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ChiO

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Everything posted by ChiO

  1. And The Group Theater (John Garfield) meets The Method (Shelley Winters) in *He Ran All the Way*. Perhaps Shelley Winters should be considered the Queen of Noir (The Method Division): *A Place in the Sun* (also has Montgomery Clift -- and, yes, some consider it Noir) *Cry of the City* *A Double Life* *I Died a Thousand Times* *Odds Against Tomorrow* Another Steiger: *The Harder They Fall* Karl Malden: *Kiss of Death* and *Where the Sidewalk Ends*
  2. *Brando has never been in a real noir. Nor has Clift, Newman, or any other Method-trained actor.( If I am wrong, feel free to pile on).* Although having unanimity on the terms "real noir" and "Method-trained" may be tough, how about: Rod Steiger and Shelley Winters: *The Big Knife* Eli Wallach: *The Lineup*
  3. Was it *Dementia* (1955) or *Daughter of Horror* (1957) that was shown? The TCM online schedule had the latter, but my TV provider had the former. Same movie but for the title and Ed McMahon's narration, which does add a Criswellian flavor. This is one of my favorite horror noirs -- a true noir nightmare. It's the only movie John Parker made, which is a shame given his twisted concept that he translates into film beautifully. Plus it has the involvement of Bruno VeSota, an actor-director-producer worthy of cultish obsession. Do whatever you can to see his *Female Jungle* (1955), starring Lawrence Tierney, John Carradine and Bruno VeSota, with an mesmerizing appearance by Jayne Mansfield, directed by Bruno VeSota, cowritten by Bruno VeSota, and photographed by Woody Bredell. Wow! Sleazy and grimy (or, should I say, Grimesian?).
  4. A very noir *HAPPY BIRTHDAY!* to Mr. Ryan.
  5. I'm with you, Mark, on *Hollow Triumph*. And one reason is that it was photographed by my favorite noir cinematographer, John Alton, during his Eagle-Lion heyday (T-Men, Bury Me Dead, Canon City, The Amazing Mr. X, Raw Deal, He Walked by Night -- all in 1947 and 1948 -- and Reign of Terror in 1949). Some sources state that Paul Henreid took over the directing chores.
  6. *Well now see.. I did not even know that it was the same guy making both movies. (DUH!) :-) really have only just started noticing his name, I guess. I need to look at his "filmography" and find out how many of his films I actually have seen.* Every Nicholas Ray movie is worth seeing, but I'd put the following into the "must-see" category: *They Live by Night* (1948) *Knock on Any Door* (1949) *In a Lonely Place* (1950) *On Dangerous Ground* (1952) *The Lusty Men* (1952) *Johnny Guitar* (1954) *Rebel Without a Cause* (1955) *Bigger Than Life* (1956) *Party Girl* (1958) Then there's *We Can't Go Home Again* (1973-76), a fascinating experimental film and quasi-documentary made with students when he was teaching college, and *Lightning Over Water* (1981), a documentary on his death, co-directed with Wim Wenders, and one of the most painfully emotional films I've ever seen. A real glutton for Ray? I Was Interrupted: Nicholas Ray on Making Movies, an "autobiography" compiled from his writings and edited by his last wife, Susan Ray. He's one of a kind.
  7. *Do you think they offered him the position as production head to keep him in line? To control him, or to keep their enemies close?* Assuming the offer was made -- and there does appear to be some doubt -- my guess is that the Nazis would have considered it to be a feather in the cap to have the best known and most popular German director, especially one who made *Die Nibelungen*, head up film production. And, oh by the way, that would most likely keep him in line. I read somewhere (don't remember where, so maybe I'm hallucinating) that Carl Th. Dreyer was also offered the job -- and he wasn't even German (though he made three films in Germany in the '20s) -- because the Nazis (or at least Goebbels) saw the power of *The Passion of Joan of Arc* and the potential of using that power for government purposes.
  8. *Lang would have known this was foremost in the minds of the people of Germany when he made the movie and he was pretty much kicked out of the country after he made +M+. The film is way too problematic for budding Nazis to have been comfortable with - it is a very individualistic and questioning movie, dealing with motives of the bureaucracy, and the mob violence in the film made too much of a statement.* Is this from the DVD commentary? I'll admit that I haven't listened to the commentary on the Criterion version I have; however, the conclusion I drew from Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast (McGilligan, 1997) is quite different. Lang didn't get "pretty much kicked out" of Germany after he made M. The German censors, in fact, had no problem with M. The censors did have a problem with Lang's next movie, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse. In spite of that (or, maybe, in a perverse way, because of that), however, Goebbels -- according to Lang -- offered Lang the opportunity to be "an honorary Aryan" and be in charge of German film production. Whether that offer did in fact occur (some of Lang's contemporaries questioned it, and the only proof of its occurrence is Lang's telling of the story), Lang did leave Germany by choice, relocating to Paris in 1933, knowing that if -- as was highly likely -- the Nazis considered him to be Jewish, then it would be foolish to remain in Germany.
  9. Coleen Gray was also in: *Kiss of Death* (1947) *The Sleeping City* (1950) *Kansas City Confidential* (1952) *The Killing* (1956) And one could toss in *Death of a Scoundrel* (1956) if one is so inclined.
  10. On the subject of Film Noir... Just for the record -- *JOHN ALTON IS GOD!* (or, if not, he was commissioned to photograph Him, as portrayed by Orson Welles) I saw that 35mm print of *REIGN OF TERROR* (Anthony Mann, 1949) last night. Sure, the dialogue ranges from the, to be kind, stylized to the banal depending on whether one prefers Robert Cummings' grandiloquent elocution or Charles McGraw's guttural growl. The story is a mish-mash of hard-boiled detective fiction, romantic melodrama and B-Western dressed in 18th century costumes. The acting ranges from quite enjoyable (Richard Basehart, Arnold Moss, Charles McGraw) to...well...Robert Cummings and Arlene Dahl (no brickbats, please...this just doesn't represent their best work). The direction is fine, but let's face it... This is John Alton's movie all the way. Despite the above, this is a wonderful movie and Alton's photography has to be the reason. Every one of his trademarks is there -- the high contrast between light and dark, scenes in which there is only enough light to keep the screen from being pitch black, shadows cast when there is no apparent light source, close-ups that are grotesque, performances in silhouette, diagonal lines cutting through the frame. All adding up to creating dramatic tension and visual interest. And that's what I thought when watching my muddy print. In near pristine 35mm...(sigh). I may never be able to watch this movie again.
  11. While slowly working my way through Johnny Staccato , right there in the second episode, Murder for Credit, was Charles McGraw playing a song-stealing lounge lizard singer. But he didn't make it through the episode...Martin Landau made sure of that.
  12. My generalized take on it: *Are all FILM NOIR MOVIES either Gangster Flicks or Crime Dramas?* No. But because of the general mood and theme of film noir -- outsider being trapped (or thinking he or she is trapped) by forces beyond his or her control -- a crime or plotting of a crime or escaping from a crime is extremely common. Film noir is transgeneric. A Western can be a noir. A Musical can be a noir. On and on. It's the mood and theme (assisted by some combination of other stylistic elements such as camera angles, lighting, etc.) that matters. But I'm the flexible sort of film noir fan. *does a FILM NOIR have to be a Black and White movie?* No. But, again, given the mood and theme, black & white often helps. Many of the finest film noirs during what is generally considered the Classic Period of Film Noir (1940 or so through 1958 or early '60s) were relatively low budget productions. That combined with the mood and theme results in film noir being typically thought of as black and white movies.
  13. At another site about 1-1/2 years ago, we had the exercise of selecting 25 Essentials in addition to these films that were provided as givens: *Citizen Kane* (1941) *Casablanca* (1942) *The Wizard of Oz* (1939) *Gone With the Wind* (1939) *The Godfather* (1972) *Psycho* (1960) I tried to have only one per director and cover major genres/movements (again, with only one film) and key nations, as well as not emphasizing any particular stars. Not necessarily my favorites of each director or genre/movement or nation, but that's the way the ol' reel unwinds. And, if by "classic" you mean "films of a certain era" or "films released before 19XX", then you'll eliminate some of these. In no particular order: 1. *Invasion of the Body Snatchers* - Siegel, horror/sci-fi and one scary, thought-provoking movie 2. *A Matter of Life and Death* - Powell/Pressburger (Great Britain), romantic, spiritual, and mighty beautiful 3. *Dr. Strangelove* - Kubrick, Cold War paranoia and deathly funny 4. *Rebel Without a Cause* - Ray, Dean, JDs and social criticism 5. *The Gold Rush* - Chaplin and my favorite silent comedy 6. *Birth of a Nation* - gotta have Griffith and this is a conversation starter 7. *Tokyo Story* - Ozu (Japan) and too marvelous to omit 8. Un chien andalou/L'Age d'or - Bunuel and Spanish-Franco surrealism 9. *His Girl Friday* - Hawks, Grant and my favorite screwball comedy 10. *The Naked Spur* - need Anthony Mann, James Stewart and Robert Ryan somewhere, and a Western, so this is a 4-fer 11. *The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari* - Wiene (Germany), fulfills the German Expressionism quota 12. *The Passion of Joan of Arc* - Dreyer (does it count as French or Danish?) and, like Tokyo Story, a must-see 13. *The World's Greatest Sinner* - tough to limit Timothy Carey to just one performance, so let's go with the one he directed, and it's a marvelous one at that 14. *Gun Crazy* - only one film noir? Gotta be Lewis' masterpiece 15. *Stars in My Crown* - Tourneur's sublime story of memory and myth 16. *Shadows* - not my favorite Cassavetes, but perhaps the most important 17. *Killer of Sheep* - Burnett's demonstration of what modern film should be 18. *La sortie des Usines Lumiere* (Lumiere)/Trip to the Moon (Melies) - isn't there a law that requires seeing these? 19. *Der letze Mann* - *Sunrise* is stunning, but this is the Murnau film I keep returning to (oops - this makes two movies photographed by Rudolph Mate) 20. *Grand Illusion* - must have Renoir (French) and this has the bonus of Erich Von Stroheim 21. *Rome, Open City* - must have Italian Neo-Realism and this is generally considered the beginning 22. *Last Year at Marienbad* - need a French New Wave representative and, for me, Resnais beats out Godard 23. *Written On the Wind* - Sirk, a weepie and great 24. *Ali: Fear Eats the Soul* - Fassbinder is the representative of the New German Cinema (does this count as a second Sirk movie?) 25. *The Battleship Potemkin* - I know, I know, everyone's seen it...but it is essential Soviet Realism
  14. *Hacks resent greater talents. So, de Toth's lasting memorial will be as a first-class jerk.* Setting aside Hitchcock's view of actors, how they should be treated and de Toth's reflection on that, among de Toth's lasting memorial will be: *Day of the Outlaw* *Crime Wave* *Pitfall* *Dark Waters* *None Shall Escape* *The Gunfighter* (story) Not quite a "hack" in my opinion.
  15. Of course. One should never miss a Samuel Fuller movie (except Hell and High Water).
  16. _LoveFilmNoir_ wrote: I *wonder what those pre-1940s films are. By any chance is THE ROARING TWENTIES or FURY on there? I can't comprehend why they would omit THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT.* *Underworld* (Von Sternberg, 1927) *The Racket* (Milestone, 1928) *Thunderbolt* (Von Sternberg, 1929) *City Streets* (Mamoulian, 1931) *Beast of the City* (Brabin, 1932) *I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang* (LeRoy, 1932) *The Scoundrel* (Hecht/MacArthur, 1935) *Fury* (Lang, 1936) *You Only Live Once* (Lang, 1937)
  17. *I guess people don't consider THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT to be technically noir since it was released in 1940 (I don't agree with this, but whatever).* For what it's worth, Silver/Ward include nine pre-1940 movies, so apparently they do not feel compelled to adhere to the "1940" dogma either, but they didn't include They Drive By Night. *Naked Alibi* -- what a marvelous movie...and noir as all get-out. Silver/Ward include it in the appendix, as well as -- another for Lupino & Walsh -- The Man I Love. Edited by: ChiO on Sep 16, 2010 1:06 PM (how many typos can I find?) Edited by: ChiO on Sep 16, 2010 1:08 PM
  18. Possible tie breakers: _Stanwyck_ -- Silver/Ward added *No Man Her Own* (Mitchell Leisen, 1950), another of the many noirs based on a story by Cornell Woolrich, in an appendix. I would also add *Jeopardy* (John Sturges, 1953). Why they left that out is beyond me. _Lupino_ -- I would add *They Drive By Night* (Raoul Walsh, 1940). Bonus points for directing The Hitchhiker?
  19. Movieman: I recommend October 30 if you can work it in -- *Pitfall* (de Toth is always worthwhile) and *Cry Terror!* (Steiger is really special in this one).
  20. Some that come to mind: *Body and Soul* - boxing *The Harder They Fall* - boxing *Night and the City* - wrestling *The Killers* (Siegel) - car racing *The Hustler* - pool *The Killing* - horse racing *The Basketball Fix* - basketball (duh!) Edited by: ChiO on Sep 15, 2010 1:27 PM (to add a couple I should've thought of before)
  21. _MyFavoriteFilm_ wrote: *Another film worth mentioning is THE BLUE DAHLIA. Originally, Raymond Chandler intended for the returning war vet to be the killer. But that proved to be against the code and it also would've meant less of a market for the film, since patriotism was at an all-time high in North America. The filmmakers had to change the ending and pin the murder on another character...even though clues throughout the movie suggest the vet is the actual culprit.* Close, but the most recent tale I've read about this nearly doomed tale reveals that the Breen Office (the Code enforcers at the time) did _not_ force Paramount to change who committed the murder. According to Raymond Chandler, who wrote the story, it was the Navy Department who asked for the change. The Breen Office requested several other changes, which were made, revolving around Johnny (Alan Ladd) who Chandler had written to be more similar to Buzz (William Bendix) -- savagely brutal when under stress. Which is not to say that the Breen Office wasn't delighted with the Navy's change or that the existence of the Code didn't impact on Paramount's willingness to make the change. But, to say "that proved to be against the code" doesn't tell the whole story.
  22. 10 FAVORITES OF THE DAY *Gun Crazy* *Touch of Evil* *Detour* *Blast of Silence* *Female Jungle* *Pickup on South Street* *Out of the Past* *Dial 1119* *The Friends of Eddie Coyle* *He Walked by Night*
  23. Ms. Cutter and I were together at Dewey's Noir Fest at the Roxie last May, but we weren't together regarding JOHNNY COOL. What I wrote on another film forum at the time: One part Claude, the robotically efficient killer in MURDER BY CONTRACT, and one part Frankie Bono, the nihilistic hit man of BLAST OF SILENCE, Johnny Cool is both a one man army and...he's a fool (as Sammy Davis, Jr. sings over faux-Saul Bass credits) in *JOHNNY COOL* (William Asher, 1963). To think that Asher directed this between, and in the same year as, *BEACH PARTY* and *MUSCLE BEACH PARTY* (and, yes, he directed the rest of the *BEACH PARTY* franchise). All that was missing here was Annette, Harvey Lembeck and Timothy Carey. Cold and ultra-violent, *JOHNNY COOL* deserves wider recognition as a bridge between late-classic noir and the '70s noir of *THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE* and THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE.
  24. *There has to a gap somewhere, so that noir can be distinguished from neo-noir.* Not necessarily. In my view, noir has never stopped being made so there is no gap -- cycles, perhaps, but not "gaps". At some point, however, "noir" became -- or was starting to become (Chinatown, perhaps) -- a recognizable term in popular culture and then certain films began to be made that were self-consciously noir ("Hey, gang! Let's put on a noir!") while some others, though likely a smaller number, continued to be made and happened to be noir. Those that are (or appear to be) self-consciously noir, from my perspective, are neo-noir. So both a noir (The Killing of a Chinese Bookie) and a neo-noir (Red Rock West) can be made after the Golden Age of Noir. In short, the last noir is yet to be made. Also, this approach has the advantage of making any debate about dates and eras less important than the content and form of the movies.
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