cigarjoe

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Everything posted by cigarjoe

  1. Amnesia Collection

    You can probably add, Black Angel (1946), Crack-Up (1946), Deadline at Dawn (1946), High Wall (1947), and The Clay Pigeon (1949) to the list.
  2. Hysteria (1965) and other amnesia films

    What Mister Buddwing is, is is actually a pretty good Neo Noir with a great Jazz score,
  3. I Just Watched...

    What really intrigues me as a native New Yorker is New York City (circa 1947), and particularly it shows all my old neighborhoods and roads that I was familiar with as a kid 10 years later. LaGuardia Airport, The Gasometers (gasholders) just North of the Queensboro Bridge (BTW I don't believe there are any of these left in the entire USA. Queensboro Bridge at 59th Street Manhattan, my best friends brother ran a waterbed store on 59th Street just East of that the upper level approach bridge that the car in on in this shot below: We also see the Toll Booths on Henry Hudson Bridge, Henry Hudson Bridge over the Harlem River, Grand Central Terminal at 42nd Street, old style wooden N.Y. State parkway lights, Motorcycle cops on Vernon Blvd. along Queensbridge Park with 59th Street Bridge, The Hell Gate and Triboro Bridges. Being originally a native New Yorker when I first viewed the film I noticed something off, the image is reversed. In the film it's this way: The correct camera view is below. We are looking from Wards Island South across the East River towards the North end of Astoria Park where both the Hell Gate and Triboro Bridges cross the river. You can see a part of Manhattan skyline under the Triboro Bridge. Just out of the picture to the left would be Con Edison's Astoria Powerhouse and two large gasometers. I used to sit on the grass across the river in Astoria Park and watch the ship, tug boat and barge traffic going back and forth on the East River.
  4. Films and the old South

    Symptom: ... films of that period seem to glorify the pre-Civil War South and the Confederacy. Cure: Drum (1976) directed by Steve Carver, based on the Kyle Onstott novel, the cinematography was by Lucien Ballard and the music was by Charlie Smalls. The film was released by United Artists and is a sequel to the film Mandingo (which I've never seen either). The film stars Warren Oates, Isela Vega, Pam Grier, Ken Norton, Yaphet Kotto. Drum (Norton) has been born to a white prostitute (Vega), who raises him with her black lesbian lover. Drum grows up as whorehouse servant but is forced to bare-knuckle-box another slave Blaise (Kotto) for the entertainment of a white effeminate/gay slaveholder, a Frenchman named Bernard DeMarigny (Colicos). DeMarigny wants to sleep with Drum, but his advances are rejected and during the ensuing scuffle Drum's "mammy" is shot. Drum and his friend Blaise are eventually sold to plantation owner Hammond Maxwell (Oates) and are both taken to his plantation to work. Regine (Grier) is purchased by Maxwell as well and is taken to the plantation for his own personal desires as a bedwench. He also purchases a white **** Augusta Chauvel (Lewis) to be his housekeeper/fiance. Maxwells plantation is a stud farm he doesn't grow cotton he breeds slaves. The film is a hoot. Maxwell's got an out of control daughter Sophie (Smith) with raging hormones who likes to run around the "farm" making the male slaves let her unbutton their breeches and play with their snakes. Sophie also tries to force Blaise to sleep with her, and after being rejected, tells her father that Blaise has raped her. Blaise is put in chains and Maxwell decides that he must be castrated for the alleged rape. Blaise is chained up in the barn and while helpless, Sophie comes in lifts her hoop skirts and flashes Blaise, but Maxwell see's her do it. Meanwhile, a dinner party has been arranged to celebrate the engagement of Maxwell and Chauvel. Casual dinner conversations includes the best way to go about castrating a slave. Drum frees his friend Blaise from his chains and it all ends up turning into a slave revolt led by Blaise, with the slaves burning down the out buildings. During the storming of the main house fighting Drum grabs hold of DeMarigny's twing and berries and rips them off by the roots, that method wasn't mentioned in the dinner conversation. Cheesy. Maxwell and Chauvel are all saved by Drum. In appreciation for saving his family and also knowing that if Drum stays the prevailing sentiment of all the local white slaveholders would demand that he kill him, Maxwell sets Drum free and tells him to run into the night. A much better written and choreographed ending than somewhat similar Django Unchained, it's a better film. 9/10 The whole cast is excellent, entertaining and well made, check it out while you can, was on line.
  5. Noir Alley

    Yes its the street name "North Hill Place"
  6. MEXIFORNIA & LEFT COAST NEWS

    What about all the sons daughters, father and mothers killed by right wing nut jobs???
  7. Noir Alley

    Here's a better a angle (closer to the one in the film) for the house on North Hill Place, you can see the Los Angeles City Hall in the background, along side the telephone poles and the palm tree. Also you can see how the field of focus in the film makes City Hall appear much much closer than it actually is.
  8. I Just Watched...

    Grand Central Murder (1942) Screwball Noir A humorous/ensemble film noir directed by S. Sylvan Simon (Lust for Gold (1949)). The film was based on Sue MacVeigh's 1939 novel of the same name. The screenplay was credited to Peter Ruric. The cinematography was by George J. Folsey and the music was by David Snell. It is one of the ensemble/quasi-comedy Noirs, a small sub genre of Noir. Others are Deadline at Dawn (1946), His Kind of Woman (1951), Shack Out On 101 (1955), and even Lady In The Lake (1946), has some of this quality, there are probably a few others lurking in the Classic Noirs. Neo Noir contenders are Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), The Late Show (1977) After Hours (1985), Delicatessen (1991) and The Big Lebowski (1998). The film has quite the cast with a lot of Noir credentials, starring Van Heflin (The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers (1946), Possessed (1947), Act Of Violence (1949), The Prowler (1951)) as a private investigator "Rocky" Custer who becomes one of the suspects in a murder on a private train car in Grand Central Terminal. Patricia Dane (Johnny Eager (1941), The Harder They Fall (1956)) as Mida King, Cecilia Parker as Constance Furness, Virginia Grey (Highway 301 (1950)) as Sue Custer, Rocky's wife, Samuel S. Hinds (Lady on a Train (1945), Call Northside 777 (1948)) as Roger Furness, Connie Gilchrist (Johnny Eager (1941), Act of Violence (1949), The Killer That Stalked New York (1950)) as Pearl Delroy, Tom Conway (Two O'Clock Courage(1945)), Whistle Stop (1946), Repeat Performance (1947), Confidence Girl (1952) as Frankie Ciro, Sam Levene (The Killers (1946), Brute Force (1947), Crossfire (1947), Dial 1119 (1950), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Slaughter on 10th Avenue (1957)) as Inspector Gunther, Mark Daniels (Bury Me Dead (1947)) as David V. Henderson, Stephen McNally (Criss Cross (1949), The Raging Tide (1951), Split Second (1953)) as "Turk", Betty Wells as "Baby" Delroy, George Lynn as Paul Rinehart. Roman Bohnen as Ramon, and Millard Mitchell (Deadline at Dawn (1946), The Naked City (1948), Criss Cross (1949), D.O.A. (1949) Gun Crazy (1950), Side Street (1950)) as Detective Arthur Doolin. Mida a golddigging ex bubble dancer turned legit show girl gets herself murdered in a private train car in Grand Central Terminal, with a dozen suspects with possible motives. The film has running jokes about Mida's cheapness, i.e., the various ways she manages to stiff others into paying her bills, and Mida's alley cat morality, a lovesick detective, Doolin, who keeps frantically trying to contact his girl by phone, and another about Levene's "chain drinking" addiction to cherry soda. The pacing and smart dialogs are in classic screwball mode, but the flashbacks and action sequences in the tunnels of Grand Central Terminal are all quite noirish. Though it's supposed to take place in Grand Central Terminal it was most likely all filmed on a studio backlot, (there may be some second unit stock footage of actual GTC moving tain footage) though some of the moving train sequences may also have been filmed in the old subway tunnel under Bunker Hill. It all looks reasonably quite like Grand Central Terminal to a native New Yorker. Review with more screencaps here in Film Noir Gangster pages. Café au lait Noir 7/10
  9. Recently watched Noir

    Grand Central Murder (1942) Screwball Noir A humorous/ensemble film noir directed by S. Sylvan Simon (Lust for Gold (1949)). The film was based on Sue MacVeigh's 1939 novel of the same name. The screenplay was credited to Peter Ruric. The cinematography was by George J. Folsey and the music was by David Snell. It is one of the ensemble/quasi-comedy Noirs, a small sub genre of Noir. Others are Deadline at Dawn (1946), His Kind of Woman (1951), Shack Out On 101 (1955), and even Lady In The Lake (1946), has some of this quality, there are probably a few others lurking in the Classic Noirs. Neo Noir contenders are Dr. Strangelove,or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), The Late Show(1977) After Hours (1985), Delicatessen (1991) and The Big Lebowski (1998). The film has quite the cast with a lot of Noir credentials, starring Van Heflin (The Strange Love Of Martha Ivers (1946), Possessed (1947), Act Of Violence (1949), The Prowler (1951)) as a private investigator "Rocky" Custer who becomes one of the suspects in a murder on a private train car in Grand Central Terminal. Patricia Dane (Johnny Eager (1941), The Harder They Fall(1956)) as Mida King, Cecilia Parker as Constance Furness, Virginia Grey (Highway 301 (1950)) as Sue Custer, Rocky's wife, Samuel S. Hinds (Lady on a Train (1945), Call Northside 777(1948)) as Roger Furness, Connie Gilchrist (Johnny Eager (1941), Act of Violence (1949), The Killer That Stalked New York (1950)) as Pearl Delroy, Tom Conway (Two O'Clock Courage(1945)), Whistle Stop (1946), Repeat Performance (1947), Confidence Girl (1952) as Frankie Ciro, Sam Levene (The Killers (1946), Brute Force (1947), Crossfire (1947), Dial 1119 (1950), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Slaughter on 10th Avenue (1957)) as Inspector Gunther, Mark Daniels (Bury Me Dead (1947)) as David V. Henderson, Stephen McNally (Criss Cross(1949), The Raging Tide (1951), Split Second (1953)) as "Turk", Betty Wells as "Baby" Delroy, George Lynn as Paul Rinehart. Roman Bohnen as Ramon, and Millard Mitchell (Deadline at Dawn (1946). The Naked City (1948), Criss Cross (1949), D.O.A. (1949) Gun Crazy (1950), Side Street (1950)) as Detective Arthur Doolin. A murder convict Turk (McNally) on his way to Manhattan by train, breaks out the window of the men's john and escapes into the bowels of Grand Central Terminal. When he gets a chance he slips into a phone booth and drops a dime on a call to his ex girlfriend Mida (Dane). He threatens that he's gonna kill her. Mida leaves between acts in the middle of a Broadway Show, and heads East to the terminal to hide in the private railway car of one of her admirers. She's planning on leaving town with her current lover a high society swell David V. Henderson (Mark Daniels). When Henderson and his ex fiancee Connie Furnes arrive at the car they find Mida lying naked on the bathroom/shower floor. P.I. Rocky Custer (Hefflin) Police Inspector Gunther (Levene) Police Inspector Gunther (Levene) is assigned to the case. The doctor can't determine the cause of death without and autopsy. Turk is recaptured and a P.I. Rocky Custer and his wife are also rounded up and brought in for questioning. Other suspects that had grudges against Mida are brought down to headquarters. Mida's greedy phony psychic card reading stepfather Ramon (Bohnen); her New York & Western Railroad employee ex-husband Paul Rinehart (Lynn), and her sleazy producer Frankie Ciro (Conway). Also brought in are Mida's maid, an ex-burlesque singer Pearl Delroy (Gilchrist) and her daughter stripper "Baby" Delroy (Wells), who is also Mida's understudy. Roger Furness (Hinds), Connie's father and chairman of the board of the railroad, Is on the scene to protect his daughter. As Gunther gets each suspect to tell what they know and give their alibi's we see in flashback various details that lead up to the murder of Mida. Guther finds out that Mida was a world class ****, a cold hearted gold digger stringing men all along her career rise. She had used each successive boyfriend as a stepping stone upwards. Then would throw them over whenever a better prospect came in range. When she lands millionaire Henderson she tells Frankie not to worry she'll divorce Henderson in six months and she'll meet Frankie in Reno with enough money to produce a new Broadway Show. David overhears this conversation which gives him a motive for murder. Rocky is smart enough to figure out how the murder was committed once he intercepts the call from the morgue and hears the results of the autopsy before Levene. Noirsville The film has running jokes about Mida's cheapness, i.e., the various ways she manages to stiff others into paying her bills, A lovesick detective, Doolin, who keeps trying to contact his girl by phone, and another about Levene's "chain drinking" addiction to cherry soda. The pacing and smart dialogs are in classic screwball mode, but the flashbacks and action sequences in the tunnels of Grand Central Terminal are all quite noirish. Though it's supposed to take place in Grand Central Terminal it was most likely all filmed on a studio backlot, (there may be some second unit stock footage of actual GTC) some of the moving train sequences may also have been filmed in the old subway tunnel under Bunker Hill. It all looks reasonably quite like Grand Central Terminal. Full review with more screencaps here Noirsville.Café au lait Noir 7/10
  10. Recently watched Noir

    Appointment with Danger (1951) Director, Lewis Allen with Alan Ladd, Phyllis Calvert, Paul Steward, Jan Sterling, Jack Webb, Stacy Harris, Harry Morgan, David Wolfe, Dan Riss, Geraldine Wall, and George J. Lewis. Great opening sequence of a body disposal in the pouring rain I was hooked from the get go. Also some nice railroad/railyard footage and industrial landscapes of Gary Indiana steel mills. Alan Ladd is Al Goddard, a USPS special investigator sent to Gary, Ind., to solve a postal detective's murder. A young nun Sister Augustine (Phyllis Calvert) is the sole witness. With her aid Ladd learns the identity of the men and uncovers the gang's plot to pull off a million-dollar mail heist. Jan Sterling plays gang leaders floozy jazz loving girlfriend Dodie La Verne. Jack Webb plays a loose cannon creep and Harry Morgan a slow witted goon. Very enjoyable 8/10. Down Three Dark Streets (1954) directed by Arnold Laven with Broderick Crawford, Ruth Roman, Martha Hyer, Marisa Pavan, Max Showalter (Niagara), Kenneth Tobey, Gene Reynolds, and William Johnstone. Sort of a police procedural, quasi-documentary, stars Broderick Crawford as FBI Agent John Ripley.When fellow G-man Zack Stewart is murdered, Ripley takes over the trio of cases Stewart had been working on assuming one of them will reveal his killer. This one is also entertaining but its a bit fuzzy in logic with the motives of the actual murderer the connection of why he killed the FBI man and his girlfriend? or whatever she was is never connected. Martha Hyer is a cute mobsters girlfriend. It does have some great location shots of LA and the streetcar system and ends up with a great set piece at the base of the iconic HOLLYWOOD sign. Entertaining, but the lack of plot connection explained above drops this to a 7/10
  11. I'm just throwing this out there, but don't you think our classic movie heritage as curated by TCM preserves a view of America seen through rose colored glasses, that wasn't quite truthful, isn't quite real, it sort of whitewashes everything. Continually reinforcing a false past, and always having happy endings isn't quite helpful, when you know it was never like that. You could say all this culminates into folks trying to make that fantasy real, a Disneyland version of America, This is why some folks go balistic when TCM programs movies from the 1960's onwards, it doesn't fit their fairytale views. I know the bulk of films TCM controls is from the Classic Hollywood Era, but do you see what I'm getting at, replaying the same old same old is just positive reinforcement of an ideal that never really was.
  12. Noir Alley

    Actually the trailer park was on North Hill Place which wasn't on Bunker Hill, it was on a hill just West of Chinatown. Below is the only house left on the street from the film, it was the house just down the street from the entrance of the tralier park. OK, top image from film, the existing house is one behind couple, one below from google maps, on botton pic trailer park was where the high rise apartment house and the empty lot sits just to the left of the house, cool huh? Also notice how close City Hall top right corner appears in the film (top image).
  13. NEW HOSTS DAVE KARGER AND ALICIA MALONE...

    10 minutes, I was under the impression they were half hour shows, or maybe I'm thinking of the half hour TV program they may have had 3, 10 minute reels or 2 of them interspersed with commercials.
  14. NEW HOSTS DAVE KARGER AND ALICIA MALONE...

    I agree with this. Old films were a big part of early TV. Maybe if you don't imprint kids early with B&W images it's not going to take like it did with us. Maybe a conscious effort to put intergrate that type on content in childrens shows, not necessarily old stuff, but someone along the lines of say Tim Burton tends to drift in that direction. I'm sure there are others. A few Our Gang short clips, not the full reels (attention spans are much shorter nowadays), interspersed with other stuff, like part of a full spectrum of children entertainment.
  15. I Just Watched...

    A two young women, floozie Dixie (Phyllis Brooks) and mysterious Poppy (Gene Tierney), arrive in Shanghai, a very memorably bizarre, sleazy, and oily looking "Doctor" Omar (Victor Mature) spots down and out Dixie and basically pimp-like picks her up and conveys her to a huge den of iniquity, an ornate gambling house/brothel visually cueing Dante's Inferno owned by "Mother" Gin Sling (Ona Munson) a Classic Dragon-lady who gives Mature a run for his money in the bizarre department, looking almost like a Chinese Medusa with a hairstyle that resembles writhing snakes. When I first saw Munson I could have almost sworn she was Gloria Swanson she'll really remind you of Swanson's performance in Sunset Boulevard hell she even sounds like Swanson unless Swanson was doing a Munson interpretation in Sunset. . . Based on a play by John Colton, Sternberg according to TCM's Robert Osborne (back when I first watched this), had a lot of trouble getting the original material past the Hayes Code, and its not hard to see why when you see the film. The original play was about a brothel, Gin Sling was the madam in fact her name was Madam G*o*d*d*a*m*n in the play, "Doctor" Omar was probably a pimp/abortionist, Poppy was addicted to opium and at one point in the play declares that she is a nymphomaniac. Anyway it may behoove the Noir aficionado to track down the play and see what might have been. When Mature deposits Dixie into "Mother's" clutches and "chorus girl" Dixie visually clues us in to her true profession "p*r*o*s*t*i*t*u*t*e" when she spreads her legs as she sprawls upon a chair displaying her runny nylons to a leering Mature. Afterwards in the huge gambling hall sitting at the bar Poppy (an incredibly beautiful Tierney) is spotted by Omar sitting with an Indian where she remarks "It smells so incredibly evil", intoxicated by the very repugnance of the place, she adds "I didn't think a place like this existed except in my imagination." Omar zeros in inducing her to try her luck at roulette. She ends up hocking her jewels to stay in the game. Sir Guy Charteris (Huston), wealthy entrepreneur, has purchased a large area of Shanghai, and is forcing Gin Sling to vacate her holdings by the coming Chinese New Year. Gin Sling, who has found out that Poppy is Charteris' wayward daughter, has instructed the smarmy Doctor Omar to hook Poppy deeper and deeper into an addiction to gambling, alcohol, and probably opium. Gin Sling, eventually realizes that Charteris was her long-ago husband who she thinks abandoned her and she now plans her revenge by inviting Charteris to a Chinese New Year dinner party to expose his past indiscretions. Charteris, however, has his own hole card up his sleeve. This film has been called a proto Noir more for its subject matter than for its "look" its more in the traditional Hollywood lighting style but its interesting never the less. A cast of hundreds is employed to replicate Shanghai and you will spot a bald headed Mike Mazurki playing a coolie who utters the closing line about Chinese New Year which I'll bet Polanski used as a reference in Chinatown. Caught this on TCM entertaining, 6-7/10
  16. Noir Alley

    Where, Wiltshire, England, Stonehenge?
  17. Hell's Angels tonight at 9:30pm

    I got rid of my cable box and now I'm just casting everything to the HDTV, I use Sling TV for TCM. I used to use the Roku box but have bypassed that now altogether. So the cable signal goes to the router then to the WiFi, to Sling TV on the the laptop, then from the laptop to the WiFi to the Chrome Cast to the TV, occasionally I'll have some problems as you describe along with some pixellation, but the solution for me is to stop casting for a second and then recast. I think it has to do with buffering and stopping the cast for a second allows the buffering more time.
  18. NEW HOSTS DAVE KARGER AND ALICIA MALONE...

    I've reached my tipping point yesterday, I had TCM on most of the day, the accent is starting to grate.
  19. I Just Watched...

    The Smallest Show on Earth (Big Time Operators) (1957) Nice film about a couple inhereting a wrecked Movie Theater. With Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers, Margaret Rutherford, Peter Sellers, and Bernard Miles. Felt like an Ealing Comedy. 7/10
  20. Noir Alley

    Don't believe it
  21. Noir Alley

    Too busy watching a film about ancient Druidic rites.
  22. Noir Alley

    What makes a Noir/Neo Noir is an individual internal factor. It's subjectivity. Look at it as if "Noir" is in all of us. Think of us all as having an internal tuning fork, these tuning forks are forged by our life experiences which are all unique. When we watch these films their degree of Noir-ness resonates with us differently, so we either "tune" to them or we don't. The amount of "tuning" (I'm appropriating this term from the Neo Noir Dark City (1998)) to certain films will vary between us all also. For me I tend to weigh the visual aspects more than other aspects for the Classic Noirs. Strong visuals with inky blacks, Dutch angles, expressionistic lighting, deep focus, usually swing it for me.
  23. I Just Watched...

    8 Million Ways To Die (1986) L.A. Smog Noir "I hate money when its new it cuts your fingers and when it's old it stinks...." I'd never read any of Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder novels, so I watched this without any pre- conceived ideas. The fact Scudder, a New York City private eye, is uprooted from his native habitat and relocated to The City Of Angels doesn't bother me in the least. Hell, the best Mike Hammer depiction, another quintessential New York P.I. detective, ever made to date had exactly the same treatment. Kiss Me Deadly (1955) was shot in and around L.A.'s old Bunker Hill neighborhood and is a bonafide classic Film Noir. Of course, 8 Million Ways To Die isn't in the same league, but it gets enough acceptable Noir stylistics right and has a neat "Gaudi Style" townhouse set piece, and a great final denouement on a private replica of Angels Flight to make it respectable enough. I'd never seen the film on it's initial release so here it is now 32 years after the fact. The film, I've read was a flop, and various reasons are given. It was directed by the great Hal Ashby more known for topical dramas and quirky comedies (Harold and Maude (1971), The Last Detail (1973), Coming Home (1978) and Being There (1979) and not for gritty crime films. Though I've read that he was going through the same problems with alcoholism as the main character in the film. Which perhaps was what attracted him to the project in the first place. But all that is pure speculation. The studio took control of the film away from him and had it edited their way. The adaptation for the screen of Block's novel was also troubled. The first screen treatment was by Oliver Stone, which was then passed to R. Lance Hill, (as David Lee Henry), and finally given to Robert Towne to doctor what he could. Stone wanted to get his name off the credits. The dialog shows this "too many cooks syndrome," there are some great scenes and lines in some sequences and there are some chuckle inducing clunkers in others. The film stars Jeff Bridges (The Last Picture Show (1971), Fat City (1972), Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), Cutter's Way (1981), The Big Lebowski (1998), Hell or High Water (2016)) as Matthew "Matt" Scudder, Rosanna Arquette (Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), After Hours (1985), The Wrong Man (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994)) as Sarah, Alexandra Paul (Baywatch TV Series (1989–2001)) as Sunny, Randy Brooks (Reservoir Dogs (1992)) as Willie "Chance" Walker, Andy García (The Untouchables (1987)) as Angel Maldonado, and Tommy Lister (Jackie Brown (1997)), as Nose Guard. The film opens with a title sequence that features a circular flyover of 1985 Los Angeles, from the skyscraper tombstones that mark the grave site of Bunker Hill to the massive convoluted concrete freeway system to a zoom on a single police car cruising a traffic lane. We hear a conversation in Voice Over. Joe Durkin: The murder rate used to be a thousand a year. Three a day, and that was high. Now it's five. Higher in the summer. Fourteen two Fridays ago. We get the death penalty six, seven times a day, only it's not for murderers, it's for ordinary citizens. Matthew 'Matt' Scudder: Yeah, there are 8 million stories in the naked city. Remember that old TV show? What we have in this town is eight million ways to die. Jeff Bridges is believable as Scudder, Randy Brooks nails Chance, Alexandra Paul believe it or not outshines Rosanna Arquette, but her career in films never took off, Arquette's greatest Noir turn is as Femme Fatale Missy Mills in the excellent but little seen The Wrong Man (1993) Andy Garcia is a bit over the top as Angel, but that is a minor quibble. It's all speculation, but it is believed that had Ashby not been dismissed from the project he would massaged the final film differently, would have used different takes and allocated time for more character development. As it is sequences like the confrontation with the snow cones and at the warehouse seem to drag on hysterically way too long. An uneven film with some great sequences, definitely worth a look see. 7/10 Full review with screencaps here in Film Noir/Gangster pages.
  24. I Just Watched...

    Naughty girl.....
  25. Recently watched Noir

    8 Million Ways To Die (1986) L.A. Smog Noir "I hate money when its new it cuts your fingers and when it's old it stinks...." I'd never read any of Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder novels, so I watched this without any pre- conceived ideas. The fact Scudder, a New York City private eye, is uprooted from his native habitat and relocated to The City Of Angels doesn't bother me in the least. Hell, the best Mike Hammer depiction, another quintessential New York P.I. detective, ever made to date had exactly the same treatment. Kiss Me Deadly (1955) was shot in and around L.A.'s old Bunker Hill neighborhood and is a bonafide classic Film Noir. Of course, 8 Million Ways To Die isn't in the same league, but it gets enough acceptable Noir stylistics right and has a neat "Gaudi Style" townhouse set piece, and a great final denouement on a private replica of Angels Flight to make it respectable enough. I'd never seen the film on it's initial release so here it is now 32 years after the fact. The film, I've read was a flop, and various reasons are given. It was directed by the great Hal Ashby more known for topical dramas and quirky comedies ( Harold and Maude (1971), The Last Detail(1973), Coming Home (1978) and Being There (1979) and not for gritty crime films. Though I've read that he was going through the same problems with alcoholism as the main character in the film. Which perhaps was what attracted him to the project in the first place. But all that is pure speculation. The studio took control of the film away from him and had it edited their way. The adaptation for the screen of Block's novel was also troubled. The first screen treatment was by Oliver Stone, which was then passed to R. Lance Hill, (as David Lee Henry), and finally given to Robert Towne to doctor what he could. Stone wanted to get his name off the credits. The dialog shows this "too many cooks syndrome," there are some great scenes and lines in some sequences and there are some chuckle inducing clunkers in others. The cinematography was by Stephen H. Burum (Body Double (1984), The Untouchables(1987), Carlito's Way (1993)). The film stars Jeff Bridges (The Last Picture Show (1971), Fat City (1972), Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974), Cutter's Way (1981), The Big Lebowski (1998), Hell or High Water (2016)) as Matthew "Matt" Scudder, Rosanna Arquette (Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), After Hours (1985), The Wrong Man (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994)) as Sarah, Alexandra Paul (Baywatch TV Series (1989–2001)) as Sunny, Randy Brooks (Reservoir Dogs (1992)) as Willie "Chance" Walker, Andy García (The Untouchables (1987)) as Angel Maldonado, and Tommy Lister (Jackie Brown (1997)), as Nose Guard. The film opens with a title sequence that features a circular flyover of 1985 Los Angeles, from the skyscraper tombstones that mark the grave site of Bunker Hill to the massive convoluted concrete freeway system to a zoom on a single police car cruising a traffic lane. We hear a conversation in Voice Over. Joe Durkin: The murder rate used to be a thousand a year. Three a day, and that was high. Now it's five. Higher in the summer. Fourteen two Fridays ago. We get the death penalty six, seven times a day, only it's not for murderers, it's for ordinary citizens. Matthew 'Matt' Scudder: Yeah, there are 8 million stories in the naked city. Remember that old TV show? What we have in this town is eight million ways to die. Cut to a green jacketed County Sheriff's detail filtering through Beth Israel Cemetery. Scudder stops and takes a swig from a hip flask and passes it to a colleague. Scudder seems to be one of those functioning alcoholics who basically marinate an all day load. They surround the house of a drug dealer Hector Lopez (Wilfredo Hernandez). Scudder through the slats of a glass window shade attempts to make an arrest. While his fellow officers enter the kitchen through the interior of the house. Matt Scudder The culprit is sitting at a dinette table with his wife and kids. He gets up and grabs a baseball bat and begins to swing at the officers. Scudder blasts him in the chest. Killing a father in front of his wife and kids sends Scudder off the deep end, he boozes himself out of the force, and gets estranged from his own wife and daughter in the process. It's ironically one of the 8 million ways to die Six months later he's in AA getting his six-month sobriety badge, and trying to put his life back together. He is now sort of an unlicensed P.I. There is an amusing sequence during an AA meeting, that depicts all the other more acceptable vices the members have, smoking, coffee, soda, etc. After one of his Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, a woman hands Scudder a note, which invites him to a party at a swanky private gambling club on a hill in Malibu. The place seems to be accessible only by a cool funicular similar to Angels Flight. The club is owned by Chance Walker (Randy Brooks) whom Scudder remembers arresting back in the day under another name. The fact that Randy getting arrested by Scudder was partially responsible for Randy acquiring everything he owns bestows a sort of grudging respect between the two. At this party Scudder also meets meets Angel Moldonado (Garcia) a drug dealer, who places large bets with Chance on boxing matches and the like. Angel has pantalonas calientes "the hots" for Sarah (Rosanna Arquette) a high priced freelance prostitute, who works out of Randy's club as a sort of independent contractor. When Scudder first arrives he is greeted enthusiastically by aanother high priced prostitute named Sunny (Alexandra Paul). She acts as if she's met him before. Scudder is flattered but tries to warn her that if he met her in the last year, he was on a serious bender and doesn't remember her at all. But it was Sunny who invited Scudder sight unseen, and she is obviously highly aroused by what she got. He's like a human Christmas present. Sunny is very clingy and practically dripping with anticipation. She is so possessively out of control that her friend Sarah is both highly amazed and worried by her friends reactions. Scudder and Sunny leave the party for his apartment. This whole sequence is highly amusing. Back at the apartment Sunny tries to seduce Scudder, she tells him that she is frightened and she wants out of the business and wants to use him for protection until she can get out of town. Sunny (Paul) and Scudder "Do you know what I do?" Scudder agrees to help and Sunny pays him 5,000. Scudder mistakenly assumes that Randy is her pimp. Scudder goes to Randy and offers him 2,500 for Sunny. Randy sets Scudder straight telling him that he's no pimp and that he just pays Sunny and Sarah a flat rate to attend his parties and any work they get out of his club is their own money. He's happy because their being there brings his gambling club more business. Randy: I hate money when its new it cuts your fingers and when it's old it stinks.... Later, Scudder while taking Sunny around town on errands, makes the mistake of leaving her for a few minutes at a Dry Cleaners that is next door to a Frontier Shop. He goes in to buy his daughter some riding boots. It's just enough time for Sunny to be snatched and dragged off into a van. Scudder pursues in his 1982 Ford Mustang even though the kidnappers have flattened one of his tires. A gritty chase through the back streets and alleys of Culver City culminates in the brutally slashed body of Sunny being dumped off the Centinela Avenue Bridge. This disaster topples Scudder right off the wagon into Noirsville. Noirsville Rosanna Arquette "Gaudi Style" house Scudder wakes up days later in detox. Dried out once again he's out for revenge. Checking through some things Sunny left at his apartment Scudder pieces together that Angel is running drugs through Chance's legitimate businesses and that Angel had Sunny killed when she crossed him. Scudder persuades Sarah to leave the club with him, as a jealous Moldonado looks on. Later Scudder and Angel have a confrontation over snow cones outside the L.A. Coliseum and Angel forces Sarah to leave with him. Scudder informs Chance of the cocaine stashed at his business. Scudder and Chance then set up a meeting to exchange Sarah for Angel's stash of cocaine at an empty warehouse on Signal Street in San Pedro. Angel arrives with Sarah duct-taped to the end of a shotgun. Scudder has booby-trapped the drugs with gasoline and threatens to destroy them if Sarah is harmed. Angel stalls but after seeing some of his cocaine burned he agrees to cut Sarah loose. However all hell breaks loose and a shootout leaves most of Angels men and Chance dead. Angel escapes in the chaos. Scudder and Sarah head back to Chance's club. As they ride the funicular up the hillside they have a final shootout with Angel who is waiting for them at the top. Jeff Bridges is believable as Scudder, Randy Brooks nails Chance, Alexandra Paul believe it or not outshines Rosanna Arquette, but her career in films never took off, Arquette's greatest Noir turn is as Femme Fatale Missy Mills in the excellent but little seen The Wrong Man (1993) Andy Garcia is a bit over the top as Angel, but that is a minor quibble. It's all speculation, but it is believed that had Ashby not been dismissed from the project he would massaged the final film differently, would have used different takes and allocated time for more character development. As it is sequences like the confrontation with the snow cones and at the warehouse seem to drag on hysterically way too long. An uneven film with some great sequences, definitely worth a looksee. 7/10

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