Barton_Keyes

Noir Alley

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20 hours ago, Kay said:

Speaking of unique looks being exploited to project menace, I also watched Kansas City Confidential last night. I was impressed at what a really excellent film this was, but I want to mention the beautiful trio of baddies, Lee Van Cleef, Jack Elam and Neville Brand. Talk about getting by on your looks. Not that I don't like all of them as actors, but who can honestly claim that it was really their acting that made them so effective in roles such as these. There are plenty of amazing actors who can play a villain well, but the advantage of looking the part can be more viscerally effective than a merely great actor hope to compete with. A combination of the two is a veritable juggernaut. This aesthetic casting one beloved thing I regard as being leftover from the silent era, even if body-acting a largely lost art. Visual acting, exploiting one's looks to project a feeling. I'll start a thread about it eventually.

Hopefully you didn't mean above highlighted in exactly that way.  Lee Van Cleef and Jack Elam proved in many movies their ability as actors.  Neville Brand proved it in movies and TV shows both.  I'm sure their looks helped with the casting, but ultimately it was their ability to deliver on the roles that got them the jobs.

Jack Elam was very good in both Support Your Local Sheriff and Support Your Local Gunfighter.  Lee Van Cleef's staring roles in movies proved his ability to not only look the part, but act the part.

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17 minutes ago, TheCid said:

Hopefully you didn't mean above highlighted in exactly that way.  Lee Van Cleef and Jack Elam proved in many movies their ability as actors.  Neville Brand proved it in movies and TV shows both.  I'm sure their looks helped with the casting, but ultimately it was their ability to deliver on the roles that got them the jobs.

Jack Elam was very good in both Support Your Local Sheriff and Support Your Local Gunfighter.  Lee Van Cleef's staring roles in movies proved his ability to not only look the part, but act the part.

Yes, all three were solid enough actors.   I wonder if there is a chicken \ egg thing going on here;   First how many hoods \ criminals have we meet?   Yea, we see some of their faces in mug shots but often what we see in our 'minds eye' as 'that is how this type of character looks' is derived from movies.       

So I tend to agree how they looked wasn't a primary reason they were cast as hoods and criminals (expect maybe the first time).  Most likely it was because they played such a part and other producers saw they were good in that part,  and hired them to be in their film.    I.e. type casting.

 

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21 hours ago, Fedya said:

Nitpick: I think you mean Elisha Cook, Jr.  Elijah Wood was probably a bit too young to be in Stranger on the Third Floor.

And I've always enjoyed Elisha Cook whenever I see him in a movie.  Even in Blacula.

Eek !!!

I've made embarrassing mistakes on these boards before, but nothing quite as outrageously dumb as this ! And the sad thing is, I actually like Elisha Cook Jr. much more than Elijah Wood (although I've nothing against Frodo Baggins.)

Of course I knew it was ELISHA COOK JR.  , NOT Elijah Wood. My brain must have been on vacation (while my typing fingers were working overtime.)

thanks for pointing that out, Fedya. Although I'm sure that everyone here knew who I meant, and that I must have been having a case of brain fog at time of writing.

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2 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

 

**in news that will surprise exactly NONE of you, I am hard to please.

 

Well, there's a fine line between "hard to please" and just having high standards. Maybe you just happen to be someone with the latter.

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3 hours ago, TheCid said:

Hopefully you didn't mean above highlighted in exactly that way.  Lee Van Cleef and Jack Elam proved in many movies their ability as actors.  Neville Brand proved it in movies and TV shows both.  I'm sure their looks helped with the casting, but ultimately it was their ability to deliver on the roles that got them the jobs.

Jack Elam was very good in both Support Your Local Sheriff and Support Your Local Gunfighter.  Lee Van Cleef's staring roles in movies proved his ability to not only look the part, but act the part.

Yeah, all of them definitely proved themselves as actors later on. If they hadn't then their popularity probably wouldn't have been so durable. But their looks, especially those of Lee Van Cleef and Jack Elam, I feel were no small reason that they made their careers in film, (on Van Cleef's wiki page it says he was asked to get his nose hook corrected to play a different, more sympathetic part in High Noon. Wouldn't that have been a tragedy?) Neville Brand, on the other hand, was very impressive as an actor right out of the gate. I can't claim that it was just his looks that made his crazy frightening gunman in D.O.A. so effective. So I guess I meant what I said a bit less literally for Brand.

I keep reflecting on this George Sanders quote:

The important thing for a star is to have an interesting face. He doesn't have to move it very much. Editing and camerawork can always produce the desired illusion that a performance is being given.

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55 minutes ago, Kay said:

I keep reflecting on this George Sanders quote:

The important thing for a star is to have an interesting face. He doesn't have to move it very much. Editing and camerawork can always produce the desired illusion that a performance is being given.

I would agree with this.  This is probably why so many of today's blond starlets and male beefcake actors are so interchangeable to me.  There's nothing exceptional about them.  

Even in classic film, there are many attractive actresses and actors that seem to just languish in small parts in film.  They're attractive, but it's a generic attractive. While stars like Lana Turner aren't ugly by any means and I'll watch her films I don't really think she's all that remarkable.  Give me a Barbara Stanwyck or Bette Davis any day. 

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18 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

really tho, Peter Lorre is one of my ten favorite (male) actors of the period, he is so refreshingly weird in an otherwise straightlaced time period, and as Eddie pointed out in his intro to STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR, Lorre had come to represent "the perverse ruin of a fallen Europe, creeping into American cinema" (NOT an EXACT QUOTE, BTW)

as an actor, he is always giving 110%, nowhere moreso than on radio, where he gave- perhaps- the finest performance ever given on the medium:

 

Thanks for posting this radio play. Perfect to while away a half hour during one of my bouts of insomnia. "The Black Cat", brought to you by Camel cigarettes. Slogan: "I'd walk a mile for a Camel. If it weren't for this dratted COPD". The only cigarette that goes in my holder. Except those funny ones.

https://poestories.com/read/blackcat

I love Peter Lorre too. But I'm sure we're part of a vast majority.  He was so excellently creepy in Stranger on the Third Floor. He grabbed every scene he was in by the throat and wouldn't let go.

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When I was seven years old (or thereabouts) I did an impression of Peter Lorre. Family members were present. Mom, dad, a couple of aunts, some cousins, etc. When I had finished there was an awkward silence. "That doesn't sound much like Peter Lorre to me.," said cousin June. I don't remember being particularly wounded (I didn't practice much, haha) and I forgave cousin June because she was old enough to my aunt, so she had air of authority. I wouldn't have taken that from a cousin (a peer) though. No way.

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A sterling job was done by Eddie today introducing CROSSFIRE (1947), which made me feel a leetle guilty because while I think CROSSFIRE is a good movie, I don't think it's a great movie- but it certainly is an important movie, and it's sure as **** a better movie than GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT.

FYI- According to wikipedia, CROSSFIRE was the "first B Picture to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award"- this raises my eyebrow a tad, but I can't think of anything to refute it with. Any of you want to try?

went to amazon to see if a copy of THE BRICK FOXHOLE (the source novel) is still in print and it's only available on kindle.

(sad face emoji)

contrarion that i am, i actually really enjoy the SUSPENSE RADIO VERSION of CROSSFIRE, which was a special hour long episode and i think the story benefits greatly from being pared down a little. The three Roberts reprise their roles, but sadly Gloria Grahame does not.

(it's most telling that this youtube poster mistakenly includes ROBERT TAYLOR and ROBERT MONTGOMERY in the cast, even goofing on this improvised poster art)

 

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also sue me if you want to, but i also think of CROSSFIRE as "TOO MANY ROBERTS!"

Not only are the three leads named Robert, but one character is named "Mitch/Mitchell" which sounds like Mitchum and one character is named Montgomery.

combine that with the fact that of the three, Mitchum gets the **** part- there's nothing special about his role, which is a shame (according to the imdb trivia section, he agreed, saying any actor in America could've played the part)

it would've made things a little less confusing if they'd just gotten Arthur Kennedy.

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I just caught the final minutes of CROSSFIRE.

SPOILER ALERT:

You see Robert Young yell "STOP!" before he then shoots down Robert Ryan as he's trying to escape. A few seconds later a group of men are standing over the body in the street and a young soldier asks Young if he's dead.

Young replies, "He was dead already and he just didn't know it." A moment later he's pulling out a pipe ready to light up a smoke.

MAN, THAT'S CASUAL! I thought.

This dude must be shooting down guys all the time! And does he rationalize all his killings that way?

I half expected to next hear him say, "Well, I gotta get home to walk the dog. Gotta get me some tobacco, too. I'm almost out."

5ad3dc91ef3cc9434311fb168b502315.jpg

"What was that you asked, soldier? No, I don't kill any more than two or three men a week. Why do you ask?"

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2 hours ago, TomJH said:

I just caught the final minutes of CROSSFIRE.

SPOILER ALERT:

You see Robert Young yell "STOP!" before he then shoots down Robert Ryan as he's trying to escape. A few seconds later a group of men are standing over the body in the street and a young soldier asks Young if he's dead.

Young replies, "He was dead already and he just didn't know it." A moment later he's pulling out a pipe ready to light up a smoke.

MAN, THAT'S CASUAL! I thought.

This dude must be shooting down guys all the time! And does he rationalize all his killings that way?

I half expected to next hear him say, "Well, I gotta get home to walk the dog. Gotta get me some tobacco, too. I'm almost out."

 

"What was that you asked, soldier? No, I don't kill any more than two or three men a week. Why do you ask?"

The first time I saw that scene I was kind of shocked.   Ryan's character didn't have a gun on him and while he was trying to escape I doubt he would have gotten very far.      I guess Young just likes to save the country the trouble and cost of a trial.   

(but they will need to pony up the cost of fixing that broken window).  :lol: 

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10 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

A sterling job was done by Eddie today introducing CROSSFIRE (1947), which made me feel a leetle guilty because while I think CROSSFIRE is a good movie, I don't think it's a great movie- but it certainly is an important movie, and it's sure as **** a better movie than GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT.

FYI- According to wikipedia, CROSSFIRE was the "first B Picture to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award"- this raises my eyebrow a tad, but I can't think of anything to refute it with. Any of you want to try?

went to amazon to see if a copy of THE BRICK FOXHOLE (the source novel) is still in print and it's only available on kindle.

(sad face emoji)

contrarion that i am, i actually really enjoy the SUSPENSE RADIO VERSION of CROSSFIRE, which was a special hour long episode and i think the story benefits greatly from being pared down a little. The three Roberts reprise their roles, but sadly Gloria Grahame does not.

(it's most telling that this youtube poster mistakenly includes ROBERT TAYLOR and ROBERT MONTGOMERY in the cast, even goofing on this improvised poster art)

 

Is that the real poster, though? It looks like a bit of a joke to me. On the lower left side, copy like "No, it's napalm ! No, it's nitro! No, it's ....it's...uh..."  seems a bit knowing and smartazz for the times. And did they have posters for radio dramas? I didn't know that. But if you say so, because I know you're kind of interested in old radio dramas, more so even than most people here, so I guess you'd know.

Something I want to say about "Crossfire":  Everyone praises it so, but it's not one of my favourite noirs, or even favourite "message movies" ( I like the way Eddie says it's a bit of of both - it is.) It has a tepid, hesitant feel to me. Maybe it's just that I usually love the worlds I see in old noirs, but the world of these kind of bored, malaise-ridden soldiers seems somewhat dull and depressing to me. I do "get" that that's very likely the way it was then for a not-so-brave new post-World War ll world, that the soldiers returning from the war felt lost and directionless, not to mention probably unappreciated. But for some reason, realistic though this depiction of all those recently-discharged G.I.'s probably is, it doesn't engage me. 

I do enjoy the three Roberts, though. I've always especially loved both Mitchum and Ryan, and think they're both great in Crossfire. Plus, it's got Gloria Grahame, although it's kind of strange, what exactly she's doing in this film. In fact, that whole story about the feckless Mitch and his encounter with Gloria's bored cynical taxi dancer seems like it's out of another movie. And what's up with the "Man" (that's how he's listed in the credits, I think) who shows up at Gloria's apartment and completely messes with Mitch? Not to mention that scene later on, when the detective and Mitch's wife are asking Gloria for testimony that would free Mitch, the "Man" (husband, boy-friend, stalker??) comes out all of a sudden,  speaks to the cop, and suddenly Gloria's screaming that she "hates his guts" !? What's up with that? there's a whole other movie going on there.

One other thing I always think of when I watch "Crossfire" (which I've seen about 4 times now, so I guess I don't dislike it that much after all): Wouldn't it have been interesting if they could have stuck to the original story and made the Sam Levene character gay? And I think the film makers tried to retain some of that, in a way. There's kind of a gay vibe about Mitch (although the actor, George Cooper, apparently was not gay), and it's easy to imagine some kind of scenario where Samuels invites him up to his apartment, but maybe without the young lady tagging along. Of course, as Eddie points out, they simply couldn't make a movie back in 1947 that acknowledged that a whole sub-culture like gay people existed.

And anyway, the point of "Crossfire", as Robert Montgomery's  -edit: I mean Robert Young's -character illustrates in his speech to the naive Leroy, is that some people conceive a hatred inside of them for anyone who's different, whether they're Jewish, Irish, black, brown, or gay. And you have to resist such people  (although possibly not by shooting them down in the street, as Tom notes.)

 

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17 minutes ago, HelenBaby2 said:

It’s Robert Young, not Montgomery.

SEE HOW EASY IT IS TO DO!!!!

I'm telling you, just getting Arthur Kennedy would've saved so much confusion.

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16 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

Is that the real poster, though? It looks like a bit of a joke to me. On the lower left side, copy like "No, it's napalm ! No, it's nitro! No, it's ....it's...uh..."  seems a bit knowing and smartazz for the times. And did they have posters for radio dramas? I didn't know that. But if you say so, because I know you're kind of interested in old radio dramas, more so even than most people here, so I guess you'd know.

 

NO, IT's not a real poster, and i hesitated slightly before using it (i could've used others) because it's misleading. it's a (sloppy) photoshop this youtube poster did on the original lobby card-style poster, tinted green, compressed and with the erroneous cast inserted. i kinda used it to cite my point about the trilogy of Roberts being confusing.

here's the undoctored image:

movie-poster-crossfire-1947-EFBHHK.jpg

i have no idea what the "napalm" tag is supposed to mean.

weak as visual is, the ORIGINAL RADIO BROADCAST which it is slapped onto is great. you might also prefer it to the film.

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26 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

 

1. Something I want to say about "Crossfire":  Everyone praises it so, but it's not one of my favourite noirs, or even favourite "message movies" ( I like the way Eddie says it's a bit of of both - it is.) It has a tepid, hesitant feel to me. Maybe it's just that I usually love the worlds I see in old noirs, but the world of these kind of bored, malaise-ridden soldiers seems somewhat dull and depressing to me. I do "get" that that's very likely the way it was then for a not-so-brave new post-World War ll world, that the soldiers returning from the war felt lost and directionless, not to mention probably unappreciated. But for some reason, realistic though this depiction of all those recently-discharged G.I.'s probably is, it doesn't engage me. 

 2. And what's up with the "Man" (that's how he's listed in the credits, I think) who shows up at Gloria's apartment and completely messes with Mitch? Not to mention that scene later on, when the detective and Mitch's wife are asking Gloria for testimony that would free Mitch, the "Man" (husband, boy-friend, stalker??) comes out all of a sudden,  speaks to the cop, and suddenly Gloria's screaming that she "hates his guts" !? What's up with that? there's a whole other movie going on there.

3.  Wouldn't it have been interesting if they could have stuck to the original story and made the Sam Levene character gay?

 

1. YES!!!!

2. I'm thinkin' p to the im to the p

3. Yes. I also got touch of gay subtext. again, i'm bummed the source novel is only available on kindle, i'd love to read a hard copy (i'm old fashioned)

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1 hour ago, misswonderly3 said:

And anyway, the point of "Crossfire", as Robert Montgomery's character illustrates in his speech to the naive Leroy, is that some people conceive a hatred inside of them for anyone who's different, whether they're Jewish, Irish, black, brown, or gay. And you have to resist such people  (although possibly not by shooting them down in the street, as Tom notes.)

 

Yeh but I think the problem is Robert Young wanted to shoot him down to help end the film. Didn't you hear what Eddie Muller said about Young wanting to make Crossfire a fast shoot so he could get on to another film? I suspect Young decided to doing the fast shooting himself when Ryan made a break for it.

I can almost hear the director shouting at him, "Hey, Bob, that's not in the script!"

"I don't care! I'm ending this film now!"

BANG! BANG!

Afterward, the director and editor agreed with him, so the scene made the final cut.

Of course, I could be wrong.

 

By the way, when Muller made his comments after the film ended about fascists hating weakness and minorities, was I the only one here who started to think about a certain Washington D.C. somebody who's always in the news these days?

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3 hours ago, TomJH said:

By the way, when Muller made his comments after the film ended about fascists hating weakness and minorities, was I the only one here who started to think about a certain Washington D.C. somebody who's always in the news these days?

Chuck Schumer only loves himself, but I don't know if it's fair to say he hates weakness and minorities.

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6 hours ago, HelenBaby2 said:

It’s Robert Young, not Montgomery.

Ok, it might be time for me to retire from posting here. This is the second week in a row I've made an idiotic and totally preventable mistake, mixing up two different actors. (Last week, it was Elisha Cook Jr., who I mindlessly exchanged for Elijah Wood ! Although maybe because I was unconsciously thinking there's something kind of hobbit-like about Elisha?)

Yes, Helen, of course it was Robert Young, NOT Robert Montgomery. In my defense, I have always gotten those two Roberts mixed up. I actually really do think they kind of look alike- well, maybe not so much in Crossfire, where Robert Young has taken on a kind of older -man Marcus Welby look.

Image result for marcus welby

"Some of my favourite patients are Jewish. Or even gay."

But check these two Roberts out:

Related image

R. Young

Related image

R. Montgomery

I mean, look at their hair, for one thing !

Anyway, Helen, thanks for the correction. I really must pay more attention to proof-reading my posts before I hit "submit".

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cd6ab548c3137504a0031c49adf06aa6.jpg

"Hey, Bob . . ."

"What, Bob?"

"Did I ever tell you that when I look at you it's like . . ."

"Looking in a mirror? Yeh, I feel the same way, Bob."

"Thanks, Bob. Jeez, we're even the same height. Kinda eerie, eh?"

"Yes, Bob, it is. One thing for sure, though."

"What's that, Bob?"

"Boy we're good looking."

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i'd bet you anything that on particularly rough mornings, any one of the three Roberts (Taylor, Young, or Montgomery) would wake up and genuinely not remember which Robert he was and have to consult a questionaire which he kept on the nightstand:

1. Is my daughter on BEWITCHED?

2. Do I still pay alimony to Barbara Stanwyck?

3. is it time to make the SANKA?

and then the answer key would let them know which Robert they were.

(Mitchum and Ryan, on the other hand, were never conscious in the morning, so this issue never came up for them)

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