Barton_Keyes

Noir Alley

2,253 posts in this topic

On 7/18/2018 at 9:54 AM, Brrrcold said:

No. As I wrote, I don't object to the movies.

I wonder why TCM has decided to turn itself into the Noir Network, or something close to that, via the promos, the branding, the dedicated host, the set, the micro-site/schedule, etc.  ...Some noir fans seem to have a thin skin about this, but I'm simply wondering why noir got elevated to this level and not something else.

And again, I really just wanted to point out how annoying the chef is... sheesh.

You mean you don't like popcorn with your wine?

I think you make a valid point. I've been a noir fan since I was a teenager reading old reviews from "Cahiers du Cinema" at my local library. But that does not mean that any substandard film which was mostly a B-programmer in the 1940's should be elevated to cult status. Methinks there is something financial going on here, with some in the Noir field possibly buying up rights to old films for a mininum fee and then promoting them as if they are on the level of superiority of a film like "The Night of the Hunter". This is a house of cards situation wherein the idea that a film needs to be seen is stated by someone who has a bit of a platform, then the supplying of this need by releasing a four film dvd which contains said film, and then promoting the film as a classic, which is way beyond its real merits. Just one more way to dupe the public out of some of their moola, and say that you are supplying them with Dom Perignon when it is really a bottle of Ripple, for the same exalted price point. Money, it's all about the money and not about real love of films noir or even great films in general. Great noir will always reward, but crap that is shot in black and white and is just barely suspenseful is not worthy to be called noir anyway.

 

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32 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Agree, for some reason, for that particular film, seems the wrong era for noir, which is strange because, I like say,  The Tall Target, a pre Civil War film filmed in the Noir style, and similar Noir Westerns.

Others that I fit in with Beware, My Lovely that feel off for Noir are House By The River, Gaslight, The Spiral Staircase, and Hangover Square.

Maybe, like Hibi said, because they could have updated the stories easily. 

 

I thought of another The Red House (1947) though it may be set in then present 1947, but it has an off-noir feel, I don't remember for sure.

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1 hour ago, cigarjoe said:

I thought of another The Red House (1947) though it may be set in then present 1947, but it has an off-noir feel, I don't remember for sure.

"The Red House" is an interesting film. I would bet the back story of why Pete [Spoilers Ahead!] offed a certain person, would be a real noir rendering. In this film, Eddie G. is suffering the after-effects of a noirish relationship possibly, that resulted in the great secret of the Red House. The involvement with Meg, which starts off paternally and then starts getting a bit out of hand in a seemingly romantic way, is a noirish idea that even noir films never seemed to face. Though set in a daytime mode mostly, the travelling through that forest in the dark, is deeply disturbing, as are Pete's rather psychotic warnings which reak of over-control. The relationship between Meg, Tibby and Lon McCallister, with Rory Calhoun thrown in for good measure would be more noirish if there was not a bit of a teenage element. Surprisingly, this film has a superb performance by Dame Judith Anderson in a very sympathetic way uncharacteristically. Great film, whether it be noir or not noir, but I can see some noir elements.

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9 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

poor BEWARE MY LOVELY, it gets dismissed a lot, and yeah, it's not as good as it could/should be; but I dunno, I have some degree of respect for it. It's basically a filmed stageplay/hour-long television episode; but it's one of those not bad films that i am intrigued by watching because i can see so many ways where it could be helped. i forget who directed it...but the sets are great and the actors especially good, if some passionate first timer had gotten their mitts on it, it would've been something.

in re: NIGHT OF THE HUNTER in all seriousness, have you considered watching just the second part? in many ways, it is like two movies, and i am way fonder of the second half of the movie and it is a MUST for all fans of strong female performances as LILLIAN GISH basically shows up what she would've done with the Sigourney Weaver role in ALIENS.

 

In the first case, it's not the movie per se, it's the formula. I can't say how good it is because I couldn't get through it. It's probably pretty good. Like most folks (I think) I instinctively want her to get away and I find no pleasure of being manipulate with those close calls. At times I detach and be a pure movie buff and just see and critique but other times I cannot.

In the second case I quit the movie when it seemed apparent that the adult is going after the kid. No thanks.

***

I just posted something on Touch of Evil over on I Just Watched ... and now I wish I had posted it over here instead. Damn! Anyone ever done something like that? I think I'll wait a couple of months and revive it here. Or maybe just forget it.

 

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Hey, that kid deserved it! LOL.

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48 minutes ago, Hibi said:

Hey, that kid deserved it! LOL.

:lol:

I'll laugh at that ... for now.

So much for unconditional innocence for kids  ... :D

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6 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

I thought of another The Red House (1947) though it may be set in then present 1947, but it has an off-noir feel, I don't remember for sure.

What do you think of my suggestion re: The Two Mrs. Carrolls ?

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2 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

What do you think of my suggestion re: The Two Mrs. Carrolls ?

I saw it long ago and didn't like it, and probably haven't watched it since, in fact I had to look it up because I get it confused with Undercurrent (1946) another that I don't care for all that much. But they very well can be off-Noirs, lol. 

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10 hours ago, Hibi said:

LOL. I'd like it more if it was WUTS (scheduled in winter) I'd have more time to watch. In summer I'm just too busy to watch much and the dvr is full right now. :(

My DVR with its 400 movies is only 75% full! However, I share the space with my husband and I don't want to max it out.  I also have a second DVR that I have in the other bedroom of my house that I'm renting to my sister, so I suppose I could have some spillover onto there.  Lol! That DVR is for her, because she has a lot of shows that she follows.

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On 7/18/2018 at 2:33 PM, misswonderly3 said:

Well, as I said earlier in response to this perception you have about too much Noir on TCM, for some reason film noir seemed to be rediscovered in the first 10 years or so of this century, and a lot of people started paying attention to it, creating blogs about it, and otherwise talking about it on social media, etc. Much more so than, say, Westerns or musicals or what used to be called "women's pictures" or screwball comedies or pretty much any other genre from the classic movie era. So, I suppose if there's more active interest out there when it comes to film noir movies as opposed to other film genres, that would be why TCM decided to schedule more dedicated time to noir.

I think one of the reasons that Noir is so popular is that it is such a specific yet vague style of filmmaking.  How many discussions have we had where we're like "is [such and such film] really a noir? I mean it kind of is, but not really..." I agree that noir seems to have had a renaissance in the last decade or so.  I think one of the reasons for it is that noir is such a distinctly "classic Hollywood" style that it draws people in who want to experience what classic Hollywood had to offer.  

I think TCM shows just as many westerns and horror films as noir.  To me, that sometimes seems to be the only thing they air.  I imagine that it probably only seems that way because those are two genres that are closer to the bottom of my favorites list.

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I like Night of the Hunter. Some really fine direction by Laughton, especially of the

spooky scenes along the river, sort of a very nightmarish version of Huck Finn, and

a fine evocation of time and place.  And Mitchum is just perfect for the part, with

that well known scene of the struggle between old Love and Hate. I admit that boy

child is a bit of a wise guy, but no worse than some other movie brats. I always

laugh when he wraps that apple up in a doily as a Christmas present for Lilian Gish.

Quick thinking. And then there's leaning, leaning...

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Party Girl (1958) is a solid gangster pic that pulled its punches because of studio politics.  Robert Taylor as mob lawyer Tommy Farrell gives a fine, nuanced performance, conveying through gestures, pauses, and rhythm of speech the character's moral torment. It's one of his better performances. He's older, wiser, and with his world-weary persona, avoids the smugness that crept into some of his earlier work.  Cyd Charisse as showgirl Vicki Gaye proves she was a dynamic but sadly underutilized dramatic presence. Sure, her dance numbers were a little incongruous, but her dancing is so sensational that it's not worth quibbling over. 

Now, I would have liked for Lee J. Cobb to have underplayed mob kingpin Rico Angelo, if just to make him more menacing, rather than resorting to broad cartoonish mannerisms. Although his showdown with Tommy, quietly reminding him that one can never know when a thug might come along and douse Vicki's face with acid, when Tommy said he wanted out, was chillingly effective. 

It was interesting to hear Eddie Muller say that 10 years after Party Girl, its director, Nicholas Ray, was in legal trouble and hired, without knowing it, a lawyer who had represented Al Capone. And from what Ray learned made him reflect on what Party Girl could have been without MGM's interference. That being said, it's still a very watchable film.

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16 hours ago, laffite said:

In the first case, it's not the movie per se, it's the formula. I can't say how good it is because I couldn't get through it. It's probably pretty good. Like most folks (I think) I instinctively want her to get away and I find no pleasure of being manipulate with those close calls. At times I detach and be a pure movie buff and just see and critique but other times I cannot.

In the second case I quit the movie when it seemed apparent that the adult is going after the kid. No thanks.

***

I just posted something on Touch of Evil over on I Just Watched ... and now I wish I had posted it over here instead. Damn! Anyone ever done something like that? I think I'll wait a couple of months and revive it here. Or maybe just forget it.

 

Some of us will post the same comment on two different threads as they pertain to both.  Also, we assume some may not read it on one thread, but will on another.  For instance, I seldom read the "I Just Watched Thread" so I missed your post there.

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Dark Passage is on Saturday and Sunday.  The last Bogie and Bacall movie.

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10 minutes ago, TheCid said:

Dark Passage is on Saturday and Sunday.  The last Bogie and Bacall movie.

What?   Isn't Key Largo the last Bogie and Bacall movie?    It was released in 48 and DP in 47.

Or does adding Eddie make DB a non Bogie \ Bacall movie?  

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6 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

What?   Isn't Key Largo the last Bogie and Bacall movie?    It was released in 48 and DP in 47.

Or does adding Eddie make DB a non Bogie \ Bacall movie?  

You are probably correct.  I just always thought Dark Passage was the last one.

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7 hours ago, TheCid said:

I seldom read the "I Just Watched Thread" 

Me neither.

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Random thoughts on Dark Passage:

I've seen this one a few times. The more often you view a movie, the more little things you notice about it.

The plastic surgery scene is one of the most interesting and noirish in the whole film. I love that back alley where the defrocked doc has  his office, the almost surreal atmosphere and the whole bizarre idea of having your face changed at the recommendation of a complete stranger, altered by another complete stranger, in the middle of the night. The nightmarish scene where Vince is under aenesthetic and we see all these frightening images whirling around. I love that kind of stuff.

I think Vince's friend, George, is gay. He gives off a gay vibe, plus, he tells Vince that Vince is "the only friend I've ever had. No one else ever liked me.",which may well have been the case for a closeted gay man back in the 1940s. And "all he ever wanted to do was play the trumpet and go to South America with Vince.", as though he has feelings beyond friendship for Vince.

Agnes Moorehead is a hoot as the conniving malevolent Madge. I think Agnes really enjoyed this role as a true harpy from hell. 

Something I've always noticed about this film is the way everyone asks questions, tons of questions. Everyone, the guy who picks Vince up at the film's beginning, the taxi driver, George, the hash-slinging cook in the all night diner ...all of them are incredibly nosy and ask far more questions than people do in real life. Sometimes this helps our hero, sometimes it's disastrous. 

One more thing I noticed this time around watching Dark Passage: the degree of trust some of the characters show, especially Lauren Bacall's. She believes everything Vince says. We know he's telling the truth, but how come she's so sure? But even though it stretches the limits of plausibility that she believes him, it somehow works. And Vince, in turn, has to trust her.  There's also the enormous trust he has to put in the taxi driver and the disbarred plastic surgeon. I like the way they both emphatically tell him when the surgery's over that they'll never see him again, tacitly letting him know that they have no intention of blackmailing him.

I think the scene where Irene removes Vince's bandages and initially looks appalled is a bit of an in-joke. Bogart's wife is looking at his face and is repelled at what she sees !  (Still, of course that's only for the first few minutes...)

By the way, if this seems disjointed and randomly written, it's because I'm writing it while watching the film as it airs. I don't usually do this- it's kind of distracting, I keep having to look from the screen to my laptop. Don't know how some of you manage to do this on a regular basis !

Anyway, one other thing I wanted to mention about Dark Passage is the wonderful  noirish setting, the San Francisco locations, full of steep winding stairways and dark streets and rain. Oh, and the fabulous apartment of Irene's ! Love that building, I hear it still exists.

 

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4 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

There's also the enormous trust he has to put in the taxi driver and the disbarred plastic surgeon.

Wow..Bogart thinking that these two mugs are altruistic

 

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Yes, KEY LARGO was the last of Bogie and Bacall pairings and the only one to win an Oscar. They did do a radio series together called DARK VENTURE

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That was the distressingly cryptic sign off that he gave at the end today. I certainly hope we see him with his regular face next week.

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BIG SLEEP is the best, KEY LARGO is terrific (but an acquired taste) and DARK PASSAGE is a much better, yet much less interesting, film than TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT. 

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I KNEW IT!!!!!  Told-ja the odd fall of Madge might have been a CODE issue.  :D  So in Muller's words she jumped.  It looked like she tripped because they couldn't make it look like she deliberately committed suicide.  That is pretty much what I figured.

So I've now seen this film 3 times in the last year.  I can't say it is my favorite, but I do enjoy it.  And I love how they stay committed to the first person POV for so long.  When I originally heard that this was a style the film employed I assumed it would last, at most, the first five minutes.  I was incorrect.  I also like how one of the first things they discuss after the bandages are removed is how the surgery made him look older.

And to address what LornaHansonForbes was saying about "trust" in the film.  Yes that is very noticeable.  I think in Vince's case it is a matter of necessity.  I think in Irene's case there are two factors involved.  One her feeling that her father was wrongfully accused and the fact that she knows Madge.  You can build a foundation of trust when you know someone has been accused by someone else who is totally untrustworthy.  But Lorna DEFINITELY has a point that there is a whole lot of "trust" going on all over this movie. ;)

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Some amusement....

A brother in law, over to store his camper in my yard(and not really a movie buff) walked in at certain moments in the movie and expressed SURPRISE at how GORGEOUS Bacall was at 23.  Seemed he was only familiar with her in movies she made since about the mid '60's or so.  And the only BOGART movie he knows is THE LEFT HAND OF GOD.  Never also, ever saw DEAD END, but did like the later BOWERY BOYS flicks.  :rolleyes:

Not so amusing:

The droning blather after the movie(and before) that Muller "treats" us to.  Now, it's ONE thing for a LITERARY CRITIC to pronounce a book as a "must read".  But, for the AUTHOR of the book to do so is, in my estimate, the EPITOME of hubris and pomposity.:angry:

Sepiatone

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