Dr. Rich Edwards

JULY 10 TCM FILM DISCUSSION FOR #NOIRSUMMER FOR ALL 15 FILMS

91 posts in this topic

I'm not a big fan of Edmond O'Brien as an actor. I think he gives a much better performance in The Hitch-Hiker, but in D.O.A. he seems wooden and one-dimensional. His getting up and pitching off to the side at the end was laughable, but that might have been the fault of direction or a small budget (no stunt double) and not his choice. But the love scene between him and Paula on the street corner at night was . . . just awful. Or maybe it was supposed to be funny, I don't know. I've seen D.O.A. twice, and I have to admit I like the Cold War worry about iridium and nuclear science in general. The film seems dated today, but it is such a product of its time. I'm betting that the postwar unease and threat of annihilation by the Soviets may have been exaggerated here, but probably not by that much. I don't remember drills in school about protecting myself in the event of nuclear attack by hiding under my school desk, but some taking this class probably do! The scenes in the night club and and the weird zinging noise every time O'Brien saw a pretty woman in his hotel may have been a way to show how some people react in times of great stress: by having "fun," no matter the cost, and forgetting everything else, including sanity and responsibility.

Yes, I am old enough to remember having air raid drills in school.  We didn't hide under our desks.  In my elementary school, we sat in the inner hallways with our backs against the walls.  Like that would give any protection!!  It was a scary time for everyone.  And as an aside, sci fi movies like Godzilla and Them started appearing.........

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I just finished watching Destination Murder.

 

Straight away into the picture someone is shown recording, along side some figures, the numeral 5 in their notebook. Turns out this is the intermission between the first and second movie features. A perfect time frame within which to commit a murder? The killer is seated in the movie house with his date and, when the intermission begins, he leaves her saying he's going to the lobby to buy popcorn. Instead he exits the theater and jumps into a prearranged waiting taxi and takes off; he perpetrates the crime and returns to the theater with enough time to spare to buy the popcorn. Good thing he didn't forget!

 

My question is this: how is it possible to drive through traffic to the murder destination, knock and wait for someone to answer the door, shoot the victim, take the same route back to the movie theater, buy popcorn and get comfortable with his date (whose been waiting all this time for him to get popcorn) before the five minute intermission is over? Seems unreasonable even if the victim had lived just a few blocks away.

Just a thought.

 

I was surprised to see Hurd Hatfield in this crime drama. I found it difficult to separate him from his signature role in The Picture of Dorian Grey. His character's name is Stretch....umm...yes, that is a stretch.

 

I did not visualize a Noir perspective at all when seeing this movie. I thought the characters lacked the deep-rooted sinister emotions and the harder edged elements that define the Noir characters; and in this instance, both in the female and male roles. I agree with the synopsis of this film in that the cinematography was relaxed in its effort to produce the shadows and lighting that are synonymous with Noir movies.

 

However, all that said, I did have fun watching it. 

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Follow Me Quietly (1949)

RKO Radio Pictures

 

Here we have an obsessed cop pursuing a serial killer. I thought I had seen it all but this is a “B” movie with an “A” movie look.

 

It became obvious early on that the film had an identical look to Out of the Past. I had to pause and did confirmed that both films shared the same cinematographer: Nicholas Musuraca. One would not expect his involvement in such a low budget “B” movie but thanks to him, it is a beautiful film to look at.

 

The movie opens with a noir favorite- an unidentified person standing in the shadows at night. In this case its a woman wearing a raincoat, the camera showing us her legs in high heels and the rain hitting the sidewalk where she paces back and forth.

 

I was under the impression that the idea of recreating a person was something developed in the 70’s. Here Lt. Grant (William Lundigan) asks the forensic lab to build a dummy using all the data collected and they come back with a life-size mannequin that physically resembles the killer. I think I saw this in Quincy M.E. once. Did I?

 

The acting did seem stiff at times but I am beginning to believe that its almost expected in some “B“ movies. There is one scene where there appears to be a moment of sexual tension between Ann Gorman (Dorothy Patrick) and Lt. Grant in his bedroom. He signs a document for her and puts it down. He removes his robe and lays down under the sheets. They look at each other as she stands at a distance and he says, “Come on, I ain’t got all night.” She approaches with apprehension, as he looks and points to the papers on the night table. She smiles and relaxes as if to say- “Ooh, that’s what you meant, of course.” It was very suggestive. Were the moral codes easing in this period? Does anyone know?

 

The fight on the stairs in the end was thrilling and well directed with great use of the music. Keep in mind, still a “B” movie.

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I prefer the "traditional" films noir of the 40s and 50s. By traditional, I mean the crisp black & white photography with shadows, light & dark. There's usually a detective or hero, a girl and a dame. The detective or hero is morally ambiguous--has his own code of ethics. The girl is trying to hang on to the hero. The dame has her own code of ethics which are devoid of any morals. This combo makes for a great story with interesting characters and is beautiful to watch.

I don't care for the "noirs" that are more modern. The ones that deal with atomic bombs, drug dealing swingers or are in color. To me, these films aren't noirs. They belong in s different category--those that evolved out of noir, but into something else.

I understand what you are saying. Film Noir fans enjoy a certain "Type" of noir- also. Noir covers basically all genres: drama, westerns, comedy, science fiction, abstract, private detective, mystery and a few more. What I have learned about this course thus far  is that enjoying noir is a personal choice. The course is teaching us what film makers did in terms of changing how films were made. Those movies made from 1940 to 1958 or so, are the noir years. German and French influences, Philosophy and Psychology influences, along with foreign born technicians, their equipment and personal styles influences, all helped in creating that "traditional" noir of the 40s and 50s you and all noir fans so enjoy. We should all be on the same page as to what makes noir but at the end we judge what noirs we enjoy.

I am a fan and a student, not an authority on the subject.

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Did you notice how similar Herrmann's score was in On Dangerous Ground to what he did for in North By Northwest?  The score for when they trek through the snow was virtually revisited, intact, for Hitch.   

Thanks.  I knew the music was so familiar and just couldn't place it at the time!!  Today, TCM ran The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and, again, there was the unmistakeable "signature sound" of Bernard Herrmann!

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Armored Car Robbery

 

A taut and mean little film, but enjoyable nonetheless. It was well plotted and economical with it's direction and locations, and it clipped along at a brisk rate with a minimum of side-tracking.

 

The acting was pretty good too, especially as (I'm guessing) it was a pretty low-budget affair without any bug names. Mostly I liked the fact that Charles McGraw's ultra tough cop actually had a personality and a range of facial expressions other than stony or indifferent! 

 

It was interesting too to see a film like this really push at the boundaries laid down by the Motion Picture Code with it's portrayal of the planning and execution of the heist. Times they were a-changing for sure! 

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I watched Kiss Me Deadly for the first time in a few years, and it absolutely blew me away (I was lukewarm to it on my first watch). The opening, of course, is spectacular and then we enter into a sadistic, brutal, and ambitious film that only accelerates into a bombastic finale. I honestly can't think of a more merciless film from this period. Everything is so sharp and dynamic, including Ernest Laszlo's cinematography. I mean, c'mon, how great is this shot?

 

Kiss_Me_Deadly_MGM_R1_DVD_011161.jpg

 

The whole film can practically be summed up in this singular shot. A Dutch angle, chiaroscuro, the blinds casting that wickedly divisive shadow, Mike Hammer on the outs, and a friend turned vicious backstabber; it's truly fabulous. I love the film, and the Criterion Collection put out a wonderful Blu-ray disc (I need to listen to the commentary by Alain Silver and James Ursini again, though, as I'm sure it's quite enlightening). I don't know why I put rewatching it off for so long, but I'm glad this course came along so that I could finally fall in love with it.

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Thanks.  I knew the music was so familiar and just couldn't place it at the time!!  Today, TCM ran The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and, again, there was the unmistakeable "signature sound" of Bernard Herrmann!

 

Yes, this is a great point. While it is usually easy to identify a Bernard Herrmann score, it was clearly a similar score to what Hitchcock uses in North by Northwest. And I kept finding myself looking for visual differences between On Dangerous Ground and North by Northwest. Upon reflection, I feel that Hitchcock matched his editing with the syncopation of the soundtrack better than in On Dangerous Ground. Basically, the score plays as background as the men are moving across the snowy tundra, but in N by NW, Hitchcock's use of a similar score seems much more in alignment with his visual compositions and creates added suspense by driving the editing rhythm. 

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In my quest to watch new-to-me films noir off each Friday's schedule, this week I certainly got a mixed bag.

 

"Follow Me Quietly" wins the award for most interesting title, and it also had some interesting ideas for a police procedural. Unfortunately, I didn't think it was too successful in following through on them.

 

"Red Light" was certainly interesting in its combination of noir themes and style with religious ideas. It was a bit heavy-handed in its handling of the latter, but what really sank it was George Raft. Change the leading man and you might have had something.

 

Some might say that "Caged" was similarly heavy-handed in its message. However, I just wasn't expecting it to be as hard-boiled as it was. It's attitude completely took me by surprise, and I found the performances very effective. This was definitely my favorite this week.

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From the first movie Follow Me Quietly, with the “Judge” killing in the rain, and then seeing his fear once captured to pass under the pouring gas, which leads to his fall to death, to the last film Raw Deal with Rick a crazy gang leader who throws a flaming desert onto his date for the evening, todays films gave us a lot of psychological issues. Raymond Burr continues that in Red Light who is so crazy to get back at Johnny, to try to drive Johnny crazy as he had been in his time in prison.

 

Why does Miriam help Susan, even saying she shot her? Dave in Armored Car Robbery and Emmett in The Hitch-Hiker, are both sadistic and psychopathic in their willingness to kill and William Talman

played them both perfectly. Men driven crazy by their work, or born that way in On Dangerous Ground, and those born that way often sadistic (Tattooed Stranger, D.O.A., Destination Murder). In The Blue Dahlia also see it in Eddie and his partner and in Buzz the serviceman affected by the war.

 

Caged gives us a number of examples of this from the early feelings of Marie Allen to watching her turn into the hardened person that leaves the prison. Solitary ruins Kitty and the young girl who doesn't get probation and ends up killing herself later that night.

 

Caged has to be one of the scariest noir movie there is and it shows also the disaffection with society the fact that one is not a part of it, that existence begins with the self Existentialism. The cars buzzing by as they get to the prison, the train they have to hear throughout, going somewhere, that they all wish they could be on. Hope Emerson's Harper, a big hulking woman. Teasing them when she dresses up, talking about a boyfriend she probably doesn't have. The bell ringing throughout the day. The ending with Marie going to work for Elvira when she leaves. The warden saying to keep the file open “...she'll be back...”.

 

We see a world where men who fought the war can not keep jobs, or get worthy jobs or return to disaffected wives and families (Side Street, The Hitch-Hiker, The Blue Dahlia). Throughout tonight's films what is interesting how how little emotion most of the actors show. Everyone is disaffected and has little interest including the police. The police are completely emotionless in D.O.A., in Destination Murder only Armitage shows any emotion, liking hurting people, only Nick and Velda show any emotion in Kiss Me Deadly, and Velda's is almost a sick yearning and infatuation for something she can't have. At the end of The Blue Dahlia the inspector feeling “...sorry for the old gent, at that”.

 

This is a world of things, conspicuous consumption, that money can buy, but can't make you happy. The $30,000 that Joe steals in Side Street, even though around the idea of a nuclear family, how will the story really turn out, “No hero, no criminal”. Everything Marie Allen wanted is gone at the start her husband and a family. She turns into a hard woman willing to what ever is needed to get what she needs to succeed...money at the end of Caged. Frank Bigelow is already dead in D.O.A. The church Johnny give his brother, and the $20,000 stained glass window he gave the church if his brother survived the war in Red Light. Gilbert and Roy being soft with their I.O.U's and things that people gave them as Emmitt says in The Hitch Hiker. The most emotion showed by them is Roy going through Mexicali thinking of drinks and dames.

 

Mostly in Kiss Me Deadly we see it with Mike Hammer. Driving three different sports cars. His apartment full of all the new gadgets, even a phone answering machine. We can see a world of haves vs have nots. One we saw in all the places shown in The Tattooed Stranger, from uptown office buildings to bums lying on the street and in alley's in the towns less visited venues. Noir captures the ideas of psychiatry and Existentialism that the people knew and they fed it to them. Reinforcing the ideas, leading to the flight from the dangerous cities, though today the problems have followed them.

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On Edmond O'Brien in D.O.A. -- interesting comments by others, pro and con.  My overwhelming sense when watching the film was that almost across the board, the supporting players were so bad, that Mr. O'Brien had little to nothing to work off of and thus his own performance suffered to some extent.  I do think he was the best thing in the film.  I didn't like the musical accompaniment AT. ALL.  

 

All that said, I watched the film on a tiny iPad screen, and came away feeling like the entertainment factor would be much greater watching on a big screen in a cinema. 

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SIDE STREET (1950)

MGM

 

Side Street opens with a documentary-like introduction similar to “Border Incident” (1949 MGM) and with the following narration:

New York City, an architectural jungle where fabulous wealth and the deepest squalor live side by side. New York is the busiest, the loneliest, the kindest, and the cruelest of cities. . . .a murder a day, every day of the year and each murder will wind up on my desk.

 

The cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg is excellent. He captured the “nooks and cracks” of the city.

 

A sense of randomness and fate is laid before us as the story begins. A part time mailman

steals $200 from a safe only it turns out he stole $30,000 instead. Almost immediately Joe (Farley Granger) grapples with guilt which soon leads to a sense of hopelessness. “Fear and confusion overcomes him. Reason and judgment are gone.” Malaise and dread becomes the theme in this noir.

 

Wanting to free himself of guilt, he does the responsible thing and attempts to return the money only someone took the money from him. In film noir when a private eye is lacking, ordinary citizen investigate on their own (The Big Clock, DOA, Red Light). With that in mind, the story continues with Joe now becoming, in a way, his own P.I. and begins looking for the missing bartender and the money.

 

Overall a well made film noir with good use of expressionistic lighting (particularly from the moment he enters the bartender’s room until right after he confesses to his wife).

 

The film gave the impression of realism as if you were seeing actual events. Not a classic but worthy just the same.

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Holy cow, another one..."Too Late For Tears"...holy cow is she scary.

 

What gets me is the ego...this woman who Dan really doesn't know, I mean come on, they've just met.  She ruthlessly murders her husband, ruthlessly, and he thinks so much of himself that she won't kill him?  He thinks she tries but I believe he thinks a few kisses will change her mind.  He deserves to get bumped off.  Poor Dan Duryea, he was always playing a creep, loser, killer, second string banana, who usually doesn't make it through the entire movie.  He was very good at his roles.

 

Arthur Kennedy didn't stand a chance, poor fool.  He really thought that this cunning woman would give up all that money for him...ego for him as well, especially with her having a history of a prior marriage where her husband "killed himself"...yep!

 

I was surprised, honestly, at how quickly she became so cold and ruthless.  Dan was surprised as well.  Perhaps he was a bit afraid of her.

 

She came up with stories and excuses so quickly, as if she had been waiting for such an opportunity for a long time.

 

Vicious movie!

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The Hitch-Hiker

 

An awesome start to this movie: although you see Myers (William Talman) be picked up and then killing a number of people and then finally being picked up by Edmond O'Brien and Frank Lovejoy, you don't see his face until he looms frighteningly from the back of the car preceded by his gun. It was a very impressive start and I felt that the film couldn't really top that afterwards, and it didn't, which was a bit of a shame. 

 

Talman was superb throughout though, taking a one-note killer and really giving him a character. Actually, whilst watching the movie I came to thinking that it was almost a one man show: Edmond O'Brien didn't really get to say much (having seen DOA, I actually thought that a good thing!!) and Frank Lovejoy I think had more lines in Spanish - or "Mex" as Myers put it - than he did in English. 

 

Most other films of this ilk would have had far more heroics on the behalf of the hostages and it was interesting to see here that the hostages really didn't do much, or even have a lot of opportunity to try to escape, and I wonder if that was Ida Lupino trying to bring more documentary realism to the film? 

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THE BLUE DAHLIA (1948)

PARAMOUNT

 

The Blue Dahlia is a good movie with an excellent story. Still it looked more like a b&w movie than a Film Noir movie. It lacked contrast and could have used more shadows or darker images.

 

There is no doubt that this is an “A” movie from Paramount with its visual look and very talented cast. William Bendix’s anxiety attacks were very realistic. Howard Da Siva (who we saw recently in They Live by Night) I hardly recognized him looking thinner than usual and wearing a mustache. I have always thought of him as an excellent character actor.  

 

I thought the film was rushed at the end. The mystery was solved with no fanfare and the end credits start rolling all within two minutes. Almost like someone literally came on to the set and cried, “We ran out of money- close shop now!.”  I know better, Paramount does not run short. But it was a bit odd, having the movie end like that. .

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THE BLUE DAHLIA (1948)

PARAMOUNT

 

The Blue Dahlia is a good movie with an excellent story. Still it looked more like a b&w movie than a Film Noir movie. It lacked contrast and could have used more shadows or darker images.

 

There is no doubt that this is an “A” movie from Paramount with its visual look and very talented cast. William Bendix’s anxiety attacks were very realistic. Howard Da Siva (who we saw recently in They Live by Night) I hardly recognized him looking thinner than usual and wearing a mustache. I have always thought of him as an excellent character actor.  

 

I thought the film was rushed at the end. The mystery was solved with no fanfare and the end credits start rolling all within two minutes. Almost like someone literally came on to the set and cried, “We ran out of money- close shop now!.”  I know better, Paramount does not run short. But it was a bit odd, having the movie end like that. .

 

The ending was 'rushed' as you say.   The reason why is originally Chandler wanted Buzz (Bendix),  to be the actual killer,  blinded and desensitized by the brutalizing effects of war but the war department didn't like that idea so Chandler was asked to come up with another killer and Dad was it.    Due to this change the film surfaces less as a quintessential film noir and instead an interesting and stylish thriller.   Film Noir (Ward \ Silver) 

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"Red Light" was certainly interesting in its combination of noir themes and style with religious ideas. It was a bit heavy-handed in its handling of the latter, but what really sank it was George Raft. Change the leading man and you might have had something.

 

Yeah, what threw me was Eddie Muller's introduction saying this was "by far" his favorite Raft noir. I had high hopes, but George was a stiff as a board, as usual. I used to feel sorry for him having passed on all those iconic roles Bogie would up getting, but now I'm thinking it was Divine Intervention on behalf of film lovers!

 

<SPOILER ALERT>

But everyone was a bit cartoonish at times, partially helped by some lame dialogue. For example, Raymond Burr and Harry Morgan were so over the top plotting the murder in the prison film projection booth that I expected them to start twirling their Snidely Whiplash moustaches. Overall I thought Burr acquitted himself in most of his office scenes playing the repentant down-on-his-luck guy...until the denouement, of course.

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The Blue Dahlia

 

I never liked the Ladd/Lake combo, never particularly saw the appeal. Ladd always seemed to talk (and smoke) through clenched teeth, almost as if they'd been wired together! And Veronica Lake always left me cold: all carefully waved hair and zero personality. Sadly this duo, for me at least, diminished a typically convoluted screenplay by Raymond Chandler, which could have been much better with a more dynamic lead pair. 

 

I could see how the film relates to this week's theme of post-war societal issues though. Ladd is returning from war and instantly wants to re-assert his role in the family hierarchy, only to find his wife has moved on in his absence and doesn't want to return to her allotted role as housewife. The end of the war finds her as a business owner, aspirational, glamorous (hard to ignore her wardrobe!) and moving in circles levels above the one in which she traveled before. It was noticeable that Ladd knew none of her friends when he first came home to find his wife having a party: these were all new friends from the new era. Buzz (William Bendix, excellent as per norm) comes home to an uncertain future with a metal plate in his head, a reflection of the fact a lot of people returned home wounded. You have to wonder about Ladd's character too, the military didn't usually send people home simply because they'd had enough: surely there was more to that than simple fatigue? The end result, in any case, was a pretty rapid split, and in the film led to the murder at the core of this film. 

 

 

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The ending was 'rushed' as you say.   The reason why is originally Chandler wanted Buzz (Bendix),  to be the actual killer,  blinded and desensitized by the brutalizing effects of war but the war department didn't like that idea so Chandler was asked to come up with another killer and Dad was it.    Due to this change the film surfaces less as a quintessential film noir and instead an interesting and stylish thriller.   Film Noir (Ward \ Silver) 

Actually, I liked the chiselling "Dad" being the killer over Buzz. I see it that Dad too was aspirational in the new post-war era: he wanted his slice of the pie he could see the wealthy party-goers enjoying, but how was an old guy like him supposed to get any without blackmailing every single person he could? He at least had (a little) motive, whereas Buzz would've just been a tragic traumatized vet who lost control. 

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The Hitch-Hiker (1953)

RKO RADIO PICTURES

 

The opening scenes in this film are creepy. What scares us most is what we do not see: his face, his victim, his actions. The director, Ida Lupino creates suspense by showing us less and as a result, she gets the audience involved as most would wonder- Who is he? What does he look like? What is he going to do?

 

Some of the noir elements in The Hitch-hiker are the claustrophobic interiors, lighting schemes to accentuate night scenes, the hopelessness that overcomes the two men captured and held by the hitch-hiker.

 

Claustrophobic interiors

For most of the film, Emmett Myers hovers relentlessly over Roy and Gilbert (Edmond O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy) dictating their every movement. Any opportunity of escaping are eliminated by his persistent pointing of the gun on their backs. Even the chance of fleeing while Myers sleep is squandered when he tells them he sleeps with one open.

 

Despair and Hopelessness

These claustrophobic conditions touches on one of noir’s themes namely despair and hopelessness. Makes you wonder if those on the Hollywood blacklist experienced the same despair felt in this film. In their case it was not a pointing gun but rather the societal fears, paranoia and pressures that ran amok after the war.

 

Lighting

The night-time photography of the barren desert gives a sense of gloom, almost as to hint or suggest the fate of these men. The lighting effects inside the car gives each character equal attention but by way of different intensity. As soon as they pick up the hitch-hiker, the lighting on their faces (all three) reflects different tones and shades. Very detailed attention by cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca.

there were many on location scenes giving you a sense of being there.

 

This is a very well constructed story with many noir attributes. At times it looked like Detour

 

 

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Follow Me Quietly

 

One hour in and it's done...oh, is that it? Not that I'm complaining: so many films, so little time to watch them, and I'm very happy to have a short one! 

 

Overall, I thought it an odd little film. The way that everyone stood behind the cop with the hare-brained dummy idea was, frankly, bizarre! Everyone wore suits and hats back then (well, in movie-land at least) and it's laughable that making a dummy that people would say: sure, I know him, that's Charlie (oh, and by the way he lives at...)! And also, with his habit of dropping a clue at every crime scene, it does seem strange that the police seemed to have such difficult in finding the guy for so long. 

 

But it was interesting to see a woman taking a main role, and it certainly reflected that in the post war era more and more women had to make their own way in the world without a man to help them! Although it was noticeable that they shunted her out of the way every time it looks like there may have been a potentially serious situation...modern movies would, no doubt, have her kicking The Judge's butt at the end! 

 

Did we ever found out a motive for the killer's seemingly random murders and why he hated the rain, btw, or did I miss that? Certainly the victims didn't seem bad people needing justice to be applied (apart, maybe, for the "actress", which in past times was often a name given to escorts). 

 

Funny, one of the shortest films, but one that left me thinking. 

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Raw Deal

 

Noirtastic!! 

 

After watching a slew of movies where I just ended up wondering if they were actually Noir or not, along comes this independently produced B movie, which had a whole slew of Noir wonderfulness crammed into one excellent 90 minute stretch. 

 

This film had the lot:

  • first person POV
  • voice over narration - oddly though, not by the doomed protagonist but by his girlfriend
  • close-ups
  • skewed angles and hard shadows on faces
  • over the shoulder shots, and low angles
  • night shots
  • mist
  • a tremendous pair of bad guys (Raymond Burr is a marvelously nasty heavy!)
  • Clair Trevor

Oh, and not Noir particularly, but I liked the star filter they used to highlight the glints in Clair Trevor's and Marsha Hunt's eyes when they're visiting Dennis O'Keefe in the slammer. 

 

I liked too the mini-noir that took place when they were all hiding in the Tavern: the police are chasing down a guy who murdered his wife, who eventually decides it's preferable to die in a hail of police bullets rather than live without her. A Noir tale if ever I've heard one, and one which plays out in just a couple of minutes. 

 

Excellent movie. 

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Raw Deal

 

Noirtastic!! 

 

After watching a slew of movies where I just ended up wondering if they were actually Noir or not, along comes this independently produced B movie, which had a whole slew of Noir wonderfulness crammed into one excellent 90 minute stretch. 

 

This film had the lot:

<snip of a good summary>

 

Excellent movie. 

I, too, just watched Raw Deal and felt that it was a great little movie. One thing that struck me was that the quality of the print was not nearly as good as the generally high quality of prints that we have seen in "Summer of Darkness". I would really love to see the cinematography of John Alton  in it's true "colors" B). Any info on possible restoration in the works?

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The Hitch-Hiker.

 

As I was watching this, as it went on and on, I thought to myself, "this is the longest 70 minutes on the face of the earth."  Then I realized that that this "endlessness" is the brilliance of this film.  Wow.  Miss Lupino gave us their experience; the claustrophobia, even though much of it was outdoors, the not knowing when this was going to end.  The frustration, the fear, the hopelessness, I felt it all.  Wow again.  All of the vignettes where they encountered other people, each a little movie in itself.  The thing I found most amazing for the time were the relatively long stretches where Spanish was spoken without subtitles.  Even the closed captioning just said something like "speaking foreign language".  The exchanges were simple, but still, I thought it was visionary of her to trust that people would transcend any language barrier and understand it.  This is truly a terrific movie of the genre.

 

I have a question, if anyone knows.  It seems to me that she shot this without the usual extra room on all four sides.  On the monitor, the usual 4:3 image was reduced in size with a black border around all four edges (and I don't mean the 4:3 - 16:9 thing with the vertical borders on each side).  Does anyone know about this.  I know they sometimes make the image smaller during just the titles so nothing is cut out, but I noticed a lot of the shots were using up the entire frame, almost to the edge, so that a border was around it the entire time.  Did she do this on purpose?  Or did she just not know when they cropped it in the camera to leave a little extra room?  Thanks.

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WEEK 6

 

FOLLOW ME QUIETLY (1949): Rain Man.

I like my psychopaths with more of a backstory.

 

WOMAN'S SECRET, A (1949): Much ado about murder.

Sometimes when a story doesn't make sense, it isn't true. 

 

SIDE STREET (1950): Crime Does Not Pay More Than A Couple C-Notes.

The slippery slope of how petty crime can escalate to nearly unrepentable proportions.

Before this car chase most action movies ended in a struggle over a gun.

 

BLACK HAND (1950): Film Nera.

Son of a slain lawyer studies law to avenge his father but finds a bomb more effective.

 

ARMORED CAR ROBBERY (1950): Best Laid Plans Of Heist And G-Men.

At the end they should've had the real Purvis shaking his head.

 

CAGED (1950): The inmates are running the asylum.

How prison rehabilitates women by teaching them how to adjust to prison life. 

 

D.O.A. (1950): Just Doing Your Job Is No Excuse.

Seems to relish in finding his murderer to keep his mind off of his fate but I would've spent my last hours with Paula.

Would've made a good double feature with Sunset Blvd.(1950)

 

DESTINATION MURDER (1950): Twists That Keep You Guessing Why.

I would've had the player piano play Beethoven's 5th.

 

THE TATTOOED STRANGER (1950): Pushing Up Goat Grass.

I figured the murderer was going to be the W.A.C. (Want happened with her? There's your story.) 

Also how did Aegilops Cylindrica end up in a Manhattan vacant lot and cemetery north of 210th St.?

 

RED LIGHT (1949): Blind Leading The Blind.

The Bible as MacGuffin should be a red light to Torno but he keeps on trucking 24/7.

"There's only 2 kinds of customers in hotels, them that steal Bibles and them that steal towels."

 

KISS ME DEADLY (1955): Hammer Time: U Can't Touch This.

H-Bomb as MacGuffin suggests American's are too focused on the intrigue of winning the Cold War than avoiding the Apocalypse.

 

ON DANGEROUS GROUND (1952): None So Blind.

Mary seems, at best, conflicted about harboring her brother.

"To get anything out of this life you have to put something in it from the heart."

 

HITCH-HIKER, THE (1953): Clothes Make The Man.

When they change clothes, the hitch-hiker and the draftsman seem to change personalities. 

Also, why didn't the mechanic try to fix the hitchhiker's car before giving him a ride?

 

BLUE DAHLIA (1946): Military Industrial Complex.

The changed ending felt tacked on and false.

 

RAW DEAL (1948): Lam In Wolf's Clothing.

Escaped Convict defies all the odds, saves his girl, kills the bad guy and dies in the end.
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