Dr. Rich Edwards

June 5 TCM Film Noir Discussions for #NoirSummer for All 13 Films

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I know The Big Sleep is supposed to be the more convoluted plot but I found The Maltese Falcon's story line to be somewhat puzzling.

In what way?  Could you be more specific?

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JOHNNY EAGER

 

(SPOILERS!)

 

One of my first Film Noir experiences a few years back, and upon re-watching it I still loved it. 

 

- The ambiguous morality of nearly all characters involved

Johnny's parole officer being 'caught' at the dog races. The look of guilt on his face is priceless.

Lisbeth's (Lana Turner) dad;  the inscrutable judge at first, but with a vicious streak ('pick up the money') and ultimately ready to be compromised in order to protect his daughter.

Lisbeth's boyfriend, willing to pay Johnny a heap load of money to get Lana out of the country: Johnny's reaction 'What's his angle, what's his angle?' is priceless.

And Lisbeth herself: Obviously her attraction to criminal Johnny ('Of course I don't want you to take me home') but probably the best moment is just after she shoots Johnny's assailant. The camera stays on her face. Is it shock and horror only? Or is there a hint of exhilaration as well? 

 

I also really liked how the change from Johnny the cab driver to Johnny the crime boss was visualized. It's always by ways of going through doors. Johnny starts by taking off his cab driver hat in the one room, then moving into the next room to change his tie, and then the next room to put on his expensive jacket. He's literally moving from one milieu to the other. 

 

And the eroticism.

When Johnny meets Lisbeth in the night club. She looks absolutely spectacular and makes clear from the first moment that she wants him, and wants him now, not just because he's attractive but also because of the danger that surrounds him. So much so, that it momentarily even unsettles the ever cool Johnny. 

 

But most of all I loved the ambiguity of Jeff, Johnny's inebriated confident. I'm pretty sure Jeff is in love with Johnny. There are plenty hints in the dialogue ('come to the lake and mountains with me Johnny'), but also notice the regular moments where Jeff reaches out to touch Johnny, to tug at this suit, or to nearly put an arm around him when they are together in the car. Also his confession to Johnny that he was this close to handing him over to the authorities, after which for him there'd be nothing left 'but blow his brains out'.

And as far as I can tell in all scenes where Johnny and Jeff are together, Jeff's face is lit in a high-key way and Johnny in low-key; the traditional way to light a romantic couple. Jeff is also the very last person to hold Johnny.....

Whatever you make of it, Van Heflin's Oscar winning performance was phenomenal.

Thanks for your great comments!  I agree with you completely about Jeff's physical expression of feelings for Johnny.  Van Heflin was such a terrific actor, I wonder if it was one of those things unstated in the script that he added or if it was worked out between the actor(s) and director.  Another crafty way they got around the taboos of the production code!  I didn't realize Heflin won the Oscar for this--he certainly deserved it.  Another great performance of his is in "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers."  He always brings more to the acting table than most.  One of my favorites.

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June 5 TCM film Noir Discussions for all 13 films

 

9. Dark Passage-This is such a satisfying movie, in so many ways. It has Bogart and Bacall, living up to their show stopping reputation, creative camera work, and a great story.  The use of the POV concept is very exciting here.  There’s innovation in this film.  The POV in this one serves a purpose: we can’t actually see the Bogart character until post plastic surgery.  It was easier to just show in a newspaper photograph what he was supposed to look like pre-surgery, rather than using another actor and dubbing Bogart’s voice, or worse yet, making Bogart up to look different.  POV was not a gimmick in this one.  It was necessary to make the plot more believable from a visual standpoint. What I liked most about this film was its postwar modernism.  There’s something very crisp in the sets, costumes, cars, the overall design.  And of course, the chemistry in this between B&B is the thing that swings it.  B&B seem to be the only

grounded characters in the film.  All the crazies revolve around them: the driver who picks Bogart up in the beginning, Agnes Moorhead’s character, who seems to be the femme fatale in a noir of her own.  Sidebar: so nice to see her glamorous here, a great contrast to her usual roles:  e.g., in “Citizen Kane” and “Journey into Fear” she lives in “dowdy town.” This has all the elements, light and dark, that make a well-rounded noir thriller.  My third favorite.

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June 5 TCM film Noir Discussions for all 13 films

 

10. Nora Prentiss-This is a blueprint for noir:  The beginning makes a point to show how straight-laced the protagonist is to the point of OCD: he does everything the same each day, and never veers; has a sanitary home life, and is a respected doctor, squeaky clean and completely reliable.  He meets an attractive woman by chance, and everything goes to blazes, literally.  Contributing also to noir is the look of the print itself: although it is clean, without scratch or splice, something about it is extra dark, not one of those beautiful, “restored” prints with at least a little detail in the shadows.  This looks like what used to be called a “theatrical” print, which was made darker to withstand the projector bulb (as opposed to a “TV” print which was flatter, had less contrast).  This extra darkness lends more noir to it, literally.  You always have to squint a little.  A good thing.  Ann Sheridan burns up the screen with star quality, and Kent Smith, although doing a terrific job as an actor, just doesn’t have enough “oomph” (if you’ll pardon the reference) to take the film and make it his.  Had there been a major male star in this role, the picture might have become his, but because Miss Sheridan was firing on all cylinders, he couldn’t compete.  Smith was just a good actor, but not a movie star.   In his promo, Mr. Muller suggested that Ann Sheridan was disgruntled with WB because she was fed up with them marketing her only for her sex appeal.  That brings me to the other Ann Sheridan film this week:

 

11. Woman on the Run—In this film, just the opposite seems to be going on between the two leads.  This film was made independently, a few years after WB dropped Sheridan. Eddie Muller says that Sheridan covered her body with a coat throughout most of this film as a big rebuff to WB.  I think she made a mistake; I don’t mean about covering her body, I mean about covering her “oomph.” To me, “oomph” in an actor is what makes them pop on the screen.  It brings to mind that story that I think it was Ben Gazzara told about Marilyn Monroe and him in the NYC Actor’s Studio days.  They were walking down a crowded street and nobody recognized her.  He pointed it out.  She suddenly did an “internal” thing and flicked the Marilyn “on” switch and then everybody recognized her.  I know people may argue with me here, but In “Woman on the Run,” Ann Sheridan forgot to turn on her “on” switch!  Her performance in this film is competent but very general; certainly acceptable, but it seems like any good actress could’ve played it equally as well. She was playing at not playing Ann Sheridan.  A negative to a negative.  Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’. Dennis O’Keefe, on the other hand, stole the film with his full-tilt portrayal.  He grabbed you when she discovered him on the roof.  She never took that moment to "grab you" as she did so terrifically with her first line in "Nora Prentiss."  In "Woman on the Run," Sheridan was one-note, perfectly adequate, not bad, just not her full potential.  She of course had the chops to do it, but chose not to “bring it.”   The film itself is fun, and the roller coaster sequence at the end is pretty terrific visually and dramatically.  We know her character gets sick on roller coasters and the camera is making us feel what she feels.  However, the resolution of the danger at the end was a little too neat for me.  Script-wise, it leant itself to a great chase and battle to the death, with ripe opportunity for noir histrionics.  I guess a budget’s a budget.  Better to spend it on the roller coaster sequence.  A good dark little film, with plot surprises and a consistent visual eye.

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June 5 TCM film Noir Discussions for all 13 films

 

12.  Born to Kill—I think this one not only pushed the boundaries of human decency for what was cinematically acceptable at the time (1947), but also shook up the machinations of noir up to that time as well.  In my perception, Claire Trevor is the protagonist, who seems basically good, although as the plot unfolds we discover maybe “not so much.” We meet her on the last day of her Reno residence divorce requirement.  On the exterior, she couldn’t be primmer: look at that hat with the flowers and the tulle veil with more flowers that cascades from the hat down around her neck.  Could it be all that primness is strangling her?  Watch her adjust it in the mirror early on in the film.  In those days a "divorcee" was a woman who was perceived as "available and agreeable." Enter: One she perceives as an irresistible male who taps her dark side and escorts her down the path of destruction.  Maybe I’m reaching here, but it seems to me that her hair design deteriorates/changes as Lawrence Tierney’s character brings out more and more of the worst in her. Early on it’s pinned up, tight, wouldn’t move in a wind tunnel.  It gets progressively more “free” as the film goes on, so that by the end, it’s devoid of restraint (as is she), even a little messed up (as is she, certainly!) And her head is uncovered; no more hats.  Her true self revealed! Tierney tells her early on, “I think we’re both headed in the same direction.” He sees her dark potential early on and exploits it, and she lets him, and she enjoys it!  Is turned on by it even!  She’s not interested in him for a happily-ever-after; she has more base things on her mind.  And it’s clear to the viewer.  This is very adult material, for any year. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man use the knowledge of his sex appeal over women so overtly before in a film from that era.  In those days it was the woman’s ammunition.  His overt sexuality and confidence drove the film.  For me, that’s the core noir here.  In this scenario, if he didn’t have that, and flaunt it to get what he wanted, as the “FF” usually does in standard noirs, the film wouldn’t have played in the same way.  It was a “perfect storm” when these two met.  This was my favorite of the thirteen.

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June 5 TCM film Noir Discussions for all 13 films

 

13. L.A. Confidential—the thing that I find most intriguing about this “neo noir” film is that it seems nostalgic to me, when the films from the actual period do not.  Yes, it is an amalgam of film noir, using noir characteristics wherever possible, but it is also a fictionalized microcosm of the Hollywood of that era.  How much corruption of that type really existed?  I would think at least some of it did.  Because of that, I look at it not completely as one who looks for entertainment of a fictional nature; but I begin inadvertently accumulating potentially factual information for later clarification as well, to see if events similar to this actually happened.  So, this 1997 film, with its snappy voiceovers, crooked cops, dark dames, and very seedy underbelly, does not need all those beautifully stylistic noir trappings to fly.  The actual proceedings of L.A. Confidential would engage me, even if presented in a straightforward style.   Conversely, in a film noir of the period, all of the stylistic touches elevate the storytelling, and sometimes even make up for it, and I hazard to think that some of the stories would not have been as compelling without these trappings.  Many of them turn on a simple “MacGuffin”.  It’s like the MacGuffin is the soup, which would be a little bland without the seasonings of noir touches.  The “soup” of “L.A. Confidential” is plenty seasoned, even before a single frame of film is exposed.

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In what way?  Could you be more specific?

Well at first I didn't follow who killed who but I figured that out, then I was confused about the story of the falcon. I think I got it now. I believe 'Chris Pierce' is right regarding the overriding interest of this film and noir in general is the wonderful spectacle and vernacular of each film.
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Johnny Eager. Well, no-one lived happily after in that one, except perhaps for policeman 711! 

 

I don't think the noir tropes had been fully developed by the time this film aired, in many ways it was a pretty standard gangster flick, but some signs were there in the moral ambiguity of the characters and the use of light and dark. For me the film was a tad too long but it was saved by a standard (and Oscar winning) performance by Van Heflin as the erudite drunk. A marvelous performance: "Method" before it became famous, perhaps? 

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I can't seem to post in the Canvas app as my message gets truncated... So I am using this topic.

 

Hi Richard

 

Today's email re the first quiz says the link to the quiz "will be in the Assignments link in the left hand navigation bar or at the bottom of "Further Investigations of The Heist" Page"? I can't find these locations. I did find the Quizz by going to Grades | My Courses |Course | Quizzes, where details of the quiz are also set out.

 

A good idea would be to add hyperlinks to the content listed as covered by the quiz. I don't recall seeing this content at all:

 

3. Further Investigations into the Heist Page

 

4. Eddie Muller's article "Low Company, High Style

 

Thanks

 

Tony

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I have watched The Maltese Falcon many times and cannot figure out what "crackin' foxy" means.

 

Would someone have an idea?

 

I hope this is the right forum to ask this question. If not, then my apologies.

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Nora Prentiss

 

Goodness, I’m not sure what to make of Nora Prentiss. Some of the plot was downright preposterous. Lucky for Dr. Talbot no one knew anything about DNA in 1947! Most of the story seemed to be driven by his reluctance to tell his wife and children that he had fallen in love with someone else, and this reluctance was the weakest link for me. He would rather die than admit that he had fallen in love with someone who loves him? Doesn’t make any sense to me.

 

Here’s an excerpt from a movie review in the New York Times by Bosley Crowther that I found online:

 

“. . . It seems that this poor Dr. Richard is doing all right, in a dull, professional way, taking care of his family and his practice, until Miss Sheridan happens along with a cut on her knee . . . . Pretty soon he is arranging his own "murder," with the body of another man, in order to effect a disappearance with Miss Sheridan and—why go on? You get the idea. And just to save you from any further waste of time, we might add that the playing of this story is every bit as ridiculous as it sounds. Miss Sheridan is practically a cipher and Kent Smith, who plays the poor doc, gives a walking representation of a love-smitten telegraph pole. . . .”

 

Ouch!

 

I agree that Kent Smith gives an uninspired (pun alert!) wooden performance, but Ann Sheridan did what she could with the story. Nora Prentiss as a character was a surprise. Her wisecracking self didn’t give any clue that she really had a heart of gold. But what was she doing with Doctor Talbot? I kept rooting for her and Phil Dinardo (played by Robert Alda), and at least that seemed to work out when Dinardo follows her off screen into the dark.

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June 5 TCM film Noir Discussions for all 13 films

 

13. L.A. Confidential—the thing that I find most intriguing about this “neo noir” film is that it seems nostalgic to me, when the films from the actual period do not.  Yes, it is an amalgam of film noir, using noir characteristics wherever possible, but it is also a fictionalized microcosm of the Hollywood of that era.  How much corruption of that type really existed?  I would think at least some of it did.  

 

Yes, I'd say your instincts are right on the mark.  There was enormous corruption in the city of LA during this period, and the influence of "Confidential" magazine and the double-dealings by the studios and others was considerable.  A couple of really good reads on these topics: "L.A. Noir" by John Buntin covers the history of corruption in LA, centering on the Police and organized crime.  "Shocking True Story" by Henry E. Scott covers the history of "Confidential" and the associated scandals.   Both books are  good reads!

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June 5 TCM film Noir Discussions for all 13 films

 

12.  Born to Kill—...This is very adult material, for any year. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man use the knowledge of his sex appeal over women so overtly before in a film from that era.  In those days it was the woman’s ammunition.  His overt sexuality and confidence drove the film.  For me, that’s the core noir here.  In this scenario, if he didn’t have that, and flaunt it to get what he wanted, as the “FF” usually does in standard noirs, the film wouldn’t have played in the same way.  It was a “perfect storm” when these two met.  This was my favorite of the thirteen.

 

Great analysis of the film! You make me want to watch it again to see how her hair changes.   As to the Lawrence Tierney character, I was thinking along the same lines.  In this film, it felt very much like he was an homme fatale (Is that a thing? If not, it really should be).  He was the dangerous one, driving the woman into risky situations.  He also seemed to cross gender lines, like many a femme fatale.  As you stated, he seemed to get by on his sexuality, and even ends up living off of his wife's money, which was definitely a blow to his manhood in those days.  I'd never seen Born to Kill before, but I have to say that I really enjoyed it.  It's a film I'd love to watch again, because I'm sure that there were a lot of small character beats that I missed the first time through.

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I have watched The Maltese Falcon many times and cannot figure out what "crackin' foxy" means.

 

Would someone have an idea?

 

I hope this is the right forum to ask this question. If not, then my apologies.

You got me wondering about this now, too. Here are my thoughts, but I hope others will weigh in.

I think the word crackin' is the equivalent of very. Today, when it's used alone, I think it means "happening," something that's a success.

I think the meaning of the word foxy has changed from one generation to the next, but in Bogie's film noir world, I think it meant "clever," "getting the upper hand."

Any thoughts?

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You got me wondering about this now, too. Here are my thoughts, but I hope others will weigh in.

I think  the word crackin' is the equivalent of very. Today, when it's used alone, I think it means "happening," something that's a success.

I think the meaning of the word foxy has changed from one generation to the next, but in Bogie's film noir world, I think it meant "clever," "getting the upper hand."

Any thoughts?

 

I believe you have it down correctly.   That is how I have always interpreted the phase as used in the film.  

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You got me wondering about this now, too. Here are my thoughts, but I hope others will weigh in.

I think  the word crackin' is the equivalent of very. Today, when it's used alone, I think it means "happening," something that's a success.

I think the meaning of the word foxy has changed from one generation to the next, but in Bogie's film noir world, I think it meant "clever," "getting the upper hand."

Any thoughts?

Thank you for your input.  I have thought the expression might mean: "cracking wise" or "wise cracking". I have Googled it and come up empty handed. I, too, will be interested if anyone else has suggestions.

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JOHNNY EAGER

 

(SPOILERS!)

 

One of my first Film Noir experiences a few years back, and upon re-watching it I still loved it. 

 

- The ambiguous morality of nearly all characters involved

Johnny's parole officer being 'caught' at the dog races. The look of guilt on his face is priceless.

Lisbeth's (Lana Turner) dad;  the inscrutable judge at first, but with a vicious streak ('pick up the money') and ultimately ready to be compromised in order to protect his daughter.

Lisbeth's boyfriend, willing to pay Johnny a heap load of money to get Lana out of the country: Johnny's reaction 'What's his angle, what's his angle?' is priceless.

And Lisbeth herself: Obviously her attraction to criminal Johnny ('Of course I don't want you to take me home') but probably the best moment is just after she shoots Johnny's assailant. The camera stays on her face. Is it shock and horror only? Or is there a hint of exhilaration as well? 

 

I also really liked how the change from Johnny the cab driver to Johnny the crime boss was visualized. It's always by ways of going through doors. Johnny starts by taking off his cab driver hat in the one room, then moving into the next room to change his tie, and then the next room to put on his expensive jacket. He's literally moving from one milieu to the other. 

 

And the eroticism.

When Johnny meets Lisbeth in the night club. She looks absolutely spectacular and makes clear from the first moment that she wants him, and wants him now, not just because he's attractive but also because of the danger that surrounds him. So much so, that it momentarily even unsettles the ever cool Johnny. 

 

But most of all I loved the ambiguity of Jeff, Johnny's inebriated confident. I'm pretty sure Jeff is in love with Johnny. There are plenty hints in the dialogue ('come to the lake and mountains with me Johnny'), but also notice the regular moments where Jeff reaches out to touch Johnny, to tug at this suit, or to nearly put an arm around him when they are together in the car. Also his confession to Johnny that he was this close to handing him over to the authorities, after which for him there'd be nothing left 'but blow his brains out'.

And as far as I can tell in all scenes where Johnny and Jeff are together, Jeff's face is lit in a high-key way and Johnny in low-key; the traditional way to light a romantic couple. Jeff is also the very last person to hold Johnny.....

Whatever you make of it, Van Heflin's Oscar winning performance was phenomenal.

 

Thirty minutes into the film, I was thinking it was going to be a low-key gangster film with some noir elements, but by the end, I was riveted by Van Heflin's character. As gorgeous as Robert Taylor and Lana Turner are (frankly, I'm having a little trouble thinking of a more beautiful lead couple in any movie), Van Heflin makes this movie. I think he drinks not so much because his love for Johnny is unrequited but because of his own inability to leave him. And his face as the man he loves dies in his arms is just heartbreaking. I was really happy to read afterward that he won an Oscar for his performance. It made the movie.

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Thirty minutes into the film, I was thinking it was going to be a low-key gangster film with some noir elements, but by the end, I was riveted by Van Heflin's character. As gorgeous as Robert Taylor and Lana Turner are (frankly, I'm having a little trouble thinking of a more beautiful lead couple in any movie), Van Heflin makes this movie. I think he drinks not so much because his love for Johnny is unrequited but because of his own inability to leave him. And his face as the man he loves dies in his arms is just heartbreaking. I was really happy to read afterward that he won an Oscar for his performance. It made the movie.

 

One reason he drinks so much is because he is a lawyer and he uses his legal training to assist a gangster and he doesn't feel he can leave the situation.  

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June 5 TCM film Noir Discussions for all 13 films

 

13. L.A. Confidential—the thing that I find most intriguing about this “neo noir” film is that it seems nostalgic to me, when the films from the actual period do not.  Yes, it is an amalgam of film noir, using noir characteristics wherever possible, but it is also a fictionalized microcosm of the Hollywood of that era.  How much corruption of that type really existed?  I would think at least some of it did.  Because of that, I look at it not completely as one who looks for entertainment of a fictional nature; but I begin inadvertently accumulating potentially factual information for later clarification as well, to see if events similar to this actually happened.  So, this 1997 film, with its snappy voiceovers, crooked cops, dark dames, and very seedy underbelly, does not need all those beautifully stylistic noir trappings to fly.  The actual proceedings of L.A. Confidential would engage me, even if presented in a straightforward style.   Conversely, in a film noir of the period, all of the stylistic touches elevate the storytelling, and sometimes even make up for it, and I hazard to think that some of the stories would not have been as compelling without these trappings.  Many of them turn on a simple “MacGuffin”.  It’s like the MacGuffin is the soup, which would be a little bland without the seasonings of noir touches.  The “soup” of “L.A. Confidential” is plenty seasoned, even before a single frame of film is exposed.

L.A. Confidential is something else. The craft that went into recreating that world and the atmosphere of a noir is breathtaking, and with a budget of less than $40 million. The film is lengthy but nothing feels superfluous, and there are THREE main characters (Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, and Kevin Spacey) but it all fits. It's crazy, but there have been a number of films that have attempted to capture the magic that couldn't: The Black DahliaHollywoodlandGangster Squad, etc.

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June 5 TCM film Noir Discussions for all 13 films

 

13. L.A. Confidential—the thing that I find most intriguing about this “neo noir” film is that it seems nostalgic to me, when the films from the actual period do not.  Yes, it is an amalgam of film noir, using noir characteristics wherever possible, but it is also a fictionalized microcosm of the Hollywood of that era.  How much corruption of that type really existed?  I would think at least some of it did.  Because of that, I look at it not completely as one who looks for entertainment of a fictional nature; but I begin inadvertently accumulating potentially factual information for later clarification as well, to see if events similar to this actually happened.  So, this 1997 film, with its snappy voiceovers, crooked cops, dark dames, and very seedy underbelly, does not need all those beautifully stylistic noir trappings to fly.  The actual proceedings of L.A. Confidential would engage me, even if presented in a straightforward style.   Conversely, in a film noir of the period, all of the stylistic touches elevate the storytelling, and sometimes even make up for it, and I hazard to think that some of the stories would not have been as compelling without these trappings.  Many of them turn on a simple “MacGuffin”.  It’s like the MacGuffin is the soup, which would be a little bland without the seasonings of noir touches.  The “soup” of “L.A. Confidential” is plenty seasoned, even before a single frame of film is exposed.

However one glaring omission in L.A. Confidential is what I like to call the "romance of the fedora" aside from the DeVitos' character Sid Hudgens and James Cromwell's Dudley Smith, fedoras are absent, missing in action. It just doesn't feel quite right, it would be sort of on par with making a Western without cowboy hats, the characters look naked. -1

 

Ok I can understand somewhat where  Director Hanson is coming from in a commentary he states that he wanted to make a film that didn't feel like a period piece because he was concerned about getting funding, but you could at least have had 1/4 of the cast wear fedoras and one of the leads. The Author James Ellroy on his commentary on the DVD for Crime Wave "Sterling Hayden-- That is my Bud White. That is my Bud White! f--K  Russell Crowe in 'L A Confidential.' I mean he was okay, but he's a shrimpy little s--t  Bud White as Bud Whites go. Sterling Hayden is the real deal. Look at this! He's not even acting. Look at that hat!" 'nuff said.

 

If this film really wanted to be a neo noir masterpiece it didn't have confidence or the nerve to push that envelope, Hanson's reluctance to embrace Noir and go with the safe money gives us at the denouement the happy Hollywood ending. The bad guys are all dead and 2/3 of the good guys live. -1 final score 8/10

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L.A. Confidential is something else. The craft that went into recreating that world and the atmosphere of a noir is breathtaking, and with a budget of less than $40 million. The film is lengthy but nothing feels superfluous, and there are THREE main characters (Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, and Kevin Spacey) but it all fits. It's crazy, but there have been a number of films that have attempted to capture the magic that couldn't: The Black DahliaHollywoodlandGangster Squad, etc.

One that actually did was Mulholland Falls its got an LA/Desert Noir vibe, check it out, I like it better than L.A. Confidential.

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Wikipedia lists Nathanael West as co-writer on the screenplay for Stranger on the Third Floor, but my borrowed copy of the DVD doesn’t list him in the credits. Anyone have any information about the discrepancy?

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Wikipedia lists Nathanael West as co-writer on the screenplay for Stranger on the Third Floor, but my borrowed copy of the DVD doesn’t list him in the credits. Anyone have any information about the discrepancy?

 

Looking at the wikipedia article, it states he worked on the film uncredited, which is why he isn't credited on the DVD.

 

Following the citation in the article, it looks like they're getting that information from a 2005 book called 'Blackout: World War II and the Origins of Film Noir'. It appears he worked mainly to polish the finished script, if that book is accurate.

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Looking at the wikipedia article, it states he worked on the film uncredited, which is why he isn't credited on the DVD.

 

Following the citation in the article, it looks like they're getting that information from a 2005 book called 'Blackout: World War II and the Origins of Film Noir'. It appears he worked mainly to polish the finished script, if that book is accurate.

Thanks for clarifying. I see that now at the very top of the article about Stranger on the Third Floor.

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Ok, well I joined the class late and have been catching up - lots of work to do.  Spent the whole weekend doing it.  Canvas was new to me, but pretty easy to learn.  Twitter account already in place but unused for many months.  No cable TV or TCM subscription at home; I watch whatever is free on Amazon Prime, or TV compelling enough for me to buy it (Blacklist, House of Cards, Game of Thrones, pretty much anything on "the Beeb.")  Had to get up to speed on TCM and review all the many references sprinkled throughout the course content so far.  With all that on my to-do list, I've watched only two films noir that were new to me so far:  M and Scarlet Street.

 

[no spoilers here, folks]

 

Fritz Lang - Wow!  I'm blown away by his creative genius.  M is the oldest crime procedural I have ever seen, and it is brilliant.  I found a free version to watch on YouTube, and the quality wasn't great, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the film.  I've seen films in Spanish and French before, but never German.  As a native English speaker not fluent in these other languages, watching a film with subtitles is challenging because it is easy to miss an important glance or body gesture when you are trying to keep up with the dialogue.  Still, this obstacle did not take away from my enjoyment of this film.

 

It is dark but hopeful; gritty but satisfying; real and yet not so real (it is hard for me to believe a "union" of beggars could 1. exist and 2. be convinced to work together to find a murderer).  M is the oldest film I have ever seen to address the issue of justice for the mentally insane.  It is also the oldest film I have ever seen to vividly demonstrate mob/herd mentality.

 

And can we just stop a minute and say, Peter Lorre, your acting in this film was amazing?  I first encountered Lorre's work in the film he made ten years later than M, that is, The Maltese Falcon.  What a mesmerizing talent he was!!

 

Scarlet Street, I liked much less than M.  I'm used to seeing E.G. Robinson as a tough guy who cracks wise under pressure, usually with an automatic gun in his hand; not an infatuated fool on his way down from middle age.  SL was difficult to watch, even when I mentally stepped back from the story to just appreciate Lang's artistry.  Where M resolved in an expected and pleasing way, Scarlet Street was just ... so ... sad.

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