cigarjoe

Recently watched Noir

574 posts in this topic

Appointment with Danger (1951) Director, Lewis Allen with Alan Ladd, Phyllis Calvert, Paul Steward, Jan Sterling, Jack Webb, Stacy Harris, Harry Morgan, David Wolfe, Dan Riss, Geraldine Wall, and George J. Lewis.

 

Great opening sequence of a body disposal in the pouring rain I was hooked from the get go. Also some nice railroad/railyard footage and industrial landscapes of Gary Indiana steel mills.

 

Alan Ladd is Al Goddard, a USPS special investigator sent to Gary, Ind., to solve a postal detective's murder. A young nun Sister Augustine (Phyllis Calvert) is the sole witness. With her aid Ladd learns the identity of the men and uncovers the gang's plot to pull off a million-dollar mail heist. Jan Sterling plays gang leaders floozy jazz loving girlfriend Dodie La Verne. Jack Webb plays a loose cannon creep and Harry Morgan a slow witted goon. Very enjoyable 8/10.

 

Down Three Dark Streets (1954) directed by Arnold Laven with Broderick Crawford, Ruth Roman, Martha Hyer, Marisa Pavan, Max Showalter (Niagara), Kenneth Tobey, Gene Reynolds, and William Johnstone.

 

Sort of a police procedural, quasi-documentary, stars Broderick Crawford as FBI Agent John Ripley.When fellow G-man Zack Stewart is murdered, Ripley takes over the trio of cases Stewart had been working on assuming one of them will reveal his killer. This one is also entertaining but its a bit fuzzy in logic with the motives of the actual murderer the connection of why he killed the FBI man and his girlfriend? or whatever she was is never connected. Martha Hyer is a cute mobsters girlfriend.

 

It does have some great location shots of LA and the streetcar system and ends up with a great set piece at the base of the iconic HOLLYWOOD sign.

 

Entertaining, but the lack of plot connection explained above drops this to a 7/10

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A Heads up, forgot to mention these are available on streaming video from Netflix along with quite a few other noirs.

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*Vicki* (1953) director Harry Horner, with Jeanne Crain, Jean Peters, Elliott Reid, Richard Boone, Max Showalter, Larry Evans, Alexander D'Arcy, Carl Betz, and Aaron Spelling.

 

[Vicki (1953)|http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046515/]

 

Opening sequence, a shot of Times Square with one of the giant billboards plastered with a stories high image of New York "super" model Vicki. Cut to a seedy tenant hotel a sheet covered body wheeled out to an ambulance, a toe tag reads Vicki Lynn. Cut to Jersey Shore resort, Richard Boone, NYPD homicide detective, gets out of a taxi looking tired and in need of a vacation, he checks in and is about to go up to his room when he spots the headlines "Vicki Killed". He immediately goes ballistic and phones NY demanding to be put on the case.

 

Jean Peters a cute waitress working the late night shift at a typical NYC late night dinner is discovered by a Publicity Agent & Society Columnist, they proceed to make her over into the next "super" model. She becomes an overnight sensation much to the concern of her sister played by Jean Crain and gradually becomes ruthlessly ambitious.

 

Boone goes on an incensed investigation of Elliot Reid the Publicity Agent attempting to railroad the case upon him. This is more of a acting ensemble noir rather than visual noir focusing on relationships, and it lacks much of the stylized noir cinematography or great set pieces that I relish. Regardless if you are a Richard Boone fan you'll enjoy his portrayal of an obsessed cop. Peters is good but I still like her better in "Pickup On South Street". All the characters in this film are revealed to be corrupt to some extent. 7/10

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Well, it's hard to go totally wrong when Jean and Jeanne are in the same movie.

This is a remake of I Wake Up Screaming starring Betty Grable, but I haven't

seen that one in such a long time that I wouldn't make a comparison. It's pretty

good overall, certainly entertaining. Boone does stand out as the obsessive cop

who loves Vicki, and there's enough sleazy locales to keep it interesting.

 

Around the same time as Vicki, Jeanne Crain was in Dangerous Crossing,

which is set aboard a cruise ship. It's more of a what exactly is going on here

mystery than a noir, but it's still worth watching.

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I posted this on another thread, but I'd like to include it here.

 

THE PUSHOVER is pretty good. It's a lazy film. Keeping its standards moderate, but achieving them nicely. Standard crime and corruption drama, borrowing heavily from DOUBLE INDEMNITY. One must wonder if the casting of MacMurray was dictated by that comparison. The Kim Novak character is no Phyllis Dietrichson, and Novak is no Barbara Stanwyck. Despite these shortcomings, I enjoyed the film.

 

It's a good story, told in a straightforward way. No frills. But plenty of fun. The plot feeds off itself, becoming increasingly more exciting. Not a classic, but I was never bored. In the long run, that's the test.

 

I also watched THE BROTHERS RICO, with Richard Conte. (And James Darren?) Again, not a great noir. But worth watching.

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*Sleep, My Love* (1948) Directed by Douglas Sirk with, Claudette Colbert, Robert Cummings, Don Ameche, Rita Johnson, George Coulouris, Queenie Smith, Ralph Morgan, Raymond Burr, and va-va-va-voom, Hazel Brooks.

 

Colbert wakes up on a Boston bound train with no knowledge of how she got there.

 

This film has almost the same premise as "Gaslight". Ameche, married to wealthy Colbert living on Sutton Place, NYC, is trying to drive her insane in order to get her out of the way so that he can access her fortune and replace her with Hazel Brooks. Coulouris is a portrait photographer posing as a psychiatrist in in cahoots with Ameche. Brooks who makes a very impressive entrance wearing a see through robe and a very skimpy outfit is Coulouris' models and Ameche's Femme Fatale. Cummings is the friend of one of Colbert's high society gal pals, who hits it off with Colbert on a plane flight from Boston and takes it upon himself to find out the truth.

 

I like this way better than "Gaslight". It was all shot in studio so it has some nice stylized noir sequences, I especially like the seedy pseudo NYC neighborhood where Coulouris has his shop off of an El stop, the photographer studio set, and the final denouement on the four story stairwell. This film also has an unexpected sequence of a peek at a delightful Chinese wedding, cool. Raymond Burr plays a Police Lieutenant investigating Colbert's disappearance.

 

Only complaints neither Burr or Brooks were showcased enough. Entertaining 7/10

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I love stories like that. Never heard of this one. A friend of mine just watched ASPHALT JUNGLE for the first time. Wow! It's apt to be a long time before he matches that experience.

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It was a treat seeing Jack Webb and Harry Morgan playing hoods in "Appointment with Danger" a few years before they appeared as Sgt. Joe Friday and Det. Bill Gannon in the "Dragnet" shows...."Just the facts ma'am"...

 

Edited by: fredbaetz on Apr 24, 2011 2:40 AM

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Updated to 'just the fax, mam...'

 

Seriously, I had a philosophy prof., who was fond of tweaking students' for their arguments by saying "just the facts, mam..."

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I have Pushover & The Brothers Rico in a box set also, I agree Pushover is trying to ride "Double Indemnity's" coattails with an additional nod to "Rear Window" in the mix. Not bad and Kim is great eye candy.

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Well, I don't even like it. I am no pushover for *Pushover*. It just doesn't "work"; it feels as though the director gathered ideas and scenes from other noirs and sort of glued them together.

 

(sorry, redriver and all the other *Pushover* fans out there.)

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*The Scarf* (1951) Directed by Ewald Andr? Dupont, with John Ireland, Mercedes McCambridge, James Barton, Ezra Thompson, Emlyn Williams and Lloyd Gough.

 

Ireland escapes from a metal hospital where he's been confined for killing a girl friend, but he doesn't remember doing it. Desert Rat turkey farmer Thompson takes him in, skeptical at first but eventually believing his story. A hitchhiking McCambridge (who actually doesn't look too bad in this film) gets picked up by Ireland on his way to town. A scarf she's wearing triggers a memory in Ireland and sends him of a search for his best friend Williams, who had witnessed the murder and who's testimony sent Ireland to the mental hospital. Prison psychiatrist Gough, Thompson, and McCambridge eventually trick Williams into revealing his complicity.

 

Cheap and not a very stylish Noir, and McCambridge's singing waitress outfit is atrocious. Kept me watching though, 6/10

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*Phenix City Story* (1955) Semi doc Noir Directed by Phil Karlson, with John McIntire, as Albert L. Patterson, Richard Kiley as John Patterson, Kathryn Grant as Ellie Rhodes, Edward Andrews as Rhett Tanner crime boss.

 

A sort of semi documentary with a ten minute intro of a series of interviews with the actual participants. Basically an Alabama border town town is run by a crime syndicate that's grown fat on prostitution and crooked gambling, directed at soldiers from Fort Benning across the river in Georgia, all the vice is concentrated on 14th Street. Crusaders against the Good ol' Boys story.

 

A hometown boy, lawyer John Patterson, a army war crime prosecutor back from Germany, eventually is persuaded to fight the corruption when he visits the "Poppy Club" run by Rhett Tanner and observers the mob in action. He joins up with reformers. With the help of Poppy Club dealer Ellie Rhodes and his father Albert Patterson who is persuaded to run for State Attorney General the process of cleaning up the town commences.

 

I'd seen the end of this once before but never the whole way through, in the beginning it concentrates mostly on the illegal gambling end of the corruption, has a very tame night club/ torch singer/"B" girl sequence (its probably supposed to suggest a strip tease, but its very lame), barely touches on prostitution (which is alluded to with scenes viewed of soldiers & women co-mingling on the street either in background shots, or viewed through traveling car windows). The way its depicted in the film is that the rigged gambling was the main attraction when you know that with Fort Benning just across the river the soldiers were probably more after ****-tang than anything else.

 

From the point where the mob decides to teach Patterson a lesson to the end (which is the part I saw before) its entertaining, the documentary interview at the beginning is almost sleep inducing. What is interesting is that a poster from Phenix City on IMDb says that it's still a crap hole, the corruption is still there just not "in your face" out in the open as before and its on both sides of the river now, lol, go figure.

 

"Touch of Evil" which covers the practically same territory, I like much better, you get a better feel of the sleazy side of corruption in the Wells film through Janet Leigh's character.

 

John McIntire is always good and Richard Kiley also. If this would have developed a bit more of the corruption angle to juxtapose the crusaders it would have strengthened the story still I'll give this a 7/10

 

Edited by: cigarjoe on Apr 30, 2011 12:45 PM

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sorry, redriver and all the other Pushover fans out there.)

 

We're not so far apart, Brigid. I agree with your assessment. I merely enjoyed it in spite of that.

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I actually dig PUSHOVER quite a bit, and may have to watch it again sometime soon, as I am fortunate to have it on one of the Sony Noir sets! I agree it's not one of the best, but it's fun enough a watch, for me at least.

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I like it, too. A minor noir, to be sure, but certainly entertaining.

 

I wish TCM would show *This Gun For Hire*. I haven't seen it in a long time.

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*Murder My Sweet* (1944) Watched this recently even though I haven't read the book its based on in years, I was wondering why they deviated so much from the plot of the novel. I'll agree with a few noir-phile friends that in seeing it again that O"Halloran is the superior Malloy in 1975?s *Farewell My Lovely*, thought I do like the Pepper's Ghost entrance of Mazurki (Malloy) that is employed in this interpretation, the Richards entire film is superior and I believe more faithful to the book. ?

 

This version ties up the loose ends in a beach house rather than on the gambling ship and the Burnette character is absent. ?It short shifts the Jessie Florian character, though it has a nicely done Dali-esque sanatorium-hallucinogenic sequence. But it also sports a lame epilogue with Marlowe temporarily blind catering to the love story expecting, female audience.

 

Powell is great as Marlowe pretty much as I pictured him in my minds eye as I remember the book (Mitchum was just a tad too old and a tad too iconic, unfortunately), but I'll go with Rampling as Velma in *Farewell My Lovely* she had a more devious look in her eyes, Trevor wasn't as believable to me she played it a bit to convincingly upper crust, with a Boston Brahmin accent pronouncing the word cant as k-on-t, all in all though, I prefer all the rest of the actors in the Richards version 1975 version, you cant beat John Ireland. But still I'll rate it 8/10

 

*Railroaded!* (1947) Directed by Anthony Mann with John Ireland, Hugh Beaumont, Sheila Ryan, and Jane Randolph, another low budget Noir, with a lame script.

 

Sexy beautician Clara Calhoun (Randolph), who has a bookie operation in her back room, connives with her boyfriend, mob collector Duke Martin (Ireland), to stage a robbery of the day's take. But the caper turns violent; a cop and Duke's partner are shot; and Duke arranges for innocent Steve Ryan, owner of the car they stole, to be framed. Sheila Ryan plays love interest to cop Hugh Beaumont.

 

This had a few too many contrived plot points for me but Ireland puts in a very good turn as mobster, watch it for Ireland. Randolph is a looker. 6.5/10

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I like Bogart's Marlowe, but MURDER, MY SWEET is my favorite Chandler film. I have wanted to see RAILROADED since reading about it on this website. It sounds like one I'd like. Thinking of Marlowe reminds me of Robert Montgomery. His take on Chandler doesn't come off well. But RIDE THE PINK HORSE is outstanding. A dark, mature story, it's somewhat unique. Very much worth watching.

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I really love MURDER, MY SWEET, very good flick.

 

I am fortunate to have RAILROADED on a collection called "Film Noir: The Dark Side of Hollywood". I really like it, it's a B, but a very enjoyable one.

 

I wish TCM/Warner's would do more of the Noir collections, even if they do them as MOD's.

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