rohanaka

A Walk on the Noir Side

3,042 posts in this topic

99 RIVER STREET IS SPOILED

 

Where's the score, Madhat? -- Another noir hero dealing with adjustment. I think Ernie longed for the ring but might have been able to cope if he had some support from Pauline.

 

That's definitely how I saw Ernie. His competitive nature would always draw him to the ring, but his mind and body would tell him it's not possible. If his wife was supportive of his current endeavors, it would allow him to get over his longings. But Miss G, I mean, Pauline wasn't worried about Ernie.

 

She couldn't deal with the new circumstances. True love didn't exactly drive Pauline's thought process.

 

Not at all. She was in love with the fame and money. Once that dried up, her "love" dried up.

 

Can you imagine four years of listening to her digs?

 

Sort of! :P

 

They probably grew worse, just like her bitterness and disappointment.

 

She sure did like working. :D

 

In the end, with Linda's support, Ernie showed he could make the adjustment.

 

It's all about what we value most. Pauline's values were much different than Ernie's.

 

He certainly was. It took me a while to get where Ernie was coming from. The opening scene showed it but it took a few reels for it to sink in with me.

 

One of the most important scenes in the film takes place very early on. It's when Ernie blames Stan (Frank Faylen) for giving him lousy marital advice and then he shoves him. That took my breath away. How are we to like this unhinged man who blames the wrong people and hurts those who love him? It reminded me of Dix (Bogie) and Mel (Art Smith) in In a Lonely Place.

 

I got the idea that Ernie had to be volatile with some regularity, but perhaps Linda never did see it, or give it much thought.

 

I'm not so sure. I thought Ernie's anger came out over his wife cheating on him and I think that's very normal.

 

Linda was guilty of focusing only on herself in that instance.

 

Definitely. Linda was just as guilty as Pauline. She was only using Ernie for her own needs.

 

Her trying to make amends, seeing how selfish and thoughtless she had been was what brought her character out of the "kooky" and into the sympathetic.

 

You've got it. But I actually didn't think of her as "kooky" to start. I thought she was playful and in a good mood.

 

I also grew to like her fearlessness in helping Ernie right to the end. Oh yes, I thought she was pushy, and just a tad nutty and reckless, but I liked those qualities when she put them to good use. :)

 

I think I liked her "kooky," more. :)

 

I was mesmerized by Pauline.

 

We're like moths to a flame! :D

 

It burns!

 

Exactly. It really took off from there. I wasn't sure about this film at first, but once they see Pauline in that cab. I was hooked.

 

I wasn't sure where we were headed after the theatrical stunt. I was worried it was going to be a "soft" film noir. Well, the cab made it serious. I was all in, then.

 

I thought the one thing the theater scene did was reveal how far Ernie would go to help Linda. Now it was for real and Linda was put to the test and she really came through.

 

Exactly. Ernie was willing to shove aside his own problems, which were serious, just to help a friend. That said a lot about his character.

 

Payne's fight scenes impressed me so much. You are dead on about Lambert's portrayal of Micky. He was great in that scene and I just couldn't wait until ol' Ernie got the chance to knock that smug look off his face. That was a highlight!

 

The way Jack Lambert played "Mickey" did give you the feeling of wanting to smack the heck out of him. Now that's how you play a villain!

 

Great that you mentioned this. I didn't say anything about Stan in my original comments and that was an oversight on my part. I agree with you here and I liked Faylen's performance.

 

He was exceptional. He's loyal until the end. There's no doubting that he's in Ernie's corner. And does Ernie deserve his loyalty? Not really. He's really tough on Stan. Again, this is rather similar to Dix and Mel.

 

I liked Dexter's Rawlins, although maybe I was too focused on Castle in those early scenes to really catch all the nuance of his performance. I thought he was a charming snake, but I agree with Miss G. about how he takes on the big guys. He won't let himself be crossed. I thought that took some guts and defined his character somewhat. Smart? Tough? Foolhardy? All three probably.

 

That's a terrific description of Rawlins. I guess you could say to have guts you need to be somewhat foolhardy. I love how we see a smooth cat like Rawlins contrasted with a mug like Ernie and the diamond slobs.

 

I agree with you however, that he was going down a dangerous road here. Taking on these guys wasn't going to end well, but I don't think he ever figured on Ernie either. He was going to make Ernie a fall guy and like Micky, he misjudged who he was dealing with.

 

Right. Rawlins thought he was smarter than the rest. It's a very Hitchcockian villain, where superiority is their main weapon of choice.

 

Christopher knows dames ain't nothin' but trouble! :D

 

Does he ever! He'd really flip out if he knew the dames on this board.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Does he ever! He'd really flip out if he knew the dames on this board."

 

Ha! I see your wings are singed. You know you boys love us! :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WHEW!!! I'm so glad you liked it. I think Ella Raines is just a peach. For me, she's the IT Girl in noir (you know...on the good girl side o' things). She's so pretty and determined...focused. She plays a B-girl to Elisha Cook Jr.'s hopped up drummer, and foolishly kind of puts herself in dangerous situations. All for the man she loves. She's the girl a fella wants on his side. (See: "IMPACT"). Love the cinemtography...And it was a taut little story. But when Franchot Tone shows up...it's rough to see him by Ella's side. But for me, it's Ella Raines. She carries the movie.

 

What made the movie awesome for you?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PHANTOM SPOILERS

 

for

 

*Phantom Lady*

 

 

Oh, there are SO many things to like here! I was tired when I started watching, and was glad I had stayed awake to start the recording. I was going to roll over and go to sleep. But then, as the movie got going, I just couldn't tear my eyes away! I was COMPELLED to watch, and by the end, I was WIDE AWAKE.

 

I just LOVED the way the movie was directed, first things first. This is BY FAR my favorite Siodmak movie, except for *The Spiral Staircase*. Wow! The way he made so little into so much - A crowd scene might consist of 6 people, crammed into the frame..... his economy was incredibly impressive. When Alan Curtis first is interrogated by the cops, the frame narrows in on him until the police are almost squeezing the life out of him. So claustrophobic.

 

Photobucket

 

His use of light - reflected off of Franchot Tone's gloves, for instance, to create suspense, and a feeling that only we know what is important in a scene. The framing, similar to the lighting, all done to tell US what was important, but never used as a technique to draw attention to himself.

 

Photobucket

 

Photobucket

 

I loved the way he switched main characters - how smooth a transition it was! I was expecting a little let down when Ella came on, even though I really like her, but there was no let down, there was even a feeling of exhilaration watching her purposely go into each situation. I think the story is told from a very dark place, not just for Alan Curtis' character, but for her. I mean, how far will she go for love of a man who doesn't even know she's alive? That aspect was intensely interesting to me.

 

Photobucket

 

vlcsnap-130685.png

 

I loved the bits of humor - mostly in the use of Carmen Miranda's sister, Aurora, and the ridiculous hats, and I really liked the name of the designer, Kettisha.

 

Photobucket

 

Photobucket

 

I loved the weirdness of Fay Helm as the "lady" herself - she reminded me a lot of Agnes Moorehead.

 

Photobucket

 

I loved the acting. Alan Curtis really swept me up, I thought he gave that performance all he had, with extremely realistic reactions and emotions. I liked his weakish character, warts and all.

 

Photobucket

 

But Ella! ELLA! That first scene - no not at the trial, but her first real scene - sitting down at the end of the bar, night after night, staring that bartender into the floor.....

 

Photobucket

 

WHOA, mama! We aren't dealing with just any 40's heroine here. This is one tough cookie, and yet, she is wonderfully soft and warm and real and human...I'll never know how Raines pulls this role off.

 

She's so smooth, so cool as a cucumber, but then you see how much it disgusts her, letting Elisha Cook, Jr. drum himself into her .... let me say, that was the most perverse and sexual "jam" session I have ever seen.

Photobucket

Photobucket

 

In the next scene when he kisses her - you can't help noticing hands again. Her clenched fist, willing herself to leave it down by her side, not to fight him off. Then the quick wipe of her lips when he's not looking. AGH!

 

I thought Franchot Tone was superb in this movie. I say that as a movie lover, a former actress, and a migraine sufferer (which he portrayed extremely convincingly. So convincingly, that I think he must have had migraines himself to have known how to do it so well).

 

Photobucket

 

He scared the bejesus out of me, and yet, I did feel something for him. Pity? Yes, I felt sorry for him, but not as much as he felt for himself. The way he used his hands, aaaah! You believed he was a sculptor, and a murderer.

 

Photobucket

 

Photobucket

The sculptures were just plain creepy, and took focus much of the time. They added another cold dimension to the movie.

 

I liked the fact that it changed from a whodunit to a how done it. I could not figure out how he got back from South America to commit the murder.

 

Anyway, there are a HUNDRED more reasons to love this movie - I actually thought at the end that Alan Curtis was going to be unworthy of Ella's supreme sacrifices for him.... would the movie have been maybe a little more interesting if he had walked out of the room at the end and that was it.... ? He goes on to live a playboy's life, without Ella? I find myself now drawing a little comparison between Ella and Franchot's characters... Is obsession much different in a murderer than it is in an avenging angel?

 

 

ellaraines_cigarette_1940s.jpg

 

3-1069-EllaRaines.jpg

 

ssssssssssssssssrai.jpg

 

ellaraineshat1.jpg

 

ell.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JF, what a great review of PHANTOM LADY. I'm with you all the way. Was Ella Raines being pushed as the next Gene Tierney, and was Alan Curtis being pushed as the next Clark Gable, with his little mustache? The intensity of Ella's scene at the bar reminded me very much of Gene in LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, but PHANTOM LADY is earlier.

 

The lighting seems even more expressionistic than most noirs. Siodmak's not concerned with realism if he can get the lighting effect he wants.

 

Add this movie to your list of films where the top-billed star (Franchot Tone) doesn't appear until late in the film, about halfway in.

 

The hats were great. Can you imagine sitting behind Fay Helm's hat at the theater?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did not see the movie not am I at all familiar with it but, my goodness, the work you put into your post is to be admired. If you go to that much trouble then I have to find a copy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, that was a great review.

 

I think you should be writing novels and screenplays.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OMG! ***** ******* - I have to call you by your real name and not your cyber nom de plume. I have to call you by your real name here ***** b'cuz the realness of your writing of "PHANTOM LADY" mixed with your screen caps has once again dropped my jaw. (Your Wyler post is still my all-time favorite).

 

"I say that as a movie lover, a former actress, and a migraine sufferer..." Please add Writer/ Essayist to your list of "credits." You have covered all the points of this great noir with your own economy of words and metaphoric aplomb ("drum into her" ??? Genius!) By the by...it was such

a subtle gesture that look of disgust on Ella's face after Elisha Cook Jr's kiss, that went by in a moment, but said sooo much. Hell, he made me wipe my mouth. You've covered it all...it all. So

let me just shut up and say I love your review...and the line that killed me, that stopped me dead

in my tracks, that succinctly wrapped up your entire review?????

 

"Is obsession much different in a murderer than it is in an avenging angel?"

 

Girl, I'm telling you...THAT is a line for the ages. Thanks for telling us what you found so awesome about "PHANTOM LADY" and you did it in a pretty awesome way, Virna. (And if you don't look like Virna, you write like Virna looks). Kitten...with a pen?

 

Oh MovieMan? Uhm...MovieMan...get thee to "PHANTOM LADY" asap. A.S.A.P.!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=kingrat wrote:}{quote}

> JF, what a great review of PHANTOM LADY. I'm with you all the way. Was Ella Raines being pushed as the next Gene Tierney, and was Alan Curtis being pushed as the next Clark Gable, with his little mustache? The intensity of Ella's scene at the bar reminded me very much of Gene in LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN, but PHANTOM LADY is earlier.

 

I honestly cannot believe that this movie was made in 1944.... it seems far later in so many ways, a very mature noir with some adult stuff going on in it...

 

> The lighting seems even more expressionistic than most noirs. Siodmak's not concerned with realism if he can get the lighting effect he wants.

 

Oh, the lighting was a dream - just incredible! And odd camera angles too, again, this strikes me as such an early example of some of the techniques - I'd say Siodmak was borrowing from Welles and maybe Val Lewton, but the movie did not seem derivative in any way. I don't know much about noir and it's history. Maybe other people borrowed from Siodmak. They should have.

 

> Add this movie to your list of films where the top-billed star (Franchot Tone) doesn't appear until late in the film, about halfway in.

 

That's very interesting, and I didn't think about it - but so right! I'm thinking of Welles in *The Third Man*. Are there others with this same format? What an interesting list idea.

 

> The hats were great. Can you imagine sitting behind Fay Helm's hat at the theater?

 

No! I would have gotten irritated. :D They were really wonderful though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FredCDobbs -

 

I think you overestimate me quite a bit....but thank you very much. I just get excited, and when a movie is so striking, it's easy to write about the impressions it leaves.

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Jan 28, 2011 2:43 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=CineMaven wrote:}{quote}

> OMG! ***** ******* - I have to call you by your real name and not your cyber nom de plume. I have to call you by your real name here ***** b'cuz the realness of your writing of "PHANTOM LADY" mixed with your screen caps has once again dropped my jaw. (Your Wyler post is still my all-time favorite).

 

Thank you very much, M'Ava. You make me giggle and also make my head swell up like a balloon. :D

 

And if it hadn't been for you, I probably wouldn't have ever known about it or watched it - I need to thank you again! I've been waiting to see it for a long time, since your first post discussing how good it was, and how great Ella Raines was in it. If you hadn't been so convincing, I would have forgotten all about *Phantom Lady*.

 

> "I say that as a movie lover, a former actress, and a migraine sufferer..." Please add Writer/ Essayist to your list of "credits." You have covered all the points of this great noir with your own economy of words and metaphoric aplomb ("drum into her" ??? Genius!) By the by...it was such

> a subtle gesture that look of disgust on Ella's face after Elisha Cook Jr's kiss, that went by in a moment, but said sooo much. Hell, he made me wipe my mouth.

 

ACK! I know what you mean, he was so hopped up, with that suggestion of a drug induced sweat. You could almost feel him against your leg.... like a dog...um...well.... you know. Bleeauh! I had to go get some mouthwash after that scene. He made me want to "wipe my mouth....WIPE MY MOUTH" a la Bette.

 

And Franchot had one scene when they were driving in the car, and he got one of his headaches - he tried to peer around the migraine aura that was in front of his eyes - THAT was brilliant! I could see his eyes clouding over - and it made me ten times more nervous, because I KNEW he couldn't see to drive. When I get an aura like that - it's as if everythng has turned into shattered glass in front of me, and so I try to look around the edge of it - but you can't, it moves with you when you try. A person's entire face can change when they get one of those headaches - they are that bad.

 

>You've covered it all...it all. So

> let me just shut up and say I love your review...and the line that killed me, that stopped me dead

> in my tracks, that succinctly wrapped up your entire review?????

>

> "Is obsession much different in a murderer than it is in an avenging angel?"

>

> Girl, I'm telling you...THAT is a line for the ages. Thanks for telling us what you found so awesome about "PHANTOM LADY" and you did it in a pretty awesome way, Virna. *(And if you don't look like Virna, you write like Virna looks). Kitten...with a pen?*

 

Now that's a line for the ages - And now my head is waaaaay too big to be anything like Virna's beautiful one.

 

Now please, DON'T shut up.... because that would be a tragedy.

 

Edited by: JackFavell on Jan 28, 2011 2:53 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah but I missed out. My DirectTv service went out about 6:15 pm and stayed that way until Phantom Lady was ending. I've been waiting for years for TCM to show it again (I saw it several years ago but didn't have a recorder at the time) so I guess my wait will have to go on.

 

I'm so disappointed to say the least. I think this film is as good as it gets for noir.

 

Oh well.....I guess my wait will continue...sigh...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Laaady...Phantom Spoilers!

 

 

I finally finished watching *PHantom Lady* and enjoyed it quite a lot. Jackie, I thought you really nailed it about Franchot Tone's characterization. I was very skeptical he could convince me as a villain, but he did good. Playing it like an illness...and like a kid who was probably spoiled and told his whole life what a genius he was. You know, like so many kids today. Yet, like you, he managed to make me feel a tinge of pity. That hole in the window...it was a sad end.

 

I thought for a minute Gomez was on to him in that dressing room scene, when he kept going on and on about "paranoiacs". I kept waiting for the sly sideways look that would give away Gomez's game, but he was really unaware. That fooled me. Loved his character, and I love that actor. His voice is such a great movie voice because he really acts with it. What he's thinking and feeling, you hear it in his voice.

 

And I agree, those statues were frightening. One looked like a squashed Chuck Connors, and the other like an exaggerated Basil Rathbone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now see? I actually thought Gomez WAS onto him! And that's why he was there waiting to burst in at the end.... I loved him too - there wasn't the faintest glimmer of a clue whether he knew Tone was the murderer or not, but I did think he was stringing him along with all that talk intended to goad Tone into showing his hand.... aaaaaahhhh! I mean HANDS....

 

I totally agree about Tone being the spoiled kid - that is exactly the impression I got.... always getting what he wants, using all his talents and genius to twist people around how he wants them.

 

One thing I also forgot till now - isn't it interesting how many 40's movies have huge looming portraits in the background as a way to create atmosphere? Usually of the murder victim? This one had Alan Curtis' hateful wife.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=MissGoddess wrote:}{quote}

> I thought for a minute Gomez was on to him in that dressing room scene, when he kept going on and on about "paranoiacs". I kept waiting for the sly sideways look that would give away Gomez's game, but he was really unaware. That fooled me.

 

I thought the same thing, even though I'd seen it before, years ago. Fooled me, too.

 

>

> And I agree, those statues were frightening. One looked like a squashed Chuck Connors, and the other like an exaggerated Basil Rathbone.

 

Probably the one you describe as a squashed Chuck Connors is one that I thought looked an awful lot like one in the original Star Trek series. In fact they all looked science-fictionish to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jackaaaaaaay - I had a thought that Gomez "might" have known. But then that would mean he willingly put Ella in danger. I don't think he knew. But I'm sure glad he came busting in on time. Franchot was really off-putting in this movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seemed to me like Gomez was trying to goad Tone into action right there, turning his back to give him the opportunity. Even if he was setting Ella up as bait, that would hardly be the first time the heroine was deliberately used as bait for the baddie in a noir. But, I think they just wanted us to think that, deliberately setting up a red herring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> It seemed to me like Gomez was trying to goad Tone into action right there, turning his back to give him the opportunity. Even if he was setting Ella up as bait, that would hardly be the first time the heroine was deliberately used as bait for the baddie in a noir. But, I think they just wanted us to think that, deliberately setting up a red herring.

 

It made it far more suspenseful, thinking Ella was left to fend for herself in the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PHANTOM SPOILERS for Phantom Lady AND SIODMAK SPOILERS

 

My hands are so itchy. :P

 

I just LOVED the way the movie was directed, first things first. This is BY FAR my favorite Siodmak movie, except for The Spiral Staircase. Wow! The way he made so little into so much - A crowd scene might consist of 6 people, crammed into the frame..... his economy was incredibly impressive.

 

I most certainly agree with you. I thought the Expressionistic look of Phantom Lady was its strongsuit. Robert Siodmak is one of the directors who was most influenced by German Expressionism, and it's a big reason why he's become one of my favorites. He's a visual director, to be sure.

 

I've only seen four of Siodmak's films:

 

1. Criss Cross (# 79)

2. The Killers (# 102)

3. The Spiral Staircase (# 206)

4. Phantom Lady

 

When Alan Curtis first is interrogated by the cops, the frame narrows in on him until the police are almost squeezing the life out of him. So claustrophobic.

 

That was a wonderful shot. First we see the cops squeezing in on Scott (Alan Curtis), then it's the camera. It's a very claustrophobic scene. It's a superb usage of the camera to create feeling.

 

His use of light - reflected off of Franchot Tone's gloves, for instance, to create suspense, and a feeling that only we know what is important in a scene. The framing, similar to the lighting, all done to tell US what was important, but never used as a technique to draw attention to himself.

 

I had the opposite feeling. I felt it was done to draw attention. It's a "spotlight." We are being told this is important. We are being spoonfed by the director. I didn't have a problem with this, since I felt it heightened our senses.

 

I loved the way he switched main characters - how smooth a transition it was!

 

I agree. I liked how we leave Scott to go with Carol (Ella Raines), who is later joined by Marlow (Franchot Tone).

 

I was expecting a little let down when Ella came on, even though I really like her, but there was no let down, there was even a feeling of exhilaration watching her purposely go into each situation.

 

Ella was actually one of the biggest problems for me. This was my second "Ella" film, with the other being Impact. The two films and characters are rather similar, so maybe that's the problem. Ella just seems vacant to me. I haven't seen any personality with her. She seems to be playing just a character and I'm looking for her to put her own stamp on things. She's going through the motions.

 

I think the story is told from a very dark place, not just for Alan Curtis' character, but for her. I mean, how far will she go for love of a man who doesn't even know she's alive? That aspect was intensely interesting to me.

 

That's a fantastic observation. And I wish Ella delivered that feeling to me. I would have loved her and the film a lot more.

 

I loved the bits of humor - mostly in the use of Carmen Miranda's sister, Aurora, and the ridiculous hats, and I really liked the name of the designer, Kettisha.

 

I believe all of that did help to bring in the female viewer more. But I'm a guy!

 

I loved the weirdness of Fay Helm as the "lady" herself - she reminded me a lot of Agnes Moorehead.

 

I love two scenes in the film. The first is glaringly obvious. The other is when Carol visits Ann at her home. The scene doesn't last long, but it made an impact on me. Fay Helm did a terrific job with her scenes.

 

I loved the acting. Alan Curtis really swept me up, I thought he gave that performance all he had, with extremely realistic reactions and emotions. I liked his weakish character, warts and all.

 

I thought of him as a less-interesting Brian Donlevy. But I do agree with you, I thought his reactions were very honest and real.

 

She's so smooth, so cool as a cucumber, but then you see how much it disgusts her, letting Elisha Cook, Jr. drum himself into her .... let me say, that was the most perverse and sexual "jam" session I have ever seen.

 

That is easily the highlight of the film, for me. That scene alone makes the film a "must see." It truly is perverse. It reminded me of Dementia. And I can't say any other film has.

 

I thought Franchot Tone was superb in this movie. I say that as a movie lover, a former actress, and a migraine sufferer (which he portrayed extremely convincingly. So convincingly, that I think he must have had migraines himself to have known how to do it so well).

 

I felt he did a very good job. He was smooth, creepy, and damaged. He was almost as good as Michael Redgrave in Secret Beyond the Door. There was a lot of exaggeration with Tone's performance, though. Again, I felt this was to heighten our senses, our fears. He was flaunting that he was a killer to us, but our heroine remained in the dark. Very theatrical, to be sure.

 

I liked the fact that it changed from a whodunit to a how done it. I could not figure out how he got back from South America to commit the murder.

 

I did not liking the ending at all. I didn't like his explaining every little detail to us. And then his demise didn't play well with me, either. Although, it was befitting his character.

 

Is obsession much different in a murderer than it is in an avenging angel?

 

I absolutely loved that. That's magnificent.

 

I see Phantom Lady as an accessible film noir. It's a "soft" film noir. It's very similar to Impact, which is another film that I didn't like as much as others who opined in this thread. The film combines the look of film noir (Expressionistic) and some of its seediness and darker themes (Elisha Cook's scene) with a mystery film. It's the "mystery film" side that brings in the wider audience; the whole idea of Carol trying to track down a witness with the help of a detective (Thomas Gomez). It's a cross-breeding of film styles, which is about right for 1944.

 

You could also say Siodmak mixes his The Spiral Staircase with his The Killers with Phantom Lady. You've got the female in peril who doesn't realize her "friend" is a killer who strangles (The Spiral Staircase) and you've got the backtracking detective work that brings you to different places and people who encountered the accused (The Killers). I found those other Siodmak films to be better because of greater depth and performances. Phantom Lady is the easier watch of those three Siodmak films, though. The Killers is the most difficult of the three.

 

One of Siodmak's strengths is his ability to play to both sexes. Criss Cross and The Killers are more "masculine" films while The Spiral Staircase and Phantom Lady are more "feminine" films.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great write-ups on PHANTOM. Grimes closes with a comment about THE KILLERS playing to men. I agree. And putting Ava out there as the most dangerous one of all, knowing she can get men to kill each other off, or that she'd accept whoever lived if she had to - but once she got the money, there was an instinct in me to think, "Watch out - surviving with her around is one tick away from not surviving at all." Boy, what beautiful women can do to us poor innocent ol' guys-!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ollie writes - And putting Ava out there as the most dangerous one of all, knowing she can get men to kill each other off, or that she'd accept whoever lived if she had to...

 

I think Ava has some competition. And as you know, I love Ava!! But man...JOAN BENNETT was absolutely a deadly black widow in the Fritz Lang double feature I saw this weekend at the Film Forum. I was floored!! How could four years later Fritz put Bennett in a square coat, cut her hair, wild glasses, made her look boxy and unsexy in RECKLESS MOMENT"? And then later she plays

a Mom in "FATHER OF THE BRIDE" and takes away ALL her sex appeal??? Well..."SCARLET STREET" has the bleakest...blackest...most hopeless ending I have EVER seen...but more about that later.

 

Evening Jackaaaaay - I loved the weirdness of Fay Helm as the "lady" herself - she reminded me a lot of Agnes Moorehead.

 

I didn?t really see Moorehead in Fay, Jackaaaaaaay, but I will say she was a very interesting damaged individual.

 

Remember that Cinemava likes "Phantom Lady" too. Maybe she should be the one to give the go ahead.

 

Nahhhh...go ahead and talk. I'm not the boss of anything.

 

Hello Grimesy - She may not like my one critique. But I did find the film to be an enjoyable watch.

 

Awwww...what critique could you have of that film? It's noir...it's a mystery...it's...

 

Ella was actually one of the biggest problems for me. This was my second "Ella" film, with the other being Impact. The two films and characters are rather similar, so maybe that's the problem. Ella just seems vacant to me. I haven't seen any personality with her. She seems to be playing just a character and I'm looking for her to put her own stamp on things. She's going through the motions.

 

Oh.

 

Oh dear. Vacant??? Oh dear. You probably won?t like her in ?THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF UNCLE HARRY.? She has a rather masculine persona in that film. She?s not one of those loose-y goose-y animated actresses. Her voice is kind of flat as well, I guess, as well as her having a flat affect. I?m not sure you?d care for her opposite John Wayne in (one of my favorite westerns) "TALL IN THE SADDLE.? Just now talking to my father, his overall impression of Ann Sheridan is ?she never smiles.? "Huh Daddy? She has a great throaty laugh. Whaddya mean?" I say. ?Nah her face doesn?t move.? Ohhhkay. Who am I to try and talk anyone out of their thoughts/opinions. Movies are emotional for me. I'll probably never really be able to defend my position 'cuz I get emotionally attached. You don't get anything from Ella. Gee, I get a lot from her.

 

One of Siodmak's strengths is his ability to play to both sexes. ?Criss Cross? and ?The Killers? are more "masculine" films while ?The Spiral Staircase? and ?Phantom Lady? are more "feminine" films.

 

I agree with you there.

 

You know, I still haven't watched "Pandora's Box." That's pathetic of me. I should probably watch it tonight. Have you ever seen it?

 

I?ve never seen it from beginning to end until yesterday. Whew! What a saga Louise went through. She?s got the father, the son and the daughter falling in love with her. She?s got Arab sheiks wanting to buy her. She certainly went through the mill in that film. I?m not sure if you saw it yet or not...so I?ll not say anything to spoil it for you. But you ought to check it out. There are just some movies one must have under their cinematic belt. You make like a film, or may not like a film. But it?s good to have seen it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us