JackFavell

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About JackFavell

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  1. Johann W. Rush (1942-2015)

    Oh man. Fred was a straight shooter and I will miss him. No more words. He would get upset if I got mushy now.
  2. A Walk on the Noir Side

    Hi everyone! First, let me say I'm sorry for jumping in excitedly a couple of weeks ago, then disappearing right after! I don't even have an excuse for not getting back here in a timely fashion. Now to the Summer of Darkness Wouldn't that phrase sound great bellowed out by Raymond Burr in an echo chamber? Miss G - I'm so glad you like Lady Without a Passport! Atmospheric is definitely the right word for it. I love The Bribe as well for its moodiness and the non-judgmental treatment of the characters- Ava, John Hodiak and Robert Taylor all do things that seem wrong, and yet they have their reasons. They try to do the right thing in the end. The setting is appropriately steamy. Touch of Evil always gets me in the details...the more potboiler parts don't much interest me. Of course, Calleia blows my mind, and I like the scene with the young Mexican kid who is railroaded by Hank. Unfortunately now, this depiction of corruption in a police department seems all too real. Marlene is awesome, as always, and Welles is just grand... (Not Grande!) Anyway, you have a knack for comparing films, and these all have a distinctive flavor as you say...you can almost taste them. ???? Oh, and thanks for the backup on Barry Sullivan. He sometimes gets short shrift, like in The Bad and the Beautiful. He's not bad or beautiful, lol, and he gets the lamest storyline. But he's a smart actor, like you noted, and I bet Bronxie likes straitlaced Barry. Bronxie - I know what you mean about Duryea's looks in Too Late for Tears, but I think Molo and Laffite really covered his disintegration well. He just couldn't handle the guilt and stress of being on the run with all that money. He looked considerably more disheveled as the movie wore on. I found it actually rather attractive, as we are used to seeing Dan as a smooth operator, slicked back and suited. Here he was more modern looking, less slimy and more sympathetic. Well, kind of. ???? But I know you like your fellas a little square and well groomed. As for your comments on D.O.A., yes! The five second scene in front of the LIFE magazine rack captures everything. What you wrote was terrific. Molo, I will just say I LOVED Too Late for Tears. It was fun, suspenseful, and had everything a noir should have, including a poor, put-upon heroine. I felt so sorry for Lizabeth Scott here, she really was just a lost little girl.... Hahahahaha! Oh I loved this murderous, money loving gal! It was really fun watching her weave her web, seeing how far she would go. My mouth dropped open a few times in this movie. I too was thinking about how noir supporting characters really should not go out in boats! Don DeFore added suspense, and I liked him a lot in this. He wasn't stuck playing a big doofus here. But really it was Duryea and Scott's film...it made me decide that Lizabeth has been rooked all these years as an actress..she was terrific in TLFT. One thing I like about noir heroines, or femmes fatale,they always have issues I can rwlate to. They just take it too far. I can certainly understand her want of MORE, growing up poor as she did. I think Scott nailed her insecurity and feelings of being inferior (mostly in her scenes with the sister). It set up the whole story. And I liked her bug eyed excitement, almost sexual, when the money fell into their laps. She reminded me of two of my favorite femmes, Annie Laurie Starr and Ellen Berent. If you look closely at all three, you find some things to sympathize with. They all are dealing with feelings of powerlessness. Killing starts to make sense when you see how they have had to deny their true instincts in front of their men. I don't think any of these women ever forgot any slight they ever got, and kept a little list in the back of their mind of just who deserved a come-uppance. This is real meat and potatoes noir for me, filling and juicy. I can't get enough of it. I guess I love black widows in the movies. I understand your feelings about TENSION very well. I think I felt very much the same way the first time I watched it. Somehow, it is more fun or interesting once you've seen it- you can let go of plot and concentrate on details in the acting, which for me is tops and elevates rhe whole thing. Here's another dissatisfied female...that I love...to hate. Once again, she has her reasons which wr can, at least obliquely, understand. But the film itself is a bit flawed. Still it keeps you on the edge a bit. I think maybe the last part is drawn out just a little too long. But the final scene is so Maltese Falcon, I forgive and happily forget the flaws. Barry makes a pretty good Sam Spade, and Audrey Totter is a magnificent Brigid. James- I really felt you 'got' why Duryea in TLFT was ao atrung out...like he switched roles with Eddie G.in Scarlet Street and was in the process of going off the deep end. Funny how paranoia can take you down faster than a killer dame. Laffite- I just LOVED your description of Duryea! His characters in general and then how he differs from them in TLFT. Perhaps Jane married Alan because she needed a weaker man to mold and push forward. A lot of femme fatales follow this pattern...Martha Ivers for one. Because they can't directly seize power, they need a patsy to shove into the role they so desperately want. Or maybe she actually liked Alan. I'd have to go back to the film to look. I too liked Scott's animal scream "It's mine!" and I bought the balcony fall. It was satisfying. Having now watched DESPERATE, I can tell you, that's a movie with a fall at the end that was just plain BAD. I never thought I'd say that an Anthony Mann film was awful...but it was. Makes Too Late for Tears look like a masterpiece! Agree that The window had a tired formula, but this movie was redeemed slightly by good camera work and performances by Driscoll and evil Paul Stewart. I also really liked the killer mom at the end. Her slight depth was sorely needed in the film. Chris, which are worse? The murdering adults upstairs in The Window, or the neglectful, completely idiotic parents who nail the kid into his room, ensuring his death by one means or another? ???? Frank, Beware My Lovely IS one of my faves. Ida matches Ryan for talent, and manages to stay soft while being strong. I think she is really pretty here as well as skillful. Ryan just kills me in this one (ooh, bad choice of words!), he is sooooo vulnerable! He just keeps turning on a dime, and I've seldom been as freaked out by a character. He's truly, deeply frightening to me. And tragic. And what's more tragic is how easy it is for him to drift into another town, another job. Because he doesn't give off any suspicious vibes...he doesn't know he's a killer. This story COULD NOT WORK without an A performance from the male lead. Ryan gives an A+++. Kansas City Confidential is jyst great! A nice tight fitting puzzle, with all actors going on all cylinders. Payne really surprised me, he's got a couple of roles in the fifties that are so visceral, you can hardly believe it's him. The Narrow Margin- I once told you I didn't care for it. I've revised my opinion slightly. I like it. I like Macgraw, Windsor, but this time I REALLY liked the fat man, Paul Maxey. I just loved him. I've seen him for years in bit parts in musicals, and it was SO good to see him get some attention and camera time in this movie. I also really liked Jacqueline White as the blonde love interest. She gave a nice down to earth performance. You know I love The Locket. It's flawed, but it has rhe sort of atmosphere I like, The way it is filmed it almost could've been one of those ghost stories of the late forties. It kind of still is- it's about a woman who is two people, haunted, like so many people of that time, by her past. Even more haunted are the men who cone in contact with her. I like seeing Mitchum thwarted at every turn, in a little more vulnerable role. See Elevator to the Gallows! Angel Face. Yes! I like it a lot. It has some weird plot stalls, where theres buildup but nothing happens, but it works anyway. Jean makes another entitled yet insecure femme fatale like the ones I mentioned above. I love Mitchum in this movie...maybe more rhan in Out of the Past. Don't know why. Ro- I think you need to imagine that loud jacket on the guy from Narrow Margin paired with Cary's HAT from Only Angels Have Wings. Now if that doesn't paint a picture, I don't know what does. ???? I loved watching His Kind of Woman with you! Same with Red Light. Vinnie Price just endeared me to him.... Perhaps this is about the time he became a star? He seemed so relaxed on camera. Itvwas a fantastic part and he completely stole the film. I was shocked that Raymond Burr was... CUTE! What is this world coming to???? Criss Cross is a great film. This time instead of drooling over....er...I mean appreciating Burt Lancaster, I really concentrated on Yvonne De Carlo. Man, she is so good! Just unbelievably excellent. She fits the character as if it had been written for her. Tom Pedi KILLED it as Dan Duryea's henchman/watchdog...he was a comic character who was also menacing. It was a pleasure to watch this film again. I Died a Thousand Times ticked me off when I realized it was a remake of High Sierra. I stupidly stopped watching. Brute Force is great, especially for those of us who love big supporting casts. This time through, Howard Duff looked like Marshall Thompson's older more savvy brother. Burt in a t-shirt! Art Smith, oh man, he's so great as the sadder but wiser doc. and the psychosexual scene where Hume beats Sam Levene is horribly frightening, mainly because Levene looks scared and not noble, but still, says nothing to betray his pals. Dassin is such a crisp director, I'd watch a snail crossing a road if he decided to film it. Somehow, he would imbue it with suspense. Ro, you must tell me what you thought of The Asphalt Jungle. I didn't like itvtge first time through, the pace was so deliberate and slow. But the next time I loved it! Huston just sets things up, one at a time, in order to knock them all down. It's like a pendulum, if it swings one way, it's got to swing back. Great cast, acting, direction. I'll tell you my favorite things about it if you'll just tell me whether you liked it. Whew! Sorry for hogging the page. It has really been a joy walking down noir street with you guys. Even if I don't reply, I always love to read what you all have to say.
  3. A Walk on the Noir Side

    Thanks, Frank! That's really nice. I have no idea why some films are striking me right and others (Cause for Alarm - acckkk!) aren't. I think....dare I say it? I just can't stand movies that are too 'black and white' I like a little grey area in my noir. Sorry, Ro!
  4. A Walk on the Noir Side

    Oh darn I've seen Cause for Alarm already. Please tell me someone else is watching today!
  5. A Walk on the Noir Side

    OMG! Rewatched Tension and am bowled over at how much better it is the second time around! The acting is uniformly good, but especially Basehart, Totter, and oddly, Barry Sullivan, who I barely noticed at all last time around. He's basically Sam Spade, and he does a great job of luring Totter in... making her feel comfortable enough to slip up. He's an actor I am liking a lot lately, wish all of Wendell Corey's roles had gone to Sullivan.???? Basehart is so good here, he's great at making you feel uncomfortable and yet he's terribly sympathetic. When he actually finally slaps Totter, you almost feel pleased. The movie really revolves around Totter though. She drives the story and is an actress I've grown to REALLY like. Sbe's terrific. Sly and sexy, always thinking on her feet...you can always see her thought processes, what drives her. A tremendously underrated actress. I almost loved Woman on Pier 13! What a cast! The lighting was exceptional. Every actor gave it their all, even when spouting communist hating dialogue. I really thought thos was Janis Carter's finest performance...I liked her even though she was BAD. Ryan was as always, superb. Day made playing nice look easy, and I loved her scene cozying up to the icky William Talman, who should have had a much bigger career. Am I the only person in the world who has a crush on this fine actor? I know he played loons and psychos, but I REALLY like him. An absolute pro at all times. My respect for Joseph H. Lewis just grows and grows. He's just about the quintessential noir director. In Lady Without a Passport, his camera work is flowing, as characters glide around corners, rush through crowds, drive down sunlit streets, around flowing fountains, into the shadows.... This film has some really wonderful outdoor sequences, which break up any cheesiness due to budget concerns. The sets are actually very good, they evoke a sense of place with their arches and paned windows. Above standard. But the vision is all flowing and loose...even the buildings have curves, mimicking the camera work. Did Lewis study Ophuls? One shot took my breath away- crossing through a city roundabout, passing at least four side streets on the way to the fifth one, the camera imperceptibly slowing so we could look down every street for a moment... Another shot as Hodiak is beaten by two gunsels entering his room, the camera drops away from his face to his knees, then to the floor as he blacks out. Masterful. John Hodiak's accent is flawless! And how can you go wrong with Steven Geray in the cast? It simply isn't noir without Geray lending his presence. He has this amazing ability to play sleazy, unassuming, massively uncomfortable, and likeable all at the same time. I like the very American James Craig shown up against the darkly European Hodiak, they make good tag team, especially in contrast to the slimy, accented and ever present dirtbag George Macready. Hedy is interested and interesting here, but her role is minimal. Group scenes are quite nice, like when the escapees on the plane begin to chatter nervously, with slight overlap in dialogue. They contrast with the overblown, deadly serious and clipped scenes Macready shares with his pilot. Loved the loose banter of the good guy tailing the escape plane...he's just a good old boy who is going to be jocular right to the end. This film doesn't feel like Gun Crazy... but that's to it's credit. It's sensual. Circular in style, but juxtaposed against a sort of 1950's squareness, especially when the bad guys are around, or when Hodiak and Craig are in the map room. Lewis' set ups are great, lots of two shots with someone in the dark, very close to the camera and the other actors far back in the shot. The dark is very dark, sunlight just sets it off. It creates tension that probably isn't really in the plot. The writing is terse, and the editing is pretty near perfect. Wow! The overhead shots of the escape are incredible! These ARE a little reminiscent of Gun Crazy. Lewis really pushed cinema forward with moving camera work like this. The movie just continues to surprise, getting darker and darker light wise, as the terrain toughens. I really wasn't sure where it would all end! Snake bites, a raft that tears apart as it reaches shore, there is a lot of tension... And here we are in the reeds and fog... with a three way scene...SO intense, SO creepy. It reminds me of later horror films. Nobody is getting out of here alive, I think. Ahh, nice closeup of Macready's stomach as he shoots into the fog... OK. I don't know if any of this makes sense, I wrote a lot while watching. I begin to think noir is a perfect term - the style is EVERYTHING here....the story of illegal immigrants is almost incidental, though quite modern. I'll just admit it didn't matter to me.
  6. A Walk on the Noir Side

    I did love this shot from D.O.A.:
  7. A Walk on the Noir Side

    I should have! Ahh, regret.... ????
  8. A Walk on the Noir Side

    Did someone say fried chicken?!! My mom used to make baked beans from scratch. Oh man, sometimes I dream of those... She always added molasses. I made BBQ beef a few weeks ago in the crock pot, and added hickory smoke and a touch of molasses, and it came out just like Mama's baked beans! Was I in heaven. For some reason, I can never quite sit through D.O.A. I promised myself I would watch it straight through this time, but my attention wandered, and suddenly it was over and I didn't even know how it ended! RED LIGHT SPOILERS Red Light was really fun to watch. I LOVED the ending! I'm with Ro, God's retribution almost always does it for me. Not since Hell's Hinges have I been so shocked and at the same time satisfied by an ending. Even though the title is referring to something else, I felt it was especially appropriate that Raymond Burr was taken out by it! If you think about it, the words 'red light' can mean different things in this film, not just the district it takes place in, or the neon underworld, or that Raft's brother wants him to put the 'red light' to, or STOP his vengeful ways. One could even see it as the red light of anger and revenge in Raft's character's mind. Am I reaching a little? Probably, but it's fun to talk about. I'm not too crazy about Kiss Me, Deadly either. It's got great moments, a terrific plot, excellent cast, and is well done, but I think Ro nailed it for me... I just don't like Mike Hammer. And it's sad, because I like Ralph Meeker in everything else I've seen. He has a way of making even the most scoundrelly fellows likeable. I didn't see On Dangerous Ground this time, but did watch when Miss G and Frank talked about it some years ago. It's my second favorite Nick Ray film, so thanks, Miss G! I love both of the atmospheric settings, that SO capture Ryan's moods, and affect him so much. I love Ryan's partner, he's my favorite character. It's hard to play nice and I like him for his honest portrayal and concern for Jim. I also like the oversexed, low rent Blonde, and the small time sweaty hood. All the character actors are excellent, I won't go into how great Ward Bond is, turning into what Jim is escaping from. The scenes that stand out for me in memory are: Ryan washing up in the tiny sink in his EXTREMELY lonely apartment...he literally HAS to wash the work day off of himself in order to sleep. and The scene in the cabin when the lamp falls and he starts to see the light. It's so evocative. and that last scene - the tremendous effort of reaching his hand out and the touch itself. It gets me choked up just describing it. Ro, I hope sometime you will also watch my favorite Nick Ray film, They Live By Night. It's such a fragile, beautiful movie, from start to finish.
  9. A Walk on the Noir Side

    Well, we are off on our trip! Bringing hard boiled eggs and nuts! Seriously. ????
  10. A Walk on the Noir Side

    Oh, guys! It's so great seeing you all here again sharing your thoughts! I want to reply to everyone but life just keeps getting in the way.... We are getting ready for a weekend vacation, and I don't think there is going to be wi-fi. I will be sitting in a big field, listening to all kinds of music with a bunch of other crazy people and my family at the Green River Festival. It's going to be 90 degrees on Sunday so send out some cooling vibes please! Cody = Godzilla, lol! The Atomic connection! Cody/Roy Earle - you can think of these two characters as related to one another, but they are also spectacularly different! Where Roy is sickened by the violence and the betrayal of his job, so disgusted that it destroys his ability to do what he needs to do to survive; it almost seems like Cody is excited by it. Oh, it takes it's toll on Cody, subliminally, via the headaches, but he's really playing the game... he's going to be the MOST VIOLENT, the BIGGEST betrayer. And yet, they both commit a form of suicide because they can't handle the world anymore. Interesting. I'd love to compare and contrast the two fully sometime with everyone joining in. I think Hank will think of Cody often after the end of the film. Maybe not quite haunted by him, but there might be a twinge. He'll find himself saying, "A friend of mine once said...." and realize it was Cody. It will just imperceptibly bother him. I think that the selection of films noir has been TERRIFIC on TCM. I'm watching DOA this very minute, and I love the way you can hear the sound of a woman singing far off through the wall as O'Brien wakes in his hotel room from a too sound sleep. It is a transitional moment... The movie has been really normal till now. All of a sudden, he's thrust into a different world. I also like the scene in the 2nd doc's office.... Dark except for a little glowing vial....Ooh...."You've been murdered". Little touches like that make a movie for me. Ha! I should be packing. YIKES, Neville Brand! I like MBE, it's not great, but it does have a lot to recommend it, namely outside the box performances by the cast. Laffite, I can't wait to hear your thoughts on Act of Violence. Sometimes things need to percolate a little in the brain before they come out right on paper. I love Act of Violence, Chris... but at first I was disappointed that thete wasn't more of Ryan. On going back to it, I find that along with Mary Astor's, his is the more resonant role. Anyway, I love reading everyone, and I can't wait to get back to some great conversation! Maybe there aren't too many Public Menace Psycho types to compare to Cody in noir because the evil on that genre is so far under the surface...or maybe pervasive is the word I mean. Evil is the new normal. Oh yeah, there are the crazy sidekicks (Jack Elam, Neville Brand, Mike Mazurki, Tim Carey) who are usually controlled by the boss types, who seem kind of OK...but which is worse? The crazy, or the cold blooded? Cody still gets to us because he's both.
  11. A Walk on the Noir Side

    Someone here really IS Miss Total Recall!
  12. A Walk on the Noir Side

    Hey, Bronxie! Great to chat with you again! Love what you said about Verna's music! Ha! I had a small epiphany about Verna the other day, I think from coming in on a scene cold, without watching the movie from the start. It was at a point least halfway through. Verna had been cooped up in the house waiting for Cody, day after day after day, while he's out buying gasoline trucks and Trojan horses,lol. She begs, literally begs Cody to take her with him, and Cody says (and I'm paraphrasing here) something like, " Naww, honey, why don'you stay here and play with your radio". Like she was a little kid, inconsequential. The LOOK she flashes him is deadly and it made me see Verna in a really different way, as an un-emancipated woman who probably left home looking to control her life rather than marry some stooge, but here she is stuck like a housewife anyway. It made me think of her just a little more kindly. What stay at home wife or mom hasn't felt that flash of anger before, when hubby has been out doing whatever he wants or at least his job, and she hasn't been out of the house for weeks?? Honestly, I think this is what noir at it's best is intended to do - bring to light social inequities without overtly pounding the point home. I mean, who in this film doesn't have some societal complaint? You can also ask, who in this film ISN'T a monster? Even Hank is on his way to being one. I think you all know how I feel about Cody- that for all his evil, he's really just looking for some unconditional love and trust. The poor guy! He's got good reason to be paranoid! His chosen few are either greedy or out to kill him, his girl loathes him and is just taking advantage of his power and money, and he's too stupid to realize that Ma has strings attached to her love as well. He's a little boy shoved into a man's role in a dirty world where friendship and love mean betrayal. No wonder he's got headaches (and their names are Verna and Big Ed)! He's just trying to get back to a state of childhood grace, the time when love meant love. That's why he responds to Hank. That's why he laughs when he discovers Hank's betrayal. That's why he goes up, quite literally - there is no place for him on this earth without that love. It's why he is who he is...that evil monster eating a chicken leg while he calmly blows somebody's brains out. Ro, I hope you watched the scene in the prison lunch room closely! I think it was Miss Goddess who pointed out that no one in that scene (including Edmond O'Brien) knew what Cagney was going to do that day of shooting. Cagney had seen first hand what insanity looked like, from a visit to an asylum when he was a kid. He never forgot it, and used the memory in that scene. If you can, go back and look at those shocked faces, listen to how deadly quiet it is as he's dragged away, and how the noise of talking slowly resumes after he's out of the room. It's probably the most real reaction you'll ever see in a movie. I also think Cagney and director Raoul Walsh were trying to push the envelope, so no one ever again would ask Cagney to do another gangster pic. Lol, they literally obliterated the genre! I can see them conspiring and laughing to themselves even as we admire the work 65 years later.
  13. A Walk on the Noir Side

    Mmmm! Turtle Pie!
  14. A Walk on the Noir Side

    If you are on the lam, DON'T go to the mountains! From High Sierra to Gun Crazy, it always ends badly. I liked the beginning and the end of The Window. Yes! The fire escape parts worked well. The parents looked hot and tired all the time, unglamorous, busy. They even made Barbara Hale look kind of hausfrau! A miracle I think.???? A lot of these noirs seem to me to be veiled cautionary tales - "parents,pay attention to your kids, even if you are harried and poor". Geez, M was more of a template for this type of film than I realized. It would also make a good double bill with Carol Reed's The Fallen Idol, my favorite kid viewpoint film. I also liked how skewed the camera work was at the end in the delapidated and intensely scary building. Especially in the scene where the boy had to jump...did you notice how far away the ground looked, and how it seemed impossible that he could ever land on that tiny target? It might have been a dutch angle, I'm not sure, but somehow, the director gave the impression that the kid would have to drop SIDEWAYS to make it. That was terrific! It made what was a foregone conclusion very suspenseful. What I REALLY loved best about the film though was the dopey policeman and how he never put 2+2+2 together... You would think he'd realize that the boy that was with Paul Stewart and his wife, yelling and screaming in the cab was actually the missing son of Arthur Kennedy and Barbara Hale. And if he had, he could have said where they went... But he never figured it out, even when they lived in the same building! That, to me, was the most noir thing about the film...that the police or those in authority (parents) are unable or even incompetent to help you in such dire, life and death situations. You are truly on your own....even if you are an eight year old boy.

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