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June 2015 TCM Spotlight: The Summer of Darkness

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Weekly 24-hour marathons of suspensers, thrillers and noir -- every Friday during the month. The title 'Summer of Darkness' and the labelling of 'TCM Spotlight' rather than 'Friday Night Spotlight' leads me to believe they'll be continuing with this in July. Eddie Muller, leading authority on the noir movement and a former guest on TCM, is the likeliest host for this series I think.

 

Here's the line-up, with primetime films bolded:

 

June 5

[THE EUROPEAN INFLUENCE DOUBLE FEATURE]:

M (1931)...Peter Lorre and Otto Wernicke

LA BETE HUMAINE (1938)...Jean Gabin and Simone Simon

[EARLY AMERICAN NOIR]:

THE LETTER (1940)...Bette Davis and Herbert Marshall

STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR (1940)...Peter Lorre and John McGuire

HIGH SIERRA (1941)...Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino

THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)...Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor

JOURNEY INTO FEAR (1942)...Joseph Cotton and Dolores Del Rio

JOHNNY EAGER (1942)...Robert Taylor and Lana Turner

[A NIGHT IN SAN FRANCISCO]:

NORA PRENTISS (1947)...Ann Sheridan and Kent Smith

WOMAN ON THE RUN (1950)...Ann Sheridan and Dennis O'Keefe

DARK PASSAGE (1947)...Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall

BORN TO KILL (1947)...Lawrence Tierney and Claire Trevor

[NEO-NOIR]:

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (1997)...Kevin Spacey and Russell Crowe

 

June 12

THE GLASS KEY (1942)...Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake

[EUROPEAN DIRECTORS IN HOLLYWOOD]:

LAURA (1944)...Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews

MINISTRY OF FEAR (1944)...Ray Milland and Marjorie Reynolds

MURDER, MY SWEET (1944)...Dick Powell and Claire Trevor

DANGER SIGNAL (1945)...Faye Emerson and Zachary Scott

DETOUR (1945)...Tom Neal and Ann Savage

MILDRED PIERCE (1945)...Joan Crawford and Jack Carson

DEADLINE AT DAWN (1946)...Susan Hayward and Paul Lukas

JOHNNY ANGEL (1946)...George Raft and Claire Trevor

[THE KING BROTHERS' DOUBLE FEATURE]:

THE GANGSTER (1947)...Barry Sullivan and Joan Lorring

GUN CRAZY (1950)...Peggy Cummins and John Dall

[MORE NOIR]:

TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY (1950)...Ruth Roman and Steve Cochran

NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947)...Tyrone Power and Joan Blondell

[MORE NEO-NOIR]:

NIGHT MOVES (1975)...Gene Hackman and Jennifer Warren

 

June 19

[NOIR AFTER WWII]:

CORNERED (1946)...Dick Powell and Walter Slezak

CRACK-UP (1946)...Pat O'Brien and Claire Trevor

GILDA (1946)...Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford

THE BIG SLEEP (1946)...Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall

THE KILLERS (1946)...Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner

NOBODY LIVES FOREVER (1946)...John Garfield and Geraldine Fitzgerald

NOCTURNE (1946)...George Raft and Lynn Bari

CROSSFIRE (1947)...Robert Ryan and Robert Mitchum

[CINEMATOGRAPHY BY JOHN ALTON]:

HOLLOW TRIUMPH (1948)...Paul Henreid and Joan Bennett

MYSTERY STREET (1950)...Ricardo Montalban and Sally Forrest

BORDER INCIDENT (1949)...Ricardo Montalban and George Murphy

THE PEOPLE AGAINST O'HARA (1951)...Spencer Tracy and Pat O'Brien

[MORE NEO-NOIR]

GET CARTER (1971)...Michael Caine and Ian Hendry

 

June 26

[THE INFLUENCE OF JAMES M. CAIN]:

THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1946)...John Garfield and Lana Turner

THEY WON'T BELIEVE ME (1947)...Susan Hayward and Robert Young

THE WOMAN ON THE BEACH (1947)...Joan Bennett and Robert Ryan

LADY IN THE LAKE (1947)...Robert Montgomery and Audrey Totter

OUT OF THE PAST (1947)...Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer

POSSESSED (1947)...Joan Crawford and Van Heflin

ACT OF VIOLENCE (1948)...Van Heflin and Robert Ryan

THE SET-UP (1949)...Robert Ryan and Audrey Totter

[CONTINENTAL NOIR]:

THE MASK OF DIMITRIOS (1944)...Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre

BERLIN EXPRESS (1948)...Robert Ryan and Merle Oberon

[ORSON WELLES DOUBLE FEATURE]:

THE STRANGER (1946)...Orson Welles and Edward G. Robinson

THE THIRD MAN (1949)...Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles

[MORE NEO-NOIR]:

POINT BLANK (1967)...Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson

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I am wondering if they are going to have Eddie Mueller, from the Film Noir Foundation, back to host this...? 

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I am wondering if they are going to have Eddie Mueller, from the Film Noir Foundation, back to host this...? 

 

I have seen all of these films except Women on the Run, with Ann Sheridan.    The L.A. Times mentioned this film since it is being shown here in So Cal as part of a classic film event.      But great list of films for those that are fairly new to noir or for those that just wish to revisit an old friend (in a dark alley!).

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I have seen all of these films except Women on the Run, with Ann Sheridan.    The L.A. Times mentioned this film since it is being shown here in So Cal as part of a classic film event.      But great list of films for those that are fairly new to noir or for those that just wish to revisit an old friend (in a dark alley!).

Right-- this is a good batch, and it will be fun, even for those who have seen these titles countless times already. I have a feeling WOMAN ON THE RUN and NORA PRENTISS are getting the top spot one evening, because TCM's programmers realize they slighted Ann Sheridan and her fanbase by neglecting her 100th birthday. At least that's my theory...

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I have a feeling WOMAN ON THE RUN and NORA PRENTISS are getting the top spot one evening, because TCM's programmers realize they slighted Ann Sheridan and her fanbase by neglecting her 100th birthday. At least that's my theory...

 

You may be right about that. They've also scheduled an evening of Ann Sheridan movies in late April I believe. At any rate NORA PRENTISS and WOMAN ON THE RUN make a good double bill and an entertaining way to spend an evening.

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TCM has been sending out some tweets on their Twitter account this morning, indicating that Eddie Muller is in studio for them today -- perhaps he's doing the intros for this series.

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TCM has been sending out some tweets on their Twitter account this morning, indicating that Eddie Muller is in studio for them today -- perhaps he's doing the intros for this series.

 

I'm hoping Eddie can help TCM get access to the restored version of Too Late for Tears.    That is one of the truest noir films missing from this impressive line-up.    

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TCM has been sending out some tweets on their Twitter account this morning, indicating that Eddie Muller is in studio for them today -- perhaps he's doing the intros for this series.

Sounds encouraging. I figured they would get Muller back to do the wraparounds for this series. Tells us they film them about two and a half months in advance.

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a few of things come to mind about this "Spotlight."

 

glad to see Eddie Muller will finally (if his participation is a fact) be featured on TCM. about a year ago, someone posted a factoid about Muller signing a contract with TCM. Glad to see something's come of this.

 

did anyone notice that the last movie each Fri, ehr, early Sat morning, is a neo-noir movie. TCM's last movies are LA Confidential (1997), Night Moves (1975), Thief (1981), and Blue Velvet (1986). dark stuff! btw, there's a kinda, sorta progression from Fri to Fri, starting with the pre-noir German film M (1931) and progressing through the early 40's to the late 40's. (there are some holes/MIA's like Double Indemnity (1944).)

 

and, this sort of dovetails with the comment about there might be more than just June, most of the movies being shown are from the 1940's (that's most, not all). so, 1950's fliks (especially Kiss Me Deadly (1955) and The Narrow Margin (1952)) would roll over into one more month of noir features. (assuming classic noir ended in the late 50's) will that other month immediately follow? like July? or will TCM hold-off and do a second month later, even a year later?

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a few of things come to mind about this "Spotlight."

 

glad to see Eddie Muller will finally (if his participation is a fact) be featured on TCM. about a year ago, someone posted a factoid about Muller signing a contract with TCM. Glad to see something's come of this.

 

did anyone notice that the last movie each Fri, ehr, early Sat morning, is a neo-noir movie. TCM's last movies are LA Confidential (1997), Night Moves (1975), Thief (1981), and Blue Velvet (1986). dark stuff! btw, there's a kinda, sorta progression from Fri to Fri, starting with the pre-noir German film M (1931) and progressing through the early 40's to the late 40's. (there are some holes/MIA's like Double Indemnity (1944.)

 

and, this sort of dovetails with the comment about there might be more than just June, most of the movies being shown are from the 1940's (that's most, not all). so, 1950's fliks (especially Kiss Me Deadly (1955) and The Narrow Margin (1952)) would roll over into one more month of noir features. (assuming classic noir ended in the late 50's) will that other month immediately follow? like July? or will TCM hold-off and do a second month later, even a year later?

 

I'm hoping TCM continues this Friday spotlight (at least 3 more Fridays) moving on to 50's noir films ending with Odds Against Tomorrow (well ending in terms of what I define as the classic noir era, with noir themed films after that being neo-noir films).

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I'm excited that the Summer of Darkness is going to go two months.  I love film noir and there are so many that I haven't seen.  Summer is the perfect time to watch these types of movies--especially at night.  There's the darkness, but also the warm summer breeze with creates the right kind of ambiance for gritty noir.  I don't know if this idea of the perfect environment makes sense, but it does to me. 

 

Good work TCM! I'm looking forward to it!

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oops!

 

i was looking at some June stuff, when i noticed a couple of neo-noirs have been dropped from the Summer of Darkness lineup.

 

on the third and fourth Fridays (19th & 26th of June) Thief (1981) and Blue Velvet (1986) were dropped and replaced with Get Carter (1971) and Point Blank (1967). Carter for Thief was a good move. the Blank/Velvet switch just depends on your point of view.

 

well, that's the switch news. meanwhile, LA Confidential (1997) and Night Moves (1975) are still on tap for June 5th & 12th and that's good news. LA Con is top notch neo-noir. i saw Night (Knight) Moves a few weeks ago. that's a movie with many different up/down opinions and almost as many ideas about what happened. i liked the movie and a chance to see it again is appreciated.

 

one neo-noir as the last feature continues in July but then fizzles out half-way through the month. i really wanted to see Body Heat (1981). that would have made a great companion piece to the "Summer of Darkness" idea. i was also disappointed that Chinatown (1974) wasn't included. if i'm not mistaken, Body Heat would have been a premiere, so i guess i was too optimistic. Chinatown and all the others mentioned have been shown previously.

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Does anyone know where a list can be found of the 94 or so film noir titles presented during the first TCM Summer of Darkness in 1999?

No idea. Was not aware they had done it before. I didn't begin to watch TCM until 2008.

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Who would have thought that song and dance man Dick Powell would make such a great private eye? It's interesting to see how his  portrayal of Marlowe differs form Bogart's.  I love how he his suspicious right from the start and locks the door after Miss Gayle enters the office, she doesn't stand a chance. Powell's Marlowe seems a bit more smooth and polished on the surface but he proves to be every bit as tough and wise cracking as all the great noir PI's.

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I enjoyed the moment when you could tell that he realized that she was not who she said she was by a very minor shift. His actions were very quick and efficient when it came down to getting the information that he wanted. 

 

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One of my favorite films of all time!


The unusual behavior of Philip Marlowe does make him a "new" kind of detective. 


Upon entering his office he finds a woman sitting there. She introduces herself to him, "Mr. Marlowe, I'm Ms. Allison from The Post."


He doesn't introduce himself, or say hello, or exchange any pleasantries. 


The first thing he says is, How did you know about me?" unusual, and new. He is untrusting of Ms. Allison from the start, who actually turns out to be, Ann Gayle.


He is also uninterested in her presence, for the most part, until she mentions The Jade. Then he is very interested. "come in Ms. Allison, have a seat."


He probably needs money. 


He is still untrusting of her, but interested. He gets slightly rough, grabbing her arm, dumping the contents of her purse onto the desk. 


Finding out she wasn't who she said she was.


With all this, Marlowe has integrity. This is the new protagonist, the new detective,is  the new US in WW2 era America. Untrusting, alone, darker, but with integrity.


Marlowe says, "I'm just a small business man in a very messy business, but I like to follow through on a sale." This pretty much says it.


Deception, spare and to the point dialogue, known as "Hardboiled" as well as suspicion are all contributions and themes of Film Noir.


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Who would have thought that song and dance man Dick Powell would make such a great private eye? It's interesting to see how his  portrayal of Marlowe differs form Bogart's.  I love how he his suspicious right from the start and locks the door after Miss Gayle enters the office, she doesn't stand a chance. Powell's Marlowe seems a bit more smooth and polished on the surface but he proves to be every bit as tough and wise cracking as all the great noir PI's.

Great post. This is one of the reasons (among many reasons) that I have Dick Powell listed as my number one favorite leading man of classic Hollywood. If you click on my user name and go to my profile, you can see the ten guys and the ten gals I selected.

 

Powell gets top honors because of his sheer versatility. Who else reinvented himself so successfully in Hollywood as Dick Powell did. Not only as an actor skilled across a variety of genres, but also as a director and producer.

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Nino Frank's point about detectives becoming the protagonists is born out in Murder, My Sweet by Marlowe having to navigate the waters of mystery in which all parties, even the police are circling sharks. As Frank points out, the detective's are independent agents with no one to tie them down or back them up. In the scene with Anne Grayle in his office, Marlowe's suspicion doesn't begin when he hears her cover story, nor when he first sees her. It begins the moment the elevator man tips him off that someone is waiting inside of his office. Every one is a suspect with suspicious motives in these films, everyone, that is, except for the detectives. They follow the money, tied up with an independent moral code, which makes them not only trust worthy for the audience but likable, easy to invest in--in short, as Frank writes, protagonists.

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The slow ticking of the clock, and it turns out to be a man awaiting release from an institution. This sets up one of my favorite movies that few people have ever heard of. I originally watched out of boredom. and got pulled into one the best films you will ever see. Especially in a time when computers can tell you why so many of the faces are so familiar. If you take nothing else from this course, watch this film in it`s entirety.

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I couldn't decide if the ticking of the clock was marking the time that was passing, reminding Ray Milland of the time that had already passed, or if it was luring him into his future with the promise of times to come. 

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The framing of this scene, is used to draw the viewer into all the hatred spewed by the characters. Not until the slap, do you see a full frontal emotional reaction to what is being said. Also, as with all films the score draws the viewer along the path the director laid out.

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