cigarjoe

Recently watched Noir

569 posts in this topic

I love Jean Hagen - I think she was fabulous in everything she did. She's the floozie with the heart of gold I was alluding to in *Side Street*. (Imagine you knew that.)

 

But did you know this: It's a little-known fact that Jean Hagen was Amish.

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Hagen was very versatile. In another noir, NO QUESTIONS ASKED, Hagen played the good girl, while Arlene Dahl played the bad girl. (Not to quibble, but she was 75% Amish and 25% Jewish. That's to say, "ishes" coming out the kazoo.)

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*Moonrise* (1948) Director: Frank Borzage with Dane Clark, Gail Russell, Ethel Barrymore, Allyn Joslyn, Rex Ingram, Harry Morgan, Harry Carey Jr, and Lloyd Bridges. A Republic Pictures entry into the dark side, Noir comes to Dog Patch, the hills run black. Actually for a studio set bound film its got its moments. The hanging of the leads father in the rain segues into a crying baby with a shadow of a doll hanging by a cord looming across the crib. A bit crude but effective. One particularly nice sequence is when Dane Clark confronts mute Harry Morgan and bumps a hanging overhead shaded light bulb the subsequent swinging shadows are reminiscent of Ford's Stagecoach and the trading post kerosene lamp in Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West.

 

Story is essentially, boy grows up (Clark) with taunts from other children about the hanging of his father which continue from bankers son Bridges into adulthood. At a backwoods dance Bridges again taunts Clark, they fight, Bridges picks up rock and hits Clark who wrestles it away and kills Bridges with it. Clark hides body in swamp and rejoins dance and Gail Russell. Clark is haunted by the prospect of having "bad" blood coursing through his veins. Clark is afraid to notify the police and Russell tries to influence him to admit his guilt, but he runs away.

 

A bit too corn-pone, Clark is not a convincing hillbilly, it drags a bit , but is mildly entertaining, with some interesting characters i.e., the sheriff Allyn Joslyn, and the **** hound handler Houseley Stevenson who are actually more interesting than the leads. Night of the Hunter traveling in the same holler is way better 6.5/10

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There was a story around Hollywood that Hughes put Faith Domergue in

some little hideaway and forgot she was there. It's probably apocryphal,

but it does speak to Hughes' relationships with his "protegees." Penny

Stallings called her Hughes' "celluloid Spruce Goose." :)

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> {quote:title=C.Bogle wrote:}{quote}

> There was a story around Hollywood that Hughes put Faith Domergue in

> some little hideaway and forgot she was there. It's probably apocryphal,

> but it does speak to Hughes' relationships with his "protegees." Penny

> Stallings called her Hughes' "celluloid Spruce Goose." :)

 

Perhaps "protegee" was code for "tart".

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Just going to respond to a couple more of cigarjoe's reviews from a few posts back:

 

*Crime in the Streets* is on that "Film Noir Volume 5" boxed set that came out about a year ago. I'm not sure it belongs on a noir set, especially when you consider that there are still many really good actual film noirs that are not yet on DVD.

The title is the most noirish aspect of *Crime in the Streets*. It's really one of those angsty "socially conscious" juvenile delinquent movies so prevalent in the late 50s - kind of a *West Side Story* without the music. Well, actually, it's a lot nastier than WSS.

 

But however you want to label it, I don't consider it a film noir. As a "juvenile delinquent" drama, I suppose it works; it's interesting to see John Cassavetes in such an early role, although he seems too old for the part. The most memorable character in it is the most disturbing - the guy who seems to get some kind of erotic kick out of violence and killing, especially if it involves knifing someone and watching their blood. Very creepy character, kind of a forerunner to the types you see more frequently in later films. Can't recall the actor's name, but he surely did a good job of creating one repulsive and disturbing person.

 

kingrat put it very well: "It's a crime story that morphs into a problem drama. The ending is definitely not noir."

 

As a "teen drama", *Crime in the Streets* certainly more gritty and more raw than most; but with a few exceptions, I don't really care for this type of film.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on May 26, 2011 12:46 PM

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*The Killers* - I've talked about this before, so I'll keep it brief. Next time I watch this, I'll have to take one of those "stay awake" pills that students use to pull all-nighters, you know, they have a rooster on the box. It's either that or one of those caffeine-infused beverages ( which students also use) if I want to stay awake all the way through this Hemingway-based noir. I do not know why, but this film always has a soporific effect on me. I like Burt Lancaster and Edmond O'Brien, am also a fan of Robert Siodmak. Maybe it's the complicated plot (but many noirs have overly complicated plots, and it doesn't bother me), or maybe it's the presence of Ava Gardner ( I know ! - sacrilege ! ) but I can never stay awake through all 103 minutes of *The Killers*.

 

This is my useful and insightful take on the film.

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At least this "protegee" did get to be in movies, though her career trailed off

rather quickly.

 

The Killers has one of my favorite noir phrases, "bright boy." Think you're

smart, bright boy. Of course having a gun handy is always an advantage.

They do pack a lot into an hour and forty-five minutes, but I've always liked

it. And of course it repeats that old lesson: If you're trying to hide out from

someone, don't get a job in a gas station. Then again, the Swede wasn't

exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.

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Well, I must admit, that goes back to my own student days...maybe they don't sell them anymore (they were perfectly legal, you bought them in a drugstore. Caffeine in a pill.) Guess "redbull" and the like have replaced them. Anyway, perhaps they were only available in Canada, like Red Rose Tea.

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*Hell's Island* (1955) director Phil Karlson, with John Payne, Mary Murphy, Eduardo Noriega, Francis L. Sullivan, Barzland, Arnold Moss, and Paul Picerni, Payne an ex DA from LA is an employee of a Casino in Vegas he is approached by Barzland to go to a Caribbean Island to recover a precious ruby that Barzland suspects Murphy, Payne's ex-girlfriend is hiding. Once torch carrying Payne is told about Murphy's involvement he's all set to go. So begins this obviously studio bound color Noir that despite those two detractions isn't all that bad with a few twists along the way. Its not very atmospheric but Murphy is a cute and ruthless femme fatale. Being generous with a 7/10

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miss wonderly, i read your review of Where Danger Lives and i'd like to offer another view if i may. Firstly, it's fine if WDL fell flat for you, glad you gave your honest opinion. For me, i've always loved this film, and usually get excited and record it when TCM trots it out. The story is so dark, moody, and intriguing to me. Then again, i love most left-of-center noirs that most folks don't like: The Two Mrs. Carrolls, Dishonored Lady, Las Vegas Story, ... I like Mitchum in this, really enjoy Claude Rains in anything. But I LOVE to gawk at Faith Domergue in WDL, she is so gorgeous to look at. I enjoy Faith in other films as well; been a fan of hers since 1993. But overall, i do enjoy the plot and the desperateness of it all, a wild ride to the mexican border.

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Well, randy, you're not the only one to have commented here that they like *Where Danger Lives*. You know what? I've only seen it once. Maybe I should give it another shot, I might change my mind.

I respect the opinions of the people who like it, and I have been known to change my mind about a film. I'll get it out of its boxed set and check it out again soon. :)

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Hi, MissW. The actor who's so creepy in *Crime in the Streets* is Mark Rydell, who went on to direct films like *The Reivers*, *The Rose*, and *On Golden Pond*.

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My most recently watched noir is *Red Light*. It has an excellent cast, with George Raft, Virginia Mayo, Raymond Burr, and Harry Morgan, just for starters. Beautifully shot, with great lighting. If the writing was just a bit better, I'd give it an "A." But, I did enjoy it a lot.

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*And as long as Billy Wilder hadn't cast Ruby Keeler as Phyllis Dietrichson.......*

 

Or infinitely worse, dick Powell's current bride, June Allyson.

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June Allyson wouldn't have made a very good femme fatale. Femme fatales can supposedly get men to do just about anything. Allyson couldn't get a man to tell her whether it is raining outside.

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

> My most recently watched noir is *Red Light*. It has an excellent cast, with George Raft, Virginia Mayo, Raymond Burr, and Harry Morgan, just for starters. Beautifully shot, with great lighting. If the writing was just a bit better, I'd give it an "A." But, I did enjoy it a lot.

 

 

I agree with you on all counts! I really enjoyed this flick!

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*Private Hell 36* (1954) Director: Don Siegel with Ida Lupino, Steve Cochran, Howard Duff, Dean Jagger, and Dorothy Malone, entertaining but you know whats gonna happen miles ahead of when it does, another not very noir-ish film about two cops who take a percentage of some stolen cash, with a twist at the end. Watch it for Lupino. 6/10

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You're right. Fine work by Lupino and others helps this less than perfect film. It's not bad at all. A little...what? Sluggish? Low on excitement? Worth watching at least once!

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

> 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!

 

Well, I finally dug out that ancient video of *Impact* I'd bought for a song and watched it. Did I say I got it for a song? The copy I had wasn't even worth a jingle. I'm not talking about the movie itself, which as far as I could tell, was very noirish and very good. But both the audio and the visual quality of the videotape was abysmal, they shouldn't have been allowed to sell it, or even give it away. Aside from a very fuzzy look, the sound got worse and worse, until by about halfway through the film, I could barely hear the dialogue at all.

 

Those details are sort of boring, I guess, sorry, but really, I feel that *Impact* did not have the impact on me that it would have if I'd seen a proper copy.

That said, apart from the above technical difficulties, I really enjoyed it. Brian Donleavy was oddly sympathetic in the role as the deceived husband, and Ella Raines makes a very likable gas station attendant.

 

I liked the story, the characters, the way it was filmed, even the "decent little town" Donleavy winds up in. My only problem is with the very thing that takes up the final third of the film, that complicates it. I won't say what it is, for fear of being a spoiler, but suffice to say that there's no very plausible reason why Donleavy would have lied to the cops, except to further the complications of the plot. ( sorry, I guess I did reveal a plot detail after all. Oh well, what the h would anyone be reading this for if they hadn't already seen it?)

 

Anyway, I'd like to see it again with a good print.

 

ps- Helen Walker is very good, as usual. Too bad about her truncated career.

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Little Miss Wonderly!

 

Your take on the understated, slow boiling IMPACT is perfectly reasonable. I like the film. It's more "civilized" than the darker, more violent crime stories. Kind of plays like a novel. But it's not one of the great ones. It's a good movie that doesn't come up in conversation a lot. I like that!

 

How many times have I gotten a bad copy of a good movie? (I won't even tell my QUICKSAND story!) DVDs are so cheap. Presumably, VHS didn't roll off assembly lines at the speed of light. I'm developing an instinct. If the DVD has a nice shiny package, if it's neatly displayed at a reputable store, it's probably in good condition. If it costs $3.99 at a truck stop, don't bother!

 

You probably know the motto of The Better Business Bureau. "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!"

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Hi Miss Wonderly!!

 

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts about IMPACT!!! I happen to love this film, perhaps more than many here? Anyway, I also have not seen a great print. I saw it for the first time on A&E back when they used to show PD films late night. Now I have it on a PD collection and the print is fair, not great, not horrible.

I love the players in this film, and I love how it all wraps up. It is probably not the greatest of noir's in that tradition, but there is a part of me that is sentimental that loves much of the final 1/3 of the film, though there are some hard-hitting elements there as well.

Donlevy is one of my faves, as is Ella Raines! :)

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mark, I did enjoy *Impact* very much ( aside from the previously mentioned technical problems.)

 

You do have to wonder, though, why Brian Donleavy made up a very unconvincing and totally unnecessary story when he first went to the police to reveal who he really was, etc. - at Ella Raines' urging. (That is, Raines urged him to "come clean" and tell his story to the police, she did not urge him to lie about part of it.)

If he were going to "come clean" and lift the murder rap from his unfaithful wife, reveal his true identity, etc., whyever didn't he tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, right from the start? The the malicious ex-wife would not have been able to make her horrid false accusations against him.

 

But then, there'd have been no final, engrossing, noirish third act to the film. :)

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Jun 7, 2011 10:01 PM

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