Dr. Rich Edwards

JULY 24 TCM FILM DISCUSSION FOR #NOIRSUMMER FOR ALL 13 FILMS

148 posts in this topic

This is one of my favorite noirs I had a discussion about this with a bud here is the jist of it

 

 

DJ: My problem with this film is the plot. SPOILERS Why keep Charles McGraw in the dark about the true nature of the journey? And if you are going to run a decoy, why would you put her on the same train with the real girl? Wouldn't it make more sense to send them on, you know, different trains? And why even use a train for the real girl? Send the decoy by train, the real girl by airplane. END SPOILERS Willing suspension of disbelief I can do. Willing lobotomy, no.

 

CJ; I think the answers are all in the subtext, Meggs (Decoy Mrs Neal) is not only a decoy but an internal affairs cop, and she is looking for corruption in LAPD. The initial fact that the "safe house" is already compromized, indicates that the underworld has been tipped off by a mole in LAPD as to the whereabouts of Mrs. Neal and the two main LAPD suspects are Brown and Forbes. If you go with that angle the whole "Mrs. Neal and the list" plotpoint becomes irrelvant and the real plot is corruption investigation in LAPD and who is/are the informer(s).  Like you say "Why keep Charles McGraw in the dark" or why not just mail the list.

 

Now remember Forbes right at the get go tries to get Meggs (Decoy Mrs Neal) to give him the list. Once Forbes buys it, Meggs goes to work on Brown tempting him in the cab with sex and later on the train with money.

 

Walter Brown: You're a pretty good judge of crooks, Mrs. Neall; the only place you slip up is with cops. I turned the deal down. 

Mrs. Neal: Then you're a bigger idiot than I thought! When are you going to get it through your square head that this is big business? And we're right in the middle. 

Walter Brown: Meaning you'd like to sell out? 

Mrs. Neal: With pleasure and profit, and so would you. What are the odds if we don't? I sing my song for the grand jury, and spend the rest of my life dodging bullets - -if I'm lucky! - -while you grow old and gray on the police force. Oh, wake up, Brown. This train's headed straight for the cemetery. But there's another one coming along, a gravy train. Let's get on it. 

Walter Brown: Mrs. Neall, I'd like to give you the same answer I gave that hood - but it would mean stepping on your face. 

 

Other thoughts from IMDb

 

by persycat IMDb

"When I saw the movie, I took the lady cop to have been in touch with the actual wife (the blonde) and not just following the detectives. So the plot device made perfect sense to me. It is the same thing as in research when they do a DOUBLE BLIND study...neither the subject NOR THE RESEARCHER know who is getting a placebo and who is getting an actual research drug. That way there is no bias from the observer. In this case, it made perfect sense to me that they did not know whether the gangsters knew what she looked like, so they gave her an EXTRA, EXTRA level of protection by having the person the "known" agents excorted be the agent, and the actual "subject" (the blonde) be a totally "uninterested 3rd party." So I don't know, maybe you had to make an extra naive plot leap to make it understandable... but it made sense to me."

 

more...

 

by tricksofthetrade  IMDb

 

I.A.D. is like any other departmental division, they get credit/promotions/glory for collars. 

 

Although you make a good point about the logic of investigating 'the most unbribeable cop in the world', you are not seeing the big picture. The IAD probably KNEW that the mob would be likley to throw bribe money at the sergeant. Even if he was clean, there is a possibility that he would be tempted to take it. The event such a possiblity and high profile arrest would be a career making event for the IAD officer and supervisor who headed the case. 

 

Also they put the real witness on a different train, there would not be a movie. 

 

 

My thoughts....  the real plot is LAPD corruption. One of the commentors on IMDb says that he's read that in the original script that Forbes was definitely on the take. The curious actions of Brown on the train also make you wonder about him, if he was truely that stupid or if he was deliberately exposing Meggs to the gangsters.  

 

Stanley Rubin (SR) What happened with "Narrow Margin" was kind of interesting. We finished the picture in '51. Howard Hughes had taken over the studio. He ran the finished cut, our cut of "Narrow Margin," one midnight, which was rather typical of Mr. Hughes. By the way, I never met him. I did get memos, but never met him in person. Hughes had bought the studio while we were making "Narrow Margin," but later he brought in Jerry Wald and Norman Krasna to head up production at the studio. In any case, Hughes ran the picture, which had gotten very good word of mouth already. I got a memo from Mr. Hughes, saying he thought it was a very good film, but that he wanted to hold it — instead of releasing it when it was due to be released, the memo stated that he wanted to hold it for a while and he wanted me to think about some way to turn "Narrow Margin," which we had shot for under $250,000 and in under 15 days, into an A-picture. Well, there wasn't any way to turn "Narrow Margin" into an A-picture unless you just scrubbed the picture and recast it with A-names and shot it all over again. I communicated that feeling to Mr. Hughes, but he persisted in thinking that there might be some way to turn it into a big picture. And he held it under his arm or in his vault for a year and that's why "Narrow Margin" was released a year, year and a half after it was finished.

 

Five-O: Was the Hughes cut much different from yours and Fleischer's?

SR: Hughes added at least one additonal heavy. I think Dick Fleischer shot those scenes. I was gone. I was already at Fox. Hughes added one heavy, and then he did another thing which was not smart, it was just an oversight, I guess, on his part and we didn't discover it until one night at Cinematheque at the Egyptian.

 

They ran "Narrow Margin" and someone asked: 'How come Charlie McGraw and Jacqueline White didn't go to pay their respects to Marie Windsor, who'd been shot and killed in the line of duty?' And I said, of course they stop to see her, before you saw them sneaking off the train to go down the tunnel to get into town. Well, we looked at the picture again and that scene had been removed. That moment we had shot was gone. That was a bad, bad, bad oversight on the part of Mr. Hughes. Nontheless, the picture was a good picture. We were all very proud of it, and people were impressed with the performances, the pace, with the plot turns... The picture was screened by Darryl Zanuck and that motivated Fox to make me an offer to come over there. Dick Fleischer went on to do "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" for Disney. Both of those things came from "Narrow Margin."

 

Full interview here:

 


 

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For anyone who hasn't yet watched The Narrow Margin, the following comments contain a SPOILER.

 

While watching The Narrow Margin and listening to Marie Windsor's character's dialogue, I began to think about Daily Dose of Darkness #26 and Foster Hirsch's assertion that her dialogue "sounds like a parody of the hard-boiled school; and the exaggeration is a tip-off that noir conventions are being burlesqued." Maybe my ear for hard-boiled dialogue isn't that sure, but I didn't think it sounded like a parody. If, on the other hand, other viewers agree with Hirsch, then might not exaggerated hard-boiled dialogue be appropriate for her character, as opposed to it being a burlesque of noir conventions? After all, her character isn't really a moll and might only be playing up to Detective Brown's and others' expectations of how the "kind of dame who would marry a hood" would speak, in order to keep her identity as an undercover police officer a secret.

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I know!  So much sympathy for Forbes and his family and not a word of sorrow for her.  I do wonder why a smart policewoman would be playing loud music and opening her door to the bad guys.

 

I wasn't really bothered by it because her character was unlikeable from the start, so there really wasn't much of an attachment to nor an emotional build up of her character for me. My only reaction was, "wow, that's too bad." From Brown's perspective, he too, didn't like her plus it was only one day of knowing her versus the six years of partnership with Forbes.

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I heard it said that McGraw's shadow profile looks like Dick Tracy's and I have to say I agree. Does anybody else?

I thought the same thing. Its the hat and the nose for sure. There's that scene where we see McGraw without the hat- he looked out of character.

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Having seen the first 8 I can't see them overall as noir.  The Steel Trap is an existential meltdown by the protagonist for no known reason.  Then when he succeeds it is his wife "the good girl" making him put it back.  Guess it is the idea that something that becomes an obsession, thinking about robbing bank, can lead to bad things...hmmm isn't that what they keep saying about the Internet and Social Media?  (Does that make this course the exception to the rule?)

 

Roadblock.  Can you really drive your car onto the L.A. river bed and they seem to indicate in movies like this or Point Blank?  Otherwise bad girl turned good girl trying to get him to go good, then just walks away.

 

The Strip begins as a documentary then not sure what it turns into.  Great to see musicians like Armstrong, but again girl getting killed for trying to help out.  Basically a good girl.

 

"Never seen a dog yet that liked me", took that idea from Shakespeare and Richard III That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;

Beware My Lovely proves you better listen to your dog.  Fantastic acting by Ryan as the man who wanted to join up but they laughed at him and gave him "coffee and doughnuts".  (prep for Bad Day at Blackrock).  They way he runs his hands over the floor after saying "Floors are my specialty".  Almost like caressing a woman, much different than when Ruth comes in and teases him.  Then just walks out the door.

 

Great dialog by Mae and Earl in Clash by Night:

"Big ideas, small results";    

 

"Home is where you come when you run out of places";    

 

"Didn't you ever want to cut up a beautiful girl?"

 

"New suit of clothes or a new lover, but can't decide which."

 

It had the ideas of noir style with the tide crashing over rocks and beach, the cannery, train and the fast hardboiled dialogue.  But seemed more of a melodrama than a noir.

 

Macao the lost GI and begins as a travelogue.  But the dialogue didn't get me, though I loved the barometer:

"Healthy for plants, Unhealthy for humans".  Somewhat noirish with the fishing nests and around the dock, but basically two good girls.

 

A parody of noir was Talk About a Stranger, basically good boy and good doctor.

 

Split Second seemed the most noir so far, but still more of a getaway flick.  Bad guy was a killer in the war where they made him a hero for three years, then came back and kept killing.  Did find it interesting the idea of radio keeping you informed so you could go onto your roof to see the blast.  Not a lot of anxiety for anyone out of the blast area in this film, until the end when Richard Egan (Dr. Ben) says:  "Let's take a look at the world of tomorrow".

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Thank you, dwallace ~ replying to your comment:

 

"Never seen a dog yet that liked me", took that idea from Shakespeare and Richard III That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;

Beware My Lovely proves you better listen to your dog.  Fantastic acting by Ryan as the man who wanted to join up but they laughed at him and gave him "coffee and doughnuts".  (prep for Bad Day at Blackrock).  They way he runs his hands over the floor after saying "Floors are my specialty".  Almost like caressing a woman, much different than when Ruth comes in and teases him.  Then just walks out the door.

 

These are excellent and beautifully expressed points about an altogether extraordinary performance by Robert Ryan.  I still can't believe the producers (or whoever) didn't use the original name of the play, "The Man," for the film.  As I have mentioned before, the title "Beware, My Lovely" is SO awful, a parody of NOIR.  I think for some reason the powers behind the movie tried to push the film into the noir genre, probably for financial reasons.  As with other films we have discussed, I am not sure "Beware, My Lovely" (aka "The Man") quite belongs in NOIR~DOM. 

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CLASH BY NIGHT  Earl Pfeiffer  (Robert Ryan) to Mae Doyle (Barbara Stanwyck) " I know a bottle by it`s label baby".

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Beware, My Lovely

 

This was a gripping little thriller with a very similar blueprint to "The Hitch Hiker," in that the viewer was given the protagonist's experience.  We feel her sense of helplessness, her anxiety over if this will ever end, and if it does, will it end badly.  Robert Ryan rendered a chillingly believable performance, which in the hands of a less skilled actor could've easily fallen into parody, and Miss Lupino was a perfect foil and added some Hollywood Heft to the proceedings.  It did seem like a play and that, combined with the low budget made it seem like a "Playhouse 90" or one of those other prestigious "live" TV shows from the 1950s, in its lighting, costumes and set.  At times the lighting, combined with the "flat" look of the print, at least in the daytime scenes, made it look like a good quality kinescope. It kicked in as a cinematic piece at nighttime.  There was a long shot of the room that was lit with many layers.  The daytime scenes were merely "lit up." The night scenes were truly "lit."  There was a terrifically composed shot of Robert Ryan's reflection in four different sized Christmas tree ornaments, ostensibly personifying his multiple personalities. "The Filmmakers" really put out a good product at what I'm sure was a reasonable price.  From appearance, the film's budget was modest, but used well.  The music was appropriate and enhanced the dramatic effect.  The supporting players were good, especially the niece, the grocery boy, and the telephone repairman. It made me wonder if Miss Lupino taught acting at the time and if these were among her students.  This film really jumped into psychoanalysis, as did many post WWII noirs.  There was one scene where Miss Lupino had a knife in her hand and chose not to use it and put it back in the drawer.  She was profiling Ryan as she went and did whatever she could to survive, without making too many "heroic" moves.  Same idea as in "The Hitch Hiker." This delivered much more than what the first few minutes of the film promised.  It was not so much film noir as it was a tight psychological thriller.  Although not billed as such, it seemed that Miss Lupino had a strong hand in "assisting" the director of record.

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Split Second seemed the most noir so far, but still more of a getaway flick.  Bad guy was a killer in the war where they made him a hero for three years, then came back and kept killing.  Did find it interesting the idea of radio keeping you informed so you could go onto your roof to see the blast.  Not a lot of anxiety for anyone out of the blast area in this film, until the end when Richard Egan (Dr. Ben) says:  "Let's take a look at the world of tomorrow".

Yes I liked this one too.

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I wasn't really bothered by it because her character was unlikeable from the start, so there really wasn't much of an attachment to nor an emotional build up of her character for me. My only reaction was, "wow, that's too bad." From Brown's perspective, he too, didn't like her plus it was only one day of knowing her versus the six years of partnership with Forbes.

Re:  The policewoman in "Narrow Margin."  I agree she wasn't likeable, but it would only be fair for Brown, and the audience, to assume that her self-centered hardboiled manner had been part of her act as a moll.  I didn't expect Brown to be as upset as he was for his partner but he could have tossed out a, "That's too bad," for a fellow police office killed in the line of duty.

 

It also caused me to dislike the blonde for being so cavalier about a life lost to protect her own. 

She and her disobedient little brat.  (kidding)

 

[i see this is explained as an editing mistake in the red print below.] 

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The Narrow Margin

 

I was very excited to see this after I watched its "Daily Dose."  It did not disappoint.  It exceeded expectations.  The opening with train sounds as the underscoring was perfectly bookended with the same thing at the end.  No music.  Perfect for the piece.  It made it seem modern, and realistic. Instead of letting the confined space of the train be a shooting liability, Fleischer uses it to great advantage, especially in the men's room beat down.  The extreme close-ups here work so effectively.  Also, the camera careens around the corridors, and gets stuck in the corridors with large actor Paul Maxey doing a great job. Nice to see Queenie Leonard, the domestic in Rene Clair's "And Then There Were None."  This film bends the staples of noir out of shape a bit, but it is none the worse for wear.  Just a perfectly enjoyable piece of entertainment, free of some of the convolution of many postwar noir plots.  Easy to follow, easy to enjoy!

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“The Narrow Margin”

 

WHAT!!!  :huh:

 

Not even a second thought, much less a tear, for the dead policewoman?  :angry:  :angry:  :angry:  

I agree!  He was supposed to be protecting her!  Great job. :huh:

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Kansas City Confidential

 

Was this a week's viewing aiming to get us to question what it means to be Noir? Because, by and large, most of the films I've watched I've been hard pressed to see as such. Or perhaps as this course progresses I'm moving into that narrower definition of Noir camp, for me maybe there were far fewer Noirs made than is generally held to be the case

 

In any case, Kansas City Confidential is such a film. A brutal and uncompromising heist and revenge movie for sure, but I see very little of Noir style in the movie: most of the time it's brightly lit, no shadows or skewed angles, I don't see many of the societal issues of the day, nor any existential angst, it has a (vaguely unsatisfying) happy ending, no femme fatale, and to top it all, it's barely even in Kansas at all, most of the action taking place in Mexico! 

 

Still, I enjoyed the film and it did have Lee Van Cleef in it! Oh, and a thought crossed my mind: was Kevin Spacey in LA Confidential channeling his inner John Payne? They look so similar in some scenes. 

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Clash by Night

 

Don't like this film.  I've always been wary of movies pulled from very stylized literary authors, especially those produced in the 1950s.  Odets' language has very specific rhythms and can sound stilted when not delivered with complete conviction.  There's a lot of "stilt" goin' on in this one.  Stanwyck's got a great hold on the language. She burns the screen with each line, a good deal of the time in her full-slip.  Ryan is terrific, and brings the "wife beater" t-shirt to a whole new level of sexy.  Stanwyck putting her arms around Ryan's back and then not being able to resist slipping her hand under that shirt just to feel his skin right before the fadeout...these guys and gals don't apply any restraint to their sexual compunctions.  Keith Andes goes through most of the movie with his shirt off, while Marilyn Monroe, trying awfully hard to make her mark, has on basically what's a bra top with a peek-a-boo side in at least one scene .  What was Lang thinking?  Did he figure that the movie was so boring in its dialogue that he had to flash the flesh of both genders to keep the audience awake and interested?  I commend him for pushing the envelope in 1952 with the censors, but he should've paid equal attention to the acting.  Paul Douglas, who's usually really a good actor, played the first 3/4s of this film like he was Lenny from "Of Mice and Men."  Alright, he's a simple fella, shy around women, but he also owns what seems to be a state of the art fishing boat and a successful business, so he's not a moron.  Why did he play him like one.  He finally "comes to" in the last scene.  Too little, too late. The noir element of this is that people bring each other down.  Douglas brought himself down by accepting Stanwyck as his wife on her terms, Stanwyck brought Douglas and Ryan down by betraying them both, Douglas brought Stanwyck down by not listening to her when she told him she was no good.  Ryan brought Stanwyck down when he persisted after she tried multiple times to resist him.  J. Carol Naish brought Douglas down by inciting him to almost kill Ryan.  And the stereotypical Italian father (a really embarrassing portrayal) brought everybody down by just showing up.  Downer.  (Aaargh!)

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The Narrow Margin

 

This movie felt so claustrophobic to me because so much of it was shot on a train. Jennings, special agent for the railroad, gave some comic relief when he says that no one likes a fat man and when he and Detective Brown get stuck in a narrow train corridor. I felt cramped myself!

 

Some noteworthy points:

• The lighting, the jazz music in the witness’s apartment and her apartment building. The camera shot between two railing posts, the shot of Detective Brown coming up the stairs with the shadows of the railing slats falling across him.

• Detective Forbes is shot and killed. Very noir, I thought, to have a main character—and law enforcement at that—killed so early in the movie.

• Lots of plot twists and surprises in this movie. For example, suspicion is cast on Special Agent Jennings when bars of light fall across him, camera lingers on him, and he stares after Detective Brown on the train. But we learn later that he is a special agent for the railroad. I was very surprised to learn that the dark-haired woman played by Marie Windsor was an undercover police officer, playing a police decoy. I was also surprised to learn that the blond and the mother of Tommy (Ann Sinclair) was the real Mrs. Neall.

• The fight scenes look very realistic. The one between Detective Brown and Joseph Kemp on the train is a long one. At one point, Detective Brown kicks Kemp in the face: We see the sole of his shoe coming at the camera, at the viewer. A bit of first-person POV that worked.

• Detective Brown watches the action in the window reflection to track the blond Mrs. Neall and Densel in the adjoining room on the train. He gives them fake instructions so he can distract Densel, break in, and save Mrs. Neall. Clever filming and clever plot device.

 

What I really noticed about The Narrow Margin (besides the claustrophobia) was the way Detective Brown’s attitude toward the two women changes—and he drops his snappy one-liners and his hard-boiled edge. By the end of the movie, neither woman is a “dame.” He has new-found respect for the undercover policewoman who died protecting him and the whole operation. And he calls the real Mrs. Neall a lady. When they get off the train in Los Angeles, Mrs. Neall doesn’t want to hide any more. When other police officers meeting Detective Brown and Mrs. Neall protest her decision, Detective Brown says, “You heard the lady,” and they walk off arm in arm. Not a particularly noir ending but very satisfying.

 

Additional thoughts: My borrowed copy of the DVD for The Narrow Margin came with French subtitles. In French the movie is called Le Seul Temoin (“The Only Witness”). I thought it was interesting that the French translation of all the slang in the opening sequence (which we saw in the Daily Dose) is all literal. No French slang in the subtitles for all that hard-boiled, film noir dialogue, most of it delivered by Detective Brown.

 

Anyway, I thought the French title made more sense.

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Okay Folks, here we go...

 

"His Kind of Woman" - this is a movie I've seen bits and pieces of on and off for years.  I finally saw the whole thing last night...what a horrible movie (yes, only my opinion of course).  It had everything in it but the kitchen sink.  What was anyone thinking?  It dragged on and on and was so slow moving.

 

Too many subplots, Jim Backus (Mr. Magoo/Mr. Howell), really - trying to do what Claude Reins was trying to do with the little philly in "Casablanca", really?  I couldn't buy that one.  He was a wonderful character actor, he was great in "It's a Mad Mad World" (I can't see!) but believe him as a "lover"...I don't think so.  He made all those classic Jim Backus faces while playing cards.

 

I love "Macao" which I watched earlier yesterday...great film noir...plot, excitement, mystery, murder - very well done.

 

In "His Kind of Woman", they dragged out killing Dan so long that I was ready to kill him, kill someone at least.  Vincent Price and the Mexican police, they looked more like the Keystone Kops. 

 

It just seemed like a very silly movie to me.  Jane Russell having an affair with a ham, even for his money? 

 

I wouldn't really even classify it as a film noir although there were some elements.

 

It was almost as if they found assorted actors in need of work and they threw them in the movie out of charity.  Tim Holt...basically a walk-on part.

 

What happened to the hurricane?  The wind was blowing while he was trying to land then it was gone.

 

Howard Hughes, I believe was a genius, however, at a time when his genius and his OCD and assorted other oddities were overlooked perhaps because of his great wealth and perhaps also because no one really knew medically how to deal with him.  He drove folks nuts; at RKO, at Hughes Aircraft with his perfection.  To me nothing meant anything because he didn't do without.  He used people, entire companies like toys, playthings, not realizing that these were real people with real lives, real bills.  He played with everything like he was a giant and them mere puppets. 

 

This was indeed a Howard Hughes production.

 

Next time, I'll pass it by.

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I heard it said that McGraw's shadow profile looks like Dick Tracy's and I have to say I agree. Does anybody else?

I thought the same about McGraw's profile. He seems to have a profile for noir! And I thought he was great in The Narrow Margin. (Still not wild about the title, though.)

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Next up - "The Narrow Margin" -

 

A good film noir.

 

The only real problem I have with it was the way the death of Marie Windsor's character was addressed or rather not addressed.

 

Charles harped on the whole movie about his partner and what a sacrifice he made for his job and what a great guy he was and how his widow and kids were going to be without.  What about her character?  We don't know anything about her life, perhaps she had a husband and children. 

 

He never went back to the room.  Her death was never addressed.  Did anyone clean up after her murder?  It was a point left open which I don't think was right.

 

Also, Charles was also preaching what a clean record he had with IAD and how upright because he never took a bribe and basically what a piece of crap Marie was for being married to a gangster. 

 

What an about-face he did when he realized who the real Mrs. Neal was and that he had feelings for her.

 

He could have gone back to the stateroom where Marie Windsor's body was and at least thrown in a kind word about, "wow, she was a police officer and died doing her job just like his partner".

 

I don't think this was right...she fell off the face of the earth and that's that.

 

Are we also to believe that there were only three hit-men looking for Mrs. Neal and that now that they were dead, everything would be fine, especially since she was going out in public to address the villains?  I'm very skeptical about this.

 

Good movie otherwise, though.

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"The Strip" -

 

Again, I'm sorry to offend but I've always found it difficult to buy Mickey Rooney as a lover.  Yes, I know he was married 1,000 times, perhaps others found it difficult as well.

 

"Miss Fluff" as I'll call her, she was no dummy.  She knew what she wanted and wasn't going to let anyone stop her.  She used poor William Demarest as a shield when she felt like it.  I'm sure he realized this, as he was no dummy either.

 

Did anyone notice that the hatcheck girl and "Miss Fluff" bore a striking resemblance to each other or is it just me thinking this - especially at the end when all of a sudden there was a new cigarette girl. 

 

I had to keep looking at both women during the movie to see which was which.  I guess it was difficult finding women shorter than Mickey. 

 

James Craig vs. Mickey Rooney, really?  I'm sorry but there was no contest. 

 

I think she knew what she was getting into and thought she could handle it.

 

The ego of Mickey's character, he just met her, she made a deal to date him so that he could have the job playing the drums and then all of a sudden, he thinks they're going to marry and he's telling her what she and cannot do?  I don't think so...even for those times.  They hadn't been dating for a time and you could see she didn't really give a rat's you-know-what about him.

 

Some of this is silly.

 

The music was great and I agree, having all those "greats" in one movie was outstanding. 

 

There's no denying that Mickey Rooney was a multi-talented, multi-faceted human being but I just can't accept Andy Hardy as a great lover.

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Clash by Night

 

Don't like this film.  I've always been wary of movies pulled from very stylized literary authors, especially those produced in the 1950s.  Odets' language has very specific rhythms and can sound stilted when not delivered with complete conviction.  There's a lot of "stilt" goin' on in this one.  Stanwyck's got a great hold on the language. She burns the screen with each line, a good deal of the time in her full-slip.  Ryan is terrific, and brings the "wife beater" t-shirt to a whole new level of sexy.  Stanwyck putting her arms around Ryan's back and then not being able to resist slipping her hand under that shirt just to feel his skin right before the fadeout...these guys and gals don't apply any restraint to their sexual compunctions.  Keith Andes goes through most of the movie with his shirt off, while Marilyn Monroe, trying awfully hard to make her mark, has on basically what's a bra top with a peek-a-boo side in at least one scene .  What was Lang thinking?  Did he figure that the movie was so boring in its dialogue that he had to flash the flesh of both genders to keep the audience awake and interested?  I commend him for pushing the envelope in 1952 with the censors, but he should've paid equal attention to the acting.  Paul Douglas, who's usually really a good actor, played the first 3/4s of this film like he was Lenny from "Of Mice and Men."  Alright, he's a simple fella, shy around women, but he also owns what seems to be a state of the art fishing boat and a successful business, so he's not a moron.  Why did he play him like one.  He finally "comes to" in the last scene.  Too little, too late. The noir element of this is that people bring each other down.  Douglas brought himself down by accepting Stanwyck as his wife on her terms, Stanwyck brought Douglas and Ryan down by betraying them both, Douglas brought Stanwyck down by not listening to her when she told him she was no good.  Ryan brought Stanwyck down when he persisted after she tried multiple times to resist him.  J. Carol Naish brought Douglas down by inciting him to almost kill Ryan.  And the stereotypical Italian father (a really embarrassing portrayal) brought everybody down by just showing up.  Downer.  (Aaargh!)

I agree with your comments on this movie. I thought I would be the only one who disliked it. I saw spousal abuse written all over it; or would that be a subtext.? Anyhow, the only noir element I could get out of it was that of Robert Ryan's woman hating character. Just not into it with this one.

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"Talk About a Stranger" -

 

A film noir?  I think by a stretch this was a noir.

 

A boy running around the entire movie angry about the death of his dog and trying to turn anyone who'd listen against the "stranger in the big house", no.

 

Billy Gray, had way too much power, freedom, say for my money.  His parents just sat there and laughed or smiled and had the general "isn't he wonderful" attitude.

 

Nancy Davis, aka Mrs. You-Know-Who, bad actress in my opinion.  I'll probably have the Secret Service knocking on my door but bad actress.

 

The two times I've seen her she's wearing what I'm calling a smock buttoned all the way up to the neck.  She has his plastic, pasty, non-emotional expressions.  She's stiff and the movie would proceed just as well if her character wasn't even in it.  Some would probably say she played her characters well if I don't like them.  I think she found her true calling later when she helped run The White House.

 

George Murphy looked tired and like he was on his way out and also on to bigger and better jobs, in politics as well,  You think he and Nancy discussed their futures during this movie - HAHA!

 

I learned that Nancy's name had appeared on one of those blacklists erroneously?  She went to the President of the Screen Actors Guild to ask for help clearing her name.  Guess who that was?  Yep, Ronnie...history began!

 

I was reminded of how much free time kids actually had years ago...running around, no TV, playing outside, getting into mischief.  Perhaps because of where they lived, but he was all over the place and didn't really seem to have any kind of curfew.  He caused a lot of trouble and everyone basically let him slide.

 

Interesting role for Lewis Stone, almost seemed like an extension of Judge Hardy, but a little darker.

 

I didn't like this movie.

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"Angel Face" -

 

I always liked Jean Simmons, I thought she was an elegant actress, it didn't hurt that she was so pretty and had such a great smile and laugh.  I like Robert Mitchum also and this is one noir where he doesn't get the you-know-what beaten out of him physically, only emotionally!

 

Poor Robert, trying to do the chauvinistic thing and help the poor girl in distress.  When will these fellows ever learn?

 

She was one really sick and wacky female, probably one of the worst femme fatales of the whole course!

 

I had heard an interview by Robert Mitchum some time ago and he was talking about this movie.  He said that Otto Preminger seemed to take a perverse delight in watching the scene where Robert slaps Jean.  He kept having them do it over and over again and Robert could see that it was really hurting Jean.  At one point Robert turned around and slapped Otto instead of Jean and then they moved on.

 

I've seen this movie before so there was no surprise ending for me, however, the first time I saw it...WOW!

 

Herbert Marshall didn't see the evil in his daughter because she didn't direct it at him except for accidentally of course and by then it was too late for him.

 

Greed also reared it's ugly head in his movie, as in most noirs...Robert had a good and stable job and a pretty girl who clearly cared for him.  Was it good enough...nope!

 

Good movie!

 

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Okay Folks, here we go...

 

"His Kind of Woman" - this is a movie I've seen bits and pieces of on and off for years.  I finally saw the whole thing last night...what a horrible movie (yes, only my opinion of course).  It had everything in it but the kitchen sink.  What was anyone thinking?  It dragged on and on and was so slow moving.

 

Too many subplots, Jim Backus (Mr. Magoo/Mr. Howell), really - trying to do what Claude Reins was trying to do with the little philly in "Casablanca", really?  I couldn't buy that one.  He was a wonderful character actor, he was great in "It's a Mad Mad World" (I can't see!) but believe him as a "lover"...I don't think so.  He made all those classic Jim Backus faces while playing cards.

 

I love "Macao" which I watched earlier yesterday...great film noir...plot, excitement, mystery, murder - very well done.

 

In "His Kind of Woman", they dragged out killing Dan so long that I was ready to kill him, kill someone at least.  Vincent Price and the Mexican police, they looked more like the Keystone Kops. 

 

It just seemed like a very silly movie to me.  Jane Russell having an affair with a ham, even for his money? 

 

I wouldn't really even classify it as a film noir although there were some elements.

 

It was almost as if they found assorted actors in need of work and they threw them in the movie out of charity.  Tim Holt...basically a walk-on part.

 

What happened to the hurricane?  The wind was blowing while he was trying to land then it was gone.

 

Howard Hughes, I believe was a genius, however, at a time when his genius and his OCD and assorted other oddities were overlooked perhaps because of his great wealth and perhaps also because no one really knew medically how to deal with him.  He drove folks nuts; at RKO, at Hughes Aircraft with his perfection.  To me nothing meant anything because he didn't do without.  He used people, entire companies like toys, playthings, not realizing that these were real people with real lives, real bills.  He played with everything like he was a giant and there mere puppets. 

 

This was indeed a Howard Hughes production.

 

Next time, I'll pass it by.

 

 

Agree.   Macao is the far better film.   His Kind of Woman plays more like a comedy than a noir.   The Jim Backus and Vincent Price characters were there for comic relief.    The plot didn't make a whole lot of sense.   I'm still trying to figure out why Dan swam back to the yacht after having escaped being brought there by McGraw & Co. in the first place?    

 

Obviously, so he could be threatened by Burr and the plastic surgeon (another 'doctor' who's a whiz-bang with a hypo, like in Murder My Sweet, Kiss Me Deadly,  etc.) for what seemed an eternity, but I'm not sure he had a valid reason for him to go back except to place himself in more danger.  

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Agree.   Macao is the far better film.   His Kind of Woman plays more like a comedy than a noir.   The Jim Backus and Vincent Price characters were there for comic relief.    The plot didn't make a whole lot of sense.   I'm still trying to figure out why Dan swam back to the yacht after having escaped being brought there by McGraw & Co. in the first place?    

 

Obviously, so he could be threatened by Burr and the plastic surgeon (another 'doctor' who's a whiz-bang with a hypo, like in Murder My Sweet, Kiss Me Deadly,  etc.) for what seemed an eternity, but I'm not sure he had a valid reason for him to go back except to place himself in more danger.  

Yes, I agree and did you notice when he swam back, he got there very quickly and everyone else was right behind him.  What about all the guns getting wet?

 

I may have missed it but I didn't see what happened to the doctor.  What that left open on purpose to let us know that an ex-Nazi was running around?

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Kansas City Confidential

 

Was this a week's viewing aiming to get us to question what it means to be Noir? Because, by and large, most of the films I've watched I've been hard pressed to see as such. Or perhaps as this course progresses I'm moving into that narrower definition of Noir camp, for me maybe there were far fewer Noirs made than is generally held to be the case

 

In any case, Kansas City Confidential is such a film. A brutal and uncompromising heist and revenge movie for sure, but I see very little of Noir style in the movie: most of the time it's brightly lit, no shadows or skewed angles, I don't see many of the societal issues of the day, nor any existential angst, it has a (vaguely unsatisfying) happy ending, no femme fatale, and to top it all, it's barely even in Kansas at all, most of the action taking place in Mexico! 

 

Still, I enjoyed the film and it did have Lee Van Cleef in it! Oh, and a thought crossed my mind: was Kevin Spacey in LA Confidential channeling his inner John Payne? They look so similar in some scenes. 

I agree with the labeling of some of these as noirs.  Perhaps as stated, they were getting to the end of noir and the bottom of the barrel.  These are definitely more violent, realistic, gruesome movies and for the most part, I don't like them. 

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