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TopBilled

Thoughts on Robert Siodmak's Hollywood output

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I've been rediscovering Siodmak's Hollywood films. This guy doesn't seem to get enough recognition for his contributions to noir, so I'm going to review four of his films in the Essentials forum this month.

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 1.36.03 PM.jpg

Here's what he made in Hollywood:

WEST POINT WIDOW (1941)...a Paramount comedy with Anne Shirley & Richard Carlson
FLY-BY-NIGHT (1942)...another Paramount comedy with Richard Carlson
MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY (1942)...Paramount comedy, again with Carlson
THE NIGHT BEFORE THE DIVORCE (1942)...comedy at 20th Century Fox with Lynn Bari
SOMEONE TO REMEMBER (1943)...Republic drama starring Mabel Paige
SON OF DRACULA (1943)...Universal horror film with Lon Chaney Jr.
PHANTOM LADY (1944)...his first noir at Universal, with Ella Raines
COBRA WOMAN (1944)...south seas adventure film at Universal with Maria Montez
CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY (1944)...Universal noir with Deanna Durbin & Gene Kelly. I will review this film in December.
THE SUSPECT (1944)...Universal period noir with Charles Laughton & Ella Raines. Reviewing it in April.

THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF UNCLE HARRY (1945)...Universal period noir with George Sanders & Ella Raines.
THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (1946)...RKO period noir with Dorothy McGuire. Reviewing it in April.
THE KILLERS (1946)...Universal noir with Burt Lancaster & Ava Gardner.
THE DARK MIRROR (1946)...Universal noir with Olivia de Havilland & Lew Ayres. Reviewing it in April.
TIME OUT OF MIND (1947)...Universal noir with Ella Raines & Phyllis Calvert
CRY OF THE CITY (1948)...Noir at 20th Century Fox, with Victor Mature & Richard Conte.
CRISS CROSS (1949)...Universal noir starring Burt Lancaster & Yvonne de Carlo.
THE GREAT SINNER (1949)...MGM drama with Gregory Peck & Ava Gardner.
DEPORTED (1950)...Universal noir with Jeff Chandler.
THE FILE ON THELMA JORDON (1950)...Paramount noir starring Barbara Stanwyck. Reviewing it in April.
THE WHISTLE AT EATON FALLS (1951)...Columbia drama with Lloyd Bridges.
THE CRIMSON PIRATE (1952)...adventure comedy with Burt Lancaster at Warner Brothers.

Anyone else a fan of Robert Siodmak?

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2 hours ago, TopBilled said:

I've been rediscovering Siodmak's Hollywood films. This guy doesn't seem to get enough recognition for his contributions to noir, so I'm going to review four of his films in the Essentials forum this month.

Screen Shot 2018-03-31 at 1.36.03 PM.jpg

Here's what he made in Hollywood:

WEST POINT WIDOW (1941)...a Paramount comedy with Anne Shirley & Richard Carlson
FLY-BY-NIGHT (1942)...another Paramount comedy with Richard Carlson
MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY (1942)...Paramount comedy, again with Carlson
THE NIGHT BEFORE THE DIVORCE (1942)...comedy at 20th Century Fox with Lynn Bari
SOMEONE TO REMEMBER (1943)...Republic drama starring Mabel Paige
SON OF DRACULA (1943)...Universal horror film with Lon Chaney Jr.
PHANTOM LADY (1944)...his first Hollywood noir at Universal, with Ella Raines
COBRA WOMAN (1944)...south seas adventure film at Universal with Maria Montez
CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY (1944)...Universal noir with Deanna Durbin & Gene Kelly. I will review this film in December.
THE SUSPECT (1944)...Universal period noir with Charles Laughton & Ella Raines. Reviewing it in April.

THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF UNCLE HARRY (1945)...Universal period noir with George Sanders & Ella Raines.
THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (1946)...RKO period noir with Dorothy McGuire. Reviewing it in April.
THE KILLERS (1946)...Universal noir with Burt Lancaster & Ava Gardner.
THE DARK MIRROR (1946)...Universal noir with Olivia de Havilland & Lew Ayres. Reviewing it in April.
TIME OUT OF MIND (1947)...Universal noir with Ella Raines & Phyllis Calvert
CRY OF THE CITY (1948)...Noir at 20th Century Fox, with Victor Mature & Richard Conte.
CRISS CROSS (1949)...Universal noir starring Burt Lancaster & Yvonne de Carlo.
THE GREAT SINNER (1949)...MGM drama with Gregory Peck & Ava Gardner.
DEPORTED (1950)...Universal noir with Jeff Chandler.
THE FILE ON THELMA JORDON (1950)...Paramount noir starring Barbara Stanwyck. Reviewing it in April.
THE WHISTLE AT EATON FALLS (1951)...Columbia drama with Lloyd Bridges.
THE CRIMSON PIRATE (1952)...adventure comedy with Burt Lancaster at Warner Brothers.

Anyone else a fan of Robert Siodmak?

Big fan of Robert Siodmak and yea, he deserves more credit.    TCM should have a directors SUTS. 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Big fan of Robert Siodmak and yea, he deserves more credit.    TCM should have a directors SUTS. 

What an excellent idea. It means there would be no repeats on the schedule, unless a director did a remake of his/her earlier film. They could really balance out the schedule, by choosing directors known for certain genres. So a day with Siodmak's noir could be followed by a day of Ford's westerns then a day of Howard Hawks' screwball comedies, and so on. Also they could highlight international directors like Kurosawa and De Sica, plus women directors like Arzner and Lupino. I think you're on to something, James!

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Just for "The Killers" alone Siodmak was brought to the tops ranks in Film Noir in my opinion.

Then you have "Criss-Cross", "Cry Of The City", and "Phantom Lady". Three Noir heavy-hitters. What more needs to be said?!:)

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29 minutes ago, decojoe67 said:

Just for "The Killers" alone Siodmak was brought to the tops ranks in Film Noir in my opinion.

Then you have "Criss-Cross", "Cry Of The City", and "Phantom Lady". Three Noir heavy-hitters. What more needs to be said?!

I decided not to review those titles, because of the fact they're more well-known. Though I like them very much. I wanted to focus on some of the others, since I feel all his films should be given a new appreciation.

CRY OF THE CITY seems different, because it resembles the more formulaic crime dramas Fox was doing at the time, and I don't think they gave him as much leeway to be creative as Universal did.

I watched THE DARK MIRROR last night and was blown away by how much his camera angles and use of shadows aid Olivia de Havilland's performance. I think he helped her more than her directors at Warners usually did. She plays twins and one is a killer...the way he lights and shoots the scenes makes her seem extremely evil. He helps Stanwyck in much the same way on THELMA JORDON.

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I've always liked Robert Siodmank, even though I've seen only a handful of his movies (The Killers, The Spiral Staircase, The Dark Mirror, Cry of the City, Criss Cross).

This thread gave me the idea to look up and watch his European films. So far I found Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday) ,a 1933 silent film, on YouTube, and I saved for later viewing, hopefully next, what else?, Sunday.

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Heck, just for " The Suspect" alone he vaults to the top of the Noir director's list in my opinion.  Criss Cross and The Killers are top notch. I didn't care too much for The Spiral Staircase.  I haven't seen the others on the list.

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I agree he doesn't get enough recognition. I'm looking forward to seeing Christmas Holiday for the first time.  Phantom Lady and The Killers are among the finest examples of noir.

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I just did a small review of The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry over on the Sergio Leone board. SPOILER ALERT.  Let me say that it is another masterpiece film undermined by the code that existed at the time.  Siodmark was forced to change two key elements of the Broadway play that it was based on.  In the play, the story was told in flashback.  In the play the ending was vastly different than the screenplay.  I'm fully convinced that the ending is why this film hasn't gotten the recognition it deserves.  I'm gonna ignore the ending and still give this film a solid 8 out of 10.  

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I watched Christmas Holiday. It was ok. I believe that the writer left a lot on the table that he could've worked with. I don't know anything about Gene Kelly so I didn't know he was going against cast.  The cinematography was great.  The casting was pretty good. Its the screenplay itself that I feel is lacking.  I rate this at about 5.5 out of 10...

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