Dr. Rich Edwards

JUNE 26 TCM FILM NOIR DISCUSSIONS FOR #NOIRSUMMER FOR ALL 13 FILMS

163 posts in this topic

 

The Postman Always Rings Twice: Film Noir or Comedy?

 

I bet I’m in the minority, but I had a hard time believing that The Postman Always Rings Twice was a film noir. It all started in the hospital room. Cora is trying to talk to her barely conscious husband Nick, but Frank and D.A. Sackett are trading several sidelong glances (and stealing the scene). So funny. Then, before I know it, I’m watching what I call the Cat Sequence. Here are a few of the funniest lines:

Cop: “Cats are poor dumb things.”

Frank: “Yeah. They don’t know anything about electricity.”

Cop: “The cat’s deader than a door nail.”

D.A. Sackett: “Yes, the cat’s dead all right.”

When the cop and D.A. Sackett exit right, the camera lingers on Frank. The look on Frank’s face is priceless. He’s just standing alone in the center of the screen, watching them walk away with a grim look on his face. I couldn’t stop laughing during this whole exchange. I’m laughing as I write this! I kept thinking that John Garfield would have made a great sketch player on SNL.

 

We do get a glimpse of the dead cat, and it’s definitely dead, fried by electricity. What does the cop say? “Sure is a cute cat.” Proving that Frank wasn’t the only one with the best lines.

 

Maybe the humor actually started for me when Nick comes home drunk. He’s clutching the package of clothes that have been dry-cleaned and he keeps tripping over himself. He reminded me of Buster Keaton. By the time he starts up the stairs, the wrapping is in tatters. By now, the clothes are strewn over the floor at the bottom of the stairs, and Nick is bumbling his way up the stairs, holding on to shredded pieces of paper and nothing else.

 

The banter between D.A. Sackett (Lean Ames) and the lawyer Arthur Keats (Hume Cronyn) is also funny. I didn’t find them cold-hearted; instead, I felt like I was watching two characters spoofing ambulance chasers. Sackett even chases (he says “follows”) Frank, Cora, and Nick on the night when Nick is killed. If he hadn’t done that, Frank and Cora wouldn’t have been caught and I think we would have had a film noir.

 

 

Thanks for pointing out a little-regarded aspect of POSTMAN. I perceived it as this brand of folksy black humor that's very true to life, that didn't "lighten" the characters but made them more human. Maybe because of its small-town setting, that touch of Will Rogers-like folksiness doesn't feel forced here. Successfully integrating bits of humor into dark movies isn't easy especially in a way that holds up for a modern audience. Hitchcock, of course, was the master of it.

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The Set Up

 

A taut little Noir movie, notable for it being the first (I think) film to take place in "real time", which is especially interesting in that the idea isn't played up at all: no ticking clocks or sense of urgency, just the whole film taking place over a short period of time. 

 

What was striking to me the film's portrayal of the underbelly of post-war America, a not particular portrayal either, for that matter. Grifters, good-time gals, fight-fixers, barkers, and the audience for the fight who are all pretty mean and vicious in their lust for blood. It's not a side I'd seen portrayed before and it was all the more fascinating for all that. 

 

The film was Noir certainly in it's filming and feeling of hopelessness, but unusual that the boxer protagonist, Stoker Thompson (Rex Ryan), was an innocent guy that bad things happened to, and his femme...well, she was far from fatale, instead she was loving and supportive: indeed the film had an almost anti-Noir ending in that the two ended up together, loving and (one hopes) going on to live a good life in the future. 

 

Agree, this one is really a little dark gem. A "humanistic" noir for lack of a better term. How often do we complain about tacked-on happy endings that blemish an otherwise perfectly good movie! Not here. The ending is perfect and anything else would've been too hard to bear.

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Watched "The Stranger" (1946, Welles) for the first time.  What an incredible film, and I noticed so many noir elements that I wouldn't have noticed but for this course: close-ups of Mary's face during moments of emotional upheaval; the film reel shadows obscuring Mr. Wilson's features when he shows Mary the Nazi footage; the recurring, ominous image of the clock figure with the sword that is a harbinger of things to come; and the double image of Mary in her bedroom when her image reflects back at an angle, denoting that something strange is going to happen.  There were, of course, many more noir elements, but these are just a handful. I loved that this film is so full of suspense, too!

 I enjoyed it too. Good solid suspenser, felt a little like a poor man's THIRD MAN with a dose of SHADOW OF A DOUBT, with its small-town setting. The chess-playing drugstore owner was a nice touch, the quintessential shrewd New Englander, playfully matching wits with the investigator. Orson Welles was the same evil charmer as Harry Lime. Loretta Young was quite believable in her "conversion" process, I thought. EGR - beyond reproach, as always.

 

Visually it had a lot of the same lighting and sharp angles as THE THIRD MAN. Especially striking was the early scene in the gym, and later in the movie, a long tracking shot from a second-floor window down the wall and across a long stretch of open space. Also an incredibly deep shot near the end with Wilson and the drugstore owner engrossed in a chess match in the foreground, and between them through the window, waaaay off in the distance, you see Kindler/Rankin going into the church. Oh, and the ending was topped off with a deliciously lurid death scene!

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you should watch it when you're able to and then see if you feel the same way .    :lol: i suspect you will have a new appreciation for montgomery as marlowe, but not much :-)

here's the link, it's public domain

 

 

 

 

 

 

I've not seen the Brasher Dubloon but I find it hard to believe there's a worse Marlowe than Montgomery...I'd even take Elliott Gould or Dick Powell over him (I like Mitchum, but I'd rather have seen him in Out of the Past era as Marlowe)! Come to think of it, why has there really not been a standout Marlowe in Cinema's long history?

Edited by TCMModerator1
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This weekend I continued my effort to watch films new to me with two titles.

 

At first, "They Won't Believe Me" didn't grab me. Visually, I didn't find it that impressive. But the character of an apparently nice guy (because he's played by Robert Young?) who is not only cheating on his wife as the story starts, but then dumps his girlfriend to go back to his wife's money, then cheats on her with another woman, was fascinating and unusual for the time. I began to notice little directorial touches like the overlapping of one shot with the sound of another (as with the discovery of the body coming with the gun shot putting the horse down). And what a great noir ending, with the protagonist deciding that even if he is judged not guilty in a court of law, he still must answer to himself for the things he's done.

 

"Berlin Express" is one of those great Hitchcock pictures that Hitchcock never made. Tourneur gives it some great noir stylistic touches, but other than visually, it doesn't feel like noir to me. Setting its story amid the rubble of a European city, it feels like a precursor to "The Third Man," but it takes its political aspirations of reuniting a fractured city too on-the-point, whereas Greene and Reed used the background not to tell an overtly political story, but to highlight the moral ambiguity of a world after such a destructive war.

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I'm glad to see a little love for "Act of Violence." I remember the first time I saw it. It's one of those pictures that you think you've got all figured out. Frank seems to be a good guy targeted for some reason by the psychotic Joe. But things seem off, and you get a disquieting feeling: the Memorial Day parade that interrupts Joe's single minded movement, the high winds and storm clouds lowering at the lake. Suddenly, about one-third of the way through, Frank escapes to L.A., but leaving his family behind seems wrong and dangerous. What just happened? From then on, everything you thought you knew about these characters will be challenged.

 

It's a wonderfully shot picture. Ryan is great as always, but Astor steals the show. And unusually for noir, there's even redemption at the end...for both men.

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Act of Violence (1948)

MGM

 

This is a great looking film. The quality of the cinematography was superb. It had a soft smooth b&w aura throughout. I guess this is what we have come to expect from MGM films.

 

The scene where Joe Parkson (Robert Ryan) forces himself into the Enley home, fully captures the essence of film noir. Once inside, a nice blend of light and dark gives this interior scene of the kitchen a photograph-like look. Its not surprising that the director, Fred Zinnemann started as a cameraman in Paris.

 

The action then moves upstairs where he inspects the bedrooms. Again we see how the various low-key lights helps smooth out and draw attention to and from the areas that hide in the shadows. This b&w structure gives the film that noir look all over.

 

All the exterior scenes at night were beautiful to watch. Definitely the best looking film thus far in Summer of Madness.

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I really enjoyed Act of Violence as it didn't give any easy answers. Despite what Heflin's character did I don't think he was a bad guy. In a situation like that a lot of men might make the wrong decision to survive. Although I understood Ryan's anger and hatred too. It seemed the war damaged both these men.

 

I thought the ending worked too with both men getting some sort of retribution but I would have liked if they had went back to Heflin's wife. She was an important character in the story and having her hear about what happens off screen didn't sit right with me.

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The Stranger (1946):

 

The Stranger is a fascinating and satisfying picture. It was Welles' only film to actually make a profit back but also his least favorite, though that may have something to do with the cuts producers and studio officials did throughout the film's production.

 

Basic Plot: A government-employed Nazi hunter travels to a quaint northeastern town to track down an escaped Nazi, who has managed to blend into small town America, and bring him to justice.

 

Noir Elements: Literary precursor, directed by Orson Welles (who also made noir precursor Citizen Kane), and chiaroscuro lighting and unusual camera angles (and plenty)

(MORE OF A STYLISTIC NOIR RATHER THAN THEMATIC)

 

Typical of an RKO film, Stranger is experimental (cinematography and first American film to show Holocaust footage), theatrical (plenty of visual symbolism, staging, did you see that clock tower?), and provides its creator, Welles, a certain degree of creative freedom

 

The visuals and the satisfying story are the best part of the film. People on this message board claim Loretta Young's Mary was melodramatic but I think Welle's Rankin hammed it up far more. For the situation she was in, she acted appropriately. The first forty minutes, she was a normal young woman, ready to get married and then happily married. She begins to fear what might have happened to the little man and she slowly unravels, living with fear, paranoia, and denial. Rankin was the one that didn't even try to hide how much of a Nazi he was, acting weird from the get-go.

 

Note: I think we can all agree that one of the most evil acts that can be done on screen that will also incite immediate sympathy followed by unyielding vengeance is when a villain kills a dog.

 

Robinson as Mr. Wilson is by far the best of course. He is full of zeal and is in fact hypermoral, but his methods are a bit amoral, ends justify the means I suppose.

 

Note: Can Orson Welles have a beard? Yes. Can he be clean-shaven? Yes. Can he have a fake nose? When he feels he has to. Should he be in blackface when he decides to Othello? Perhaps not. But lastly, should he have just a moustache? No. Please god no. Never ever never ever. . . . That's the last I'll say on the topic.

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The Stranger (1946) [VISUALS & SYMBOLISM]

This film was even better upon reviewing. I cannot admire Welles enough for his style: no shot is without meaning, tension, feeling, symbolism, or visual interest. He loves to play with cameras and I cannot fault him for that. For example, the film starts with a low angle shot of the office door then a high angle shot of Wilson, pulls back to a wide and has plenty of close-ups enhanced by symbolism and tension. And that train station scene! And Mary, dressed like an angel, trudging through the snow covered cemetery at the dead of night! Wilson and Judge Longstreet in a dark room where the only source of light is the very source of darkness and evil, a projector projecting the very shadows of humanity onto the wall of this same quaint town!

 

While the symbolism could be considered heavy-handed, I didn't mind. The most obvious symbol is the clock, which seems to count down to Rankin's eventual doom and Mary's breakdown. It's ominous chimes loom over the lives of the guilty party and his troubled accomplice. Also, the fact that Rankin is shot by Mary ("the angel in white") and then slain by the sword-wielding angel of God on the clock is not very subtle. Also, Meinike's spouting of religious text and forgiveness rings a bit hard of the same religious justification for the Nazi's actions in the first place.

 

I also love how he makes sure that the audience feels like it's inhabiting  a real place. It's mostly studio shot I think, but he really sets up small town America. The music changes the moment we are introduced like it could be Mayberry. It begins at the end of fall with leaves be blown down the streets with kids on their bikes with bells. There's a general store with a town clerk who plays checkers, and the store is all about self-service, American ingenuity at play. Everybody knows everybody, and they have a church and grand clock that doesn't chime. There's some woods where young boys play games and even the federal judge (who's on the SUPREME COURT) has a small dinner table, inviting anyone to join. It feels like a small town (at least of the post-war period though the lack of cynicism gives it a pre-war feel).

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The Postman Always Rings Twice: Film Noir or Comedy?

 

I bet I’m in the minority, but I had a hard time believing that The Postman Always Rings Twice was a film noir. 

Considering its themes, the questionable characters, and the fatalistic ending it does fit the Noir criteria, but I agree with you that this is somewhat of an odd entry into the Noir pantheon. It has a certain tongue-in-cheek, almost sarcastic approach to the source material. I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it. 

 

Without a doubt though, the film has one of the most spectacular character introductions in the history of cinema. But it's also kind of weird and nonsensical. I mean, considering the circumstances and her job, is this really how she would dress for a days' work?

 

 

Screen+Shot+2013-10-12+at+9.01.27+PM.jpg

 

 

lana-turner-the-postman-always-rings-twi

 

I  mean don't get me wrong. This sensational entrance is indeed jaw-dropping. At the same time, placing it this early in the film is also kind of risky, because how are you going to top this? And maybe the movie does even lose a bit of steam after this, and is not quite able to deliver on this promise of pure erotic electricity in the remainder of its running time. 

 

A couple of months ago I saw LE DERNIER TOURNANT. This French film from 1939 is the first attempt at turning the novel into a film. (Actually kind of weird, that this film predates the unofficial start of American Noir, but anyway...) For comparison it might be fun how the introduction of Cora was handled in this version. While it's obvious Cora is much younger that Nick, she actually looks kind of subdued, even homely, as she casually walks in on the conversation between Nick and Frank about the job conditions. Besides a few glances there's really very little indication of the explosive attraction Frank and Cora will develop. The scene can be found on YouTube.

 

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you should watch it when you're able to and then see if you feel the same way .    :lol: i suspect you will have a new appreciation for montgomery as marlowe, but not much :-)

here's the link, it's public domain

 

 

[...]

Thanks! I will watch this when I can muster up enough nerve ;-)

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Removed link to full video
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One of my favorite film noir is THE THIRD MAN. I think I've seen this 2 or 3 times in the past couple of years. Not until taking this class did I conciously become aware of the extensive use of the "Dutch angle" shot throughout this film. Although some of the shots are subtle they are still noticeable. The use of low key lighting especially the night scene when Holly realizes that Harry is still alive is perfectly shot. As I was writing this I went to the IMDb page for The Third Man for any info on the cinematographer. His name was Robert Krasker who was from Australia and to my surprise he won the Academy Award for his work on this film.

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Considering its themes, the questionable characters, and the fatalistic ending it does fit the Noir criteria, but I agree with you that this is somewhat of an odd entry into the Noir pantheon. It has a certain tongue-in-cheek, almost sarcastic approach to the source material. I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it. 

 

Without a doubt though, the film has one of the most spectacular character introductions in the history of cinema. But it's also kind of weird and nonsensical. I mean, considering the circumstances and her job, is this really how she would dress for a days' work?

 

I  mean don't get me wrong. This sensational entrance is indeed jaw-dropping. At the same time, placing it this early in the film is also kind of risky, because how are you going to top this? And maybe the movie does even lose a bit of steam after this, and is not quite able to deliver on this promise of pure erotic electricity in the remainder of its running time. 

 

A couple of months ago I saw LE DERNIER TOURNANT. This French film from 1939 is the first attempt at turning the novel into a film. (Actually kind of weird, that this film predates the unofficial start of American Noir, but anyway...) For comparison it might be fun how the introduction of Cora was handled in this version. While it's obvious Cora is much younger that Nick, she actually looks kind of subdued, even homely, as she casually walks in on the conversation between Nick and Frank about the job conditions. Besides a few glances there's really very little indication of the explosive attraction Frank and Cora will develop. The scene can be found on YouTube.

 

Thank you for posting this clip from Le dernier tournant. After the Summer of Darkness class is done, I plan to make time for this movie. It would be very interesting to compare other versions and interpretations. Maybe I have some trouble with MGM's approach, or maybe it's Hollywood in general. But not with the humor! I laughed out loud often enough during The Postman Always Rings Twice and that's why I wondered about the film as a comedy. And I just didn't buy the chemistry between Cora and Frank. Maybe it has to do with Lana Turner and John Garfield. The humor overtook their acting skills for me, and I really started paying attention to the supporting players. The lawyers and the cat almost stole the picture! (Was it W.C. Fields who refused to act with animals and children because he knew they would always steal his scenes?!)

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Out of the Past (1947)

RKO RADIO PICTURES

 

Director

At about the 17 min mark, Jeff (Robert Mitchum) is having a drink as he waits for Kathie (Jane Greer) who he just met earlier in the day. In voice over narration he says, “I went to Pablo’s that night. I knew I’d go every night until she showed up…. I sat there and drank bourbon and I shut my eyes … I knew she wouldn’t come that first night…” Then the camera slowly begins to pan to the left. As it pans across the bar, the picture slowly begins to blend with a new scene until we see Jeff sitting down, alone, on the other side of the bar- it is now the next night. Excellent directing by Jacques Tourneur, camera work by Nicholas Masuraca and editing by Samuel E. Beetley (The Big Steal, The Threat, Macao).

 

Cinematography

At around the 19 min mark, we get to the scene at the beach where they discuss the $40,000 at night. After viewing it several times, I would say that the Day for Night technique was used when they are walking then kissing on the beach and we see the white caps atop the waves.

 

Dialogue

There is a certain rhythm in the manner that the two male leads talk to each other.

Here is a sample from a scene at the 34:40 mark between Whit (Kirk Douglas) and Jeff (Mitchum):

 

-Say, I understand you're operating a little gasoline station.

- You say it like it's hard to understand.

- Well, it is. It's very simple. I sell gasoline. I make a small profit. With that I buy groceries, the grocer makes a profit. They call it earning a living. You may have heard of it somewhere.

- I may have, but it wasn't from you.

A little later

- It's a nice view. Am I here to admire it?

- Not exactly. I need your help.

- Like old times.

- I always liked you.

- You liked me because you could use me. You could use me because I was smart. I'm not smart anymore. I run a gas station.

 

This film is amazing. It has a great look to it, a story structure that flows so well, never a false move throughout. There exists a noir feel to it from the very beginning. Finally the cinematography is awesome. Can’t say enough.

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Considering its themes, the questionable characters, and the fatalistic ending it does fit the Noir criteria, but I agree with you that this is somewhat of an odd entry into the Noir pantheon. It has a certain tongue-in-cheek, almost sarcastic approach to the source material. I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it. 

 

Without a doubt though, the film has one of the most spectacular character introductions in the history of cinema. But it's also kind of weird and nonsensical. I mean, considering the circumstances and her job, is this really how she would dress for a days' work?

 

 

Screen+Shot+2013-10-12+at+9.01.27+PM.jpg

 

 

lana-turner-the-postman-always-rings-twi

 

I  mean don't get me wrong. This sensational entrance is indeed jaw-dropping. At the same time, placing it this early in the film is also kind of risky, because how are you going to top this? And maybe the movie does even lose a bit of steam after this, and is not quite able to deliver on this promise of pure erotic electricity in the remainder of its running time. 

 

A couple of months ago I saw LE DERNIER TOURNANT. This French film from 1939 is the first attempt at turning the novel into a film. (Actually kind of weird, that this film predates the unofficial start of American Noir, but anyway...) For comparison it might be fun how the introduction of Cora was handled in this version. While it's obvious Cora is much younger that Nick, she actually looks kind of subdued, even homely, as she casually walks in on the conversation between Nick and Frank about the job conditions. Besides a few glances there's really very little indication of the explosive attraction Frank and Cora will develop. The scene can be found on YouTube.

 

 

 

Thanks for referring us to Le Dernier Tourant.  Was not aware of this French adaptation of Cain's novel.   Will try to track it down.   

 

This is one of the great things about this course and its message boards....lots of interesting stuff being exchanged!

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I came home on Friday to a big DVR FAIL! None of my Noir films taped! argh. I ended up buying Out of The Past. Wonderful movie, even the hubby & 15 yo enjoyed it after I talked them into watching.

Will catch up with this thread on the films I haven't seen yet. Some I have already seen but was lookikng forward to re-watching. WIll have to rent/or buy a few of the titles over the Holiday.

 

Thanks for the wonderful observations posted here.

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I watched Orson Welles' The Stranger. The Stranger presents an Edward G. Robinson with somewhat softer edges, and an Orson Welles with somewhat softer shadows. Many classic noir gestures are intact in the film, but the attention Robinson’s character gave to Psychology impressed me. It seems his psychoanalytical narrative described what is going on in the hearts and minds many film noir characters, albeit usually without the play-by-play.

 

Another thing that stood out to me was that the “fatal flaw” (and resultant impending doom) fell, not on the protagonist – who I see as Robinson’s character, but on the antagonist – who I see as Welles’ character. PLUS – a much greater role is given to the inner turmoil of the tritagonist – Young’s character. (Was there ever a larger part for a tritagonist in film noir?)

 

Footnote – I noticed that Brother Theodore (a Dachau survivor) had a bit part in this film. Interesting.

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Robert Young was one my favorite actors. I have not yet seen They won't believe me but I just put it on my list of movies to watch.

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Woman on the Beach, notice the footprints on the beach are raised like a mold of a foot, not indented like they should be... Wouldn't a low budget film just make real footprints.

I wonder if those clips the negatives were backwards, it might make the footprints looks like that if reversed.

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I came home on Friday to a big DVR FAIL! None of my Noir films taped! argh. I ended up buying Out of The Past. Wonderful movie, even the hubby & 15 yo enjoyed it after I talked them into watching.

 

Will catch up with this thread on the films I haven't seen yet. Some I have already seen but was lookikng forward to re-watching. WIll have to rent/or buy a few of the titles over the Holiday.

 

Thanks for the wonderful observations posted here.

Do On Demand or the TCM App.  

 

I came home on Friday to a big DVR FAIL! None of my Noir films taped! argh. I ended up buying Out of The Past. Wonderful movie, even the hubby & 15 yo enjoyed it after I talked them into watching.

 

Will catch up with this thread on the films I haven't seen yet. Some I have already seen but was lookikng forward to re-watching. WIll have to rent/or buy a few of the titles over the Holiday.

 

Thanks for the wonderful observations posted here.

Do On Demand or the TCM App or the TCM Website.  My cable box has been having issues with TCM so that's how I've been watching all of the movies.  They're all available until the 3rd or 4th.  You just have to login with your cable site showing you have cable.  Do not despair!  

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The Mask of Dimitrios had some dialogue that you could lift right out and put in a modern comedy and no one would know the difference.  Absolutely wonderful.  

The Stranger is extremely well done.  I liked it far more than some other Welles movies.  

I've seen The Third Man many, many times (including at the TCM Film Festival which was my favorite viewing - I highly recommend going) and any opinions will be regurgitated through various film classes.  I know my parents went on the sewer tour in Vienna and it was fascinating but really gross.  I hope to go on it myself on of these days.  I went on the famous ferris wheel when I was there but I hadn't seen the movie yet so it wasn't as exciting.  Vienna really loves The Third Man.

 

My issue is with Possessed.  It's very compelling with an excellent portrayal of Joan Crawford.  Her makeup and lighting between her scenes in the hospital with her flashback scenes is well-done.  But I can't stop seeing it through a modern lens.  Is it progressive because it was such a complex role?  Or it is really insulting because Joan Crawford can't be expected to help herself from going crazy from love because she's a woman?  Or is it a really sympathetic portrait of a stalker that today would just be Fatal Attraction?  Psychiatric diagnosis and treatment was really in its infancy back then, but I can't help but think that a man would not have been treated the same.  I am just really mixed up in my feelings about this movie.  I am curious to hear how others reacted to this movie.    

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I thought Act of Violence was very well acted. I especially liked the use of shadows when Heflin's character was running down the alley and the scene where Johnny was  eavesdropping at the door to the backroom in the bar.

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Thanks for referring us to Le Dernier Tourant.  Was not aware of this French adaptation of Cain's novel.   Will try to track it down.   

 

This is one of the great things about this course and its message boards....lots of interesting stuff being exchanged!

You're welcome. There's actually even a second attempt at making the book into a movie before the American version. It was made in Italy in 1943, directed by Luchino Visconti, called OSSESSIONE.

 

I haven't seen the full movie, but here again is a segment showing the first encounter between the two protagonists. This one definitely shows the immediate sexual tension between the two. Visconti also introduces 'Cora' via a leg shot, although slightly different :) And notice how 'Nick' in this film is absolutely not happy with 'Frank' entering the scene....

 

On Youtube

https://youtu.be/Fa4LaL_C6G4

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Now that I’ve watched it again after several years of not seeing it, I wanted to comment further on THE MASK OF DIMITRIOS - our Daily Dose was the first hotel room scene with Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet where Greenstreet has the upper hand and is attempting to "grill" Lorre about what he knows of Dimitrios. There is a later, second, parallel scene in a Paris hotel room where the tables are turned and Peter Lorre is grilling Greenstreet. I was immediately struck that these two scenes mirror each other. Lorre is practically physically on top of Greenstreet at one point, drilling him with questions. There is another wonderful moment when, after asking Greenstreet if he has a gun on him, and Greenstreet has said he does not, Greenstreet pulls out a gun and Lorre says, “Oh no, there it is!” while backing away out of range (he hopes) of the gun. Lorre tells Greenstreet he has discovered who he really is and he now knows what Greenstreet is after, so he might as well come clean.

 

This is the scene where Greenstreet is supposed to lay out his “proposition” to Lorre. It is also where we hear for the second time the name of the man Dimitrios killed (name escapes me and I can’t find a reference to it – Christopher? Something) and it is the person Greenstreet is searching for when he enters the movie. This is another case of a “faked death” occurring in a film noir. We had one in The Third Man. In The Big Sleep, we have instead of a faked death, a missing man who may or may not be a killer – namely, Shawn Regan. We also had another faked death in Nora Prentice.

 

Lastly, the soundtrack reminded me a lot of Casablanca’s soundtrack.

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