Dr. Rich Edwards

June 12 TCM Film Noir Discussions for #NoirSummer for all 14 Films

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Go to summerofdarkness.tcm.com at the top of the screen tap Learn About Noir and scroll down. You'll see the article.

thanks I was trying to find it on the course page.

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I'm currently watching Detour and just noticed during the hitchhiking montage (at the14 minute mark) that the first 3 trucks Al rides with (before climbing in with Haskell) are all right-side-drive.   Was that a common feature of trucks in the 40's?  I always think of it as a UK thing...

I think I read the negative was reversed to make it look like he was always traveling right to left on the screen.

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 Why do you think it took French critics with outsider eyes to notice that the cultural disposition of America was changing and towards a darker version of herself and was America in fact changing?  Also, do you believe that this entertainment code breaking led to the eventual blacklisting of writers and directors because it was such a powerful tool of suggestion especially when you are reaching millions of viewers (compare with the media today)?

Cheers!

Probably a case of "not seeing the trees for the forest" here in the US, they were probably getting a more filtered content in France and noticed it more because of it.

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There are some wonderful and insightful analyses so far in these forums. I come to this topic of film noir as "green". I have on the other hand been an aficionado of film since early adulthood. I had dreams of leaving the South where there are no major schools for filmmaking in pursuit for a career in film. I did go into film through photography but remained in the South. I am not a huge fan of "who-done-it" storytelling in film but I love it in literature. It is not surprising that some of these films are taken from the pages of mystery/crime novels rich with quick witted dialogue, red-herrings and suspects galore. I come to this genre, style or movement of film noir through the eyes of a photographer and these films do not disappoint visually. The German expressionistic style is such a wonderful creative vehicle to deliver these films as a cultural mirror displaying in all its grittiness the moral ambiguities and personal demons with which we all must struggle.

I see these films entertaining a distressed and paranoid generation of movie-goers in the aftermath of a vicious war where realities were often distorted through film. These ground breaking directors were steering a course through regulations and codes that determined what ideas could be directed at the viewer, they knew exactly where the line was and how to cross it gingerly. Films were a powerful tool in mass media and remain so even today. I look forward to delving deeper into these films from a cultural aspect especially as we inch closer to the turn of the decade and into the notorious Hollywood black listing and covert screenwriting! This brings me to my discussion question. Why do you think it took French critics with outsider eyes to notice that the cultural disposition of America was changing and towards a darker version of herself and was America in fact changing? Also, do you believe that this entertainment code breaking led to the eventual blacklisting of writers and directors because it was such a powerful tool of suggestion especially when you are reaching millions of viewers (compare with the media today)?

Cheers!

That is a very good question about the blacklisting! I know that the Committee on unAmerican activities sought out the obvious (what was suggested by others)or the accused (mostly accused under duress).That's why some wrote under another name (see Woody Allen's the Front) or turned to even more subtle forms of expression. Even though its a little past the time Rod Serling turn to science fiction in Twilight Zone after his other series accused of communist overtones. I'm anxious to see the story too when it's covered in class.
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LAURA

 

'I'm not kind. I'm vicious, it's part of my charm'.

 

Just a couple of observations for this phenomenal film.

 

Joseph LaShelle's cinematography is beautiful. There are a couple of scenes which are exceptionally lit, most striking in the scene where Laura is interrogated. McPherson switches the hard light on her face, causing her face to reflect and light up the screen.

What I also loved was the constant movement of the camera, gently following the action and the characters, positioning them in meaningful ways vs. each other or relevant objects (the painting, the clock, etc.) The ballet-like camera movement was a perfect companion to ....

 

The music. Amazing and effective score, with the strikingly beautiful Laura's theme used to perfection as a narrative device by ways of different arrangements at poignant moments in the film. I'm not sure how many films before this succeeded so well in using a theme in both diegetic and non-diegetic fashion.

 

Fabulous cast and characterization.

 

- You can't avoid mentioning Clifton Webb first as the narcissistic and eccentric Waldo Lydecker. His obsession with Laura is beyond creepy, but there's also something tragic in his character, noticed by himself too: "When a man has everything in the world that he wants, except what he wants most, he loses his self-respect".

Also nice to consider is how the film opens with him as the, probably unreliable, narrator.

 

- Dana Andrews as detective McPherson, also excellent. Andrews plays the hard-boiled detective pretty darn well, somewhat losing sight of his objective by his unprofessional developing obsession with Laura. I like how Preminger used the baseball puzzle to ground him as a regular common guy, counterpointing him with the snobbish Lydecker.

 

- Gene Tierney as Laura. She is the object of desire for all the men, the object of admiration for her maid Bessie (who's obsession for her might also be considered as extremely intense), and the object of jealousy for Ann (an excellent Judith Anderson). What I found really interesting is how Preminger plays with the audience's perception of Laura. By immediately positioning her as the victim of murder, the audience is lured into feeling sympathy for her. But maybe she's not much better than Lydecker. I mean who puts a portrait of themselves at the center of their apartment? Also notice the large number of mirrors and reflective surfaces in her apartment. Laura was extremely interested in how she looked, also exemplified by her wearing a different - and obviously expensive - set of clothes every time she makes an appearance.

 

 

 

Final thought (SPOILER)

 

We see McPherson falling asleep in Laura's apartment, only to be woken up seconds later by Laura making her shock comeback. What if that wasn't true, he doesn't wake up, and the second half of the film is basically McPherson's Freudian dream of his desire for Laura becoming reality?

 

Impossible? Think back of Lydecker's earlier comment:

 

'You better watch out McPherson, or you'll end up in a psychiatric ward. I don't think they ever had a patient who fell in love with a corpse'.

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LAURA

 

'I'm not kind. I'm vicious, it's part of my charm'.

 

Just a couple of observations for this phenomenal film.

 

Joseph LaShelle's cinematography is beautiful. There are a couple of scenes which are exceptionally lit, most striking in the scene where Laura is interrogated. McPherson switches the hard light on her face, causing her face to reflect and light up the screen.

What I also loved was the constant movement of the camera, gently following the action and the characters, positioning them in meaningful ways vs. each other or relevant objects (the painting, the clock, etc.) The ballet-like camera movement was a perfect companion to ....

 

The music. Amazing and effective score, with the strikingly beautiful Laura's theme used to perfection as a narrative device by ways of different arrangements at poignant moments in the film. I'm not sure how many films before this succeeded so well in using a theme in both diegetic and non-diegetic fashion.

 

Fabulous cast and characterization.

 

- You can't avoid mentioning Clifton Webb first as the narcissistic and eccentric Waldo Lydecker. His obsession with Laura is beyond creepy, but there's also something tragic in his character, noticed by himself too: "When a man has everything in the world that he wants, except what he wants most, he loses his self-respect".

Also nice to consider is how the film opens with him as the, probably unreliable, narrator.

 

- Dana Andrews as detective McPherson, also excellent. Andrews plays the hard-boiled detective pretty darn well, somewhat losing sight of his objective by his unprofessional developing obsession with Laura. I like how Preminger used the baseball puzzle to ground him as a regular common guy, counterpointing him with the snobbish Lydecker.

 

- Gene Tierney as Laura. She is the object of desire for all the men, the object of admiration for her maid Bessie (who's obsession for her might also be considered as extremely intense), and the object of jealousy for Ann (an excellent Judith Anderson). What I found really interesting is how Preminger plays with the audience's perception of Laura. By immediately positioning her as the victim of murder, the audience is lured into feeling sympathy for her. But maybe she's not much better than Lydecker. I mean who puts a portrait of themselves at the center of their apartment? Also notice the large number of mirrors and reflective surfaces in her apartment. Laura was extremely interested in how she looked, also exemplified by her wearing a different - and obviously expensive - set of clothes every time she makes an appearance.

 

 

 

Final thought (SPOILER)

 

We see McPherson falling asleep in Laura's apartment, only to be woken up seconds later by Laura making her shock comeback. What if that wasn't true, he doesn't wake up, and the second half of the film is basically McPherson's Freudian dream of his desire for Laura becoming reality?

 

Impossible? Think back of Lydecker's earlier comment:

 

'You better watch out McPherson, or you'll end up in a psychiatric ward. I don't think they ever had a patient who fell in love with a corpse'.

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Probably a case of "not seeing the trees for the forest" here in the US, they were probably getting a more filtered content in France and noticed it more because of it.

Agreed.  The filter was certainly a "time filter" during the war, when no American films got through.  It wasn't as though no American critics picked-up on what was going on.  They saw some aspects of it, but certainly didn't think to name it and treat it in a scholarly way. This is a great contemporary quote from Life magazine:

 

Whoever went to the movies with any regularity during 1946 was caught in the midst of Hollywood's profound postwar affection for morbid drama. From January through December deep shadows, clutching hands, exploding revolvers, sadistic villains and heroines tormented with deeply rooted diseases of the mind flashed across the screen in a panting display of psychoneurosis, unsublimated sex and murder most foul.

Donald Marshman, Life (August 25, 1947

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LAURA

 

'I'm not kind. I'm vicious, it's part of my charm'.

 

Just a couple of observations for this phenomenal film.

 

Joseph LaShelle's cinematography is beautiful. There are a couple of scenes which are exceptionally lit, most striking in the scene where Laura is interrogated. McPherson switches the hard light on her face, causing her face to reflect and light up the screen.

What I also loved was the constant movement of the camera, gently following the action and the characters, positioning them in meaningful ways vs. each other or relevant objects (the painting, the clock, etc.) The ballet-like camera movement was a perfect companion to ....

 

The music. Amazing and effective score, with the strikingly beautiful Laura's theme used to perfection as a narrative device by ways of different arrangements at poignant moments in the film. I'm not sure how many films before this succeeded so well in using a theme in both diegetic and non-diegetic fashion.

 

Fabulous cast and characterization.

 

- You can't avoid mentioning Clifton Webb first as the narcissistic and eccentric Waldo Lydecker. His obsession with Laura is beyond creepy, but there's also something tragic in his character, noticed by himself too: "When a man has everything in the world that he wants, except what he wants most, he loses his self-respect".

Also nice to consider is how the film opens with him as the, probably unreliable, narrator.

 

- Dana Andrews as detective McPherson, also excellent. Andrews plays the hard-boiled detective pretty darn well, somewhat losing sight of his objective by his unprofessional developing obsession with Laura. I like how Preminger used the baseball puzzle to ground him as a regular common guy, counterpointing him with the snobbish Lydecker.

 

- Gene Tierney as Laura. She is the object of desire for all the men, the object of admiration for her maid Bessie (who's obsession for her might also be considered as extremely intense), and the object of jealousy for Ann (an excellent Judith Anderson). What I found really interesting is how Preminger plays with the audience's perception of Laura. By immediately positioning her as the victim of murder, the audience is lured into feeling sympathy for her. But maybe she's not much better than Lydecker. I mean who puts a portrait of themselves at the center of their apartment? Also notice the large number of mirrors and reflective surfaces in her apartment. Laura was extremely interested in how she looked, also exemplified by her wearing a different - and obviously expensive - set of clothes every time she makes an appearance.

 

 

 

Final thought (SPOILER)

 

We see McPherson falling asleep in Laura's apartment, only to be woken up seconds later by Laura making her shock comeback. What if that wasn't true, he doesn't wake up, and the second half of the film is basically McPherson's Freudian dream of his desire for Laura becoming reality?

 

Impossible? Think back of Lydecker's earlier comment:

 

'You better watch out McPherson, or you'll end up in a psychiatric ward. I don't think they ever had a patient who fell in love with a corpse'.

 

Sorry for the two blank replies. I was trying to reply using my tablet, and it posted without recording what I wrote. I'll be brief: I loved reading your comments on Laura, and as a result of reading them, I plan to watch it again today on demand. Thank you so much for sharing them with us!

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Watching Johnny Angel again. I love George Raft. However he's one of the modt tragic figures of the Noir era.

This was my first Raft picture, and I enjoyed it. I'm not sure why, but I had low expectations going in. I was more excited to see Claire Trevor again, than to see Raft. But I warmed up to him by the end. I found him a wee bit flat, in comparison to Bogart or Powell, but he had presence and I can see why he was a leading man.

What are his best performances?

The cinematography of this movie impressed me. I love the fog and the streetlamps ... Neon signs, night club, docks, femme fatale ... It had it all!

I must admit, though, the punch Gusty threw at Johnny: lamest punch ever. Haha :-)

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The Gangster was a revelation.  Too bad Gordon Wiles only got to direct one film noir.  What an incredible visual style !!  It's not shocking that most of his career was spent as an Art Director.  This is not dark lighting and shadows to hide cheap sets.  This is a stunning film that I could imagine being an art house favorite.

 

The story has that relentless "bad is happening" and oppressing the protagonist energy.  You know "our hero" is in for trouble in the very first scenes (Akim Tamaroff is excellent as Jammy), and Barry Sullivan does a great job of portraying the tough guy with "personal issues". The spinning down the drain energy reminds me of Night and the City.  I wasn't sure that Belita was up to the job, but she does a good job as the femme fatale.

 

Thanks to the King Brothers (great B move producers), and Summer of Darkness for giving this film prime-time treatment !!

 

  

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Of the four King Brothers Production films, the ones that struck me most were Gun Crazy and Tomorrow is Another Day. I noticed similar themes between the two films that I wonder if it's more of a social commentary and/or exploration of the crime/punishment of juveniles. Both protagonists committed crimes and the iron fist of justice came down hard on each of them with zero regard for mitigating factors or the character witness testimonies to support the accused. Punishment seemed to be in the interest of justice more than rehabilitation of criminals. Call me a liberal (I'm a card carrying Green Party member), but I do believe people make mistakes and not everyone who serves time is a cold and callous criminal. (Of course I do believe for the most heinous of crimes, a just punishment is warranted. I just don't believe in a one size fits all approach.) What drove each protagonist in both films had more to do with an ethical ambiguity of the justice system more than the moral ambiguity of the protagonist. 

 

In Gun Crazy, Bart Tare truly has a moral conscious having learned of the consequences of shooting at a young age. He doesn't want to harm anyone; he just enjoys shooting non-living objects. Yes, he committed robbery (and from the context of the film, it sounds more like a shoplifting account) and he should pay a consequence, but his background, character and remorse for committing the crime should have been considered for a lighter sentence that would rehabilitate Bart. Instead, the judge imposes a harsher sentence and Bart thus grows up in the system without being taught the skills that lead a more productive life. It is no surprise, then, that his choice in a life partner is questionable. He can judge actions as right/wrong, but he can't judge people correctly. He is also easily influenced by his femme fatale wife because what kinds of influence did he have growing up in the system? If anything, the system made him worse by denying rehabilitation and forcing punishment. He can only survive by his wits with a psychopath murderess. The system created an emotionally conflicted individual that resulted in more robbery crimes and the loss of two innocent lives.

 

In Tomorrow is Another Day, Bill Clark has been released from an 18 year stint for patricide. The circumstances of the murder were never revealed, but at 13 years of age, perhaps he was abused or it could have been self-defense. Regardless, Bill Clark doesn't seem the morally ambiguous type. He truly wants to lead an honest life. If mitigating factors were considered, perhaps he could have served a shorter sentence in a juvenile facility (they actually sent him to an adult prison at 13!) than have his formative years stunted by 18 years banished from society.

 

How Bill differs from Bart is that at least he learns a trade and can go out prepared to work. However, 18 years behind prison walls limits his ability to interact with society and/or judge a person carefully. His first interaction with a person seemed genuine but I was very skeptical from the onset as this is an example of "too good to be true". But how would Bill understand this? He's had no exposure to the outside world. Only later he finds out this man's motivation for befriending him; a journalist seeking a high profile story by "outing" Bill in the only community he knows. This results in his inability to trust others which, on one hand, is good for his own self-preservation, but on the other, he is unable to determine who is friend or foe. This could have led to dire consequences had it not been for his quick thinking wife (who I thought would be another femme fatale, but she ended up redeeming herself later in the film).

 

When we ask what makes a film Noir, perhaps we should consider that the narrative goes beyond the conflicted, morally ambiguous protagonist. It can also be a social commentary on the justice system.

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The Glass Key

 

Very early in the film Janet Henry (Veronica Lake) slaps Paul Madvig (Brian Donlevy) a shaddy political boss. Shortly thereafter we see someone thrown threw a window pane by Jeff (William Bendix) a strong-arm enforcer for a mob boss. Jeff enjoys spitting on the floor after such antics like some kind of bravado statement of what he can get away with. These characters are somewhat over the top which was an early sign of film noir. 

 

This film is a murder mystery and therefore we expect a detective to solve the case. Instead we get political boss assistant, Ned Beaumont (Alan Ladd) who's charged with hindering the official police investigation by his boss, only to wind up solving the case as if he were a hard-boiled detective. How is that for a spin!! 

 

 

 

 

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Totally agree.. I like George Raft, but his acting is wooden. I didnt like Johnny Angel too much, but his acting is not as wooden as George Brent.

He doesnt have the charisma of Bogie or Edward. G. Robinson

During the 30s Raft was a major star at Warner Brothers while Bogey was a supporting player who from time to time was the lead actor.  

 

That was until Raft passed up roles Bogey took like High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon.    Our gain and his loss.    Raft didn't have half the charisma as Bogey.      The two did star in one film,  Invisible Stripes.   They didn't get along because Raft didn't like the fact Bogey was always trying to look taller than him.    There is a scene were the two get out of a shower.   Of course we see them only from the midsection up.   Bogey wore lifts for that scene!     

 

I doubt that Raft was tying to do a Bogey impersonation.   I wish he tried.  Maybe he would have been less wooden.  

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Totally agree.. I like George Raft, but his acting is wooden. I didnt like Johnny Angel too much, but his acting is not as wooden as George Brent.

He doesnt have the charisma of Bogie or Edward. G. Robinson

 

We see eye-to-eye here.   The major difference with George Brent is that he rarely had to carry a film.   e.g. all the movies he made with Bette Davis.   He is right for the characters he plays because Davis is IT in those movies and in most cases an actor with tons of charisma wasn't necessary.     When that was called for Claude Rains would be cast (but as the secondary leading male star).    

 

This type of teaming was very effective in those Davis pictures.    Raft was the leading male star but to me he didn't have enough charisma to carry the films were he was a leading star.   The best Raft pictures are where he was paired with Cagney or the fantastic Warner contract players in films like They Drive by Night.  

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Laura: Humor in Film Noir

 

What struck me the most about Laura was the snappy dialogue and some laugh-out-loud lines. Here are just a few examples:

 

Laura Hunt first approaches Waldo Lydecker to ask him to endorse an advertisement for Wallace pens. She’s oblivious to his insults and asks him for a pen, and he throws her another barb: “I don’t write with a pen. I write with a goose quill dipped in venom.” (For a man who told Detective McPherson that he doesn’t pay attention to details, Lydecker talks using a lot of them.)

 

Lydecker: “. . . I’d like to endorse that pen.”

Laura: “Mr. Lydecker. Thank you.  . . . You’re a very strange man. You’re really sorry for the way you acted, aren’t you?”

Lydecker: “Let’s not be psychiatric, Miss Hunt.”

 

Laura’s domestic servant, Bessie Clary: “I ain’t afraid of cops. I was brought up to spit whenever I saw one.”

Detective McPherson: “Okay. Go ahead and spit if it will make you feel any better.”

 

Lydecker to Laura, about Detective McPherson: “I hope you will never regret what promises to be a disgustingly earthy relationship.”

 

Lydecker has the first and last word in this film: He begins with the voiceover and it seems he ends with a voiceover, saying goodbye to Laura when the camera closes in on the now broken clock (that Lydecker gave to Laura). It made me wonder: Are we hearing this story from a ghost, someone who is already dead? Someone who would thus be an unreliable narrator? I’d have to see the movie again. Right now, I’m not so sure because there are plenty of scenes where Lydecker isn’t even present. If he’s already dead, however, his presence might not matter!

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With so many films available each Friday (and so little time) I am trying to concentrate on ones I haven't seen before. This week, however, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to see "Detour" again, and then followed it up with the new-to-me "Deadline at Dawn."

 

I ended up seeing a lot of unexpected parallels between the two, but the strongest lesson to learn seems to be that your fate in the noir universe is dependent entirely on whether you run into Ann Savage or Susan Hayward.

 

"That's life. Whichever way you turn, Fate sticks out a foot to trip you."

--"Detour"

 

"The logic you're looking for... the logic is that there is no logic. The horror and terror you feel, my dear, comes from being alive. Die and there is no trouble. Live and you'll struggle."

--"Deadline at Dawn"

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Laura

 

Detective McPherson tends to know plenty of facts before questioning his subjects.

 

We get to know about Laura through a flashback via Waldo Lydecker, a newspaper columnist.

 

I enjoyed very much the cinematography with plenty of contrast on the sets and the actor’s clothes. In particular I found the staging of the detective leisurly sitting down gazing up at Laura”s portrait to be masterful. We have a zoom-in of the detective then a zoom-out which to me appears to separate the film into two parts. When the mystery at first seemed straight forward it then turned into a bigger mystery when what appears to be a dream sequence turns out to be the first twist in “Laura”.

 

Then we think the movie has come to the end with McPherson’s announcement that he’s about to arrest the murderer but it was only a procedural ploy. The director is keeping us on edge. So much so that when the murderer is caught just about when he is about to kill again, we ask ourselves, “Why didn’t I see that coming? This is film noir because it tells and shows the story differently than we expect. Every scene is full lots of items almost like its competing for attention. Living-rooms, bathrooms,  and lodge are filled with ornaments, paintings, figurines, mirrors, patterns, shades and shadows. Very extravagant.

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Detour

 

Detour is a masterpiece. It is the definition of Film Noir.

 

Tom Neal and Ann Savage are a dynamic duo. The voice over narration was excellently used, giving the film a classic film noir feel. The narration the pace worked well together as well. A series of bad breaks has Al Roberts on the run when he picks up a hitch-hiker, Vera who winds up tormenting him till the end.

 

An hour and ten minutes long and director Ulmer makes every minute count.

 

Thus far it is my favorite film of the course.

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Just starting on this forum - just wanted to get in with those that like the overall genre as much as I do.....

 

I find it interesting that TCM puts on these Film Noir extravaganzas during the time of year when it stays light the longest - it's like the programmer must have the opposite of the Seasonal Affected Disorder & wants to "play against type" (like so many in these films did) by getting into a nighttime mode and having us watch what I call these "black & white movies whose stories are filled with many gray areas." Eventhough I never saw early Los Angeles - the setting of many film noir classics - as a kid I went many times into New York City, which seemed to be the other setting for many films of that type. If one is honest about The City, it's usually very gray & overcast there, so I think where that's where my love of this type of movie started; also New York's. WOR Channel 9 was owned by RKO - a cheap, low-budget, non-network operation, so they always ran movies from their film files to fill the air time. So many of them I must've absorbed and it took me decades to re-discover those movies - only as TCM became available. I slowly discerned a type of movie that always seemed first described falsely as a "mystery" or (better) a "crime drama," in many of their offerings; thus began my love of film noir. So, if I can get back to a TV, I look forward to "Asphalt Jungle," "They Drive By Night," "The Hitchhiker (wasn't that directed by Ida Lupino?)," "Double Indemnity," "High Sierra," "Kiss Me Deadly," and so many more. I especially admire the guts it took a minor actor/actress or crooner deciding to take such a career risk to play against type and went on to be known more for starrng in these kind of roles than in their previous career. Anyway, I will search-out other forums as this all unrolls over the next month, so look forward to interacting with a new community of film noir buffs.........

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this movie makes a good p.s.a : don't pick up hitchhickers!

Detour

 

Detour is a masterpiece. It is the definition of Film Noir.

 

Tom Neal and Ann Savage are a dynamic duo. The voice over narration was excellently used, giving the film a classic film noir feel. The narration the pace worked well together as well. A series of bad breaks has Al Roberts on the run when he picks up a hitch-hiker, Vera who winds up tormenting him till the end.

 

An hour and ten minutes long and director Ulmer makes every minute count.

 

Thus far it is my favorite film of the course.

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Laura: Humor in Film Noir

 

What struck me the most about Laura was the snappy dialogue and some laugh-out-loud lines. Here are just a few examples:

 

Laura Hunt first approaches Waldo Lydecker to ask him to endorse an advertisement for Wallace pens. She’s oblivious to his insults and asks him for a pen, and he throws her another barb: “I don’t write with a pen. I write with a goose quill dipped in venom.” (For a man who told Detective McPherson that he doesn’t pay attention to details, Lydecker talks using a lot of them.)

 

Lydecker: “. . . I’d like to endorse that pen.”

Laura: “Mr. Lydecker. Thank you.  . . . You’re a very strange man. You’re really sorry for the way you acted, aren’t you?”

Lydecker: “Let’s not be psychiatric, Miss Hunt.”

 

Laura’s domestic servant, Bessie Clary: “I ain’t afraid of cops. I was brought up to spit whenever I saw one.”

Detective McPherson: “Okay. Go ahead and spit if it will make you feel any better.”

 

Lydecker to Laura, about Detective McPherson: “I hope you will never regret what promises to be a disgustingly earthy relationship.”

 

Lydecker has the first and last word in this film: He begins with the voiceover and it seems he ends with a voiceover, saying goodbye to Laura when the camera closes in on the now broken clock (that Lydecker gave to Laura). It made me wonder: Are we hearing this story from a ghost, someone who is already dead? Someone who would thus be an unreliable narrator? I’d have to see the movie again. Right now, I’m not so sure because there are plenty of scenes where Lydecker isn’t even present. If he’s already dead, however, his presence might not matter!

 

My favorite Waldo line is "Murder is my favorite crime."  

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On George Raft being "stiff"~

 

Old George started out as a dancer believe it or not.  He was on Broadway early in his career.  He was also a functioning illiterate.  I do not know how he read his scripts, but he obviously managed.

 

He was in over eighty movies so apparently, "stiff" was a hot commodity back then and he as two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - one for movies and another for television.

 

Look up the movies he turned down.  It's shocking.

 

The Sea Wolf

High Sierra

The Maltese Falcon

Double Indemnity

 

Those are only a few of the biggies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On George Raft being "stiff"~

 

Old George started out as a dancer believe it or not.  He was on Broadway early in his career.  He was also a functioning illiterate.  I do not know how he read his scripts, but he obviously managed.

 

He was in over eighty movies so apparently, "stiff" was a hot commodity back then and he as two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - one for movies and another for television.

 

Look up the movies he turned down.  It's shocking.

 

The Sea Wolf

High Sierra

The Maltese Falcon

Double Indemnity

 

Those are only a few of the biggies.

I've read that Bogart climbed to fame partially on Raft's rejected roles. Casablanca was another one.

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Gun Crazy

 

The opening scene here draws your attention to the film noir style. The writing, directing, cinematography and camera positioning seems to scream, "Film noir is here to stay."

 

I thought the actions surrounding the bank heist- all of it - was excellently well directed.

 

What about the last five minutes- I thought for a moment I was watching a digital movie. the picture quality was so crisp.

 

John Dall, who was good in "Rope" is even better here in emoting his character's inner struggle with what is right and wrong.

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