ken123

Overrated Noir

34 posts in this topic

I pick " Decoy ", after all the hype I was very disappointed. Don't get me wrong it is more than OK, but I guess I expected more.

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Send a wire to the main office, and tell them that I said . . . "Oww!"

 

I plead guilty to overhyping Decoy on this board, but I do love the film and I just can't get enough of Jean Gillie's "Margot Shelby." She's sexy cold.

 

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Call Northside 777, and Whirlpool are three noirs that haven't connected with me yet. I say this while acknowledging that Fritz Lang is my second favorite director and that I'm a big fan of Otto Preminger.

 

I understand that those titles are not considered major noirs but I really haven't been disappointed by any of the majors yet. I guess the most reknown noir I'm a little cold on is Kiss of Death.

 

Here are the Must-See Noirs from the 250 Quintessential Noir list at They Shoot Pictures:

 

*Big Carnival (Ace in the Hole) Billy Wilder 1951

*The Big Combo Joseph H. Lewis 1955

The Big Heat Fritz Lang 1953

The Big Sleep Howard Hawks 1946

Criss Cross Robert Siodmak 1949

Detour Edgar G. Ulmer 1945

Double Indemnity Billy Wilder 1944

Fallen Angel Otto Preminger 1945

Gun Crazy Joseph H. Lewis 1949

*The Hitch-Hiker Ida Lupino 1953

*House of Strangers Joseph L. Mankiewicz 1949

*In a Lonely Place Nicholas Ray 1950

*The Killers Robert Siodmak 1946

The Killing Stanley Kubrick 1956

*Kiss Me Deadly Robert Aldrich 1955

Laura Otto Preminger 1944

Leave Her to Heaven John M. Stahl 1945

*The Lost Weekend Billy Wilder 1945

*Mildred Pierce Michael Curtiz 1945

*The Naked Kiss Sam Fuller 1964

The Night of the Hunter Charles Laughton 1955

Out of the Past Jacques Tourneur 1947

*Raw Deal Anthony Mann 1948

The Red House Delmer Daves 1947

Scarlet Street Fritz Lang 1945

*Secret Beyond the Door Fritz Lang 1948

Shadow of a Doubt Alfred Hitchcock 1943

Strangers on a Train Alfred Hitchcock 1951

Sunset Blvd. Billy Wilder 1950

Sweet Smell of Success Alexander Mackendrick 1957

They Live by Night Nicholas Ray 1949

The Third Man Carol Reed 1949

T-Men Anthony Mann 1947

Touch of Evil Orson Welles 1958

*The Woman in the Window Fritz Lang 1944

 

* I haven't seen yet

 

http://www.theyshootpictures.com/mustseefilms.htm

 

I must say, I'm surprised The Red House is considered a "must-see" film. I definitely like the film, though.

 

I think the noir that is often considered "overrated" by noir enthusiasts is Laura. I'm someone who really likes Laura, though.

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Well here is my list of either overrated or not as good as "they said"

Kiss of Death

Call Northside 007

Out of the Past

Where the Sidewalk Ends

His Kind of Woman

Woman in the Window

The Street with no name

Dark Corner

Raw Deal

T-Men

Murder My Sweet

others Saboteur, Topaz, Stage Fright

For me a lot of Noir are either a hit or miss, as is with Crime and other films from this period

Some of these films I passed out LOL and tried to watch again and still just didn't warm up to it..

And so it goes...

Well I did try to watch them

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I watched Kiss of Death today and the pace was slow and I found it to be dull ..it started out good, but ended on a thud

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I've read a lot of passionate commentary about "Laura." Was it really directed by Otto Preminger, or was it really directed by Rouben Mamoulian? Wouldn't Laura be better off with Shelby than with Mark? etc. etc. And I've seen "Laura" and have thought, it's okay. I just can't get into that movie with the passion it seems a lot of other people have.

 

As I mentioned on another thread, "Out of the Past" doesn't live up to its hype with me, but I admit the dialogue is good. "I don't want to die either, but when it comes down to it, I'm dying last."

 

"Murder My Sweet" is another one that left me with a so-so feeling. Of course, I'm not that shot with the source novel to begin with.

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>>I pick " Decoy ", after all the hype I was very disappointed.<<

 

I watched it last night. I never heard of Jean Gillie (the Female Lead) (she was only 34 when she died) Kind of sad....

 

Herbert Rudley (Dr.Craig) walked around like a zombie and how Robert Armstrong became an actor is beyond me. I agree Ken, it was a disappointment.

 

vallo

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"Out of the Past" is on the over-rated list??? Oh no...you're out of your cotton-picking minds!! "He followed her..."

 

Fellas, think of it: your job is to follow the dame that stole your boss' $40,000 and when you see this vision of loveliness walk into the dark cantina, YOU fall for the girl. C'mon guys.

 

Ladies, think of it: you want to get away from your weasly boyfriend, you're being chased across Mexico and a big lug like Mitchum is the one who's on your tail. He's hot, he's a man's man. You know you're rotten to the core, but he's acting like a love-sick sap. You love him...you can use him. Hey, why not. Self-preservation, baby.

 

I can't believe this movie is considered over-rated by some of you. If Jane Greer or Rhonda Fleming is NOT enough...boy oh boy! You build my gallows high baby.

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It doesnt matter if Mitchum is a Mans Man, Out of the Past isnt that great...but RM is great in Cape Fear :)

And Night of the Hunter I like too...

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Et tu, Vallo?

 

MikeBSG -- Based on my limited time reading comments about film noir on-line, I've come to the conclusion that the hardcore male noir-types don't find Laura and Murder, My Sweet to be all that. They seem to be looking for something with more kick.

 

Out of the Past is also a noir that seems to run the gamut of opinion in noir circles. The dialogue throws many for a loop, as does the pacing.

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If "overrated" means "it may be a movie well worth watching, maybe even several times, but despite the hype there are dozens of others that I find more moving and enjoyable", then Out of the Past, Laura and Murder, My Sweet top my list. I keep watching and maybe someday I'll be converted.

 

Most underrated, given that I haven't seen it mentioned: Reign of Terror (aka The Black Book). Even though directed by Anthony Mann and shot by John Alton (my favorite combo in movie history), I avoided it because I could not imagine liking a noir set during the French Revolution starring "Love That Bob". One word after seeing it: Wow.

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I liked Laura - that was a good Noir

Murder My Sweet no so much..

Sometimes they grab you, sometimes they dont..at least there is a video store that has TONS of Noir to rent to see if I like them

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I'm glad to see Edgar G. Ulmer's "DETOUR" didn't make your list for over-rated noir. If you haven't seen it I hope you get a chance to. If you HAVE seen it, then you know this dialogue exchange below. In my book, I think it's the greatest piece of dialogue I've heard in all of noir. Oh yeah...I see the list of essential noir to watch. But I'll stick my ever-lovin' neck out here and say it's the best exchange I've ever heard. Nope, it's not in an alley or a rain-soaked street or in a dingy hotel room. It's on a dusty sunny Californica highway. I've heard Ann Savage described as so tough, she could wear a mohair sweater in the Mojave desert. Here goes:

 

 

Vera: "From now on you and I are like the Siamese twins."

 

Roberts: "Have it your way, but I don't get the point."

 

Vera: "The point is I don't want you to get lost."

 

Roberts: "I'm not going to beat it if that's what you're afraid of."

 

Vera: "I'll say you're not. Why, I'm going to see that you sell this car so you DON'T get caught."

 

Roberts: "Thanks. 'Course your interest wouldn't be financial, would it? You wouldn't want a small

percentage of the profits?"

 

Vera: "Well now that you insist, how can I refuse. 100%'ll do."

 

Roberts: "Fine, I'm relieved. I thought for a moment you were going to take it all."

 

Vera: "I don't want to be a hog."

 

When that scene fades-out ( my favorite movie transition ) I am wiped out on the floor!! I think Vera could even beat Margot Shelby. She spits out her lines tougher than Lupino or Davis.

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ChiO -- Most underrated, given that I haven't seen it mentioned: Reign of Terror (aka The Black Book). Even though directed by Anthony Mann and shot by John Alton (my favorite combo in movie history), I avoided it because I could not imagine liking a noir set during the French Revolution starring "Love That Bob". One word after seeing it: Wow.

 

I've been avoiding Reign of Terror because I'm not a period piece guy and the DVD image is supposedly poor. Well, you've forced me to reconsider. When a Mann fan speaks this highly of the film, I have to check it out.

 

Jonathan Rosenbaum:

 

Period Noir:

 

Anthony Mann?s The Black Book (1949). One of the great unacknowledged forms of noir is costume drama. I can?t think of a better example than this campy, hugely enjoyable thriller about the French Revolution?-also known as Reign of Terror, with Robert Cummings, Richard Basehart, and Arlene Dahl--brilliantly shot by John Alton, the greatest noir cinematographer. I even prefer it to Mann?s more conventional noirs in contemporary settings, many of them also shot by Alton. Furthermore, the version of this gem currently available is priced so low that it?s an uncommon bargain.

 

And yes, the cheap price is why I can overlook the image quality.

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FrankGrimes: I can't wait to tell my film buff friends that Jonathan Rosenbaum and I have appeared together on the internet in something I didn't write. He and Sarris are my favorite film writers. I hadn't read what he wrote about Reign of Terror, but since he presumably wrote it some time ago, I guess I'll have to say that I agree with him rather than vice versa. Of the Mann-Alton noirs that I've seen (T-Men, Raw Deal, He Walked by Night, Reign of Terror, and Border Incident), it is my favorite - and I say that with Raw Deal and He Walked by Night being two of my favorite films noir.

 

The quality of the DVD is poor, I guess, but it doesn't matter - Alton's shooting in the dark anyway ("Black and white are colors too" and "It's not what you light - it's what you don't light" are my two favorite Alton quotes). It makes his work on Raw Deal look overlit.

 

Slightly off-topic, but if anyone out there lives in the Chicago area, Rosenbaum will be discussing Sam Fuller's Steel Helmet after a screening at the Gene Siskel Film Center on Sept. 5.

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The Black Book is actually a nice little film, but yes, the DVD is awful looking. Another film that needs restoration.

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ChiO -- I can't wait to tell my film buff friends that Jonathan Rosenbaum and I have appeared together on the internet in something I didn't write. He and Sarris are my favorite film writers.

 

It's becoming more and more clear why I find your taste in film to be of the highest grade. I connect with Rosenbaum because he's a great admirer of film noir and Fritz Lang. I actually was introduced to Rosenbaum because of Gary Tooze's DVD Beaver.

 

I hadn't read what he wrote about Reign of Terror, but since he presumably wrote it some time ago, I guess I'll have to say that I agree with him rather than vice versa.

 

Rosenbaum's comment on Reign of Terror is from an April '06 article.

 

10 Overlooked Noirs (4/06):

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/noir.htm

 

10 Favorite Offbeat Musicals (3/06):

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/10_offbeat_musicals.htm

 

A Dozen Eccentric Westerns (6/06):

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/westerns.htm

 

Ten Neglected Science Fiction Films (8/06):

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/sci-fi.htm

 

Ten Overlooked Fantasy Films on DVD (10/06):

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/fantasy.htm

 

A Dozen Undervalued Movie Satires (1/07):

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/dozen_undervalued_movie_satires.htm

 

Eleven Treasures of Jazz Performance on DVD (4/07):

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/eleven_treasures_of_jazz_on_dvd.htm

 

18 Thrillers You Might Have Missed (7/07):

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/articles/18_thrillers_you_might_have_missed.htm

 

Arkadin -- I may just get the cheapy Mill Creek DVD "Suspense! - 20 Movie Pack" since it's selling for $8.22. Reign of Terror is in the collection and there a few other films in the set that I haven't seen or have on DVD.

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FrankGrimes -- How embarassing.

 

Rosenbaum's comment on Reign of Terror is from an April '06 [DVDBeaver]article.

 

I religiously check DVDBeaver for Rosenbaum lists and, of course, I read "10 Overlooked Noirs" when it was posted. I didn't view Reign of Terror until about 15 months later. Is Rosenbaum an insidious virus that has planted ideas into my brain & caused me to forget the source, or have I just had too many martinis? I hereby post notice that I credit Jonathan Rosenbaum for anything I write of more than de minimus value and I credit martinis for the rest.

 

Have you read his Essential Cinema: On the Necessity of Film Canons? The appendix is "1,000 Favorites (A Personal Canon)". That list & some snippets from the book is at www.alsolikelife.com/FilmDiary/Rosenbaum.html

 

The "Suspense" package is worth every penny of the $8.99. Some obvious jewels: He Walked by Night, Detour, The Stranger, Scarlett Street, as well as The Black Book (aka Reign of Terror). Another one I enjoyed [translation: no claim that it's as good as the above, but it sure is fun to watch] that was unknown to me when I bought it is Quicksand -- Mickey Rooney & Peter Lorre, how can you go wrong with that combo.

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ChiO -- Have you read his Essential Cinema: On the Necessity of Film Canons? The appendix is "1,000 Favorites (A Personal Canon)". That list & some snippets from the book is at www.alsolikelife.com/FilmDiary/Rosenbaum.html

 

I haven't read Rosenbaum's book but I have checked out his top 1,000 list at the site you listed.

 

The "Suspense" package is worth every penny of the $8.99. Some obvious jewels: He Walked by Night, Detour, The Stranger, Scarlett Street, as well as The Black Book (aka Reign of Terror). Another one I enjoyed [translation: no claim that it's as good as the above, but it sure is fun to watch] that was unknown to me when I bought it is Quicksand -- Mickey Rooney & Peter Lorre, how can you go wrong with that combo.

 

The problem with getting the cheap collections is overlapping titles. I already have The Stranger and Scarlet Street on DVD and the one noir collection I'm getting has He Walked by Night, Detour, and Quicksand.

 

The films in the Suspense 20 collection that I don't have on DVD are:

 

Algiers

British Intelligence

Dangerous Passage

Eyes in the Night

Jail Bait

The Man on the Eiffel Tower

Outpost in Morrocco

Ransom Money

Reign of Terror

Sundown

They Made Me a Criminal

The White Orchid

 

If I were to get Reign of Terror by itself, it's basically $6 for a poor print. I think I can spend an extra couple of bucks to see Gene Tierney, Hedy Lamarr, Marie Windsor, and Ann Sheridan. Not to mention, John Garfield and Boris Karloff.

 

It's official, I've hijacked yet another thread. Let's see, overrated, well, The Stranger is a film that Wellesians sometimes don't like all that much because it's a straightforward story. I happen to like it a lot.

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I just remembered a noir classic that I think is overrated. "Leave Her to Heaven."

 

I've read so many good things about it, how it is noir in color, and how the drowning scene is so chilling, and when I saw it in a theater it all seemed incredibly phony and the audience laughed in all the wrong spots. Zero chemistry between Cornell Wilde and Gene Tierney. A complete dud.

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I agree: to me, "Leave Her to Heaven" seemed not like film noir but more like melodrama with murder. All emotions were ratcheted up, Sirk-like, to fever pitch. And, as you said, at the center of the drama was a charmless cipher in the person of Cornell Wilde.

 

On the subject of over-rated noirs, I know many will disagree, but I was disappointed by "Laura" and "Woman in the Window." If you ask me, both have plot holes big enough to drive a caravan through. "Somewhere in the Night" is in the same category: good-looking, atmospheric movies, but the stories collapse in shards near the end, a major flaw by my criteria.

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Mike -- I just remembered a noir classic that I think is overrated. "Leave Her to Heaven."

 

You go to your room right now, young man.

 

Zero chemistry between Cornell Wilde and Gene Tierney.

 

I thought this was important to the story. Ellen (Gene Tierney) and Richard (Cornel Wilde) marry for the wrong reasons. Richard and Ruth (Jeanne Crain) are the ones who are truly in love. Tierney as an ice princess is always enjoyable to me.

 

Content Guy -- I agree: to me, "Leave Her to Heaven" seemed not like film noir but more like melodrama with murder. All emotions were ratcheted up, Sirk-like, to fever pitch.

 

I agree. I don't consider *Leave Her to Heaven* to be a "pure" noir, mainly because it's a color film.

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My only problem with LAURA is that so many people call it one of the very best movies ever made. EVER! It's a fine movie. I like it. But, please. There are a number of films in this category alone that are just as good. I have the same reaction to CITIZEN KANE. Great movie. Absolutely. But THE BEST EVER? Why? What did I miss?

 

RR

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I'm with you regarding *Laura* , but I'm going to go back to it soon for the fourth time and see if it's me or them.

 

As to *Citizen Kane* , to quote FrankGrimes, "Go to your room right now." It can get tiresome to hear "It's the greatest movie of all time!" so often that it sounds like a mindless mantra (my reaction to "Hitchcock is the Master!"). Jonathan Rosenbaum doesn't even vote for it in the Sight & Sound poll because he assumes it'll win without his vote. Who knows if it's the "greatest", but it is my favorite and, along with Dreyer's *The Passion of Joan of Arc* , the movie I feel most passionate about.

 

You like comedy? It has some very funny dialog. You like melodrama? Got it. Musicals? Very amusing song & dance. War movies? Got some of that. Political intrigue? Sure. Romance? Yep. Straight drama? Oh, yeah. Film noir? Absolutely. I cannot think of another movie that has aspects of so many types of film [and] holds them together seamlessly as *Citizen Kane* .

 

Technical aspects: Greg Toland's camera and lighting is a joy. Deep focus, shadows, rooms with ceilings to add claustrophobia to the mix. Was it the first to do this? Probably not, just as Griffith may not have been the first to do many of the things he's credited for, but Welles pulls it all together with...

 

Theme: Welles (and Mankiewicz) tells a story of a person from several literal and figurative angles. On the surface it's the rise and fall of a great man. But underneath, it's about everyone of us: the cycles of our lives, how others perceive us, how others choose to remember us, our sense of accomplishment, and our sense of loss.

 

Add to that the backstory of intrigue in filming it and getting it released, and that it was Welles first feature film. I realize that those matters should be irrelevant to an objective appraisal of the movie, but they've become part and parcel of the film itself.

 

Don't quit on *Citizen Kane* -- one can quibble about whether it's the "greatest", but it sure is up there.

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