stars Frank Sinatra (Suddenly (1954), The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), ), Laurence Harvey (BUtterfield 8 (1960), Walk on the Wild Side (1962)), and Janet Leigh (Act of Violence (1948), Rogue Cop (1954),Touch of Evil (1958), Psycho (1960), Harper (1966), ); co-starring are Angela Lansbury (Gaslight (1944), ), Henry Silva, James Gregory (Nightfall (1956),The Big Caper (1957)), John McGiver, James Edwards and Khigh Dhiegh.

 
 

Cunchin%2BThe%2BManchurian%2BCandidate%2 Shaw (Harvey), Marco (Sinatra), Chunjin (Silva) Korean War. US Platoon. Bennett Marco (Sinatra), Captain, Italian. Raymond Shaw (Harvey), Sergeant, goes by the book. Loner. Mama's boy. ****. Has a stick up his ****. Seven other G.I.'s . Out on recon. Led into trap. Captured by Chinese/Soviets. Drugged, Brainwashed. Several days later they cross back to US Lines, all have same story. Shaw saved their lives. A Bad ****. Single handedly wiped out a Chinese company. Big hero. All platoon survivors have same praise "Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life."

Harvey%2BThe%2BManchurian%2BCandidate%2B Raymond Shaw (Harvey) Shaw is awarded Medal Of Honor. Marco is promoted to Major. Marco and rest of platoon all have a crazy recurring nightmare, they are attending a Ladies function at a hotel listening to a lecture about hydrangeas, but the nightmare/flashback keeps switching between the lecture and a small amphitheater full with Chinese, Soviet, and communist brass and medical personnel. What frightens them the most is that they see a conditioned Shaw brutally murder, machine like, without any emotion, the two platoon members who didn't make it back.

Brainwashed

Style%2B01%2BThe%2BManchurian%2BCandidat flashback
 

 
 

 

Marco is hipped. The brainwashing not quite complete. He goes to Army Intel. He describes the nightmare/flashback. Allen Melvin another platoon member has same recall. Intel investigates.
Marco and Melvin identify some of the men in the dream as leading figures in communist circles.

Home.jpg Raymond (Shaw), Mrs. Iselin (Lansbury), Senator John Yerkes Iselin (Gregory)
    Raymond Shaw's mother, Mrs. Eleanor Iselin (Angela Lansbury), has big plans. She's a cold hearted schemer. In a nod to McCarthyism, her plan is to make her chowderhead, red baiting, husband Senator John Yerkes Iselin (James Gregory), who sees communists embedded in all branches of government, President of the United States.

 

 

noirish%2B04%2BThe%2BManchurian%2BCandid

 

Mrs. Iselin is in reality a card carrying commie. Her plan involves using Raymond who is now a communist trained assassin, to murder the presidential candidate during his acceptance speech at the convention, thereby having her husband (the vice presidential candidate) lead the ticket.

 
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Raymond is triggered into various actions by a Queen Of Diamonds playing card. When displayed he obeys instructions, and has no memory afterwards. Shaw is overseen by Chunjin (Henry Silva), a North Korean agent who is employed as his houseboy.

As Marco gets closer to the truth and Mrs. Iselin eliminates, using Raymond, all obstacles to her plans the the film escalates to an exciting conclusion

Noirsville

 
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The film is both a thriller and a somewhat of a political satire. The communist brainwashers are juxtaposed against right wing buffoons.

 

Laurence Harvey is outstanding as the mama's boy/assassin, he's always struck me as phony, unreal, a ****, nobody really talks like that normally, but it all feeds into and builds the story. Sinatra is good as Marco the haunted Major who breaks the case. Angela Lansbury steals the show as Mrs. Iselin a duplicitous ****. James Gregory is entertaining as he sanctimoniously spouts baloney. Henry Silva and Khigh Dhiegh play the villains well. The only disappointment was Janet Leigh's Eugenie Rose Chaney a character that seems to be just a tacked on love interest for Marco.

 

Full review with more screencaps here http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-manchurian-candidate-1962-cold-war.html
 

 

 



#57 cigarjoe

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 08:10 PM

Lost Highway (1997) Bizarre Noir from the Twilight Zone
 
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We are all just sparks of consciousness traveling at light speed through the void. 

rated for BIZARRE, VIOLENT and SEXUAL CONTENT and for Strong Language, a blue screen MPAA film rating at the beginning of David Lynch's Lost Highway, pretty much enticingly sums up one of the best of the 1990s Neo Noirs.

Directed by David Lynch (Blue Velvet (1986), Twin Peaks (1990–1991 TV series), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), Wild at Heart (1990), The Straight Story (1999), Mulholland Drive (2001), written by David Lynch and novelist Barry Gifford (Wild at Heart (1990)). The captivating cinematography is from Peter Deming (My Cousin Vinny (1992), Mulholland Drive (2001), Twin Peaks (TV Series, (2017)) and the unsettling mood Music is from the great Angelo Badalamenti (who has collaborated with David Lynch on many projects since Blue Velvet).

Highway%2BLost%2BHighway%2B1997.jpg

The film stars Bill Pullman (The Last Seduction (1994), Zero Effect (1998), The Killer Inside Me (2010)) as Fred Madison, Patricia Arquette (True Romance (1993)) as Renee Madison/Alice Wakefield, Balthazar Getty (Natural Born Killers (1994)) as Pete Dayton, Robert Loggia (Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), Naked City TV Series (1958–1963), Scarface (1983)) as Mr. Eddy/Dick Laurent, Robert Blake (Black Hand (1950), In Cold Blood (1967), Electra Glide in Blue (1973)) as The Mystery Man, Gary Busey as Bill Dayton, Pete's father, Lucy Butler as Candace Dayton, Pete's mother, Michael Massee as Andy, Richard Pryor as Arnie, Natasha Gregson Wagner as Sheila, John Roselius as Al, Louis Eppolito as Ed, and Jack Nance (Hammett (1982), Blue Velvet (1986), Wild at Heart (1990), The Hot Spot (1990)) as Phil.

Fred%2B%2BLost%2BHighway%2B1997.jpg Fred (Pullman) Psychological Noirs have always been part of Classic Film Noir, the best know one is 1950s In A Lonely Place.  Lost Highway is vaguely similar to one of its predecessors 1966's Mister BuddwingLost Highway is a powerful psychological anxiety filled noir, though where Mister Buddwing dealt all externally with the story, in Lost Highway it is all internal. In this case we get a clue straight up front, from the credit sequence. A powerfully graphic image of headlights speeding frantically down a dark highway, each dashed centerline flashing like fragments of thoughts. This sequence is accompanied by David Bowie's haunting "I'm Deranged" with a tinkling discordant piano, we are not dwelling with a "normal" world. We are observing a surreality through the eyes of an insane man, it's frightening, the ultimate noir, life as a lost highway in a void, with no map, and no way back.

“I like to remember things my own way. How I remember them; not necessarily the way they happened.”

Fred Madison (Pullman) jazz saxophonist. Club Luna. Married to a red haired Bettie Page channeling ex-porn star Renee (Arquette). Hollywood Hills minimalist homestead. Fred jealous. Fred stressed. Fred bummed out. Fred can't get it up. Renee restless. Renee straying off the reservation.

Arquette in Bettie Page Mode

renne%2B01%2B%2BLost%2BHighway%2B1997.jp Renee (Arquette) in Bettie Page bangs
Lost Highway is filled with Neo Noir stylistics, flashbacks, Dutch angles, low key lighting, extreme closeups, shadows, and monochrome, muted, and contrasting colors.


Noirsville

noirish%2B03%2B%2BLost%2BHighway%2B1997.

Arnies.jpg Arnie's
 
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Bill Pullman has a deer in the headlights, fatigued, Dan Duryea/Zachary Scott vibe in this. Michael Massee does a great, pencil thin mustache sporting, greasy looking sleazeball, his demise is unforgettably Lynchesque. Robert Loggia's Dick Laurent/Mr Eddy as a slightly odd ball gangster with a hair trigger personality is entertaining. Robert Blake as the Mystery Man is very creepy. Patricia Arquette is wonderfully decadent as Renee/Alice the films duplicitous, psychotic, sweet and sour Femme Fatale.

Lost Highway is Lynch at his most audacious. It's lovingly been referred to as a “psychogenic fugue," an elaborate ellipse, or a ride on a Moebius Strip rollercoaster.  The score by Badalamenti, the various soundtracks, and the sound design all complement and greatly enhance the films eerie, nightmarish, disturbing atmosphere. A prime time Twilight Zone for adults. 10/10

 

Fuller review with NSFW screencaps here http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2016/10/lost-highway-1997-bizarre-noir-from.html

 



#58 cigarjoe

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 06:59 PM

Great read, good stuff !

There's two more films that we can add to the list, some one mentioned Shock Corridor (1963) and The Crimson Kimono (1959).



#59 GGGGerald

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 09:02 PM

 

Lenny (1974) Bio Noir
 
 
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There is a very small sub genre of Classic Film Noirs and also Biographies or "true story" based films that have a quasi noir vibe, I call them Bio Noir's such as Dillinger (1945), Young Man with a Horn (1950), I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955), The Wrong Man (1956), Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), The Bonnie Parker Story (1958), I Want To live (1958), Baby Face Nelson (1957), In Cold Blood (1967), The Honeymoon Killers (1970), and Raging Bull (1980). Lenny easily slips into this lineup, and takes top honors. 
 
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The film is non linear, events are portrayed out of chronological order combined with the use of Classic Noir style flashbacks and new wave jump cuts. The film bounces about between recorded interview footage of Honey Bruce (Perrine) and agent Artie Silver (Beck), depictions of their various biographical milestones, live performances of Lenny Bruce's comedy shtick (during his dive bar days, his prime when he was riding a wave of popularity, and when he was burned out and on the skids, obsessing on stage over his court transcripts), the sexy stripper routines of Hot Honey Harlow, the heroin junkie shooting galleries and the various court appearances of Bruce for flouting obscenity laws. He was a social commentary comic way before his time, talking about and poking fun at the extremely taboo subjects of religion, race, and sex. He was doing his shtick against "The Man", and got squeezed out of mainstream show business by insider pressure and silenced by outside threats put upon the operators of small venues that held the liquor licenses. 
 
Lenny is not only a Bio Noir but you can equally call it a Show Biz Noir. It's an insightful, informed depiction by Fosse of the show biz of small clubs, bars and lounges, with house jazz bands, and traveling comics and strippers that replaced traditional Burlesque and flourished in the late 40s through the early 60s. Lenny contains up front one of the most Noir-ish and beautifully choreographed stripping routine performed by Valerie Perrine. 
 
Hot%2BHoney%2BHarlow.jpg
 
There's only a small string of films that I can rattle off, Gilda (1946), Armored Car Robbery (1950), The Glass Wall (1953), Girl On The Run (1953), The City That Never Sleeps (1953), The Man With Golden Arm (1955), The Big Combo (1955), Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (1956), Hell Bound (1957), Screaming Mimi (1958), Two Men in Manhattan (1959), Satan In High Heels (1962), Angels Flight (1964) and Marlowe (1969). All Noir/Neo Noirs that either under the Hayes Code, hinted at stripping Rita Hayworth's routine in Gilda, had supporting characters in the biz, Adele Jergens in Armored Car Robbery, Robin Raymond in The Glass Wall, Mala Powers in The City That Never Sleeps, Helene Stanton in The Big Combo, Kim Novak in The Man With The Golden Arm, Barbara Nichols in Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, Michèle Bailly in Two Men In Manhattan, and Rita Moreno in Marlowe) or were actually about strippers/burlesque, Rosemary Pettit and Rene De Milo (an actual stripper) in Girl On The Run, Anita Ekberg in Screaming Mimi, Meg Myles in Satan In High Heels, and Indus Arthur in Angels Flight. These last three mentioned actually doing routines at small clubs very similar to those that Lenny Bruce and Honey Harlow actually performed in. 
 
The best of them actually featured complete or large parts of routines, and as we got further away from the 1940's and with the crumbling of the Hayes Code the more realistic they got. The top three are Rene De Milo's suggestive performance during the production code in Girl On The Run, and I'll give a tie to Rita Moreno glamour strip performance in Marlowe with Valerie Perrine's noir strip in Lenny. Perrine's routine being probably the best benchmark for what a Classic Film Noir striptease might have looked like if we had never had the Hayes Code. 
 
Bob Fosse and Bruce Surtees do for a striptease what Robert Wise and Milton R. Krasner did for the boxing prizefight in The Setup (1949). The juxtapose the action with the crowd reactions. 
 
Hot%2BHoney%2BHarlow%2B01%2BLenny%2B1974
 
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NSFW Screencaps with full review here: http://noirsville.bl...-bio-noir.html 

 

 

Great read, good stuff !


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#60 cigarjoe

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 05:35 AM

Re: Lenny, I've been advised that Hell Bound (1957) also has a burlesque dancer in the cast of characters.






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