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cigarjoe

Christmas Noirs

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We did a list a while back on the recently defunct Back Alley Forums that listed all the Noirs that took place around the Christmas Holidays there are more than you'd think. What got me thinking of this was watching Roadblock which had some Christmas decorations, etc., etc. So lets make a list of Noirs that take place around the Christmas Holidays. 

 

I'll start with these: 

 

Christmas Holiday 

Roadblock 

Crime Wave 

I, The Jury 

Blast Of Silence 

 

add more as we think of them
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Cover Up 

Lady In The Lake

   One confusion has always been to separate Film Noir from mystery from drama.

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I know Deanna Durbin is hardly a candidate for most noirish actress, but besides Christmas Holiday (mentioned on your list), she was in Lady on a Train, which has at least two typical noir elements (a train and a murder.)

Anyway, it's set at Christmas time.

 

Hey, what about Holiday Affair? After all, it stars a seriously noir actor, Robert Mitchum. And even his rival (in the story, not real life) is played by Wendell Corey, who's been in one or two noirs himself.

Ok, ok, Holiday Affair is not even remotely a noir. But it is Christmassy. One out of two ain't bad.

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This thread should be moved back to General Discussions because it is about Christmas movies!

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I know Deanna Durbin is hardly a candidate for most noirish actress, but besides Christmas Holiday (mentioned on your list), she was in Lady on a Train, which has at least two typical noir elements (a train and a murder.)

Anyway, it's set at Christmas time.

 

Hey, what about Holiday Affair? After all, it stars a seriously noir actor, Robert Mitchum. And even his rival (in the story, not real life) is played by Wendell Corey, who's been in one or two noirs himself.

Ok, ok, Holiday Affair is not even remotely a noir. But it is Christmassy. One out of two ain't bad.

The only reason they had Mitchum do this film was to spruce up his image after the pot bust.

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The only reason they had Mitchum do this film was to spruce up his image after the pot bust.

Didn't realize that.  Anyway, one of my favorite Christmas movies and I think Mitchum does the best job by far in it.

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Too bad no noir is around halloween, they missed one there.

 

Good point.  Some noirs, like Decoy,  are linked to the horor genre and The Bribe does utilize a Holloween type event at the end.   Gilda also features a costume party as well.    The use of costumes does add an element and vibe that works well in the noir world.

 

But I can't think of a noir that was centered around the actual Holloween night.

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Since no one has suggested Repeat Performance (1946), I thought I would mention this title for consideration on your Christmas Noir list. I am not inclined to include this film as part of the genre, but I have heard/read others refer to the plot as "It's A Wonderful Life" in noir. Based on a novel by William Farrell, the film is an Eagle-Lion production with a cast of recognizable faces: Joan Leslie, Louis Hayward, Tom Conway, Richard Basehart and Natalie Schafer. The story opens on New Year's Eve and ends with the same holiday's festivities in the air. The film also includes a very Merry Christmas sequence, with Joan Leslie, assisted by her maid, decorating a tree. Joan also bemoans her quaint Christmas traditions being replaced by commercialism, in the form of bubble Christmas lights (perhaps the ones manufactured by NOMA). The story is a bit uneven, with implausible elements similar to those found in Decoy (1947) and Kiss Me Deadly (1955), but there are moments when Joan Leslie reminds me of Jane Greer (just a little, in a certain light).

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8f0bd2a9-9f55-4711-9801-0d96bb31081f_zps

 

Since no one has suggested Repeat Performance (1946), I thought I would mention this title for consideration on your Christmas Noir list. I am not inclined to include this film as part of the genre, but I have heard/read others refer to the plot as "It's A Wonderful Life" in noir. Based on a novel by William Farrell, the film is an Eagle-Lion production with a cast of recognizable faces: Joan Leslie, Louis Hayward, Tom Conway, Richard Basehart and Natalie Schafer. The story opens on New Year's Eve and ends with the same holiday's festivities in the air. The film also includes a very Merry Christmas sequence, with Joan Leslie, assisted by her maid, decorating a tree. Joan also bemoans her quaint Christmas traditions being replaced by commercialism, in the form of bubble Christmas lights (perhaps the ones manufactured by NOMA). The story is a bit uneven, with implausible elements similar to those found in Decoy (1947) and Kiss Me Deadly (1955), but there are moments when Joan Leslie reminds me of Jane Greer (just a little, in a certain light).

 

I do consider it noir-ish.

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We still have ten more days to watch Christmas noir, and I have two additional films to add to the list. I must have skimmed over the titles initially, because I was certain you had mentioned Backfire (1950) with Gordon MacRae, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien and Viveca Lindfors. TCM aired Backfire as part of their night of Christmas Noir a few years ago; I thought the film was a good mix of holiday and noir elements.

 

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I haven't seen the next film so I'm hoping someone who has can tell me if you think this one is a noir film. The title is Mr. Soft Touch (1949) with Glenn Ford and Evelyn Keyes, and Ford faces some noirish challenges as a returning WWII Vet. His character, named Joe Miracle, hides out at a settlement house run by Evelyn Keyes character and he even takes a turn in a Santa suit.
 

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8032d21b-d93b-40fa-972a-660f104af3fc_zps

 

We still have ten more days to watch Christmas noir, and I have two additional films to add to the list. I must have skimmed over the titles initially, because I was certain you had mentioned Backfire (1950) with Gordon MacRae, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien and Viveca Lindfors. TCM aired Backfire as part of their night of Christmas Noir a few years ago; I thought the film was a good mix of holiday and noir elements.

 

 

Yes I remember this one, but I don't think I ever saw Mr. Soft Touch

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8f0bd2a9-9f55-4711-9801-0d96bb31081f_zps

 

Since no one has suggested Repeat Performance (1946), I thought I would mention this title for consideration on your Christmas Noir list. I am not inclined to include this film as part of the genre, but I have heard/read others refer to the plot as "It's A Wonderful Life" in noir. Based on a novel by William Farrell, the film is an Eagle-Lion production with a cast of recognizable faces: Joan Leslie, Louis Hayward, Tom Conway, Richard Basehart and Natalie Schafer. The story opens on New Year's Eve and ends with the same holiday's festivities in the air. The film also includes a very Merry Christmas sequence, with Joan Leslie, assisted by her maid, decorating a tree. Joan also bemoans her quaint Christmas traditions being replaced by commercialism, in the form of bubble Christmas lights (perhaps the ones manufactured by NOMA). The story is a bit uneven, with implausible elements similar to those found in Decoy (1947) and Kiss Me Deadly (1955), but there are moments when Joan Leslie reminds me of Jane Greer (just a little, in a certain light).

 

This sounds intriguing.  I wonder if TCM has ever shown it?  I'll keep this in mind for next Christmas.  :)

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I thought it would be fun to re-launch this thread in time for the Christmas holidays. TCM has a line-up of “darker-themed” Christmas films scheduled to air on Sunday, December 13, including Lady in the Lake (1947) with Robert Montgomery and Audrey Totter. Three-hundred and sixty-five days (a year already?) should be enough time to discover a few new films, including some Christmas noir. I thought I would start with a film I haven’t seen yet, and based on my research, this film doesn’t seem to be available on DVD.

 

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The film, titled Le Monte-Charge (1962) directed by Marcel Bluwal, and co-starring Robert Hossien with Lea Massari, makes a nice little gift from the nation who gave us noir. The plot is based on a novel by Frédéric Dard, and gives new meaning to the simple act of gazing into a storefront window decorated for Christmas. The French title translates to Service Elevator, which plays a part in the plot, but the English title, Paris Pick-Up, hints of an encounter rife with (all sorts of) possibilities for going wrong.

 

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Despite a (really) bad tagline, “a casual meeting—a night of romance—a horror-filled dawn”, the film has a reputation for compelling cinematography, which captures Paris in the city’s seedy and elegant night-time beauty. I was wondering if anyone here has been able to find it on DVD or has been fortunate enough to see a screening of Le Monte-Charge (1962) in a theater? If you have additional Christmas noir suggestions, please feel free to share with the rest of the class.

 

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Two Men In Manhattan (1959) takes place around right before Christmas too, I did a quick google search and didn't see any images to quick grab, and I don't have time to get a screen cap from the DVD, but when the seach goes to Ridgewood, Queens, the neighborhood's main shopping street has it's Christmas street wide decorations up and it's nighttime so they are lit. Rockerfeller Center is all festooned also.

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C.J. ~ thanks for the mention of Two Men In Manhattan; I haven’t seen this one, yet, but I have seen the trailer and the scene in the recording studio featuring Glenda Leigh singing Street In Manhattan with Christian Chavallier on the vibraphone. The combination of J-P Melville, Martial Solal and New York at Christmas has put this at the top of my must see list. I suspect you are already familiar with the film, but Blast Of Silence (1961) directed and starring Allen Baron is another gritty vision of Manhattan at Christmas (I mention it now because it is a favorite and I’m surprised I forgot last year). The film is beautifully shot, during a particularly dark December, and the result is a visually striking contrast between holiday shoppers and a man charged with a menacing assignment. Baron’s character, “Baby Boy” Frank Bono, is in town in time for the Christmas festivities; he’s got a job to do and it doesn’t involve shopping for presents.

 

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C.J. ~ thanks for the mention of Two Men In Manhattan; I haven’t seen this one, yet, but I have seen the trailer and the scene in the recording studio featuring Glenda Leigh singing Street In Manhattan with Christian Chavallier on the vibraphone. The combination of J-P Melville, Martial Solal and New York at Christmas has put this at the top of my must see list. I suspect you are already familiar with the film, but Blast Of Silence (1961) directed and starring Allen Baron is another gritty vision of Manhattan at Christmas (I mention it now because it is a favorite and I’m surprised I forgot last year). The film is beautifully shot, during a particularly dark December, and the result is a visually striking contrast between holiday shoppers and a man charged with a menacing assignment. Baron’s character, “Baby Boy” Frank Bono, is in town in time for the Christmas festivities; he’s got a job to do and it doesn’t involve shopping for presents.

 

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I ended up watching it after all, I've been meaning to write a review for my blog so I did a bunch of captures since it was a good rainy day project.

 

Here is the shot I was telling you about the way the small New York neighborhoods are decorated, Steinway, Astoria, Ridgewood, etc., etc.

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I ended up watching it after all, I've been meaning to write a review for my blog so I did a bunch of captures since it was a good rainy day project.

 

Here is the shot I was telling you about the way the small New York neighborhoods are decorated, Steinway, Astoria, Ridgewood, etc., etc.

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A gorgeous capture from Two Men In Manhattan; I'm glad for a rainy day that produces images such as this one. The position of the camera, I'm guessing the dark shape at mid-scene is an overpass for an elevated train, beautifully captures the depth and width of a NY neighborhood street decorated for Christmas. The waves of stars have a mid-century charm about them, and I can't help but wonder if the area has retained this charm. The extras for Blast Of Silence include a tour of locations with Allen Baron, and it is a bit dismal to see how some of the places have changed: the site of the Greenwich Village nightclub is now a CVS Pharmacy, depressing.

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A gorgeous capture from Two Men In Manhattan; I'm glad for a rainy day that produces images such as this one. The position of the camera, I'm guessing the dark shape at mid-scene is an overpass for an elevated train, beautifully captures the depth and width of a NY neighborhood street decorated for Christmas. The waves of stars have a mid-century charm about them, and I can't help but wonder if the area has retained this charm. The extras for Blast Of Silence include a tour of locations with Allen Baron, and it is a bit dismal to see how some of the places have changed: the site of the Greenwich Village nightclub is now a CVS Pharmacy, depressing.

Yes that is the el overhead. There are still a lot of neighborhood business districts decorated the same way even today. I was trying to find some of the locations in the film but putting in the old business names didn't produce anything, but they could be still there under different names, I just didn't catch any street numbers. It's just gonna take more digging. I have found locations for The Window  for Kiss Of Death and for Odds Against Tomorrow.

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A little reminder that Lady in the Lake (1947) is on the schedule this evening. I have seen this

one a few times in the past, but I think I'll make time for LitL again tonight (credit for the opening

titles to Art Of The Title, with a little help from me).

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Current list....

Christmas Holiday 

Roadblock 

Crime Wave 

I, The Jury 

Blast Of Silence 

Cover Up 

Lady In The Lake

Repeat Performance

Backfire

Two Men In Manhattan


Neo Noir

Blast Of Silence 

Le Monte-Charge

The Lookout

Delusion

Warm Nights On A Slow Moving Train

Hard Eight

 

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