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Everything posted by Moorman

  1. Roderick Raskolnikov, Peter Lorre, graduates from a Russian University with honors. He is a hailed as a authority on crime. His mother and sister come to visit him for his graduation. When he later learns they are coming to visit him at his apartment he attempts to hide his poverty by pawning a heirloom watch he received at his graduation. At the pawn shop he meets a poor woman named Sonya (Marian Marsh) attempting to pawn her Bible. The pawnbroker is a real you know what and agrees to give her 6 rubles for the Bible, then only gives her 1 citing that Sonya owes her for other pawn items. The pawnbroker then pushes Sonya out of her shop after Sonya accepts the ruble. Roderick is looking at this with distain for the pawnbroker. He pawns his watch and finds Sonya outside looking for her ruble that she dropped when pushed out of the shop. From there, the plot takes a turn and keeps you engaged all the way through to the finale. I'm not gonna give anymore about the plot. The director, Joseph Von Sternberg, disliked the film and only did it for contractual reasons. Peter Lorre wanted the film made and it is he who carries this film and makes it actually a pretty good film. I rank it a solid 7.5 out of 10... Here is a excellent review for the film:
  2. Moorman

    Impact (1949)

    This was a pretty good noir. The plot has enough twists and turns to keep you engaged. The basic premise is Walter Williams ( Brian Donlevy) is married to Irene ( Helen Walker). Walter is a millionaire and Irene apparently married him just for the money. She is has a boyfriend and they plot to kill Walter. Irene and Walter have a vacation planned at Lake Tahoe and Irene fakes a illness and uses the vacation as a excuse for her husband to give her cousin a ride back home to Denver. The cousin is really her boyfriend. The plan is for him to off Walter enroute to Denver and make it look like a accident. The plan goes wrong and the plot twists start coming. Its a pretty good noir. I rate it a 6.5 out of 10...
  3. Moorman

    Thief ( 1981)

    Michael Mann. I have to give Criterion credit for making me aware of this film. Let me back up. I've been a fan of Michael Mann ever since his production of Miami Vice. I believe his work for that series (television) undermines in SOME people's views just how good of a FILM director he really is. How I slept on this film is beyond me ( see my last sentence as a possible reason). I've had it on my viewing list since last November and finally got around to screening it. The last film I saw of Mann's is the Miami Vice remake back in 2006. That film is just now receiving the critical praise that it should've gotten back then. Its a excellent contemporary take on the Miami Vice series. When i found out about " Thief", I knew it was gonna be good but not THIS good. The first thing that struck me from the opening credits is the fact that Michael Mann was doing THIS before Miami Vice. Based in Chicago it could've easily been located in Miami. The music, cinematography, everything screamed what later would become Mann's signature style. The plot. For those who haven't seen it. Frank ( James Caan) is a jewel thief in Chicago. After making a big score, the plot takes him to a meeting with Leo ( Robert Prosky) who wants to recruit Frank to work for him. I've been a huge fan of gangster and heist films from the early 80s to the present. The stand out heist film from this period to me has always been Mann's film " Heist". I said HAS because I think Thief is the better film. There are two major reasons for this. First, the length of Heist. Its almost 50 more minutes in length than Thief. This lends itself to a few scenes that dragged the film down, in particular the time spent with the romances of two of the leads in the thief ring. The second thing that I feel this film has a edge on is the plot itself. Whereas Heist was more over the top, ala Scarface in its production and plot, Thief was more lean and believable. Everything about Frank was believable. The ending was believable. Its just great writing and production in this one. I think its Mann's best film. Heat and even another Mann film, Collateral, are both great films, don't get me wrong, but Thief is on another level. It has immediately jumped among the top of my favorite Heist films category. Again, HOW did I not know of this film? I rank it a solid 9.5 out of 10...
  4. Moorman

    Bob Le Flambeur (1956)

    WHAT a film! My journey into foreign English subtitled films has lead me to Bob Le Flambeur. Lets get right to it. Bob ( Roger Duchesne) a former robber has gone straight for 20 years and is living as a gambler in the Paris district of Montmartre. Bob is living a lo key life but still garners the respect of the people who know of his past. One day he meets Anne ( Isabelle Corey) a drifter who Bob decides to rescue from a pimp he doesnt like name Marc. He does this by letting her stay at his flat and introduces her to his young protege Paolo ( Daniel Cauchy). Bob goes on a string of bad luck with his gambling and is made aware of a big heist that can be had at a casino named the Deauville by his safecracking friend Roger ( Andre' Garet). From here the plot takes off and goes off in a myriad of directions that keep you FULLY engaged. To avoid spoilers I will leave it at that. The film is directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. It was his fourth film and is known as being the precursor to the french New Wave film techniques. The film is soo influential that two versions of the American film Ocean's Eleven were influenced by it. The cinematography for the film was done by Henri Decae whose wartime military filming of documentary shorts helped influence the French New Wave style. The on scene shots are just fabulous. The gorgeous soundtrack is by Eddie Barclay and Jo Boyer. This is a great heist film and I'm gonna give it my rare perfect 10 out of 10. Its only my 6th film that I've given this to so far. I'm getting a better perspective now of classic films and noirs in particular and I will be revising some ratings of other films. This is a MUST have for your film library...
  5. Moorman

    Superfly (2018)

    I'm a huge fan of the original Superfly that came out in 1972. The original is about a New York city drug dealer named Youngblood who wants to make one last big score and get out of the game. The original Superfly was played by Ron O'Neal. The original is one of the VERY few blaxploitation films that is very critically acclaimed and has a cult following. A standout of the film is the soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield. The remake follows the plot almost exactly but has some major plot differents. The setting is moved to Atlanta to give it more of a modern Urban feel. In this one, Youngblood is played by Trevor Jackson. Any fans of Urban gangster films will see resemblences to the film " Belly" (1998) and " Shaft" 2008 which was another remake of a original, starring Samuel Jackson as Shaft. As far as the film itself, it was better than expected. The cinematography was gorgeous (Amir Mokri) with a soundtrack by Josh Atchley, which also featured several hip hop songs by the artist " Future". The plot was pretty good, THOUGH, contrived at times. The plot built up several subplots to a very good tension, but one of the subplots I felt was rushed to a ending at the end of the film. Overall, if you have nothing to do, its a kick back GOOD action gangster film that will surprise you. The 1990s featured a slew of films in the Urban gangster arena, but the genre has kinda been slow during the 2000s. This was a welcome return to those types of films. I rate it a solid 8 out of 10.... RON O'NEAL
  6. Moorman

    Shaft (1971)

    I went and saw a preview of The Super Cops. I think I will screen that one first and get back with a review. Thanks for the recommendations...
  7. Moorman

    Shaft (1971)

    I was referred to this film by CigarJoe after posting the Superfly (2018) thread. I've known about this film but I had never seen it before now. My reasoning being that there are very few films of the blaxploitation era that were actually pretty good or critically acclaimed. Gordon Parks was credited along with Melvin Van Peeples with creating the blaxploitaton genre, a subgenrie of the exploitation movies that came out in the early 70s. Shaft, along with 1972's Superfly ( by Gordon's son, Gordon Parks Jr.) were two of the critically acclaimed films of the genre. The screenplay for Shaft was written by Ernest Tidyman and John D. F. Black. Shaft was filmed on location in New York and features a extensive on location look of vintage New York during the early 70s. The films features Private Detective John Shaft ( Richard Roundtree) who is hired by local gangster Bumpy ( Moses Gunn) to locate his kidnapped daughter. The plot is pretty straight to the point but keeps you on your toes. I'm not going into it further to avoid any spoilers. Gordon Parks filmed this on location in Harlem, Times Square and Greenwich Village. The sets are authentic. The soundtrack is by Isaac Hayes who won a a Academy Award for Best Original Song for the theme " Shaft". The film was pretty good with my personal favorite elements being the camerawork and on location filming done by Urs Furrer and of course, the fantastic soundtrack done by Isaac Hayes. Its hard for me to get into this genre of film because of the obvious " exploitation" stereotypes, but this was pretty good. The acting could have been better with some of the lesser characters but it was ok. I rate it slightly above the IMDB rating of 6.6 and give it a 7 out of 10...
  8. Moorman

    Superfly (2018)

    Ok. I'll see if I can find it on Amazon. Thanks... Wait. Gordon Parks. I think thats the SAME director as the original Superfly. Definitely should be a good film...
  9. This is just another PERFECT film from Jean Pierre Melville. Gustave "Gu" Minda ( Lino Ventura) escapes from prison with two others. He is highly respected in the criminal world for both his ability and loyalty. He heads to Paris to visit his sister Manouche ( Christine Fabrega) who herself grew up as a criminal with Gu. The plan is to for her to use her connections to get Gu out of Paris. Gu needs money before he leaves and is tipped off about a big heist by a old friend named Orloff ( Pierre Zimmer). From there the plot takes amazing twists and turns until the dramatic final scenes. There is not a dull moment anywhere in this fantastic film. The great cinematography was done by Marcel Combes. The equally great musical score is by Bernard Gerard. The direction by Jean Pierre Melville as he always does is just perfect. I can't say enough about how great this director is. Just fantastic! You already know... 10 out of 10...
  10. Moorman

    Out Of The Past(1947)

    Look. Mitchum is one of my favorite actors so I have a reason to want to overhype this film. I agree with it being overrated. I felt the plot was good all the way up until the cabin scene. It went downhill from there for me. It wasn't gritty or hard enough for me. It was contrived like you said. Its been a while sense I saw it but I would give it around a 6.5 or 7 out of 10...
  11. Moorman

    Le Samouraï (1967)

    I might have a favorite new director. I mean Jean- Pierre Melville is brilliant. I can see almost the entire Hollywood one man thriller being invented with this one film, Le Samourai. Alain Delon plays Jef Costello, a lone hit man. The beautiful Cathy Rosier plays pianist Valerie. This is a stylized COOL film. I can see where Michael Mann most likely got his entire way of making these films from Le Samourai. Henri Decae again does the cinematography for Melville. Francois de Roubaix does the excellent scoring for the film. I'm getting lazy. Most of you have seen the film.... another 10 out of 10....
  12. Moorman

    Quicksand (1950)

    Mickey Rooney plays Dan, a garage mechanic. Dan wants to impress a woman he is trying to see named Vera ( Jeanne Cagney) and needs $20 to go on a date. He decides to take the money from the garage's cash register with the intent to put it back before the books are done. He takes the money and then comes up with a scheme to buy a $100 watch on terms. He gets the watch and pawns it. He takes the pawn money and replaces the money in the cash register. The problem is the pawn company and the finance company caught on to what he did and intended to press charges unless he paid the watch off within 24 hours. This sets off a chain of events that get worse for Dan. I enjoyed the film even though the plot either was too contrived or a running gag from the director. In EVERY instance where Dan did something wrong a third party shows up and knows exactly what he did and tells him. It became predictable to me. Peter Lorre plays Nick, the owner of a penny arcade in the film. He even gets caught up with Dan's shenanigans. I learned that both Lorre and Rooney co-financed this film but were never paid by a third party. Jeanne Cagney commented on the professionalism of Lorre and even though this was not a "A" film she stated that Lorre approached it as if it was the top "A" film of "A" films. Many critics cite this as the best performance of Rooney's career. He did a fantastic job going against type in this one. I loved the musical score ( Louis Gruenberg) and the cinematography ( Lionel Lindon). It was shot on location in Santa Monica and at the Santa Monica Pier. Its a fabulous looking film. I rate this one slightly above the IMDB rating of 6.6 at a solid 7 out of 10.
  13. Moorman

    Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

    Another masterpiece by Jean Pierre Melville. Corey ( Alan Delon) is released from prison early for good behavior. A corrupt prison guard who knows him tips him off to a big jewel heist he could pull. Corey is released. At the same time this is going on another prisoner named Vogel ( Gian Maria Velonte) is being escorted to prison on a train by Inspector Mattei ( Andre' Bourvil) and escapes enroute. Vogel, knowing the police will set up roadblocks, coincidentally hides in the trunk of Corey's car at a roadside grill. Corey sees this happen and drives the car to a open field where he confronts Vogel. The standoff is intense at first but they decide to work together. I'm not going further into the plot for those who haven't seen this yet. Let me tell you though its a masterpiece. The heist itself is probably the best I've seen yet in film. I have to think on it but its definitely up there. One thing I'm noticing about the foreign films in all genres is they tend to be more grittier than their American counterparts. I first noticed this in the spaghetti western genre when they are played straight. Is this across the board in the foreign film noir, gangster genres? I don't know yet. Melville brought alone Henri Decae to again do cinematography. The soundtrack is by Eric Demarsan. Again, Decae does fabulous work here. The soundtrack is pretty good also. I have a couple of quibbles with the film that holds me back from a perfect 10 to a 9.5 I might revise that on a second watch... What the heck, this is a perfect film... another 10 out of 10...
  14. Moorman

    Fallen Angel (1945)

    Otto Preminger, fresh off the success of " Laura", was tasked with recreating the same success with a vehicle intended to promote Alice Faye. Preminger brought along the same cinematographer, Joseph Lashelle. The plot is about drifter Eric Stanton ( Dana Andrews) who gets stranded in a small town called Walton because he doesn't have enough bus fare to get to San Francisco. He goes to a local eatery called Pop's Eats where the owner, Pops, is worried about waitress Stella ( Linda Darnell) who hasn't shown up for work in 4 days. Stella eventually shows up and Stanton is immediately smitten by her. He finds out that the line is long but gets close enough to Stella to figure out that she would marry him if he could provide the things she wants. Stanton later meets rich heiress June ( Alice Faye) and comes up with a scheme to marry her, get her money and a divorce and take the loot back to Stella. This is a gorgeously shot film. Just for the cinematography of Lashelle alone this is a must see film. The plot is pretty good and has a nice twist. The acting is top notch. Its just a great all around film. I rate this a 7.5 out of 10....
  15. Moorman

    Fallen Angel (1945)

    I'm thinking that the director and screenwriter took the novel as it was and put it on the screen. When you research it the book wasn't even published yet and the studio had already purchased the rights to the screenplay. The author of the book originally wanted to write screenplays but was better at writing novels.
  16. Moorman

    Fallen Angel (1945)

    Yes. I believe that she was playing a secondary character from the novel and thus she and the studio picked the wrong film to try and feature her. The director knew this also. I could be totally wrong but thats how I'm viewing this.
  17. Moorman

    Fallen Angel (1945)

    Stella. She is the narcissist that runs from man to man. This leads me to believe that this film was the wrong vehicle to try and showcase Alice Faye and the director knew it. The TITLE of the book and film is about Stella and the search for which of her lovers bumped her off...
  18. Moorman

    M (1931)

    I have went out of my way to not watch subtitled films. There have been numerous films I have run across that I wanted to screen, only to find out that they were subtitled. TCM is running a Peter Lorre night so I went ahead and screened my first subtitled film. I'm glad I did. It wasn't as bad as I thought It would be ( Trying to keep up with the action and the subtitles at the same time). As most know the plot centers around a German serial killer played by Peter Lorre in what he considers his first major film role. The main gist of the plot surrounds the fact that the police cannot find the killer. The intense police presence in the city (Berlin) is hurting the business of the criminal syndicates in the area. They decide to do what they believe the police cannot do, find the killer. The plot is not complicated so I will leave it at that to avoid spoilers. What struck me about the film is the social commentary and the acting of Lorre. Though he appears over the second half of a 111 minute film, his appearance and subsequent acting makes up for his absence and the plot build up. This was Lang's first sound film. The cinematography was fantastic here. The light and shadows and his extensive use of German expressionism was intense here. For that alone this is a masterpiece. I rank this a a solid 9.5 out of 10. Now, I'm being subjective here because of the subtitling. If this was a original English Language film I would most likely bump this up to a perfect 10. Its a masterpiece nonetheless...
  19. Moorman

    Beyond The Law ( 1968)

    The spaghetti western genre, when done right, I personally feel is the best of the western genre. ( Sergio Corbucci, Sergio Leone, Gulio Petroni, Sergio Sollima, Giancarlo Santi and others). Notice I said DONE RIGHT. For the most part spaghetti westerns come across as western spoofs to me. Beyond the Law had just enough drama going for it that I give it a pass and put it in a select few of the spaghetti westerns that I like. Beyond the Law is one of the many Van Cleef films that he had to make over in Europe due to the waning American western genre during the late 60s, early 70s. Its a shame because I truly feel he is one of the best if not THE best of the classic western genre actors and thats including Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. Its the nuances and realness of Van Cleef's character that comes across in his acting. I know I'm not alone in that sentiment. The plot centers around Lee Van Cleef as the leader of a 3 man gang of thieves. They decide to rob the town of Silvertown of its shipment of payroll for the miners. Antonio Sabato ( Ben) was charged with getting the payroll to town. As Ben comes to town and he finds out he was robbed enroute ( the money bag is empty that was locked in the stagecoach), the town turns on him and Van Cleef ( who has hung around because of further plans), likes the courage that Ben displays and takes up for him. This leads to a inner battle within Van Cleef's character as to whether he should totally leave his gang background or become one of the good guys. The look of the film was pretty good. The stunts were fantastic and the main theme song is very good, a trait of the best spaghetti westerns. The film was directed by Giorgio Stegani, music by Riz Ortolani and filmed by Enzio Serafin. Its a pretty good production. I rank this one a 7 out of 10...
  20. Moorman

    Beyond The Law ( 1968)

    I'm surprised that TCM has not done that already. This is taking nothing from Eastwood, but its Van Cleef who took those Leone Films they did together to ANOTHER LEVEL. Barquero to me is a underrated film over on the Leone Board. I think I remember now you putting it on your top western list. I love that film. Both Van Cleef and Warren Oates did fantastic work here. The film reminded me of High Plains Drifter. ( The premise of the protaganist helping the town fight off a gang). The town itself was laid out EXACTLY like the gold mining town I visited in Phoenix. Down to the slope of the Hill down the main street. The Magnificent 7 Ride is another one thats underrated. What threw me off here might surprise you. I thought the original Magnificent 7 was overrated ( I know I will get flack for that but I have a reason) and so I expected this sequel to be pretty bad. It was a pretty good film and I believe I have it on my list of DVDS to purchase.
  21. Moorman

    Beyond The Law ( 1968)

    I have seen Sabatha. I might review it here. It IS one of the best spaghetti westerns and yes, Van Cleef was excellent here. Like you pointed out, Van Cleef can play both good and bad guys and do both well. In fact, the film in this very thread is one in which he pulled off being both characters. " Death Rides a Horse" is a very underrated western in my opinion and one of the best of the spaghetti westerns. I've said that if Clint Eastwood had played opposite Van Cleef in that one then it would've been considered a classic up there with the 3 Leone films that Eastwood did. Its that good of a film...
  22. Moorman

    Quicksand (1950)

    I don't mind the low budget. Like I said, I'm fairly new to these classic movies and I know nothing about the productions until after the fact when i research them. I know nothing of the history of these studios, thus I don't even notice the production budgets for the most part. If the plot is good, the film looks good, then I like it. Case in point: " The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." The film is soo great that I didn't really notice that it was filmed on a production set until it was pointed out in research I did for the film. " Dial M for Murder". Again, I didn't think of the fact that it was shot primarily in on one set. The film is soo good that I didn't really notice it again until it was pointed out to me. I'm gonna look up the other Rooney film you pointed out and see if its a good one or not. Thanx for that...
  23. Moorman

    Quicksand (1950)

    I agree with everything you said except the rooting for Vera ( Jeanne Cagney) and the fact that I think they could have made this a better film with better writing without going into comedy. I have never seen a film soo contrived as this one. Even the guy that they jacked for his car to take them to Mexico, figured out that the guy Dan strangled was most likely still alive. It came across as either some of the worst writing OR a running gag. If you take this EXACT same script and rework how Dan is found out and give Lorre more screen time and they would've had a solid winner. The concept was brilliant but the execution was faulty. They didn't have to figure out Dan's every move like they did and it would've still worked if done right.
  24. Moorman

    The Whisperers (1967)

    This film has just enough noir in it to qualify for this subforum. I ran across this British film on Youtube. ( I've been on a British film screening run). Edith Evans plays Ms. Ross, a lonely, eccentric elderly lady who spins her time talking to the walls in her apartment. Decades earlier she had been abandoned by her foul charactered husband. Her equally foul son makes a appearance after a bank robbery and hides his loot in her apartment. The film doesn't have a elaborate plot, it instead focuses on the social issues of elderly people like Ms. Ross who is left to tend for herself and the traumatic effect it has on her as she ages. Its not a film for people who can't or will not take the time to see this side of society. Edith Evans was truly believable here. Its a performance that I've rarely seen in film. From Wiki we find the following awards she won: Edith Evans was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, and won the BAFTA Award, the Silver Bear for Best Actress award at the 17th Berlin International Film Festival, the National Board of Review award, the New York Film Critics Circle award, and the Golden Globe Award all for Best Actress. This is a fantastic film. It was directed by Bryan Forbes and shot in Lancashire in northwest England. The area was in heavy decline and fit the austurity of the times that were portrayed in the film. Its a great watch and I rate this a 8 out of 10, a good bit higher than the IDMB ratings of 7.2. Its a must watch...
  25. Moorman

    The Whisperers (1967)

    If you really look at it, it has gangster also, lol. Its a character study surrounded by gangster activity with a little bit of noir thrown in...

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