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#41 cigarjoe


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Posted 17 February 2017 - 07:52 AM

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

#42 cigarjoe


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Posted 16 February 2017 - 01:44 PM

Stark Fear (1962) Hokie Okie Oil Patch Noir


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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





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

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

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

#43 cigarjoe


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Posted 09 February 2017 - 03:03 PM

Fright (1956) Fringe Noir - Lost Noir


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

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

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

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


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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#44 cigarjoe


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Posted 04 February 2017 - 06:08 PM

The Fallen Idol (1948) Kid Noir

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

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

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

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


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

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




  Mrs. Baines (Dredsel) 




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

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

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

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


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

#45 cigarjoe


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Posted 29 January 2017 - 06:17 AM

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

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

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

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

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


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







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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#46 cigarjoe


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Posted 20 January 2017 - 06:38 PM

Private Property (1960) Psychological California Smog Noir


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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




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

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

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


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

#47 cigarjoe


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Posted 16 January 2017 - 06:25 AM

Les Diaboliques (Diabolique) (1955)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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


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

#48 cigarjoe


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Posted 12 January 2017 - 02:24 PM

The Conversation (1974) Surveillance Noir


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

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

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



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


Anne (Williams) and Mark (Forrest)


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

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

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











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

#49 cigarjoe


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Posted 05 January 2017 - 09:56 AM

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

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#50 cigarjoe


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Posted 23 December 2016 - 06:28 AM

Road Movie (1974) Road Noir

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

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

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

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


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





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

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

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

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






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


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


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

#51 cigarjoe


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Posted 16 December 2016 - 11:34 AM

Too Late (2015) A "Tarantinian" Neo Noir


A nice discovery, right before Christmas, Too Late was actually first brought to my attention by a review in The New York Times. A review that I stumbled upon while doing a search online for something else almost a half year ago. It was well after Too Late left the few theaters it was screened at. I just discovered it's available to watch now on Netflix streaming. Neo Noir is alive and doing well.

Too Late is a surprisingly brilliant addition to the Private Eye & Neo Noir Pantheon. This film passed well under practically everyone's "noir-dar" when it was debuted on March 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California, followed on the 25th in New York City. With all the current zeitgeist going towards blockbusters, "celebrities" and oscar bait, and this having an extremely limited release, hardly anyone has seen much less heard of this fantastic modern take on Noir.

The film was directed and sharpley written by Dennis Hauck, the cinematography was by Bill Fernandez, and has an eclectic smorgasbord of music by Robert Allaire. Upon first viewing you'll see obvious nods to Sergio Leone's narrative style from Once Upon A Time In America that Tarantino homaged in Pulp Fiction. This is coupled with some intelligent and, if you pay attention, clue filled dialog vis-à-vis again, Tarantino. It also uses split screen in some sequences (Marlowe (1969)) and is loaded with other subtle noir and film references, i.e., an interesting off beat quote from Altman's Short Cuts (1993). There are probably more. The film was shot not only in 35mm Techniscope, but also in five Acts, twenty-two minute individual takes, with no hidden cuts or other editing.

00%2BToo%2BLate%2B2015.jpg Dorothy (Crystal Reed)  and Neo Bunker Hill in the b.g.
Too Late stars John Hawkes (D.O.A. (1988), Winter's Bone (2010), The Pardon (2013)) as a damaged, pushing 60, hawk-nosed, rough, weary, stringbean freelance Private Detective Mel Sampson, he's also a smoker, a toker, and a boozer. Crystal Reed (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (TV Series 2010)) as Dorothy, Vail Bloom (Angel of Death (2009)) as ex stripper, femme fatale Janet Lyons, Jeff Fahey (Impulse (1990), Planet Terror (2007), Machete (2010)), as "Cowboy" Roger Fontaine, Gordy's muscle, Robert Forster (Jackie Brown (1997), Mulholland Drive (2001), Hotel Noir (2012)) as Gordy Lyons mobbed up strip club owner, Joanna Cassidy (The Outfit (1973), The Laughing Policeman (1973), Blade Runner (1982) ) as Eleanor Mahler, Natalie Zea () Brett Jacobsen as "Skippy" Fontaine, Dichen Lachman as Jilly Bean, Dash Mihok as Jesse, Sydney Tamiia Poitier as Veronica, and Rider Strong as Matthew.

254%2BToo%2BLate%2B2015.jpg Mel Sampson (John Hawkes )


  Janet (Vail Bloom)
26%2BToo%2BLate%2B2015.jpg Gordy Lyons (Robert Forster)
52%2BToo%2BLate%2B2015.jpg Eleanor Mahler (Joanna Cassidy) 
41%2BToo%2BLate%2B2015.jpg  Jilly Bean (Dichen Lachman)
54%2BToo%2BLate%2B2015.jpg Mary (Natalie Zea) L.A., 2015. In some perverse joke of the gods, Bunker Hill rises in its skyscraper reincarnation, dwarfing the stubby spike of the Los Angeles City Hall. The view is from Radio Hill, and down across a yellowish, smog shrouded Chinatown. A woman, Dorothy, calls Mel Sampson P.I. for help. He's Too Late. She's dead.

What follows, time jumps between the present, seven years in the past, and five days ago, and is wondrously Noirsville.

A bizarre confrontation on a hilltop patio between Sampson, Gordy, Fontaine, and Fontaine's and Gordy's less than classy ex stripper wives, Veronica, and the half naked Janet.

A stripbar cute meet between Sampson, Dorothy, and Sampson's future gal pal Jilly Bean, followed by a late night nightcap at a C&W bar.

The reveal in an L.A. hotel room between Sampson, and Mary and Eleanor Mahler.

The botched attempted murder of a witness.

The acting in the film by all the principles is impeccable. John Hawkes' Mel Sampson is the anti Hollywood pretty boy hero, it took me a few reflective hours to put my finger on who he reminds me of. If you grew up in the late 60's and were a part of the counterculture and read many of the seminal works of the underground comix movement you'll see the visual resemblance to       comix icon R. Crumb. He downplays his part, making him accessible and believable.

Neo Noir vet Robert Forster is a nasty piece of work as the hard barked stripclub owner. Jeff Fahey is teddy bear-ish, good ol' boy enforcer with a broken leg. Vail Bloom is touching as the wound a bit too tight, ex stripper beauty, who crumbles disastrously, when her world comes tumbling down. Natalie Zea is heartbreaking in the part of Mary.

Too Late is at the moment available on Netflix streaming. If I have to point out any minuses I would say it could have used a bit more outdoor location footage, but that's me. A thinking man's Noir 9/10. 


Full review with NSFW screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2016/12/too-late-2015-tarantinian-neo-noir.html



#52 cigarjoe


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Posted 14 December 2016 - 05:55 AM

Lona (1964) Big K*N*O*C*K*E*R*S Noir
Director Russ Meyer (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965), Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970). At 20 he served during World War II as a U.S. Army combat cameraman for the 166th Signal Photo Company. After the war, he started out making industrial films, much like Herk Harvey (Carnival Of Souls (1962). Meyers also freelanced as a still photographer and became a well known glamour photographer doing some of the first spreads for Playboy magazine. Meyer is now well known for writing and directing a series of very successful sexploitation films that featured campy humor, sly satire and ridiculously large-breasted women. To quote wikipedia... 
"His first feature, the nudist comedy The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959), cost $24,000 to produce and eventually grossed more than $1 million on the independent/exploitation circuit, ensconcing Meyer as "King of the Nudies."" 
Hey these ex GI's went through the hell of WWII, if they got their kicks making sexplotaion films after the war they earned the right to do it. 
What brings us to Russ Meyer is the film Lorna, his first feature to abandon the "nudie cutie" formulaic style, for more serious fare with a dramatic storyline and some very stylistically Noir sequences. Meyers referred to this film as part of his "rural gothic" period. Meyer described the film as "a brutal examination of the important realities of power, prophecy, freedom and justice in our society against a background of violence and lust, where simplicity is only a facade." Yea all that and a femme fatale with a rack like the front end of a '56 Caddy. ;-) 
Lorna gives us a good example of an independant film untethered by major studio checks, and yet there are still some vestiges of the Motion Picture Production Code influence in surprising evidence from the black & white moralistic ending, all this restraint is about to be nuked all to hell and gone. Even mainstream Hollywood was loosening up. Two examples of this are films with Marilyn Monroe showing quite a bit more of her charms, i.e. The Misfits (1961) and the unfinished Something's Got To Give (1962) 
Who gives a crap about restraints when we as a society could be annihilated at any moment. Pandora's Box was about to be blown wide open. 6/10 
Fuller review with some NSFW screencaps from the Something Wild DVD here: http://noirsville.bl...ckers-noir.html

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#53 cigarjoe


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Posted 09 December 2016 - 06:14 AM

The Drowning Pool (1975) Louisiana Noir
9 years after making Harper (1966), Paul Newman reprises his role of private eye Lew Harper in The Drowning Pool. The Harper character is based on Ross Macdonald's private eye Lew Archer who was based in the fictional town Santa Teresa (Santa Barbara) just North of L.A.
The film was directed by Stuart Rosenberg (Cool Hand Luke (1967), Voyage of the Damned (1976)), and written by Tracy Keenan Wynn, Lorenzo Semple Jr. (The Parallax View (1974) and Three Days of the Condor (1975)), and Walter Hill (Hickey & Boggs (1972), The Getaway (1972), Hard Times (1975), Last Man Standing (1996)).
The cinematography was by Gordon Willis (Klute (1971), The Godfather (1972), The Parallax View (1974), The Godfather: Part II (1974), Pennies from Heaven (1981), the music was by Michael Small (The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981), Black Widow (1987) Night Moves (1975)) with an instrumental version of 1971 hit song "Killing Me Softly" composed and conducted by Charles Fox serving as the leitmotif for the character Iris whenever she is on screen.
00%2BThe%2BDrowning%2BPool%2B1975.jpgLew Harper (Paul Newman)
Too little too late. If Harper (1966) was the success the studio claimed it was, they should have put out another film out a year later, but oh wait, the studio era ended, film production was controlled by the studio heads anymore. We had to wait nine years for the next Harper/Archer film. Every year of delay more stars from the Classic Noir era who could have been used to bring a bit of cinematic memory/magic to a Neo Noir were lost.  Nowadays all kinds of repetitive superhero carapola gets greenlighted, buy the suits who want to franchise properties, just like, like, like, the old studio heads, BINGO! Too bad Noir fans, there wasn't this mentality for Film Noir.
19%2BThe%2BDrowning%2BPool%2B1975.jpgIris Devereaux (Joanne Woodward)
Private detective Lew Harper of southern California, flies out to New Orleans on a case at the bequest of a Mrs. James Devereaux. When he meets Mrs. Devereux he is surprised to discover that she is actually a girlfriend named Iris with whom he had a voluptuous fling with in L.A. six years earlier. She reveals to Lew that she has been married for 17 years to James Devereaux, a closet homosexual "playwright" of unproduced plays, and they both live with their 17 year old daughter Schuyler, and his overbearing mother Olivia Devereux on the huge family plantation Rivage.
She has called Harper to investigate the appearance in the mail of a blackmail letter to James suggesting her infidelity with other men. Iris believes that the letter came from Pat Reavis the family chauffeur that Iris just recently fired. Complicating the family intrigue is wayward daughter Schuyler who tries to proposition Harper in his Rivage Townhouse Motel room. As soon as Harper arrives his presence starts to shake things up in the best noir/hardboiled tradition setting up a chain reaction right to Noirsville. He gets rousted by Chief Broussard and Lieutenant Franks of the Louisiana local cops. Buttonholed by local mobbed up oil tycoon Jay Hue "Crab" Kilbourne who wants to "slant drill" him for information. And most importantly gets both touched and worried over his former lover Iris' quiet desperation in her crumbling antebellum alcoholic world.
The films real highlights are the scenes between Harper and Iris, there's a nice believable chemistry going on between Newman and Woodward, accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful arrangement of "Killing Me Softly" as Iris' leitmotif. Woodward's performance evokes in a good way just about every Tennessee Williams film  adaptations "femme se désintégrer". There is some humor also, when Lew suggest that she leave, Iris "born into the lace" (good blood no money) is accustomed to style, surveying about her opulent surroundings replies "and do what?" Newman's reaction is chuckle worthy.
The big set piece is the denouement at the old Evangeline Sanitarium's Hydrotherapy Room.
The film chugs along through various intrigues and colorful characters, bayou cajuns, the trusting ditsy prostitute Gretchen, the crooked cop Franks, the **** trophy wife of Kilbourne, Mavis. The film is entertaining enough, with some interesting locations, but it seems a bit old fashioned and restrained comparatively to 1975's Night Moves, I still like it. Screencaps are from the Warner Archives DVD. 8/10
Fuller review with screencaps here:  http://noirsville.bl...siana-noir.html

#54 cigarjoe


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Posted 07 December 2016 - 07:07 AM

Farewell My Lovely (1975) The Good Detective
This post Hays (Motion Picture Production) Code and pre PC "code" version of Raymond Chandler's "Farewell My Lovely" is probably the closest version to the novel we are going to see, it's firing on all cylinders. It pulls no punches, it's serious, dialog wise, doing justice to the novel. 
In the previously adapted for film 1944 version Murder, My Sweet, Dick Powell was great as wisecracking Marlowe, he's pretty much as I pictured him in my mind's eye as I read the book. Mitchum at 58 years, in this film, is just a tad too old to fit the Marlowe of the novel. He's also a tad too iconic, Mitchum is playing Mitchum playing Marlowe, but the script reflects at least this age difference, he's written as an older wiser Marlowe, a weary character who realizes he's over the hump and sort of coasting. This small change becomes very believable as Mitchum settles into the part. He's still the knight of streets but now he creaks and is just a bit more tarnished. 
Farewell My Lovely was ably directed by Dick Richards just like an old studio "B" production picture without any noticeable in your face style. 
The features Robert Mitchum (Film Noir Icon in no less than eight classics) as the definitive private detective Philip Marlowe. The film also has Noir star John Ireland (a vet of at least six classic noirs where he either played the bad guy, the good guy, or the not so bad guy) as Detective Lt. Nulty. 
Charlotte Rampling (Angel Heart (1987)) as Femme Fatale Helen Grayle, Sylvia Miles (Murder, Inc. (1960), Naked City (TV Series), Terror in the City (1964), Midnight Cowboy (1969)), as Jesse Halstead Florian, Anthony Zerbe (Naked City (TV Series), Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Laughing Policeman (1973)), as Laird Brunette gangster/gambling ship operator. Harry Dean Stanton (The Wrong Man (1956), In the Heat of the Night (1967), Dillinger (1973), Paris, Texas (1984), Wild at Heart (1990)), as Detective Billy Rolfe LAPD, Jack O'Halloran as Moose Malloy. 
The rest of the cast has, Sylvester Stallone (Cop Land (1997)), as Jonnie, Joe Spinell (The Godfather (1972), The Seven-Ups (1973), Taxi Driver (1976)) as Nick, Burton Gilliam as Cowboy. Kate Murtagh (87th Precinct (TV Series)) in a part channeling Hope Emerson, as Frances Amthor, L.A.'s whorehouse madam/drug dealer (Believed they say to be based on Brenda Allen whose arrest in 1948 triggered a scandal that led to the reform of the L.A.P.D.). John O'Leary as Lindsay Marriott, Walter McGinn as Tommy Ray washed up jazz man. Jim Thompson (hardboiled novelist) as Judge Baxter Wilson Grayle, Logan Ramsey (Something Wild (1961), Naked City (TV Series)) as the Police Commissioner, and what was left of Greater Los Angeles of the 1940s. 
The hardboiled tale starts with Marlowe's smoky voice over as he's looking out the warped glass window of a downtown LA dive hotel. He's holed up there waiting for his case to break. 
When Detective Lt. Nulty, LAPD arrives at his flop Marlowe begins to lay out the case from the beginning, which we see in an extended flashback. 
After successfully tracking down a wayward teen at a dime a dance hall, he is almost roughed up by The Moose, a giant ex con who did a six year stretch for armed bank robbery. He watched Marlowe deliver the girl to her folks and gets obsessed with having Marlowe find his missing Velma. Moose slips Marlowe a fifty as a retainer. Velma, Moose tells Marlowe was "Cute, cute as lace pants". 
It turns out Velma used to be a stripper/B-girl/hooker who worked out of a dump on Central called Florian's. In the time that Moose was in the joint, Mike Florian died and the neighborhood turned black. When Moose and Marlowe get to Florian's, it's in the hood and the clientele is all black. During a tense confrontation, Moose kills Mr. Montgomery, the current owner, and they find out nothing about Velma. Moose scoots, leaving Marlowe to call the cops and deal with Nulty. 
After telling the cops the details of what went down at Florian's, Marlowe slips out and spies a fleabag hotel, The Crescent, across the avenue. He crosses the pavement to the sidewalk and up into the hotel lobby. Marlowe finds out that Tommy Ray a bandleader, (Tommy Ray and The Sun Rays) who used to work at Florian's has rooms upstairs. 
From Tommy, Marlowe finds out Jesse Florian's address, and the tip that a fifth of booze will be his best friend. Jesse is a bit of an alkie, and Sylvia Miles does an extraordinary portrayal of Jesse that is subtle, touching, and heart wrenchingly sad. After Marlowe plays a little footsie with Jesse, she decides that he's alright and calls Tommy Ray who slips him a picture of Velma from the old days. Only it's a bum steer, flashing the picture at Burly Q's, and agents gets a name, but it isn't Velma, it's a dead end to a catatonic at Camarillo, the State Mental Hospital. 
Before the end of the film Marlowe gets his mellon thunked while Lindsay Marriott gets dead on a bungled jewel theft payoff. He gets his noodle wet with a horney Mrs. Grayle, and gets geezed up with junk at Amthor's Hollywood whorehouse. 
The film is also a visual treat to Noir Lovers. 
Mitchum and Ireland are Noir pros, just the cinematic Film Noir memory that they exude, gives the film natural gravitas. For instance, they didn't have to practice learning how to light, smoke, and hold a cigarette. They've done it most of their lives. Their dangling cigarettes are the real deal, not part of the performance. Ireland is the tired, cynical, conflicted LAPD detective, who is told by the corrupt police commissioner to lay off the case. Mitchum is strong, steady, human, sarcastic, romantic. He displays self depreciating humor, humility, and is doggedly loyal to his friends and clients. 
Charlotte Rampling the films Femme Fatale, plays Mrs Grayle as sultry and conniving, she gives off a bit of a Lauren Bacall vibe. She is however the films one false note, she's not quite convincing as an American chippy, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, hell she was born on the wrong side of "the pond", Sturmer, England, and it's just off. Lesley Ann Warren would have been a better choice for the role. We also don't quite get enough of Rampling to get comfortably acquainted with the duality of her character. I would have liked to see some of Moose's flashbacks to his time with Velma Valento, it would have been a nice juxtaposition to Rampling's performance as Mrs. Grayle, and just another plus for the film. 
The real revelation in Farewell My Lovely is Jack O'Halloran's Moose Malloy, in this film version Moose actually becomes more than a cartoon bad guy. You really feel sorry for the big lug and the torch he carries for his lost hooker girlfriend. Moose doesn't care that Velma fingered him for the job and took off with the loot. He just wants to be back in that sweet spot. O'Halloran gives off a Laird Cregar vibe, if we had been in a full blown Noir revival both Jack and Sylvia Miles would have been two of the major new stars, out of this cast only Harry Dean Stanton went on to really make a name in Neo Noir. The film also features Sylvester Stallone in one of his first roles.It's the definitive Marlowe in the correct time period 9/10. 
Full review with more Screencaps from the ITV Studios DVD here http://noirsville.bl...detective.html.

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#55 cigarjoe


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Posted 30 November 2016 - 02:51 PM

I love Blood Simple, Joe. I like it more each time that I see it. I recently purchased the Criterion Blu-Ray edition, and I'm looking forward to seeing the movie again.

I didn't realize there was a new edition, I may have to double dip.

#56 LawrenceA



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Posted 30 November 2016 - 12:50 PM

I love Blood Simple, Joe. I like it more each time that I see it. I recently purchased the Criterion Blu-Ray edition, and I'm looking forward to seeing the movie again.

#57 cigarjoe


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Posted 30 November 2016 - 08:46 AM

Blood Simple (1984) The Bad Detective
The world is full o' complainers. An' the fact is, nothin' comes with a guarantee. Now I don't care if you're the Pope of Rome, President of the United States or Man of the Year; somethin' can all go wrong. Now go on ahead, y'know, complain, tell your problems to your neighbor, ask for help, 'n watch him fly. Now, in Russia, they got it mapped out so that everyone pulls for everyone else... that's the theory, anyway. But what I know about is Texas, an' down here... you're on your own.
All I can say is Wow! What a debut film of the Coen Brother's. This film has got STYLE. Directed by Joel Coen, (& Ethan Coen (uncredited)) (Miller's Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998), The Man Who Wasn't There (2001), No Country for Old Men (2007)), and written by both Joel Coen & Ethan Coen. The films cinematography was by Barry Sonnenfeld (Raising Arizona (1987), Miller's Crossing (1990)) and the music was by Carter Burwell (Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998), No Country for Old Men (2007), Mildred Pierce (TV Mini-Series)).
The film stars John Getz (The Fly (1986)) as Ray, Frances McDormand (Fargo (1996), Lone Star (1996), The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)) as femme fatale Abby Marty, Dan Hedaya (True Confessions (1981), Tightrope (1984), Mulholland Dr. (1999)) as Julian Marty, M. Emmet Walsh (Midnight Cowboy (1969), Serpico (1973), Straight Time (1978), Blade Runner (1982), Narrow Margin (1990)) as private investigator Loren Visser, Samm-Art Williams (Dressed to Kill (1980), A Rage in Harlem (1991)) as Meurice, and Deborah Neumann as Debra.
06%2BBlood%2BSimple%2B1984.jpgJulian (Dan Hedaya)
Visser (M. Emmet Walsh)
P.I.'s are arguably, along with the femme fatale, probably the two top icons of Noir, but in the totality of the Noir/Neo Noir canon there are surprisingly, contrary to popular perception, not very many films that actually do feature your classic hardboiled private detective. Oh don't get me wrong there is sleuthing going on in quite a bit of Film Noir, but it's done by a plethora of characters, newspaper reporters, the falsely accused, the amnesiacs, the framed, cabbies, tabloid photographers, secretaries, taxi dancers, average joe's, even kids.  Out of those films that do actually have P.I.'s, I can only think of four with private detectives that have gone bad, Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) in, Out Of the Past, J.B. MacDonald (Raymond Burr) in Pitfall, Kerric (Raymond Burr) in Abandoned, and hayseed sheetkicker Loren Visser (M. Emmet Walsh) in this film Blood Simple, which takes "The Bad Detective" to a whole new level.
Blood Simple starts off with sleazy bedroom dick Visser's voice over about there being no guarantees in life. Visser was hired by Julian Marty who owns Neon Boots a ****-tonk/strip bar. Marty wants Visser, to keep tabs on his "funny: acting wife, Abby. Julian suspects some hanky panky is going on between Abby and one of his barkeepers, either "Motown" Meurice or "Cowboy" Ray.
On a rainy night Ray offers to drive Abby to Houston on his day off. Abby spills the beans to Ray about her screwed up marriage. Ray replies that he's always liked her.
Abby: He gave me a little pearl-handled .38 for our first anniversary.
Ray: Uh-huh.
Abby: Figured I'd better leave before I used it on him. I don't know how you can stand him.
Ray: Well, I'm only an employee, I ain't married to him.
One thing leads to another and Abby ends up repeatedly batter-dipping Ray's corn dog in a variety of positions in a cheap roadside hot sheet motel. Visser who has been tailing them all along in his VW bug is able to indulge in one of his perverted kinks, peeping and photographing their dirty deeds. Visser takes particular pleasure rubbing Julian]s nose in his armature porn shots of Ray and Abby.
Private Detective Visser: [about a photo of Ray and Abby] I know a place you can get that framed.
Marty: What did you take these for?
Private Detective Visser: What do you mean? Just doin' my job.
Marty: You called me, I knew they were there, so what do I need these for?
Private Detective Visser: Well, I don't know... Call it a fringe benefit.
Marty: How long did you watch her?
Private Detective Visser: Most of the night... They'd just rest a few minutes and then get started again. Quite something.
Julian stews over the revelations, confronts Ray and Abby to little effect, then decides to make Visser an offer.
Marty: I got a job for you.
Private Detective Visser: Uh, well, if the pay's right, and it's legal, I'll do it.
Marty: It's not strictly legal.
Private Detective Visser: [Thinks for a second] Well, if the pay's right, I'll do it.
Julian offers Visser 10 Gs to kill Ray and Abby and get rid of the bodies.
Of course this being a Neo Noir nothing goes down quite as expected, and when it does go down, it's with great style. The film is full of twists, double crosses and a healthy helping of bizarre black humor.
Dan Hedaya and M. Emmet Walsh are both in top form as the films unforgettable two sleazeballs around which this picaresque universe revolves. The soundtrack and score compliment the action. Review is of 2000 re-release.  9/10
Full review with more screencaps here http://noirsville.bl...-detective.html

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#58 cigarjoe


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Posted 21 November 2016 - 07:30 AM

In Cold Blood (1967) Noir/Neo Noir Masterpiece
You'll know it when you see it. Just like you know a Noir when you see it. In Cold Blood is a Masterpiece and it's a Masterpiece of Film Noir, to boot, no doubt about it. It was made right at the end of Black & White film production and that format, along with the Classic Noir look/aesthetic couldn't have gone out with a bigger or more powerful bang. 
Masterfully directed by Richard Brooks (Deadline - U.S.A. (1952), Blackboard Jungle (1955), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Elmer Gantry (1960), Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)). Written by Richard Brooks whose previous credits include (The Killers (1946), Brute Force (1947), Crossfire (1947), Key Largo (1948), Mystery Street (1950), Storm Warning (1951), Deadline - U.S.A. (1952), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Elmer Gantry (1960)) and based on Truman Capote's book "In Cold Blood" 
The incredibly crisp and strikingly artistic cinematography was by Conrad L. Hall (The Outer Limits TV Series (1963–1965), Harper (1966), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Black Widow (1987)). Editing was by Peter Zinner (The Professionals (1966), The Godfather (1972), The Godfather: Part II (1974)). The film also has an excellent score by Quincy Jones (The Pawnbroker (1964), In the Heat of the Night (1967), The Getaway (1972)). 
In Cold Blood stars Robert Blake (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), Black Hand (1950), Naked City TV Series (1958–1963), Electra Glide in Blue (1973), Lost Highway (1997)) as greaser Perry Smith. Scott Wilson (In the Heat of the Night (1967)) as farm boy Dick Hickock. 
The film has a plethora of Classic Film Noir veterans, John Forsythe (The Captive City (1952), The Glass Web (1953), ) as Alvin Dewey the lead investigator for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI). Paul Stewart (Johnny Eager (1941), Champion (1949), The Window (1949), Edge of Doom (1950), Appointment with Danger (1951), Deadline - U.S.A. (1952), Loan Shark (1952)) as Jensen, the reporter. Gerald S. O'Loughlin (Cop Hater (1958)) as Harold Nye KBI. Jeff Corey (Somewhere in the Night (1946), The Killers (1946), Brute Force (1947), The Gangster (1947), Scene of the Crime (1949), Once a Thief (1965)) as Dick's father, Charles. Charles McGraw (ten Classic Noir under his belt) as Perry's father Tex. Vaughn Taylor (The Lineup (1958), Screaming Mimi (1958), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Party Girl (1958), Psycho (1960)) as the Good Samaritan. James Flavin (High Sierra (1941), Laura (1944), Mildred Pierce (1945), The Spider (1945), The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), Nora Prentiss (1947), Nightmare Alley (1947), Armored Car Robbery (1950), The Naked Street (1955) ) as Clarence Duntz KBI. Will Geer (Johnny Allegro (1949), The Tall Target (1951), Seconds (1966)) as Prosecuting attorney. Jim Lantz as Officer Rohleder, John McLiam as Herbert Clutter, Paul Hough as Kenyon Clutter, Ruth Storey as Bonnie Clutter, Brenda C. Currin as Nancy Clutter, Donald Sollars as Clothing Salesman and John Gallaudet as Roy Church fill out the rest of the cast. 
In Cold Blood is both intensely horrific and starkly beautiful at the same time. The incredibly random violence visited upon a Kansas family triggered by an off hand remark to Dick Hickok from a prison cell mate, should send shivers down your spine. The film is an electrifying reenactment (in the actual locations) of the brutal murder of the Clutter Family near the town of Holcomb, Kansas on November 14, 1959, the subsequent six week flight of Perry Smith and Dick Hickock to Mexico, and their final track down by law enforcement in Las Vegas. 
The film is stylistically nonlinear in format and there are multiple time jumps and flashbacks to Perry's and Dick's past, giving you quasi insights as to the why. There are occasional daydreams and escapist sunken pirate treasure fantasies that sometimes just add to the mystery and other times add to the explanation of what tipped the incident into brutal hideous murder in cold blood. 
An interesting take away from the film is that neither Perry or Dick by themselves singly would have committed the murders, but together they formed a third sort of super personality that fed off the weaknesses of both of them and canceled any inhibitions they may have had. 
It's not until the trip with the two fugitives back towards Holcomb do we get to hear Perry's confession with a flashback that reconstructs the fatal events of the night. What we don't see is actually far more suggestively appalling in Brook's skilled direction. The isolated farmhouse. A howling prairie wind. A foreboding interior darkness stabbed crazily about by erratic flashlight beams. Pleas for mercy cut off by gun blasts. Muzzle flash, juxtaposed with eerie silences. The actual massacre of innocents is solely in your imagination. 
Perry Smith: It doesn't make sense. I mean what happened. It had nothing to do with the Clutters. They never hurt me. They just happened to be there. I thought Mr. Clutter was a very nice gentleman... I thought so right up to the time I cut his throat. 
The film takes you along with the marauders on their getaway in their 1949 Pontiac Chieftain, excellently weaving their backstories with the various objects, encounters, and incidents that trigger the aforementioned revealing flashbacks. It's almost jarring upon reflection in the way that we get to know, and on some level, even feel some sympathy for the killers. Traditional Hollywood would have either painted these two murderers all in basic black or glamorized them, but Brooks shows us that despite their having no moral compass, there is still some modicum of humanity even in these two deplorables. 
I can't emphasize enough the powerful performances of Robert Blake and Scott Wilson, they make these two sleazeballs BONAFIDE. Combined that with the vivid realism of the direction, the artistry of the cinematography, and the score from Quincey Jones and you have a film for the ages. This is undoubtedly Robert Blake's best performance, and I was also deeply impressed with the supporting work of Charles McGraw as Perry's grizzled, broken down and out, cowboy father Tex, living in what looks like the back of derelict box truck, outfitted with a bed pallet, a hot plate, wrangler gear, festooned with rodeo posters, horse blankets, and lit by kerosene lanterns, setting in a auto junk yard. 
The film was nominated for four Academy Awards: Director, Original Score, Cinematography, and Adapted Screenplay. It should have nominated Blake and McGraw also, and it should have won all of them. It's chilling 10/10. 

#59 cigarjoe


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Posted 19 November 2016 - 09:29 PM

Harper (1966) 
Ross Macdonald is the main pseudonym that was used by the American-Canadian writer of crime fiction Kenneth Millar (December 13, 1915 – July 11, 1983). He is best known for his series of hardboiled novels set in Southern California and featuring private detective Lew Archer.
Harper was the adaptation of Ross Macdonald's first Archer novel "The Moving Target" published in 1949. The film was directed by Jack Smight (The Twilight Zone (TV Series), Naked City (TV Series), The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (TV Series)), and was adapted for the screen by novelist William Goldman (No Way to Treat a Lady (1968)). Cinematography was by Conrad L. Hall (The Outer Limits (TV Series)).
The film stars Paul Newman (Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963)) as Lew Harper, Lauren Bacall (The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947), Key Largo (1948)) as Elaine Sampson, Julie Harris (The Haunting (1963), Requiem For A Heavyweight (1962)) as Betty Fraley, Arthur Hill  as Albert Graves, Janet Leigh (Act of Violence (1948), Rogue Cop (1954), Touch of Evil (1958), Psycho (1960)) as Susan Harper, Pamela Tiffin as Miranda Sampson, Robert Wagner (A Kiss Before Dying (1956)), as Allan Taggert, Robert Webber (Highway 301 (1950), 12 Angry Men (1957), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV Series), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)) as Dwight Troy, Shelley Winters (Larceny (1948), Cry of the City (1948), Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949), The Raging Tide (1951), The Night of the Hunter (1955), The Big Knife (1955), I Died a Thousand Times (1955), Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)) as Fay Estabrook, Harold Gould (The Satan Bug (1965)) as Sheriff Spanner, Roy Jenson (The Harder They Fall (1956), Al Capone (1959)) as Puddler, and Strother Martin (The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Scandal Sheet (1952), Kiss Me Deadly (1955), Brainstorm (1965)) as Claude.
Harper (Newman) & 1955 Porsche 356 A Speedster
"The Moving Target" was set in 1949, Harper moves the action up to the 65-66 (present at the time), with the only throwback to the 50s being the robin's egg blue 1955 Porsche 356 A Speedster that Newman drives, which I also see as a nod to 1955's Kiss Me Deadly opening sequence with Meeker driving a 1950 Jaguar XK 120 Roadster.
This film is in the Classic Hollywood style of P.I. flicks, Newman's Harper is almost in the same mold as Sam Spade, and Philip Marlowe. Harper has that same quality of wisecracking cool, that's essential for your classic P.I. Though Harper doesn't drink a lot or smoke, he's more of a habitual gum chewer, the various ways he disposes of his wads are good for a few chuckles.
34%2BHarper%2B1966.jpgSouthern California
The local is also Chandleresque,  Southern California with its beaches rising up to yellow burnt grasslands, oak savannas, chaparral, and pine hillsides that are populated with millionaires, movie folk, sleazy lawyers, lustful lassies, jazz junkies, kooks, and weirdos.
One of the classiest parts of Harper is the opening credit sequence which depicts Harper as a less than successful private eye living in a combo office/crash pad. He's got a desk, a convertible sofa bed, a small fridge, a hot plate and an adjoining bathroom with toilet, sink, and shower. He wakes up, soaks his head in ice water, and boils water to make coffee, only to find he's out of coffee, so he snatches up yesterday's filter paper and used grounds out of the trash. Café avec des ordures, Starbucks it ain't.
Harper is on his way to a gig laid on him by his shyster pal Albert Graves (Hill). The client is Elaine Sampson (Bacall) a rich woman whose husband is missing. Rounding out the household is Miranda Sampson (Tiffin) the **** daughter who we first see jiggling about in a skimpy bikini, and Allan Taggert (Wagner) the family's private pilot.
Elaine Sampson (Bacall)
When Harper first meets Elaine the dialog in the film pokes a bit of fun at the genre.
Elaine Sampson: Drink, Mr. Harper?
Lew Harper: Not before lunchtime.
Elaine Sampson: I thought you were a detective.
Lew Harper: New type.
Elaine is concerned because when Ralph Sampson gets drunk he does silly things the latest is giving away a mountain top to a dubious looney holy man (Martin).
Elaine Sampson: Los Angeles is the big leagues for religious nuts.
Lew Harper: That's because there's nothing to do at night.
16%2BHarper%2B1966.jpgRobert Webber and Shelley Winters
19%2BHarper%2B1966.jpgJulie Harris
31%2BHarper%2B1966.jpgJanet Leigh
The plot is very convoluted but not confusing. It's got quite a few Classic Noir actors to provide some cinematic memory. If the film has one fault it's that it doesn't quite go Noir enough. Looking back Harper is a little too old fashioned for its own good, it's got a classic Hollywood score by Johnny Mandel that's too flaccid for the material, it's honestly a bit of a snoozefest. There are also a few segments that feature what's supposed to be rock bands with folks dancing to what sounds like your typical generic hollywood hip gogo elevator music track, completely disregarding what instruments are being played on screen. This is a case where I'm spoiled by today's easy use of the real recording artists of the time used in period films.
The music also, is more reminiscent of what you would hear in that time periods comedies, so that, along with the presence of Robert Wagner just back from his signature The Pink Panther performance gives the film a bit of an off genre vibe. Had Wagner built upon his bad boy persona from his noir debut in A Kiss Before Dying with similar hardboiled fare, it may have been different. There are also some lite comedy sequences between Harper and his estranged wife Susan (Leigh).
Combine all of the above with the ambiguous ending and Harper is at best soft boiled and noir lite. Screencaps are from the Warner Brothers DVD. 7/10 The full review with more screencaps here:

#60 cigarjoe


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Posted 19 November 2016 - 07:46 AM

Thank you for your response, which raises more questions.  How did you arrive at your numbers?  Is "neo-noir" the term for color films noir?  I didn't know that was what the term meant; I thought it simply referred to films after the late 50's that shared some of the film noir characteristics.  I've not read any books on film noir, guess it's time that I did.

The general consensus is that Neo Noir (i.e. new noir) are those Film Noir made post studio noir which like I mentioned is that 1941-1958-59 time period, any noir made after 1958-59 are called Neo Noir. The studio production numbers are from Spencer Selby's Dark City : The Film Noir


What I'm saying is going against that convention and that maybe a better way to look at it is to say that Color Film Noir starting with Leave Her to Heaven (1945) was actually the first of the Neo Noir,  and that Neo Noir and Noir existed side by side sharing most of film noir characteristics until the final B&W productions. It makes sense that the major studios would be able to switch to color earlier and that independants/poverty row studios would hang on to B&W.

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