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HollywoodGolightly

Your favorite film noir actors?

125 posts in this topic

Actually one of my favorite noir character actors is Elisha Cook, Jr. His appearance in a suspense film always marked the beginning of someone's end, usually his own, and he was nicknamed "Hollywood's Lightest Heavy."

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If we are talking about lesser known actors I really like Dan Duryea. He was great in Criss Cross, Manhandled, and Scarlet Street as the bad guy, and World for Ransom as a good guy.

 

Then there is Marie Windsor with those big eyes. She was great in the Killing, The Narrow Margin, and The City that Never Sleeps.

 

My top big stars in Noir would be Mitchum, Borgat, Ladd, Ryan, and Dana Andrews.

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Well I have to say I'm very impressed by your knowledge of movies and you have very fine taste! As you must know Breakfast was on the other day and I can never see that movie too often. I watched the Blue Dahlia last night and it may me wish I could go back in time to So Cal in 1946. Since I live there it was great to see the sense at the start when they were north of Malibu, but to me it looked like Laguna Beach. What an era.

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I would have loved to be born in the early part of the 20th century, so that I could have been a young adult by the 30s and 40s, and enjoyed all the things you see in the classic movies. Sure, I guess that would also have meant living through the Great Depression, but people found a way to survive, didn't they?

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With regards to Elisha Cook, Jr. even in very small parts he added something, like his role in the Big Sleep ('what's so funny',,, 'nothing funny' as he drinks the poison!). Of course there is the Maltese Falcon as well as The Killings (where Windsor plays his cheating wife). But even in roles like the southerner in Shane he was good. I wonder, did he ever play in a movie where he was't killed at the end? (We don't see him get killed inthe Falcon, but it is implied the police shot it out with him).

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Glad to see Zachary Scott mentioned. His debut, The Mask of Dimitrios, teamed him with Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, and he nearly stole the picture from those two greats.

 

Audrey Totter co-starred with Ray Milland in a noir with a twist, Alias Nick Beal. Only bootlegs of this one seem to be available, but if there was a legitimate DVD or VHS I'd snap it up in a second.

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Just for starters: Barbara Stanwyck starred in two of the greatest noirs, Double Indemnity and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.

 

Elisha Cook Jr. was in too many noirs to mention, not the least of which were The Maltese Falcon and Phantom Lady.

 

Richard Conte was perfect in House of Strangers and Cry of the City.

 

More to come....

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Thank you, HG. Noir is definitely a genre, and it's my favorite one. Some more actors who were outstanding in this type of film:

 

Alan Ladd

 

Dan Duryea

 

Laird Cregar (The Lodger, Hangover Square), who left us all too soon

 

Richard Widmark, who could freeze your blood by giggling

 

John Garfield (Force of Evil)

 

Victor Mature surprised a lot of people by showing that he could act, as in Kiss of Death and Cry of the City

 

Orson Welles as star and director (Lady from Shanghai, The Trial, and many others)

 

This thread is about actors, not individual films, but I can't resist mentioning:

 

The Asphalt Jungle

D.O.A.

Kiss Me Deadly ("Too late, Mr. Hammer. Suddenly it's too late.")

I Wake Up Screaming

The Killing

Touch of Evil

...and The Shanghai Gesture, a very strange film, as were just about all of Josef von Sternberg's.

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Faceinthecrowd - I like your taste!

 

My all time favorite noir actors (in no particular order)

 

Dana Andrews - just his name mentioned alone and my brain starts playing "Street Scene"

Robert Mitchum

Babs Stanwyck

Humphrey Bogart

William Bendix

Gloria Grahame

Richard Conte - so underrated and he acted in MANY noirs

Lloyd Nolan

Virginia Mayo

Audrey Totter

Gene Tierney

Richard Widmark

Victor Mature

Ida Lupino

Robert Taylor - loved him in Party Girl and The Bribe

John Hodiak

Robert Ryan

George Raft

Edward G Robinson

 

 

I really wish I could just name everyone that ever appeared in a noir! I have to acknowledge actors like Lloyd Nolan, William Bendix, Mark Stevens, Richard Conte - who were in some pretty good noirs but never top billed.

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How could I have missed Bogart and Mitchum? Two of the greatest!

 

And Joan Bennett in those twin movies, SCARLET STREET and WOMAN IN THE WINDOW. When she first appears in WITW she's the epitome of glamor, the sophisticated woman of one's dreams. And in THE SCAR, a.k.a. HOLLOW TRIUMPH, we hear this exchange:

 

Paul Henreid: "You're a bitter little lady."

Joan Bennett: "It's a bitter little world."

 

And Gloria Grahame! There was a thread about her a while back, so I won't start talking about her again, or I'll be here all day.

 

Another great bad girl of the noirs was Marie Windsor. She lent considerable spice to FORCE OF EVIL and THE KILLING.

 

I found Ida Lupino more alluring than many conventionally beautiful actresses. And what a performance she gave in THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT.

 

Finally: Barbara Stanwyck was known in Hollywood as "Stany." And that reminds me that my father used to refer to Joseph Cotten as "Joe" Cotten. He was probably the only person in the world who ever called him that.

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Don't forget that in addition to Scarlet Street and Woman in the Window, Joan made two other movies for director Fritz Lang - Man Hunt and Secret Beyond the Door... - which are also pretty good noirs.

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I have the book Flim Noir which list every noir flim with a lot of detail and than has one of the editors of the book talk about what the flim means to noir. A great book that is around 400 pages. I have the hard copy and I leave it in the room the TV is in since I'm always looking something up while watching TCM.

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I didn't know that was Barbara Stanwyck's nickname in Hollywood...just like I have heard Alice Faye and Don Ameche in interviews in their later years refer to Tyrone Power as "Tae"

 

I been meaning to see The Scar. One of those DVD companies that puts out the sets has it featured in a collection on Amazon. The DVD is only $7 because all the noirs on it are public domain. I want to buy, I just haven'r read enough reviews on the print quality.

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

> I been meaning to see The Scar. One of those DVD companies that puts out the sets has it featured in a collection on Amazon. The DVD is only $7 because all the noirs on it are public domain. I want to buy, I just haven'r read enough reviews on the print quality.

 

The Scar is shown now and then on TCM. If you can wait, you only need to record it next time it is shown.

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The book really doesn't have an author, per se, since it is written by many contributors.

 

It is edited by Alain Silver and Elizabeth Ward. The ISBN is 0-87951-055-2 or 0-87951-109-5 for paperback.

 

This is a must for any serious fan of Flim Noir.

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