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ChiO

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Everything posted by ChiO

  1. FrankGreyGrimes: Each film on your two lists certainly has something to commend it and is worth watching (even though I'm not a fan *The Postman Always Rings Twice* -- to me, the direction is lackluster -- and Hangover Square, which may have the most annoying score in film history and, yes, I know, it's by Bernard Herrmann). But there are three absolute ESSENTIALS in my book on the lists: *The Big Combo* *Thieves' Highway* *Kiss Me Deadly* But only after watching The Passion of Joan of Arc.
  2. *we can still choose to believe that Walter could have decided right there and then that maybe he shouldn't have gone near Ms. Dietrichson with a 10-foot pole.* Of course. That's your Free Will to choose to believe that. But it was Fate that brought those two together at that precise time (and, maybe, a screenwriter and director). I'm just a fluffy ol' Mystic at heart.
  3. _Ark_ wrote a while back: *Fate is a word often associated with Noir and bandied about by characters (and writers), but I would argue that this is an intentional misdirection. We all have the potential for good or evil, and conflict in the genre is defined by personal choice. Rationalization is never effective in Noir. It might fool the protagonist for awhile, but in the end, there is usually a point of revelation where he or she must come to grips with who they are and the choices they have made.* There you go again, trying to make me think. Might we summarize your position as Free Will? Walter _chooses_ to go to a specific house. Phyllis _chooses_ to come down the stairs with that ankle bracelet. Did they both choose to be at that house at that time together? One could call it God, Coincidence, Film Contrivance, or the Invisible Hand of Adam Smith. The usual noir shorthand (for me anyway) is Fate. It approaches the mystical. Free Will certainly plays a role -- sometimes a major role -- but somewhere along the line, Fate just trips you (to mix my movies). Walter may see himself more clearly now and question the choices he made, but there was something bigger out there over which he had no control (a tyrannical director, perhaps?). Yes, these are morality plays that go back to at least *Oedipus* (did Sophocles have final cut?). Deus ex machina forever. And bring on the Greek Chorus. Realism, schmealism. Just give me some shadows, a wet street at night, and a dark stairway.
  4. *The idea of the black and white co-existing separately is either a great new insight to consider...* I'll accept that. *...or another way of saying the same thing.* Probably, unfortunately, nearer the Truth. _Mr. Grimes_ is blending black and white and coming out with a gray (or, grey)...or a undefinable wishy-washy amalgam. I view the black and white as distinct and in constant conflict as to which one will prevail. But we both end up at, or near, the same place...an ambiguous character fighting him or her Self and Fate. But on to more Freudian matters: Having seen *He Walked By Night* several times, but today for the first time on the big screen, all (well, not all) I can say is "WOW!!!" And, as with any great movie, I noticed something that hadn't hit me before. Basehart is in Bissell's office with "his" sonograph for Bissell to sell on consignment. It is special to him. It is positioned between his legs. He is fondling it. Query: Is that gray (or, grey)? Edited by: ChiO on Sep 23, 2009 9:18 PM
  5. _MissG_ wrote: *He's already upset I'm sure that Wagon Master was even mentioned in his beloved noir universe. (ChiO, too)* *You can't escape Ford!* Unfortunately, apparently truer words have never been written. Imagine...sullying a thread focusing on the great "F" directors Fuller and Fleischer, and then mentioning _that_ name. Truly a noir moment. And speaking of A Walk on the Noir Side, I'm hoping to see this afternoon on the Big Screen my favorite Anthony Mann/John Alton noir, He Walked By Night. I feel overcome by shadows already. And this may give you some comfort. Upon reflection, I am prepared to state that I disagree with _Mr. Grimes_ (aka Mr. Grey) regarding his characterization of noir (or its characters) being "grey" (if that is an inaccurate characterization, I apologize and throw myself on the mercy of Lawrence Tierney). Noir and its major characters are either (a) black, or ( black _and_ white. There is no grey. The black and white co-exist separately in the same character and it is that juxtaposition that makes noir so fascinating to me.
  6. Sounds great! Would you please provide our working definition of "genre" so that we're on the same page (or at least in the same book)? Or, if a definition of "genre" was intended as one of the first teachable moments, I apologize and hereby withdraw the question.
  7. A favorite Western with a variation on the theme is Silver Lode (1954). Good Guy accused of murder, but claims self-defense; Bad Guy appears to represent the law, but his papers are forged; Bad Guy kills the local sheriff, but it looks to the locals that the Good Guy did it so now they think the Good Guy is the Bad Guy; Bad Guy is killed in a noirish accident (his bullet ricochets off of a bell), but it again appears that the Good Guy did it; and, it's all straightened out at the end by...a telegram forged by the Good Guy's bride-to-be. With a cast of John Payne, Lizabeth Scott and Dan Duryea, and photography by John Alton, how can it not be at least near-noir? In color yet.
  8. I?ve used 1959 as my arbitrary last year of ?classic? and limited it to U.S. movies (otherwise the entire filmography of Ozu, Mizoguchi, Bresson, Ophuls & Dreyer would be here). *COP HATER* (William Berke, 1958): One of the sleaziest, nastiest movies I?ve ever seen. Viciousness abounds during a search for a cop killer. Late ?50s B-noir at its finest. Robert Loggia stars as a cop, and Vincent Gardenia (a grungy tipster) and Jerry Orbach (a JD gang leader) shine. *THE BURGLAR* (Paul Wendkos, 1957): The highlight of I Wake Up Dreaming: The Haunted World of the B Film Noir for me at the Roxie last spring. Stolen jewels, double-crossing, two-timing thieves and a cop on-the-make. Dan Duryea is a thief that becomes an almost sympathetic character and Jayne Mansfield, with a superb performance, is his shapely girlfriend. *RUN OF THE ARROW* (Samuel Fuller, 1957): From the last bullet fired in the Civil War to its reuse to end the suffering of its same victim, Fuller expounds on pride, patriotism, and racism with his usual vigor. With Rod Steiger, Ralph Meeker, Jay C. Flippen, Charles Bronson and Brian Keith. Where?s your pride, Ma? *THE DEVIL THUMBS A RIDE* (Felix Feist, 1947): Just over an hour of drinking, lies, cons, sexual assault, murder and other assorted depravity in the American Nightmare. Oh, and it stars Lawrence Tierney. He?s _not_ the Good Guy. *CITIZEN KANE* (Orson Welles, 1941): How can the movie that is probably the most critically acclaimed and analyzed movie in history be on this list? Easy: as long as there is one person who hasn?t seen it, it is underseen; as long as there is one person who has seen it and doesn?t think that it is one of the towering achievements in film (and I know there are such people), it is underappreciated and underrated. From the first time I saw it on a little TV after school on Frances Farmer Presents in the late-?50s/early ?60s, to when I first saw it on a big screen in the early-?80s, to when I watch it at least twice a year now, I am in absolute awe. And there's always something new. The cinematography (Gregg Toland), the script (H. Mankiewicz/Welles), the editing (Robert Wise), the acting (Welles, Comingore, Cotten, Stewart, Moorehead, Warrick, Sloane, Collins...), the score (Bernard Hermann) ? everything about the film is breathtaking. No film is flawless, so I?m going to continue watching *CITIZEN KANE* until I find its flaw. * * * * * For fun, the first five post-1959 movies I thought of for such a list: *WANDA* (Barbara Loden, 1971): I?ve always wondered what Elia Kazan thought of this. *HUSBANDS* (John Cassavetes, 1970): Life just is. *THE SADIST* (James Landis, 1963): Arch Hall, Jr. really can act in this astoundingly shot movie, which was cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond?s first U.S. screen credit. *BLAST OF SILENCE* (Allen Baron, 1961): Frankie Bono is a contract killer in this noiriest of noirs. Plus, I?m a sucker for Larry Tucker. *THE SAVAGE EYE* (Ben Maddow/Sidney Meyers/Joseph Strick, 1960): The other side of WANDA.
  9. Hey, my two favorite actors directed by my favorite director of Westerns...what's not to like? Yes, you are correct. It would be perfection if Timothy Carey were in it.
  10. Give me just a little credit, MissG. I could have left it out. Oh, well. It may be of interest that his first Paramount picture, Golden Gloves (1940), was directed by Edward Dmytryk, written by Maxwell Shane, and the cast included J. Carrol Naish and William Frawley. His first RKO picture, Bombardier (1943), was directed by Richard Wallace, shot by Nicholas Musuraca, edited by Robert Wise, and the cast included Pat O'Brien, Randolph Scott, Eddie Albert, Barton MacLane and Hugh Beaumont. Sorry for this -- probably should have made these posts over in the "Robert Ryan" thread in "Your Favorites". I need a good director (and, no, not John Ford).
  11. _CineMaven_ wrote: *Was he a trained actor or did this come naturally? I can?t imagine Meisner or Adler or Strassberg teaching one to be simultaneously ?a childlike & worn-out everyman.? I know I know...go through the threads to research discussion on Ryan?s background* I'm from the Actor's Studio and I'm here to help you get into the moment. He grew up on the north side of Chicago (Don't you just know he was a Cubs fan? But I digress.) near the Essanay studio (for awhile Chaplin, Swanson and Beery lived on the same street as his family) and watched filming. He had walk-ons in two silents, one directed by Archie Mayo and one directed by -- oh, this hurts -- John Ford. Then Dartmouth, working on a freighter, laborer, gold miner, and back to Chicago. As a clothes model at a department store, a co-worker asked him to join the amateur theater group that she was in and he enjoyed his small role in a play. Odd jobs, including bill collector and cemetery plot salesman. On a wing and a prayer, he sold himself as being experienced in the theatre and directed a play at a private girl's school. It was a success and he enrolled in a drama class. That's when he decided that Hollywood was calling. He moved to California in mid-1939 and enrolled in Max Reinhardt's Actors' Workshop (Nanette Fabray was one of his classmates). Some of his roles included: Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream and the father in Six Characters in Search of an Author. Thirty-two years after his graduation, he said, "Max Reinhardt was the most tremendous and important person to have ever influenced my career and my work." After graduation, he landed a small role in a local theater group's production of Too Many Husbands and a talent scout from Paramount offered him a $75 a week contract. He took it. (In 1938, Paramount had rejected his screen test as "not the right type".) After his contract was up, he went back to the stage in the East. He was in a play with Luise Rainer, who introduced him to Clifford Odets, who cast him in his latest play, Clash by Night. It closed after 39 performances, probably due to a weak cast -- Tallulah Bankhead and Lee J. Cobb -- and director -- Lee Strasberg. Actually, many of the cast caught the flu, so some energy may have been depleted. But RKO saw him, liked him, and offered a $600 a week contract. He took it and went back to Hollywood, eventually to become Robert Ryan. Source: Robert Ryan: A Biography and Critical Filmography (Franklin Jarlett, 1990), pp. 4-14.
  12. TCM is also showing *The Naked Spur* -- which at least one person considers his favorite Western -- in November. Yes, November is shaping up nicely.
  13. *New film noir movies from the past 5-10 years?* Another to take a look at is *Brick* (2006). *Does neo noir always have to have gangsters in them?* As with most things, it depends on a definition, in this case, of "gangster": for example, two or more persons engaged in or plotting a criminal act vs. more than two persons engaged in or plotting a criminal act vs. more than two persons engaged in or plotting a series of criminal acts. The first, as I recall, is roughly Robert Warshow's definition from his essay on the Gangster genre; however, then that would include Stanwyck and MacMurray as "gangsters" in *Double Indemnity* and that's not the way I think of "gangsters". In my view, film noir from the "classic" or "golden" era (roughly 1940-1958) did not require "gangsters", so there would seem to be no reason that so-called neo-noir requires "gangsters". But your research could lead you to a different conclusion. Good luck...and have fun.
  14. ChiO

    FRAMED

    Don't miss it, MissG. I'm not a big Glenn Ford fan, but I sure am of this movie. Janis Carter is the action here. Mean...nasty...conniving. You know, kinda like all...(nevermind).
  15. What marvelously insightful comments about a wonderful film combining the talents of Nicholas Ray, Robert Ryan, Ida Lupino, A.I. Bezzerides, and John Houseman (and, okay...just for you MissG...Ward Bond). What a team and what great analysis from you guys. More! More! Nicholas Ray seemed to have an ear for making certain that his films have a line that sums up the plight of Man in the film noir world. From You're tearing me apart! to I am a stranger here myself to Why do you punks make me do it?, it is a statement of isolation and alienation...recognized and acknowledged...but often carrying with it a sense that there is nothing Man can do about it because it's You-the World-Fate that makes Man that way. You're tearing me apart! Why do you punks make me do it? One wonders if anyone other than Robert Ryan could have portrayed Jim Wilson. As Robert Wise (one for you, FrankG) said, part of Bob's art made one feel that he was a victim in some way, and not just an out-and-out son of a ****.
  16. If Fuller's autobiography is to be believed, the real excitement was the period leading up the shooting and the period immediately following the film's release. Given The Steel Helmet's 10-day shooting schedule, there probably enough time for anything gripping to happen.
  17. TCM is showing *Scandal Sheet* twice in September. Phil Karlson directed the movie, which is based on a novel written by Fuller. Fuller was not involved in writing the screenplay (or, at least, received no screen credit).
  18. This is one I've been anticipating for two months. Should I have The Velvet Underground playing in the background?
  19. > Maybe because I never feel sorry for the man who could be that dumb and I figure they deserve each other. > > Yes, we're that dumb and deserve what we get. Ahhhhh, film noir. > Dumb? Dumb? It's Fate...it's Doom...it's the inevitability of Death (literal or metaphoric). But never "dumb." Oh...and it's malevolent women, too, on occasion.
  20. I'm a fan of opening shots that are visually compelling and set out the theme of the film (even if one doesn't know it at the time). _Favorite_ *Blast of Silence* (Baron, 1961) - It plays with the imagery of Life and Death to show that Life is Death. _Runners-Up_ *Citizen Kane* (Welles, 1941) *The Steel Helmet* (Fuller, 1950) *Forty Guns* (Fuller, 1957) *The Naked Kiss* (Fuller, 1964) _Honorable Mention in the Category of Not-an-Opening-Shot-But-It's-Wonderful-and-Has-a-Meaning-We-Didn't-Know-at-the-Time_ The last shot in *Love Streams* (Cassavetes, 1984) - Gena Rowlands has left Cassavetes during a violent rainstorm. The camera looks at Cassavetes, inside, from a distance, framed by the wooden panels of the window. He's drinking, trying to entertain himself, looking resigned. The camera comes closer. He waves to the camera...and turns and walks, now framed by another panel. It was his last screen appearance.
  21. OK, here's the story according to one of my reference books: The movie was shot with the working title of Gun Crazy, which was also the title of its source story. It was originally released on December 1, 1949, with the title of *Deadly Is the Female* and it bombed. It was then re-released on August 24, 1950, as Gun Crazy. So, I'll keep it as my #2 film of the '40s (and, just in case, my #2 film of the '50s, surpassed only by *Stars in My Crown* (1950)).
  22. HORRORS!!! The source I was using for my list had *Gun Crazy* as 1950, but I just saw it as 1949 in a couple of other sources. Therefore, I hereby kiss goodbye to *Kiss of Death* and install *Gun Crazy* into the #2 slot (all others, except the inviolate #1, moving down one spot). Just another chick flick.
  23. *i love your variety of Films noir and chick flicks.* Thank you -- I think. I keep trying to explain to Mrs. ChiO that my favorites are chick flicks...but she hasn't bought it yet. (sigh) Nothing says "Romance" like *Detour* or *Day of Wrath* in my book. Message was edited by: ChiO
  24. Nicely done, everyone. The ?40s certainly has its share of my favorites. 1. Citizen Kane (1941) 2. Detour (1945) 3. A Matter of Life and Death (1946) 4. Day of Wrath (1943) 5. Black Angel (1946) 6. He Walked by Night (1948) 7. His Girl Friday (1940) 8. Raw Deal (1948) 9. The Gangster (1947) 10. The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947) 11. It?s a Wonderful Life (1946) 12. Scarlet Street (1945) 13. Out of the Past (1947) 14. The Leopard Man (1943) 15. Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948) 16. Cat People (1942) 17. My Name Is Julia Ross (1945) 18. Act of Violence (1949) 19. Thieves? Highway (1949) 20. The Threat (1949) 21. T-Men (1948) 22. The Guilty (1947) 23. Rome, Open City (1945) 24. The Palm Beach Story (1942) 25. Brute Force (1947) 26. The Bicycle Thieves (1948) 27. Crossfire (1947) 28. The Third Man (1949) 29. Ossessione (1942) 30. Casablanca (1942) 31. The Naked City (1948) 32. The Great Dictator (1940) 33. The Lady from Shanghai (1948) 34. Monsieur Verdoux (1947) 35. Beauty and the Beast (1946) 36. The Maltese Falcon (1941) 37. Notorious (1946) 38. Secret Beyond the Door (1948) 39. I Walked with a Zombie (1943) 40. Phantom Lady (1944) 41. House of Strangers (1949) 42. Woman on the Beach (1947) 43. Force of Evil (1949) 44. Double Indemnity (1944) 45. Women of the Night (1948) 46. Canyon Passage (1946) 47. MacBeth (1948) 48. They Live by Night (1948) 49. Riffraff (1947) 50. Kiss of Death (1947)
  25. One steps away for a couple of weeks and look what happens. Tsk, tsk, tsk. In speed reading the more recent posts, I was shocked -- shocked, I say -- that I did not notice any mention of *The Naked Spur* in the "Best Performance"/"Best Movie" categories. Or were my old tired eyes deceiving me again? Mann did a careful, artful job with the ingredients of *The Naked Spur* (including) Ryan's oily Iago-type expressions of sneering evil. (Manny Farber, Nation 3/28/53). That's our boy! Has anyone seen The Outfit (1973)? What little I've seen about it would lead me to believe that it is noir. Robert Ryan is a gangland boss, but apparently he just makes a cameo appearance. Others in the movie include: Robert Duvall, Karen Black, Joe Don Baker, Richard Jaeckel, Sheree North, Marie Windsor, Jane Greer, Emile Meyer, Elisha Cook, Henry Jones, Roy Roberts and...TIMOTHY CAREY. I really n-e-e-d to see this.
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