Barton_Keyes

Noir Alley

5,287 posts in this topic

4 hours ago, Dargo said:

Don't laugh, looney! I had sort of the same feeling while watching (yet again) White Heat last night.

However in MY case, and because I grew up very very near where in the movie the police are radio triangulating the movement of Cody's gang's gasoline tanker truck while it was traveling southbound through parts of south-central L.A. and toward Wilmington and the oil refinery.

As the police dispatcher is calling out the various intersections the tanker truck is transiting, such as "166th Street and Western Ave" and "190th and Figueroa", and this during the pre-freeway era of Los Angeles(and particularly the pre-Harbor Fwy...a freeway which wasn't begun in construction until the year I was born, 1952), because during all those years of living nearby I had many times driven through those exact intersections, I felt, as I said above, a certain special fascination with this part of the film.

(...you may also recall in the film that in the police station while they're plotting the movement of the tanker truck, they're using a large map of the L.A. area of the time, and there's nary a freeway to be seen on it...well, at least I couldn't see any on it, anyway)

Oh SNAP! 

I didn’t know you came from the east side!

A word of advice to follow posters, don’t mess with Dargo, lest ye want stitches.

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9 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

There's that especially weird, strangely touching scene where Cody tells Fallon that he's been "talking to Ma", revealing how much he misses her, and then even acknowledging that this must seem "crazy" to most people. You'd think Fallon would feel just a little conflicted, knowing what he has to do and yet knowing how much this deranged criminal has come to like him and trust him. Surely O'Brien could have indicted, even if it was just a fleeting expression on his face, that there was at least a shade of regret about the complete deception he was practicing on Cody.

It is possible to recognize the darkness in someone, to know that they are dangerous and must be stopped, and yet to understand them on some level and have some kind of compassion for them. Fallon feels not a hint of this ambivalence. White Heat is a great film, but I think it would have been even better, added a layer of psychological complexity to the story, if Fallon had felt something beyond a police -like satisfaction in a job well done.

That scene, to which you refer, MissW, in which Cody emerges from the woods at night and tells Fallon that he was just talking to Ma is one of my favourite moments in White Heat. It's a quiet moment of Cody laying bare for Fallon (and the audience) his loneliness, and he's telling it to the only person that he (misguidedly) trusts.

Cagney was too honest an actor to play the scene for mawkish sentimentality because he knows his character is a tough hard case. But he lets us know that Cody is emotionally hurting (so WATCH OUT!) and brings a bit of  vulnerability even to this psychopath. That eerie moment of stillness, the only accompanying sounds heard those of the wind rustling through the trees, when there is a closeup of Cagney who, in reference to having just had a good conversation with his dead mother, actually acknowledges the strangeness of his own behaviour by saying, "Maybe I am nuts" is quietly chilling.

As for your second point about Fallon's relationship with Cody I have always felt that White Heat, much as I love the film, would have been a bit stronger if there had been greater complexity in Edmond O'Brien's performance. O'Brien was a solid, dependable actor, as we all know, but, at the film's end, when he is ready to act as Jarrett's executioner there is not a hint of regret in having to do so to a man (psychopath though he may he) who treated him like a kid brother.

It would have been easy for O'Brien to do it, too. Just a downward look with his eyes, a moment of hesitation, before he picks up that rifle with the scope. Instead what we hear is irritation in Fallon's voice that Cody is still standing (and laughing) with his "What's holding him up?" comment. As I said in the Hits and Misses thread that moment makes Fallon come across as such a cold bastard.

 

7 hours ago, Dargo said:

Perhaps Fallon MIGHT have felt that way for a while MissW (and Tom), but let's not forget here that just before Fallon takes the rifle fixed with the scope on it and shoots Cody, he witnesses yet ANOTHER coldblooded murder committed by Cody when he shots the last of the gang while he's attempting to give himself up to the police.

And so I don't know about you here, but if I had been Fallon, witnessing THIS would have been the final straw that would have broken ANY chance for ANY residual "sympathy" I would or might have had for Cody!

In other words, I TOO would have thought something along the lines of, "THIS crazy nutcase HAS to be stopped NOW!", and most likely would have ALSO said out loud, "What the HELL is holding UP that crazy SOB?!"

(...well, that's the way I WOULD done O'Brien's line anyway...of course then again, the movie production code of the time wouldn't have much cared for my particular line-reading here) ;) LOL

There's not a hint anywhere in White Heat's run, Dargo, that Fallon has mixed feelings about Cody once he has befriended him. As a matter of fact O'Brien doesn't even hide a slight look of distain for Verna right in Cody's presence when Cody and Verna are cuddling up to one another in a chair. I was a little surprised that a smart cookie like Jarrett didn't pick up on it, though having a hot number like Verna on your lap could make anyone oblivious to the expressions on the faces of others.

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Eddie Muller made reference in his comments to the problems that Raoul Walsh and the screenwriters (Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts) had in convincing the cost conscious Jack Warner to shoot Jarrett's breakdown in a mess hall and not a chapel. Aside from the issue of what the heck would Cody be doing in a chapel, the screen writers told Warner that one of the most chilling moments in the scene would be when all the noise in the mess hall went dead silent after Jarrett has his outburst.

For that mess hall scene, for the purpose of camera placements, Cagney and Walsh went through the paces ahead of the shoot (which took three hours), but nobody, including the director, really knew how the actor was going to play the scene. As a matter of fact, before shooting the scene, Cagney asked the screen writers, "How crazy do you want that?" and they left it up to him, saying if he wanted to make people's spines tingle, so much the better.

That must have pleased Cagney, an actor who always believed in playing a scene to the maximum level and, in this case, beyond. I've always marvelled at Cagney's courage as an actor, perhaps never more so than in the mess hall scene of White Heat. Mumbling unintelligibly, crawling along the table top, knocking meals aside, tumbling to the floor, regaining his feet to walk/half stumble as he knocks down various guards rushing up to him before he is finally carried away, screaming the sounds heard in a lunatic asylum, it's a scene that could have easily deteriorated into unintended slapstick comedy. But it doesn't. Cagney's ferocious impact as an actor makes the scene still chilling, even after repeated viewings.

By the way, James Cagney was an actor known for adding "bits of business" to many scenes to juice them up, hoping to provide them with greater impact than on the written page. And Cagney made some additions to White Heat, too, that were not in the original script (Goff and Roberts, by the way, wrote the screenplay with Cagney in mind and campaigned for Jack Warner to bring him back to the studio for the role).

The mess hall scene, of course, is a major illustration of this. But there were other additions to the film by the actor. The scene in which Verna tells Cody that Ma just had to get some strawberries "for her boy" only had Jarrett giving her a withering glance in the script. Walsh got together with Cagney who suggested, as a topper, that he knock Verna down. Walsh thought it a cliche so it was Cagney's suggestion that Verna be on a chair when she made the comment so that he would knock the chair out from underneath her. Bingo!

As well as that there was also the film's legendary climax in the gasoline refinery, and one of the most memorable touches to that final scene are Jarrett's giggles and laughter as he completely breaks down after getting shot. The giggles and laughter were not in the screen play. They were Cagney touches.

Finally Walsh (who could embellish in his recollections) and Cagney both claimed to have the idea of having Cody sit in Ma's lap. Not in the screenplay. The writers were thrilled when they heard a scene such as that had been shot.

By the way it was imperative that this scene was done in closeup only of the faces of Cody and Ma. It would have looked ridiculous if Walsh had filmed it in long shot and we saw a large paunchy Cagney sitting on the lap of his small mother with his feet presumably touching the floor along with hers.

white-heat-21.jpg

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13 hours ago, Princess of Tap said:

The scene in the penitentiary cafeteria where Cagney goes off is the best gangster scene I've ever seen in a Warner Brothers gangster movie

Cagney opened the gangster era in 31 with "Public Enemy"  and he closed the gangster era in 49 with "White Heat". What's truly amazing is that at 50 he still had all of that volcanic energy that he had in the 30s.

Yes. Cagney's a great actor in so many ways, but the most immediately noticeable thing about him, what everyone sees and feels in all his movies, is that "volcanic energy" he had (good way to put it, Princess.) Man, this guy just has to walk into a room, he can be completely quiet, not saying a word, and his body can be still - doesn't matter, we can almost see the energy vibrating off of him.

This is one of the things I love about James Cagney. How does he manage to convey that, that ineffable aura of vitality, fire, whatever you want to call it?

There's a scene in White Heat - I wish I could remember exactly which one, maybe all of them - in which Cagney just walks into a room, and damned if he doesn't practically set the room on fire (figuratively speaking, although Jarrett was capable of anything 🤨) with that pure energy radiating from him. He was a great actor, we'll never see his like again, but if I had to say one word about Cagney that defined him, it would be his energy.

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Nightmare Alley (1947) I saw this much-discussed noir yesterday and liked it very much.  The most chilling character, the most cunning and ruthless, was Helen Walker’s pseudo doctor Lilith Ritter.  When Stan Carlisle (Tyrone Power at the top of his game) is working his chicanery in the nightclub, in front of the well-heeled social set, Helen Walker’s smile says it all: In a room full of suckers, she’s just nabbed the biggest one of all: Stan Carlisle. This is just one of many memorable scenes. I liked the night exteriors of the carnival, the fog-shrouded atmosphere the filmmakers created. The most tragic character, poor drunken Pete (Ian Keith), makes the most of his closeup; he talks to Stan as if he sees Stan’ future, a gleeful look that says Stan may well be on the way up, but it won’t be long before he’s occupying the gutter, the same as Pete. There was also an effective transition from the fleabag carnival to the bright lights of Chicago

Eddie Muller mentioned, in his concluding remarks, that the hopeful ending was added by 20th Century Fox studio boss Darryl Zanuck, an ending which was superfluous, but didn’t blemish the film.  Yes, the film still resonates, perhaps even more so today.  Great supporting work by Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray and Mike Mazurki, who plays a slightly less deranged character than he did in Murder, My Sweet (1944).

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Speaking of Paramount films, which we were doing in another thread, Alan K. Rode said in his introduction to The Scarlet Hour (1956) at the Palm Springs film noir festival that after the film had been shown at several festivals last year, Paramount told him that their archival print was no longer in good enough shape to be shown. Fortunately, some restoration work was done, and The Scarlet Hour with Lionel Lindon's cinematography looked just fine.

Michael Curtiz was toward the end of his career when he made The Scarlet Hour. According to Rode, Paramount took a chance on him because he had a reputation as a starmaker, and the credits begin "Introducing Carol Ohmart, Tom Tryon, and Jody Lawrance." Lawrance had actually made a number of films already. The story is Too Late for Tears meets Double Indemnity, and Carol Ohmart is sometimes made up to look like Barbara Stanwyck. Ohmart plays a tough-as-nails gal from the slums married to a rich real estate developer (James Gregory). She's also carrying on with one of his employees (Tom Tryon). Tryon isn't as good an actor as Ohmart or Gregory, but he's OK. Bad girl Ohmart comes up with a plot to get enough money so that she and Tryon can run off together. What could possibly go wrong?

Weirdly, Tryon's character, called "Marsh," is named E. V. Marshall. This is really strange because the top police detective is played by E. G. Marshall, excellent as always. David Lewis, who I believe was the original Edward Quartermaine on General Hospital, gives a strong performance as the boss of the crooks, the kind of man who doesn't have to raise his voice to be deadly. Richard Deacon, seen on TCM this past week as the butler in The Young Philadelphians, plays a jeweler here. However, Elaine Stritch steals the film as Carol Ohmart's hard-drinking, fun-loving best friend. She has so much energy that you can't look at anyone else when she's on screen.

Curtiz directs well, the story has a couple of nice twists along the way, and I think most noiristas would consider this a solid three stars out of four film.

 

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11 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

When TCM did that Summer of Darkness program a couple of years ago there was a link that was published in the classroom section to a comparative table of noir titles that listed all the titles that the various Film Noir book authors felt tipped noir, like you mentioned there is a core consensus but also a lot of outliers.  

Yes there are the usual suspects and then other suspects on different sections of the continuum. 

 

As for Fallon. He  was a professional who specialized in undercover ops in prison, so he

was probably indifferent to his target and used to dealing with bad dudes without caring

very much about their individual characters and Cody was an especially bad dude. Fallon

never did fix Verna's radio either. Oh well.

 

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On 5/11/2019 at 7:35 AM, LornaHansonForbes said:

You and everyone else who’s ever seen it...

LOL.

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20 hours ago, Vautrin said:

Yes there are the usual suspects and then other suspects on different sections of the continuum. 

 

As for Fallon. He  was a professional who specialized in undercover ops in prison, so he

was probably indifferent to his target and used to dealing with bad dudes without caring

very much about their individual characters and Cody was an especially bad dude. Fallon

never did fix Verna's radio either. Oh well.

 

I think he just said that about fixing her radio so he could get his hands on said radio and turn it into an "oscillator" ; if Cody thought he was just "fixing" it, he wouldn't be suspicious seeing Fallon /Pardou messing about with it.  Fallon must have had to be very sneaky and unobtrusive, attaching the radio-turned-oscillator to the back of the "Trojan Horse" truck.

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Does Cody Jarrett represent rugged individualism, a tiger prowling in the jungle of post war atomic uncertainty? Yes, this tiger will ruthlessly maul or kill you if you cross him but does anyone have a grudging admiration for the fact that, whatever his too numerous to list failings may be, he is one ballsy guy? Cagney's no holds barred bravura performance has a lot to do with this, of course.

A part of me feels sorry for Jarrett, too, at the end when Ma is dead and everyone else has turned against him, including that **** Verna and Hank Fallon, a Judas, whom he had treated like a kid brother, is exposed as a government agent out to get him. Jarrett is very much all alone.

Yet Cody, on top of that giant horton sphere at the end, is defiant to the authorities, a million cops, it seems, as they swarm like ants down below. He's about to go out in literally explosive fashion. And, just to rub it it for those who might have hoped to see him fall apart like a yellow rat when cornered, he's going to do it laughing.

Society is way better off, as we know, without this psychotic individual on the loose. Yet am I alone in these mixed feelings of pity/sorrow/horror/admiration towards Cody Jarrett at the end?

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1 hour ago, TomJH said:

Does Cody Jarrett represent rugged individualism, a tiger prowling in the jungle of post war atomic uncertainty? Yes, this tiger will ruthlessly maul or kill you if you cross him but does anyone have a grudging admiration for the fact that, whatever his too numerous to list failings may be, he is one ballsy guy? Cagney's no holds barred bravura performance has a lot to do with this, of course.

A part of me feels sorry for Jarrett, too, at the end when Ma is dead and everyone else has turned against him, including that **** Verna and Hank Fallon, a Judas, whom he had treated like a kid brother, is exposed as a government agent out to get him. Jarrett is very much all alone.

Yet Cody, on top of that giant horton sphere at the end, is defiant to the authorities, a million cops, it seems, as they swarm like ants down below. He's about to go out in literally explosive fashion. And, just to rub it it for those who might have hoped to see him fall apart like a yellow rat when cornered, he's going to do it laughing.

Society is way better off, as we know, without this psychotic individual on the loose. Yet am I alone in these mixed feelings of pity/sorrow/horror/admiration towards Cody Jarrett at the end?

In Eddie's out-tro the other night, he did make mention (in so many words) of the Cody Jarrett character being a big hit and often self-identifiable with the incarcerated element in society, and with this somewhat stemming from their propensity to believe in a thought that they represent people who have chosen to reject the idea of a collective mindset when it comes to societal norms.

And so in a way Tom, and IF being a "rugged individualist" can at all be defined in such a manner, then yeah, I suppose one COULD maybe say Jarrett represents this sort of thing in some way.

Personally however, I don't believe being a "rugged individualist" requires one being "asocial" and/or "antisocial" to this degree.

And once again, I also don't view the Fallon character as being a "Judas" as you keep positing in your posts. Fallon has a job to do, and that being to help rid society of the murderously insane Cody Jarrett. And yes, while Cagney's performance in this film is so well fleshed-out and thus making his character a "real" person in many aspects, I have to say I've never come close to feeling as much "sympathy" for Cody Jarrett as I always have for another very notable criminal film character when HE bites the dust at the end of another of Raoul Walsh's films.

(...and that being Bogart's star-making turn as Roy Earle in High Sierra)

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4 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

I think he just said that about fixing her radio so he could get his hands on said radio and turn it into an "oscillator" ; if Cody thought he was just "fixing" it, he wouldn't be suspicious seeing Fallon /Pardou messing about with it.  Fallon must have had to be very sneaky and unobtrusive, attaching the radio-turned-oscillator to the back of the "Trojan Horse" truck.

Not to get all practical when it comes to the world of movies, but even though I don't

know much  about electronics, I find it difficult t believe that Fallon could turn a radio

into a oscillator or whatever it was supposed to be. And lord knows, Verna needed

something to keep her busy. I presumed that Fallon's alias was Pardo, like Don Pardo.

Pardou sounds like he was a French mime.

 

Roy Earle knew that to be sympathetic it helps to have a dog. If Cody had a dog he

probably would have killed it and eaten it when he ran out of fried chicken. Made it ma,

top of the woof.

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I wondered about that Verna bit. If it was in the script or a Cagney touch!

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49 minutes ago, Vautrin said:

Not to get all practical when it comes to the world of movies, but even though I don't

know much  about electronics, I find it difficult t believe that Fallon could turn a radio

into a oscillator or whatever it was supposed to be. And lord knows, Verna needed

something to keep her busy. I presumed that Fallon's alias was Pardo, like Don Pardo.

Pardou sounds like he was a French mime.

 

Roy Earle knew that to be sympathetic it helps to have a dog. If Cody had a dog he

probably would have killed it and eaten it when he ran out of fried chicken. Made it ma,

top of the woof.

LOL

And coincidentally, and as you probably remember here Vautrin, Bogie's dog's name in High Sierra is "Pard".

(...played, according to the IMDb web page for this film, by a canine actor named "Zero" who was actually Bogart's dog in real life)

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1 hour ago, Vautrin said:

Not to get all practical when it comes to the world of movies, but even though I don't know much  about electronics, I find it difficult t believe that Fallon could turn a radio into a oscillator or whatever it was supposed to be

 

I have absolutely no idea how such things work (converting a radio to an "oscillator" and if it could be done.) But I suspect that Raoul Walsh and the screenwriters are counting on their 1949 audience being as woefully stupid as I am when it comes to home electronics. I think, whether it's possible to turn a radio into an oscillator or not, we're supposed to think it is. And don't forget, there is a scene where Fallon is first introduced to the audience, in which there's a bit of dialogue suggesting he's good with electronics.

Not to waste too much more time arguing this point, but, if Fallon doesn't take Verna's radio and mess about with it, where does he get that oscillator he plants in the heist truck?? I ask you.

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1 hour ago, Dargo said:

In Eddie's out-tro the other night, he did make mention (in so many words) of the Cody Jarrett character being a big hit and often self-identifiable with the incarcerated element in society, and with this somewhat stemming from their propensity to believe in a thought that they represent people who have chosen to reject the idea of a collective mindset when it comes to societal norms.

And so in a way Tom, and IF being a "rugged individualist" can at all be defined in such a manner, then yeah, I suppose one COULD maybe say Jarrett represents this sort of thing in some way.

Personally however, I don't believe being a "rugged individualist" requires one being "asocial" and/or "antisocial" to this degree.

And once again, I also don't view the Fallon character as being a "Judas" as you keep positing in your posts. Fallon has a job to do, and that being to help rid society of the murderously insane Cody Jarrett. And yes, while Cagney's performance in this film is so well fleshed-out and thus making his character a "real" person in many aspects, I have to say I've never come close to feeling as much "sympathy" for Cody Jarrett as I always have for another very notable criminal film character when HE bites the dust at the end of another of Raoul Walsh's films.

(...and that being Bogart's star-making turn as Roy Earle in High Sierra)

Well, Dargo, when I called Fallon a Judas I was doing so from Jarrett's viewpoint as, at the end of the film as he was mounting those circular stairs taking him to the top of the horton sphere he was very much a man alone, and, until just a few minutes before, had regarded Fallon as the one man who was a compatriot in a very hostile world.

The sympathy for Roy Earle in High Sierra was clearly intentional on the part of the filmmakers (including, ironically, Raoul Walsh again). It probably is that those making White Heat (including its screen writers) did NOT intend for a psychopath like Cody Jarrett to be seen as sympathetic in any way to the audience. Cagney himself might have been horrified at such a thought.

Jarrett is not an easy character to like, nor do I like him. He's a vicious psycho. Despite that fact, I still have to confess to a few pangs of sympathy for him at the film's ending for my reasons previously stated. But my feelings for him are mixed, of course, if only because he didn't share any of that chicken leg he was chowing down on with poor Paul Guilfoyle trapped in that car trunk. Greedy, greedy.

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On 5/12/2019 at 10:25 AM, Looney said:

WHITE HEAT (1949)

I thought it was fantastic.  Can't wait to hear the debate from whomever thinks this was not "Noir". :P

I would have loved to see the scene where MOM got it, but that might have created a different reaction to the dining hall outburst.  I really loved that aspect of.  She comes to visit him in prison and says she'll knock off the guy who is gunning for him, Classic Ma. :lol:

I loved how crazy Cody Jarrett was, but I thought Cagney downplayed the psycho side most of the time.  I thought he was brilliant and I was greatly disappointed to hear Muller mention is dislike for this film.  While I was watching it I thought it was such a brave and bold move for Cagney at that time in his career, but that all came apart when I heard he hated it.

And wow was Virginia Mayo great.  I loved how her face said class and her actions said trash. :D  This might be my favorite film for her.

Most comedic aspect was when it came to light that someone had smuggled a gun into prison.  I love how that didn't seem to be that big of a deal and it was just given up when Jarrett needed it. :rolleyes:

So sad story, I fell asleep last night during the prison "crash out".  I woke up just before Big Ed got his and realized that I already had this movie on DVD, but had never watched it.  So sad that my addled brain can't always remember what movies I own and don't own.  And if I hadn't fallen asleep I might have never watched that DVD because I just ordered the Blu-Ray. :D

So in the big game of life.... POINT MULLER -  WHITE HEAT was definitely another winner.

Yes, I've always wondered why that MOM scene was not filmed. Just talked about.

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12 minutes ago, Dargo said:

LOL

And coincidentally, and as you probably remember here Vautrin, Bogie's dog's name in High Sierra is "Pard".

(...played, according to the IMDb web page for this film, by a canine actor named "Zero" who was actually Bogart's dog in real life)

CTWhKgLWUAAL4bt.jpg

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On 5/12/2019 at 5:53 PM, speedracer5 said:

I’m also a fan of Mayo’s. She definitely deserved to be a bigger star. I recorded a lot of her films when she was SUTS last year. I may need to catch up on those films! 

I read that Mayo was ever so slightly cross-eyed and she had to be filmed in a special way to not bring emphasis to it. 

Yes, I noticed that in the film.

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2 hours ago, Dargo said:

In Eddie's out-tro the other night, he did make mention (in so many words) of the Cody Jarrett character being a big hit and often self-identifiable with the incarcerated element in society, and with this somewhat stemming from their propensity to believe in a thought that they represent people who have chosen to reject the idea of a collective mindset when it comes to societal norms.

And so in a way Tom, and IF being a "rugged individualist" can at all be defined in such a manner, then yeah, I suppose one COULD maybe say Jarrett represents this sort of thing in some way.

Personally however, I don't believe being a "rugged individualist" requires one being "asocial" and/or "antisocial" to this degree.

And once again, I also don't view the Fallon character as being a "Judas" as you keep positing in your posts. Fallon has a job to do, and that being to help rid society of the murderously insane Cody Jarrett. And yes, while Cagney's performance in this film is so well fleshed-out and thus making his character a "real" person in many aspects, I have to say I've never come close to feeling as much "sympathy" for Cody Jarrett as I always have for another very notable criminal film character when HE bites the dust at the end of another of Raoul Walsh's films.

(...and that being Bogart's star-making turn as Roy Earle in High Sierra)

Dargs, although you "liked" a post I wrote about Fallon's "betrayal" of Cody (previous page), you don't seem convinced by what I said in it.

So, at the risk of being regarded as a narcissist - I believe it is unseemly to quote one's own posts - I'm going to copy a bit of what I said in that post here. Think 'pon it.

(PS You know I'm really serious about what I say, because I don't even spell "surely" my usual way.)

quote:

"White Heat is a perfect example of this kind of situation. Fallon gains Cody's trust - and it's not easy, Cody is a very suspicious guy who trusts no one but his mother. Of course, saving Cody's life helps. That was a "break" Fallon couldn't have hoped for. You see the gradual development of Cody's liking for and trust of Fallon, and despite his crazy violent ways, you actually start to feel sorry for him; you know Fallon's going to use that trust to catch him, to put an end to him, really.  There's that especially weird, strangely touching scene where Cody tells Fallon that he's been "talking to Ma", revealing how much he misses her, and then even acknowledging that this must seem "crazy" to most people. You'd think Fallon would feel just a little conflicted, knowing what he has to do and yet knowing how much this deranged criminal has come to like him and trust him. Surely O'Brien could have indicated, even if it was just a fleeting expression on his face, that there was at least a shade of regret about the complete deception he was practicing on Cody.

It is possible to recognize the darkness in someone, to know that they are dangerous and must be stopped, and yet to understand them on some level and have some kind of compassion for them. Fallon feels not a hint of this ambivalence. White Heat is a great film, but I think it would have been even better, added a layer of psychological complexity to the story, if Fallon had felt something beyond a police -like satisfaction in a job well done."

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

Dargs, although you "liked" a post I wrote about Fallon's "betrayal" of Cody (previous page), you don't seem convinced by what I said in it....

....It is possible to recognize the darkness in someone, to know that they are dangerous and must be stopped, and yet to understand them on some level and have some kind of compassion for them. Fallon feels not a hint of this ambivalence. White Heat is a great film, but I think it would have been even better, added a layer of psychological complexity to the story, if Fallon had felt something beyond a police -like satisfaction in a job well done."

I'd say in some way MissW, what you're describing here would be similar to what has now become known as the "Stockholm Syndrome", and where captives begin to develop feelings of empathy and even sympathy for their captors after a while.

True, Fallon isn't exactly a "captive" in this sense, but in a way he's still a captive inside Cody and his gang's circle while he's acting in an undercover capacity.

And yes, while I suppose your "added layer of psychological complexity" in regard to the relationship between Jarrett and Fallon might have worked had the film used it (meaning if O'Brien had played out the final scene using a more regretful manner than what he did), I still have to say the way it would be done in the film has never left me feeling any "regret" that it wasn't done in the manner of your suggestion here, nor has ever left me feeling it "inadequate" or "underdeveloped" in how it does play out, either. 

 

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Can almost any film these days be offered as "noir" on the grounds that some of us will watch or buy anything that is allegedly noir? Despite my respect for Alan K. Rode, neither 5 Fingers nor All My Sons, both shown at the recent Palm Springs Film Noir Festival, registers as noir with me. All My Sons, a competent version of the Arthur Miller play, opened up a little for film, does have some dark compositions crafted by the talented Russell Metty, and yes, it involves a man perhaps unjustly convicted of a crime, betrayal within a family, and the uncovering of a culprit.

5 Fingers also deals with a crime: treason. Spies, Nazis, and double crosses are elements of quite a few noirs, but this film never feels noirish. James Mason as the British ambassador's valet who offers to spy for the Nazis; Danielle Darrieux as the countess who's now impoverished enough to spy for either side; and Michael Rennie as the officer in charge of tracking down the traitor could scarcely be more elegant and urbane. Despite its suspenseful moments and the serious subject matter (the possibility of plans for D-Day falling into the hands of the Nazis), this champagne cocktail of a film seems closer to high comedy than to the darkness of noir. Because it has the same director (Joseph L. Mankiewicz) and cinematographer (Norbert Brodeen) as Somewhere in the Night, which is definitely noir, the contrast seems even greater. In any event, it's one of Mankiewicz's best films. I have to include a shout out for Oscar Karlweis, who plays the mousy and befuddled German civil servant who's put in charge of dealing with this alleged British spy.

 

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1 hour ago, kingrat said:

 

5 Fingers also deals with a crime: treason. Spies, Nazis, and double crosses are elements of quite a few noirs, but this film never feels noirish. James Mason as the British ambassador's valet who offers to spy for the Nazis; Danielle Darrieux as the countess who's now impoverished enough to spy for either side; and Michael Rennie as the officer in charge of tracking down the traitor could scarcely be more elegant and urbane. Despite its suspenseful moments and the serious subject matter (the possibility of plans for D-Day falling into the hands of the Nazis), this champagne cocktail of a film seems closer to high comedy than to the darkness of noir. Because it has the same director (Joseph L. Mankiewicz) and cinematographer (Norbert Brodeen) as Somewhere in the Night, which is definitely noir, the contrast seems even greater. In any event, it's one of Mankiewicz's best films. I have to include a shout out for Oscar Karlweis, who plays the mousy and befuddled German civil servant who's put in charge of dealing with this alleged British spy.

 

I certainly don't consider the stylish, sophisticated Five Fingers as noir either, kingrat. It is certainly a true life spy film that has a lot going for it, including (not surprisingly for a film written by Mankiewicz) some very clever dialogue.

Arguably my favourite line is spouted by Danielle Darrieux as a dissolute countess who, on the surface, lives the good life but who, in reality, will go with whichever side of the war offers her more money. At one point she spots a low level German courier looking at her longingly. To this gentleman's quiet gaze she responds,

"Please do not look at me as if you had a source of income other than your salary."

Nothing quite like being told off with a classy eloquence.

This is probably my favourite James Mason film.

FIVE-FINGERS-photo.jpg

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6 hours ago, Dargo said:

LOL

And coincidentally, and as you probably remember here Vautrin, Bogie's dog's name in High Sierra is "Pard".

(...played, according to the IMDb web page for this film, by a canine actor named "Zero" who was actually Bogart's dog in real life)

I had forgotten. I guess Bogie felt he might as well keep the check in the family.

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