Sign in to follow this  
FredCDobbs

Black Widow (1954), beginning of the end of the classic era

298 posts in this topic

 

Yes, I meant to say 'wasn't' instead of 'was'. I like your example of that scene in the police station. It was very static and that made it lose some of it's impact. I also agree with you that Heflin assaulting Nancy's fried was out of character. Heflin like us in the audience, had to decided one of two things; Either Nancy lied to her friend or the friend was lying to protect someone else like her brother. Since Heflin character was a gentle intelligent man one would assume he wouldn't resort to violence as soon as he entered the room.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't want to start this argument again but, I'm sorry, there is simply NO such thing as a color "film noir." And if they were in black and white several of the films on this list including DIAL M FOR MURDER (romantic murder mystery) and BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (simple drama) wouldn't be eligible either because they aren't remotely film noirs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apparently, but there's such scant evidence of it that who know. One thing I know for certain is that he wasn't much of an acting. As a matter of fact, I'm not aware that he acted at all. He just played variations on himself. An artist? That's just laughable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

There is no argument, you're simply mistaken. Leave Her To Heaven is classified as a noir.

 

A noir is NOT only about the visuals. To me the better discussion isn't about black and white and color, but about visuals, plot and the nature of the characters. i.e. for a film to be a noir must it have all three and which of the three are the driving force? I think the nature of the characters is the driving force in noir, but based on what I read at forums like this I believe most people feel the visuals are the driving force.

 

As for plot; yea most noirs have a murder, or some type of crime but crime dramas and gangster pictures are not noir by definition so to me plot is the least important of the 3.

 

As I said before even if Black Window was filmed in B&W it still wouldn't be a noir to be because Heflin wasn't a noir man and while Nancy was a noir women this fact was NOT known to Heflin until after she was dead.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}AddisonDeWitless, in your Dec 30, 2012 7:42 AM post addressed to me, with the link referencing back to my OP, you said::

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

> > In the tcmdb synopsis of the film, Peggy Ann Garner is called Peggy Ann GARDNER. She was an Oscar recipient, please get her name right, even if this was not her shining moment.

> >

> > *You wrote: I didn't write the synopis for the tcmdb.*

> >

I didn't think you did; had you written it, I'm sure it would be accurate.

 

I was replying to this post in general. *TCM'S SYNOPSIS* for the movie under their *tcmdb* function on *this website* (which I'm sure they'd rather you use than imdb) has the error, and it's quite possible this error is what led to the error in Osborne's intro where he called her "Gardner"...twice.

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Dec 30, 2012 4:49 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While we're on the (slightly off-) topic of TCM;s database synopsis ( plural: synopsi? but that sounds and looks silly), I have to say, I have a big problem with it.

Who writes these things? Did they never hear of paragraphing? Why are they always written in one long hard-on-the-eyes block of text?

Sometimes I look them up,and I almost always stop reading before I'm half-way through because my eyes ( and maybe my brain) can't take it. If it is more than one person who writes them, how come all of them have the same style - this huge long block of text, no spaces or paragraphs. And if it's only one person writing the synopsi ( !) er, synopsisesiss...whatever - don't they have an editor or proof-reader or someone who can make the text a little more clear, a little easier to read, than what they have on offer now?

I demand an answer. And if I don't get one, I'm going to start typing everything I write in one long unbroken block of text. Put that in your porridge, folks, and eat it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a matter of opinion. You have one, I have another. This is not right or wrong. Oh, and to me LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN is not a noir. It's a melodrama. Period. A rather good one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> Who writes these things? Did they never hear of paragraphing? Why are they always written in one long hard-on-the-eyes block of text?

 

If you go to a film title in the TCM database, the upper half of the sidebar is in dark blue. Here is where you find:

Overview

Full Synopsis

Full Credits

Notes

Music, etc.

 

At the bottom of the upper half it says: data from the AFI database and there is a white box around all four edges of the upper sidebar.

 

All of the information inside that white box, including the full synopsis, comes from the AFI database. TCM licensed that information from the American Film Institute (AFI). The AFI created the database from their Catalogs of American Film (if you read the notes sections, you see the Catalogs referenced periodically).

 

Why the synopsis for films is one long paragraph instead of broken into multiple paragraphs likely occurred when the original database was imported into the program.that runs the database.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, lynn, you always seem to know this kind of stuff.

 

Well, that explains it, I guess. But I still think the TCM techies should do some techie thing that will return the summaries to the parapraphed write-ups they probably were in the first place, in the AFI base. I can't be the only one who has trouble reading them. (Gol dang it, muh eyes just aint wot they used to be...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I *totally* know what you mean.

 

When my eyes glanced on the full-length, cinderblock-formed, tcmdb synopsis of Black Widow I had a good larf: someone took *some notable damn time and effort* parsing details and giving a meticulous and extensive synopsis of a film that really requires- nay demands- very little detail to sum up:

 

 

*It's All About Eve with a murder, no mystery and not a single believable moment.* *The clothes are fabulous.*

 

 

There, end of synopsis. Time saved, and no one loses their eyesight. Go ahead, TCMDB, use it- you don't even have to send me a check or anything. All rights are yours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*When during this period was she seeing JFK?*

 

Tierney was involved with JFK in 46-47. At the time of BLACK WIDOW, she had just finished an affair with Prince Aly Khan, which had her at the edge of a nervous collapse. Khan had recently been divorced from Rita Hayworth, and his father forbade another marriage to a movie star.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heflin's character in the movie Black Widow wasn't a noir man, not Heflin the actor. Of course Heflin was in at least 5 noirs (depending on one defines noir).

 

The Prowler, Possessed and Strange Loves of Martha Ivers being some of the others.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Note I wasn't giving only my opinion but the opinion by those that write books on film noir since I wrote 'Leave Her To Heaven is classified as a noir'. i.e. classified by those that write about movies and film noir.

 

For example, the book Film Noir (Ward Silver) list Leave Her to Heaven as a noir and the authors write about why they consider this color film to be a noir.

 

I have seen other noir books list the film as a noir (as well as a few other color movies). Of course it doesn't mean the authors of these book are right (of course it is just their opinions), but they to take the effort to back up their opinion with substance.

 

You appear to believe that by definition a color film cannot be a noir. To me that is a very narrow definition of what makes a movie a noir.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

James: even if it's in a book, it's still an opinion. There is no impirical right or wrong here. And yes, I define noir very narrowly otherwise just about every film will get dumped in that category because the phrase has become so popular. That's exactly what has happened and I deplore that.

 

My analogy would be the martini. There is only ONE martini. It contains gin and a drop or two of vermouth. It doesn't contain vodka or chocolate or apple liquer or anything else. If it does, then it ain't a martini no matter that someone calls it such.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Note that I clearly posted: Of course it doesn't mean the authors of these book are right (of course it is just their opinions), but they do take the effort to back up their opinion with substance.

 

So what I'm looking for is some substance for how you define noir. You imply a noir movie must be in black and white but than of course all black and white films are NOT noirs so there must be some other criteria.

 

As I have said before on this tread; I divide noir elements into 3 basic categories; visuals, plot and the nature of the characters, with the most weight placed on the nature of the characters.

 

This is why I said that even if Black Widow had noir visuals, it still wouldn't be a noir to me since the characters were not noir type characters, especially the leading man. i.e. a noir leading man has dirty hands and Helin's character was just an everyday good guy.

 

The two leading characters in Leave Her To Heaven are indeed noir characters and so is the plot line. Thus while the movie is lacking in the typical noir visuals it is still a noir to me for those reasons.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be honest, that "substance" is still also only their opinions.

 

I agree with you about the criteria. I also think that noir is something akin to Lewis Powell's definition of what is obscene: "I know it when I see it."

 

First, yes it must be in black and white. Second, there is no noir made after 1960 since it really is of a certain time period. Third, there must be a femme fatale who is up to no good. Fourth, there are no good guys, everyone is flawed in some way. The visuals are very important. There must be light and dark and shadow. But the "feeling" is even more important. There must be this feeling of being among people without the normal moral scruples that most people subscribe to. The nature of the characters is very important.

 

I don't think the two leading characters in HEAVEN are noir-like in any way. It's a good, old-fashioned melodrama (and one I love by the way). There are good guys and good girls and then there's the manipulative leading lady. Sounds like the plot of almost any Bette Davis movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I also agree there is no such thing as a color noir, however as I said with *Niagara* it is easy to see the movie is a noir story done in color. So is *Niagara* a noir?

 

Well, if we go by the definition you and i think of then it is a No, but *Niagara* is certainly a worthy movie if the noir genre was ever to be done in color.

 

And as we know, today these noir people list over 450 movies as noir when many of those are not really noirs at all. I would think the real list is under 100, and possibly much less. My favorite noir is *Night and the City*, and some others people's favorites are movies I would never call a noir. A few I don't think are noir are *Brute Force* and *Call Northside 777*.

 

It is all subjective so if we can have so many pretending to be noir I imagine they will be selling these color movies as noirs in the not too distant future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I meant to bring this up several pages ago, but forgot...

 

There's not a lot about Black Widow that sticks with you for long after it's over, but I did mean to mention (for those of you can remember it) that there was a world-wise hostess in a restaraunt played by *Hilda Simms,* an African-American actress whose film career was scanty, but was heavily involved in the theatuh. Heflin interrogates her about the dead girl and she seems to be the one character who knows what the whole score was.

 

In that one scene, she gave the kind of subtle, assured, interested and *invested* performance that put the work of her Oscar winning and nominated costars to absolute shame. It's the one scene in the picture that is genuine.

 

If only *she* had been the Black Widow, the film might've worked...Oh, and I think Dolores Grey (sp?) in the Ginger Rogers role would've been a wiser choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL. I didnt think it was awful, Wonderly, but there wasnt much mystery to it. It was obvious it had to be one of two people if Heflin was innocent. I did guess right.......I do agree Tierney was wasted. She only has a few brief scenes and disappears for much of the movie.

 

Also, am I the only one that thought the title had nothing to do with the plot of the movie?

 

Edited by: Hibi on Jan 2, 2013 10:58 AM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us