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HollywoodGolightly

Your favorite film noir actors?

125 posts in this topic

Where did I state that Garfield was not doing good work. I never made that statement. I said that the pressure of the blacklisting did NOT help his heart condition and many felt ,especially his close friends felt that it was a big factor in his death.He was "Blacklisted" as a result of NOT naming names.You seem to think that being on the "Blacklist" was a slap on the wrist. "Don't do that again" Well it was death sentence for a lot of careers. Doors were shut in their faces. People in the business did not want to be associated with a "Commie" or "Commie Sympathizer" Maybe he had a "I won't rat on my friends" code from growing up. But for whatever reason he found himself on the outside looking in. He became estranged from his family, disappeared for days at a time, started drinking heavily. He died of a heart attack in the apartment of a former showgirl. Garfield was a fine actor who got a raw deal at a very bad time.

 

Are you equating being on the "Blacklist" as a result of bad acting? I went back and reread your remarks. Being Blacklisted had nothing to do with good or bad acting. It was a result of the "Communist Scare" in Hollywood in the late 1940's and early 1950's.If you had Communist leanings or were associated with Communist you were Un American and that my friend was a faith worse then death back then. So your acting ability had no bearing on your blacklisting. .....

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Jan 29, 2010 11:52 PM

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widmark.jpg

 

Tonight's double feature at Noir City was dedicated to Richard Widmark, with nice 35mm prints of Slattery's Hurricane and Sam Fuller's Pickup at South Street.

 

I cannot overemphasize how nice it is to watch these movies in a really big theater screen, with a very enthusiastic Friday night audience. Both movies are relatively easy to see on the small screen - the first one shows up regularly on FMC and the second one is available on a Criterion DVD.

 

And Widmark, of course, is absolutely mesmerizing in both of them, reminding the viewer what true stardom meant in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Of course he's got a great supporting cast with him, most notably Veronica Lake and Linda Darnell in Slattery's Hurricane and in Pickup, the great Thelma Ritter (whose last scene is unforgettable) and Jean Peters.

 

I think Widmark was arguably the best "bad boy" of the era, although he may have been facing some stiff competition from the likes of Dan Duryea and Robert Ryan. In the end, it's impossible not to root for his character, even when you know they've done stuff that was wrong in the past. (And in part because in both movies, his character is seeking redemption and willing to make quite an effort on his part).

 

I can't wait to watch another Richard Widmark movie. :x

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veronica_lake.jpg

 

I probably shouldn't forget about Veronica Lake, either. Unfortunately, I've rarely had the pleasure of watching her movies on the big screen, but I got a big kick out of watching her and Richard Widmark last night in Slattery's Hurricane - and a near-pristine print of it, too.

 

As Eddie Muller pointed out in presenting the Widmark double bill, Slattery's Hurricane isn't usually thought of as noir, and has many scenes taking place in broad daylight, but at its core it has a lot of the elements of noir.

 

Even so, most noir fans will probably always associate Lake most closely with the noirs she made at Paramount: The Blue Dahlia, This Gun for Hire, and The Glass Key. I hope someday I might have a chance to watch those on the big screen, too.

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ryan1.jpg

 

Robert Ryan is another great actor who starred in many noirs and gangster flicks. Just watched Odds Against Tomorrow, probably one of the angriest and least likable roles he ever played. He does get to share a couple of scenes with Gloria Grahame - with truly smoldering results!

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There are many actors and actresses so consistently good that their performances were overlooked, but none so much as Robert Ryan. His performances in "On Dangerous Ground", "The Set-Up" and "Act of Violence" were Oscar worthy, but a Best Supporting Actor nomination for "Crossfire", was the only time he was recognized by the Academy. I have always wondered if his ability and willingness to play the "bad guy" had something to do with his failure to become a leading man.

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

> I have always wondered if his ability and willingness to play the "bad guy" had something to do with his failure to become a leading man.

 

It might have, at that, because he was just so incredibly good at playing heartless characters.

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Did Ryan play a good-guy, normal lead in any film? I just looked at his filmography, and there is none on the list that I have seen. He was normal enough in THE SKY'S THE LIMIT, but that was just a small role.

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"Odds Against Tomorrow" is such an under rated film.Ryan and Belafonte are superb in this excellent "film noir" piece of work directed by Robert Wise for HarBel Productions { Harry Belafonte's Company}. The rest of the cast are also superb with Ed Bagley, Shelly Winters,Gloria Grahame. This was the first time an African American was the main character in a film noir.If you've never seen this film do yourself a favor. It may make you a little uncomfortable, but you'll like it I'm sure.

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fred,

Odds Against Tomorrow was just screened this weekend at the Noir City film festival, with a personal introduction by Harry Belafonte (he had been scheduled to be there in person but had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict; nonetheless he sent a video introduction to be shown before the screening).

 

Belafonte and Ryan are both terrific, as is Begley; there is solid support from Grahame and Winters, of course. :D

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I tell you Holly, it's times like this that I do miss San Francisco. I remember seeing "The Wild Bunch" at the Castro a few years ago along with others over the years. Then heading over to Chinatown or North Beach for a late dinner and drinks. Ah memories .

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Well, they still do a fairly good job of having a few repertory titles, but at the same time, I've heard that the owner really wants to push digital projection. That means they've gotten rid of their 70mm and 16mm projectors, apparently, and also the projectors you needed for the old-fashioned 3-D (they can only do digital 3-D now).

 

It's sad, because it looks like they'll never be showing a movie in 70mm or the classic 3-D titles like House of Wax there ever again.

 

But at least the Noir City festival seems to be getting more popular each year, with folks coming from all over the U.S. and even Europe to attend. :D

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Fred, I'd like to try to smooth some feathers here. I think the point that was being made was that the fact that Garfield was doing "good work," right up until he died seems to be in conflict with him being blacklisted, and not able to get work. I don't dispute what you have posted, but I'll admit I find it confusing, too. Perhaps it was just a lot harder for him to find work, and he had less choice? He couldn't exactly work under an alias, like Dalton Trumbo could.

 

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

> Where did I state that Garfield was not doing good work. I never made that statement. I said that the pressure of the blacklisting did NOT help his heart condition and many felt ,especially his close friends felt that it was a big factor in his death.He was "Blacklisted" as a result of NOT naming names.You seem to think that being on the "Blacklist" was a slap on the wrist. "Don't do that again" Well it was death sentence for a lot of careers. Doors were shut in their faces. People in the business did not want to be associated with a "Commie" or "Commie Sympathizer" Maybe he had a "I won't rat on my friends" code from growing up. But for whatever reason he found himself on the outside looking in. He became estranged from his family, disappeared for days at a time, started drinking heavily. He died of a heart attack in the apartment of a former showgirl. Garfield was a fine actor who got a raw deal at a very bad time.

>

> Are you equating being on the "Blacklist" as a result of bad acting? I went back and reread your remarks. Being Blacklisted had nothing to do with good or bad acting. It was a result of the "Communist Scare" in Hollywood in the late 1940's and early 1950's.If you had Communist leanings or were associated with Communist you were Un American and that my friend was a faith worse then death back then. So your acting ability had no bearing on your blacklisting. .....

>

> Edited by: fredbaetz on Jan 29, 2010 11:52 PM

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winters3.184.jpg

 

When I was just getting into film noir, I really had no idea how many noirs Shelley Winters had been in. Like many folks my age, I first watched her in The Poseidon Adventure, when she had already taken on a decidedly less femme fatale-like appearance.

 

At the recent Noir City film festival, Ms. Winters appeared in an amazing 6 films out of the 24 noirs that were shown: Escape in the Fog, The Gangster, Larceny, He Ran All the Way, A Place in the Sun and Odds Against Tomorrow.

 

Of course she was also in others, like Cry of the City and Johnny Stool Pigeon.

 

I'm glad I've become better acquainted with the early movies of Mis Winters' career. :D

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

>h6. Where did I state that Garfield was not doing good work. I never made that statement. I said that the pressure of the blacklisting did NOT help his heart condition and many felt ,especially his close friends felt that it was a big factor in his death.He was "Blacklisted" as a result of NOT naming names.You seem to think that being on the "Blacklist" was a slap on the wrist. "Don't do that again" Well it was death sentence for a lot of careers. Doors were shut in their faces. People in the business did not want to be associated with a "Commie" or "Commie Sympathizer" Maybe he had a "I won't rat on my friends" code from growing up. But for whatever reason he found himself on the outside looking in. He became estranged from his family, disappeared for days at a time, started drinking heavily. He died of a heart attack in the apartment of a former showgirl. Garfield was a fine actor who got a raw deal at a very bad time....

For someone who was blacklisted he didn't prevent him from doing at least one film a year from 39 to his last film. I repeat; his last 3 films were good. I don't believe he was a communist but was his wife one? That pressure might have been a big factor in his death. They say being a Commie Sympathizer did open doors for you in the 1930s.

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THe saddest story of all may have been Philip Loeb, Gertrude Berg's co-star on "The Goldbergs". He was blacklisted, and eventually committed suicide. I'm sure there were other instances like that.

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Regarding the comments that have been made about John Garfield: All that really matters is, we lost a very good actor far too soon.

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

> Regarding the comments that have been made about John Garfield: All that really matters is, we lost a very good actor far too soon.

 

Well said, gilfair.

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gloria1.jpg

 

Her name has become (to me, at least) almost synonymous with film noir. Gloria Grahame had that special quality that made her just right for such movies - with such a sweet, tender side, and yet at the same time a very definite quality for mischief and delivering the surprise double-cross.

 

She had a special night in her honor during last month's Noir City festival, with a double bill of Fritz Lang's Human Desire and Robert Wise's Odds Against Tomorrow.

 

More recently, she was seen in Crossfire, right here on TCM. ;)

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220px-Signe_Hasso.jpg

 

Yesterday's showing of The Seventh Cross was a nice reminder about the talents of the great Signe Hasso, who also starred in a few good noirs - notably The House on 92nd Street, Johnny Angel, and Strange Triangle.

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