cigarjoe

Recently watched Noir

567 posts in this topic

*Impact* (1949) directed by Arthur Lubin with Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines, Charles Coburn, Helen Walker, Tony Barrett. and Anna May Wong.

 

This one had decent and dark story line that made up for its lack of being very Noir-ish stylistically.

 

 

 

Basically Walker and Barrett plan on killing her husband Donlevy an auto company executive working in San Francisco. I'd have killed him myself for the unbearably overly attentive husband shtick routine he was playing, lol. Anyway once the attempted murder goes haywire (a bumbling Barrett accidentally drives into a gasoline tanker and is burned beyond recognition), the police assume the body is Donlevy's.

 

Donlevy, who was conked on the head and left for dead regains conscious climbs into a parked moving van, passes out, and wakes up someplace in Nevada.

 

Humiliated and devastated by his wife's complicity in the attempted murder, Donlevy gets a job as a mechanic working for Raines in a fly speck town in Idaho. He does not reveal his identity and, lets his wife get indicted as an accomplice in his murder.

 

There is an unexpected twist. 6.5-7/10

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I absolutely groove to IMPACT!!! Saw it for the first time late night when A&E used to show classic films. I was transfixed! I have it on a PD compilation and watch it fairly frequently. As it's a PD flick, I'm surprised I don't see it more often on TCM if ever.

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You know what, guys? I have *IMPACT* on a video I picked up for a song, years ago, and for some unaccountable reason have never watched it. Well, I still have a functioning VCR, so I'm finally going to haul it out and give it a whirl. Now that it's been endorsed by all these charming and erudite film noir fans.

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Agreed "soft" noir.

 

Ok now back to "hard core" noir.

 

Watched *99 River Street* (1953) last night, I saw this recently on TCM but only from the about the the halfway point to the end, and from what I saw I though it was pretty good. Boy did I miss a lot of outstanding sequences.

 

Directed by Phil Karlson, with John Payne as ex prizefighter/cabby Ernie Driscoll, Evelyn Keyes as pixie-ish wanna be actress Linda James, Brad Dexter as dapper jewel thief Victor Rawlins, Frank Faylen as cab company shift boss Stan Hogan, Peggie Castle as ex-showgirl Pauline Driscoll

and Jack Lambert as mob muscle Mickey.

 

Basically Ernie and Pauline are having marital difficulties. Pauline thought she was marring the next champ but Ernie gets an eye injury and is banned from boxing. She resents the fact that she gave up a promising career and now she's married to a cabby. Unbeknownst to Ernie Pauline has fallen in with Rawlins who commits a jewel heist.

 

Keyes has a nice meaty role playing it slightly over-wound. Faylen is a sort of mentor to Ernie. The film has some great sequences a nice twist, and an interesting denouement on a great set piece. 10/10

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Miss Wonderly, please share your thoughts on IMPACT when you've had a chance to view it? It's one of my faves, even though I guess you could say it's "soft noir" but a very good film!

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Saw this quite a while ago on TCM but re-watched it on Netflix last night. I almost forgot how good, in a non-conventional way this one is.

 

*Cry Danger* (1951) was directed by Robert Parrish, and stars Dick Powell as just released con Rocky, Rhonda Flemming as Nancy, Richard Erdman as Delong, William Conrad as mob bookie Castro, Regis Toomey as lawman Cobb, and Jean Porter as blond dish Darlene.

 

Nice opening title sequence of passenger train making its journey to the City of Angles. At Union Station, Rocky (Powell) is met by cop Cobb (Toomey) and the man who provided his alibi (five years late) that got him released from the pen, an alcoholic marine with a wooden leg named Delong (Erdman). Cobb buys the drinks and asks Rocky about the missing $100,000 loot from the robbery that got him incarcerated along with his best friend. Rocky sticks to his story that he was framed and that he knows nothing about the money.

 

After cop leaves the bar Rocky confronts Delong and he admits that he made up Rocky's alibi and that a greatfull Rocky should part with some of the hidden loot. Rocky tells him that he really doesn't know anything about the robbery but he knows who might and that is Castro (Conrad) a local mob bookie, headquartered upstairs at the Amigo Club, but he is greatfull for the alibi and befriends Delong. Before confronting Castro, Rocky first wants to visit his best friends wife Nancy (Flemming) who was a former girlfriend of Rocky's.

 

Delong & Rocky driving a decadent looking Nash Ambassador (that bobs up and down like a boat on an easy-glide suspension) go to find Nancy.

 

Nancy lives in a seedy run down trailer court near downtown LA. Rocky and Delong go to the court and rent a decaying trailer from a crusty ukulele playing manager while waiting for Nancy to return from work. While passing the time they befriend a cute blond sunbather named Darlene. Delong, Darlene, Rocky and Nancy start hanging out together while Rocky begins to unravel the frame that got him set to prison.

 

What's to like?

 

This is a great little noir all set in a rundown low rent neighborhood of LA replete with fleabag hotels, sleazy bars, and corner deli's.

 

The trailer park location is great, it provides a nice contrast to conventional all dark Noirs and it gives that creepy "just flipped over rock and bugs scurrying from the sun" feeling to the film. The park and its denizens provide a lot of amusing laughs interspersed with seriousness of the confrontations between Rocky, Castro, and Castro's henchmen.

 

The Nash Ambassador is a hoot, you can't help but chuckle everytime you see tough guy Rocky driving around in what looks like a ridiculous upside down bathtub.

 

Rocky's memorable confrontation with Castro, after Castro tries to frame him the second time.

 

Cutie Darlene who shows lots of skin while almost constantly sunbathing on a lounger in the trailer park.

 

A nice twist.

 

I'll give this one a 10/10. This needs a DVD release, please!

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"Cry Danger" is a very under rated piece of film noir.Plus a nice tour of L.A. in 1950. I always loved it and watching Dick Powell, who could deliver an off the cuff smart a**ed remark better then anyone.Even though he wanted the part of Walter Neff in "Double Indemnity", but lost to Fred MacMurray, he scored big with "Murder, My Sweet" and changed his image forever. Following with some fine noirs such as "Cornered", "Johnny O'Clock' and "Pitfall" he always delivered, even if the films didn't. Just wish he had done more of the tough talking style he did so well....

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Revisited *Killer's Kiss* (1955) director Stanley Kubric, with Frank Silvera as sleazy dime-a-dance hall owner Vincent Rapallo, Jamie Smith as boxer Davey Gordon, Irene Kane as ballroom taxi dancer Gloria Price and Jerry Jarrett as Albert (the fight manager). Could very well be the quintessential New York Noir, from the opening scenes of the old Pennsylvania Station, the decadence of Times Square to the industrial alleys and rooftops of lower Manhattan, it speaks volumes of what can be accomplished in a short film on a shoe string using real locations, and of the talent of Kubric as a director, writer, cinematographer, and editor.

 

The story is basically, a prize fighter falls for the taxi dancer he peeps on from across the air shaft in his apartment house, juxtaposed cuts of him fighting a loosing bout in the ring and her fighting off the advances of her **** boss establish the dynamics of the story. He comes to her rescue after Rapallo accosts Gloria in her apartment, and they hit it off. Exchanging hard luck stories they decide to take a vacation from the city and to travel West to Seattle to a horse farm that Davey's uncle owns.

 

Davey needs his money from his last fight and Gloria needs her paycheck. They arrange with Davey's manager to meet at the ballroom. All goes hay-wire and the events that propel the story to a memorable conclusion are started in motion.

 

BTY, If any of you haven't seen it some shots from the film are used on one of TCM bumpers, the one that uses the "Angel Eyes" tenor sax instrumental.

 

Definitely on the A-list with another 10/10.

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I watched Dr Clitterhouse yesterday, very funny movie. I like it when Bogie says the name Dr. Clitterhouse and also tries to put him in the deep freeze. Dr. Clitterhouse tells him that the cold would have kept him alive longer, and Bogie bought it.

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Wow! CRY DANGER sounds wonderful. I did some time in a trailer park myself!

 

To fredbaetz,

 

Powell would have been fine as Walter Neff. As long as he didn't sing!

 

Edited by: redriver on May 13, 2011 2:55 PM

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I love CRY DANGER and haven't seen it in ages! I hope TCM airs it soon, and even better, becomes available on DVD. I miss the Noir sets, and hope WB will continue those with these types of films showing up!

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On TMC yesterday caught most of these or parts but seen most before with one surprize.

 

*Escape In The Desert* (1945) A remake of The Petrified Forest, Nazi spies infiltrate a hotel in the American Southwest with.Dir: Edward A. Blatt Cast: Jean Sullivan,Philip Dorn, Irene Manning. Edward A. Blatt. Philip Dorn, Helmut Dantine, Jean Sullivan, Alan Hale. Lot of obvious painted backdrop studio shots Never seen before, 5/10

 

*The Petrified Forest* (1936) D: Archie Mayo. Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, Dick Foran, Humphrey Bogart, Genevieve Tobin, Charley Grapewin, Porter Hall. Drags until Bogart shows up the Leslie Howard/Bette Davis romance is a snoozer. Bogart is Duke Mantee, escaped gangster, who holds writer Howard, dreamer Davis, and others hostage at roadside restaurant in Arizona. Seen parts but never the whole 6/10

 

*The Killers* (1946) D: Robert Siodmak. Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien, Albert Dekker, Sam Levene, Virginia Christine, William Conrad, Charles McGraw. Ex-fighter found murdered, subsequent investigation. Story told in flash back. Great stylized cinematography with outstanding cast, excellent 10/10

 

*Where Danger Lives* (1950) D: John Farrow. Robert Mitchum, Faith Domergue, Claude Rains, Maureen O'Sullivan. Mitchum falls for suicidal Domergue who leads him on thinking that she is Claude Rains? daughter rather than his young wife. A confrontation leads to a fight with Rains landing blows from a fire place poker on Mitchum?s noggin before Mitchum lands a blow that knocks Rains out. Mitchum suffering from a concussion leaves the living room and Domergue finishes Rains off smothering him with a pillow. She lets Mitchum think that he killed Rains and the two flee towards Mexico Atmospheric, stylized not a bad Noir though Domergue doesn?t quite gel in the part . 7/10

 

*His Kind Of Woman* (1951 D: John Farrow. Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, Vincent Price, Tim Holt, Raymond Burr, Charles McGraw, Marjorie Reynolds, Jim Backus. Mitchum blindly goes to Mexico for a payoff of 50 grand, discovers he's the soon-to-be-dead chump whose identity will help deported gangster Burr re-enter the country. Only saw part of it but Vincent Price is a hoot as a ham actor (I?m sure it wasn?t much of a stretch for him) Only caught the beginning and bits and pieces before I had chores to do. This has a huge write up in the Encyclopedia of American Film Noir will have to revist.

 

*The Big Sleep* (1946) D: Howard Hawks. Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely, Martha Vickers, Louis Jean Heydt, Regis Toomey, Peggy Knudsen, Dorothy Malone, Bob Steele, Elisha Cook, Jr. Raymond Chandler's first novel; detective Philip Marlowe (Bogart) becomes involved with wealthy Bacall and her uncontrollable little sister Vickers. Its ok but Bogart & Bacall are Bogart & Bacall and not Marlow & Sternwood. Caught this from after the first hour mark to the end, my least favorite Big Screen Marlowe, so far, but I haven?t seen the Brasher Doubloon yet 6.5/10

 

*Crime in the Streets* (1956) D: Donald Siegel. James Whitmore, John Cassavetes, Sal Mineo, Mark Rydell, Virginia Gregg, Denise Alexander, Will Kuluva, Peter Votrian, Malcolm Atterbury. Draggy drama of angry, alienated youth Cassavetes, who conspires to commit murder. Cassavetes always reminds me of a demented Jerry Lewis, saw just the end of this studio bound film boring, 5/10

 

*Side Street* (1950) D: Anthony Mann. Farley Granger, Cathy O'Donnell, James Craig, Paul Kelly, Edmon Ryan, Paul Harvey, Jean Hagen, Charles McGraw, Adele Jergens, Harry Bellaver, Whit Bissell. Part-time mailman Granger impulsively stealing $30,000 of blackmail money from a ring led by a crooked lawer, and finding himself caught between the crooks and the cops.

 

Holy Crap another great NYC Noir that I've never heard of, this one with the benefit of a big budget that Kubrick didn?t have for the ?Killers Kiss?. Great atmospheric location shots juxtaposed with seedy apartment interiors. A highlight is the grand finale cab vs. cop cruiser chase, through the narrow, deserted, Sunday morning streets of lower Manhattan, the high angle overhead shots makes it look like rats running around an elaborate maze, equals the chase in McQueen?s ?Bullitt ? in a different way. 10/10

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Great reviews of a great day on TCM, Joe!

 

Of these, I'd not seen two, and still have to see one of them!!! I enjoyed ESCAPE IN THE DESERT, even though it was clearly not up to par of the original film of which it was a remake. But I'd not seen it before and enjoyed it. I have never seen SIDE STREET yet, and need to! Fortunately I have it on a Film Noir Collection from WB, so one day I'll sit down and watch it! I always love Paul Kelly, so I definitely need to see it on that basis plus your great review!

 

I would disagree with you a bit on THE PETRIFIED FOREST, because I love Leslie Howard so much, all of that part of the film captivated me just fine, and Bogie's appearance just shifts it into another gear, but I loved it all, and would rate it 10/10. I'd also give a 10 spot to THE BIG SLEEP. I guess I don't care too much how they match up with the written form that gave birth to the film, but just relish their energy on-screen. It's a great film!

 

I agree with you about Faith in WHERE DANGER LIVES, I like the film, but it's...I dunno, not the best of the best. Mitch always fun to watch, but for most of this film he's kind of out of it, and doesn't really bring the energy I'm used to because of it. Or maybe he's just sleepier than usual! :)

 

You really need to catch HIS KIND OF WOMAN, I really dig it and would rate it a 9 of 10 at least!

 

Thanks for the great posts!

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WHERE DANGER LIVES is not super-duper noir, but I was surprised at how much I liked it. It's unpretentious drama; not too serious. Over before you know it. It's not OUT OF THE PAST, not CAPE FEAR. But it's solid storytelling. It's fun.

 

I have a couple of videos to watch this weekend. I've seen THE LINE-UP before, but that was years ago. Something called SLIGHTLY SCARLET? I don't how good this one will be, but there's one way to find out. I fell asleep on THE BRIBE a couple of nights ago. I'll tackle it again. The joy of video!

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

>

> *Where Danger Lives* (1950) Atmospheric, stylized not a bad Noir though Domergue doesn?t quite gel in the part . 7/10

 

I can understand why people think that, but I think she worked quite well. She is psychotic. As a psychotic, she is always a little distant, always not quite 'there,' other-directed, and we can't see 'the other.' She may have come across that way because of limited acting skills, but I think it worked, for the part.

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

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

> >

> > *Where Danger Lives* (1950) Atmospheric, stylized not a bad Noir though Domergue doesnt quite gel in the part . 7/10

>

> I can understand why people think that, but I think she worked quite well. She is psychotic. As a psychotic, she is always a little distant, always not quite 'there,' other-directed, and we can't see 'the other.' She may have come across that way because of limited acting skills, but I think it worked, for the part.

 

I'm willing to give it another shot, like I mentioned so many Noir's back to back in one day seems to blunt their impact.

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*Side Street* starts out as an imitation *Naked City* with voiceover, etc., but soon enough turns into a noir nightmare. Cigarjoe, excellent comments about the climactic car chase.

 

If there were truth in advertising, *Crime in the Streets* would be called *Crime on the Set*. It's a Reginald Rose TV play expanded for the movies in the wrong way--that is, by giving us more of the same instead of expanding the focus. It's a crime story that morphs into a problem drama. The ending is definitely not noir. Don Siegel gives us an exciting but not bloody rumble to open the film, then it quickly bogs down. Siegel has trouble staging the personal scenes, such as the ones with John Cassavetes, his mother (Virginia Gregg), and his little brother. A gesture, a prop, a look out of the frame, a cutting rhythm, could improve the earnest dialogue. (Seeing part of Kazan's *Splendor in the Grass* the same day pointed up what these scenes lack.)

 

However, *Crime in the Streets* can be recommended to fans of John Cassavetes, very intense if too old to play an 18-year-old gang leader, and Sal Mineo, alarmingly pretty as 15-year-old Angelo, called Baby by everyone. Mark Rydell is just alarming as Lou, a psycho gang member with a king-sized crush on Cassavetes. Lou gets turned on by the idea of helping Frankie (Cassavetes) commit murder. Too bad the writing and directing don't match the level of the performers.

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Some interesting comments lately on this thread, and some sweet noirs reviewed ( is that oxymoronic..."sweet" and "noir" ? )

 

I own *Side Street*, it's on some noir boxed set I've got (I have quite a few, and I get them mixed up -I can't recall if it's on one of the good ones, or one of the cheapo sets that give you 9 movies or something, but they haven't been cleaned up. But I digress.)

Anyway - I love this film ! It's this kind of movie that makes me love film noir. It's got everything - the innocent sap who digs himself deeper and deeper into trouble the more he tries to extricate himself from it; the uncaring soulless bad guys, both the low life and the high life variety; a bar, appropriately dark and full of street types; a "Mcguffin" (Farley's stolen money/bonds) and a floozie with a heart of gold.

Best of all, it's got that fascinating cinematography, those mean New York Streets, and , as cigarjoe has mentioned, that great overhead shot of the city and all those little cars, looking just like dinky toys in a narrow grey city. The first time I saw this shot, I thought, "This is one of the reasons I love movies ."

Farley and sweet Cathy O'Donnell make almost as touching a couple in *Side Street* as they did in *They Live by Night*.

Altogether, this is a really enjoyable little noir, all the more fun because it's relatively obscure, so it's a pleasant surprise to discover how good it is.

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"On the other hand"... *Where Danger Lives* was a huge disappointment. Robert Mitchum has got to be one of noir's noirest ( made-up wprd alert ) actors, I'm an ardent fan of Mitch's, plus the great Claude Rains graces this one, although not for very long. With these two in the picture, how can it go wrong? But it does.

It's curiously lacking in energy.Yes, could be that Mitch in a concussed stupor for two thirds of the film contributes to this lassitude, but perhaps with another director or even another story altogether this might have worked. Dominique whatshername doesn't add much - I've heard she was a "protegee" ( aka trollop/tart/floozie) of Howard Hughes, and that's how she got the role.

 

The entire movie falls flat ( IMHO, of course). Even the little things I usually love about film noir, ie, cigarette smoke, rain, slinkiness, darkness, an uneasy atmosphere that doesn't know whether it's foreboding or anticipation, are either absent or half-hearted in this anemic flick.

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I like SIDE STREET much better than THEY LIVE BY NIGHT, and I think most of my Amish community agrees with me. (I think Jean Hagen does a terrific turn in this film).

 

Edited by: finance on May 25, 2011 9:48 AM

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