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About rrrick

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  1. FOLLOW ME QUIETLY If you're looking for a Noir with high production values, atmospheric cinematography, and credible performances, this is definitely not it. Excluding the climax it's obvious this film was produced on a real tight budget, also exemplified by it's under 60 minutes running time. But what a lovely, sinister story, and maybe one that showcases the discussed 'existentialism' at its creepiest. Detective Grant is looking for a psychopathic serial killer. Based on witnesses' descriptions he knows something about the killer's appearance. And that's where the weirdness and
  2. I agree with the ending being 'Hollywood' all's well that end's well, but at the same time it's kind of a bitter coda to your observation about the boy's imagination being cut off. If I'm not mistaken his final remark is something like: 'I promise I'll never make up stories again'. There's something sad in this... The film really had an impact on me, so two additional observations. I absolutely loved the opening sequence, in which the audience is set up to believe something that isn't true. But also the opening credits in which Bobby Driscol is introduced 'by courtesey of Walt Disney'
  3. THE WINDOW The great thing about a course and series like this is the unexpected hidden gems along the way. Sure I like watching and rewatching the MALTESE FALCONs, OUT OF THE PASTs, and LADY FROM SHANGHAIs, but it's a movie like THE WINDOW which makes it really worthwhile. This is an exceptional movie in every way conceivable. It has a great, thrilling and truly suspenseful story. It has great acting performances, truly stunning and spectacular cinematography, and a wonderful score. But the true brilliance is the underlying psychological themes and how the film succeeds in addressing
  4. But the constraints you mention were valid for Welles too. He had to deal with the production code as well, limited budgets, studios meddling, interfering and even cutting up his movies. I love the PSYCHO shower scene as much as anyone, but I can't relate this to Welles being 'graphic' in his films. By the way, I don't want to make this into a competition between Welles and Hitchcock, or any other director. As far as I'm concerned both were directors looking to perfect the art of movie making, pushing the envelope, and if not always succeeding, at least helped in taking film to the n
  5. KEY LARGO Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Lionel Barrymore, Edward G. Robinson... Talk about an ensemble of stellar actors. And for those who have seen the previous Noirs in this series, also and particularly Claire Trevor who as far as I'm concerned is fantastic as the down and out alcoholic singer Gaye Dawn. A movie which for approximately 80% of its run time takes places in one room, with at times up to 10 characters in it. It therefore looks more like a theatrical stage play setting. This could have resulted in a pretty static presentation. But it doesn't feel that way, because of
  6. THEY LIVE BY NIGHT Three observations. The opening sequence. Most people refer to this as the aerial shot following the escaped convicts' car through the fields - and it is spectacular. But the film actually opens with the close-up introduction of the two protagonists. Two young kids - 'This boy.... and this girl..." - are presented in close up, light coming from the fireplace. They seem to be in a world of their own. The scene ends with them looking up like they are interrupted or caught. The scene then abruptly shifts to the car chase. So, this sequence was edited in such a way that
  7. No flack, but it's interesting to think about if and how external factors have an effect on the appreciation of a film, like in this case the supposed character traits of the director who made it. I'm also curious why you think constraints are necessary for true genius. And what kind of constraints would that be?
  8. But what if Anders was instructed to play it like that - which I think he was. Then he perfectly perfomed the way Welles intended. Every performance in this film was basically a stylized exaggeration. And about the script. Usually the script is the core of a movie. In a way the film as an end product is a means to materialize the script and the story line. But what if you reverse those roles? What if you have cinematic ideas and the script is no longer the foundation, but becomes one of the various means to express those ideas. I'm not saying one approach is better than the other, b
  9. Here's a few great frames from THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI This first one is a shot of Elsa reflected in the glass of Grisby's binoculars. This second frame is from the scene at the aquarium. Like most of the fish in the tanks in the background this eel is obviously enlarged. The backlight effect of the aquarium blacks out Elsa's face completely. Thinking of O'Hara's mononlogue about the sharks, what to make of this image? We hear Elsa, but we see the ferocious eel. I'm guessing Welles is trying to say something about Elsa's true nature... And this third one is just one of th
  10. THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI. "When I start out to make a fool of myself, there's very little can stop me" These are the opening lines of the film, spoken in voice-over by Orson Welles. Just let them sink in for a moment. Who is saying this? Is it the character Welles is playing, is it Welles himself? Is it a metaphysical introduction to what is about to unfold? In the lectures Prof. Edwards discussed formalism, and he also added - and I paraphrase - 'every element in a movie is a deliberate choice'. It is there for a reason. So I'm going out on a limb here and state that this movi
  11. THE BRIBE It has an MGM gloss all over it, as it does its best to make stars Robert Taylor and Ava Garder look beautiful. And let's acknowlegde that by saying Ava Gardner looks stupendous in that black dress. It's interesting to see how this production focuses on the romance between Taylor and Gardner and less on the criminal activities taking place. While some violence occurs it looks rather sanitized compared to the RKO and WB noirs. The final sequence, the shootout during the fireworks looks pretty spectacular and has some surreal qualities to it. Alledgedly this sequence
  12. THE THREAT "This heat is murder" Brief, tight crime noir. And above all brutal and violent. It never ceases to amaze me how violence in these 'older' films has so much more impact than what is shown in theaters these days. And this one really brings it with Charles McGraw playing cold blooded killer Kluger for maximum effect. Direction was pretty effective too. The suspense in the confrontation between Kluger and Joe had me on the edge of my seat, and the way it played out was just.... brutal. A couple of real nice shots, with some nice low and high angle camera positions. Bu
  13. Or maybe both film noir and films like these share similar inspirations or even natural progressions? If we are expanding film noir to these types of films than what's keeping us from including films like A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, I REMEMBER MAMA, ALL THE KING'S MEN and THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES into noir as well?
  14. Good point. If I'm not mistaken JOHNNY BELINDA is mostly mentioned as the first post-Production code movie to deal with rape. (But like you said, GWTW might beat this one to it). I'm glad you mention THE STORY OF TEMPLE DRAKE, which if you take a real good look, easily could be categorized as a film noir. Awesome film, highly recommended. Which brings me to thinking about pre-code films in general, and how they relate to film noir. The production code was enforced in 1934, resulting in many films from 1930-1934 being taking off the shelf by the distributors. Effectively these films d
  15. JOHNNY BELINDA "They leave the women to take care of the potatoes and the live stock" Prof. Edwards referred to it in the movie guideline on Canvas, and I'm firmly in the 'no, this is not a film noir' corner. It is an interesting film, and it does address some social, psychological issues. I loved the opening sequence with the voice over explaining the simple, frugal and diligent folks working for their livelihood. It sets up an atmosphere of this being a small, close-knit community working together in harmony. It turns out quickly that isn't quite the case. But this is the se
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