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kek5772

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  1. Louis Malle's visual design for ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS, at least in this opening sequence, stresses isolation for both characters. Maurice Ronet's Julien is seen in the window of the office building on the phone with Jeanne Moreau. But note how the camera backs away from the building's frontage and makes him that much more alone. Hinting at a forbidden relationship between the man and woman, the viewer's perception of two tormented souls is underlined by the improvisational score, starting with a high note (indicating the joy they find in one another) and the lows, stressing the seeming hopel
  2. I never considered BEWARE, MY LOVELY to be noir, but a suspense film and proto-female in danger flick (Ida Lupino had starred in WOMAN IN HIDING, 1949, with future husband Howard Duff, and made something of a specialty of playing endangered characters), but I'm happy to see it included in the Summer of Darkness line-up and our discussion. So, seeing this clip, BEWARE, MY LOVELY opens on a tranquil note (except for the Salvation Army band blaring away) and plunges headlong into noir when Robert Ryan's character Howard finds the body, presumably that of Mrs. Warren, in the closet. The look of s
  3. Heartily agree with Professor Edwards' estimation of THE NARROW MARGIN (originally titled TARGET) and disagree with Foster Hirsch's assessment that the film is a parody of noir themes. It's a tremendous story, played out in confined space that extends beyond the train to the apartment house where Mrs. Neill (the terrific Marie Windsor) is holed up, and even the one sequence in open daylight at the depot still leaves you feeling entrapped. There is a definite air of lurking danger that Brown (Charles McGraw) is trying to flee and hopefully with the less-than-cooperative gangster's widow in tow.
  4. After the intertitle informs us of a major crime, we understand that Tim Foster (Preston Foster) is the man with a plan. His meticulous observation of the activity around the bank when the armored car and florist's van arrive obviously play a huge role in what he intends to accomplish. If you've seen a heist movie before, time is always the critical factor so it can be done when the police aren't around and the least danger is involved. Foster's planning and watching of the vehicles' arrival and departure hint at a certain desperation on his part -- always a key element in a noir, if it's a cr
  5. Saw THE WOMAN ON PIER 13 (1949) many years ago on public television and was amazed at how it played like a gangster flick -- well, that was one view of minions of Moscow at that time. I could see how Howard Hughes pushed this one into production, both topical and a representation of his abhorrence of Communism. While watching a PBS documentary on RKO with my dad, he asked me if Orson Welles was responsible for the studio's collapse in the mid-'50s. I told him Hughes had more to do with it because on the two occasions he owned it, he ran it into the ground. (My father, no slouch at picking movi
  6. My apologies to the course members for the grievous error in my post about STRANGERS ON A TRAIN. How could I have forgotten that PSYCHO (1960), not THE WRONG MAN (1957), was Hitchcock's last movie in black and white? Probably because I was thinking solely noir and not horror, a rare occasion with me. Also, appreciated selection of the reading from Arthur Lyons' DEATH ON THE CHEAP because I have the book. My wife, who's more tech savvy than I (and that's saying a lot), was able to download the reading on post-World War II America to an e-reader, which made for easier reading. I found his i
  7. "You could have been a star. I could have been a champion." Eddie Driscoll's observation to wife Pauline speaks volumes about the status of their current life together, both working subsistence jobs and living in a small apartment. 99 RIVER STREET addresses itself in this clip to the bind that a lot of aspiring middle class couples of the time were struggling to escape. (And, unfortunately, still true today). Fertile ground for a noir situation in a movie as Eddie and Pauline's mutual dissatisfaction means one or the other will step over the line or betray their partner. The clip reminds us of
  8. Walking into THE STRANGE LOVE OF MARTHA IVERS with only this clip in mind, you get the impression there is an underlying tension to the relationships between Sam, Martha and Walter. To start, Walter and Sam appear jovial, but even at this stage of his career (actually, his film debut), Kirk Douglas convincingly projects an uneasiness despite his authority status. Revealing himself as a gambler, Sam is pretty breezy about it all, probably because he's had his share of encounters with cops and prosecutors. When Martha enters the room and realizes Walter's visitor is long-lost Sam, the dynamic ch
  9. Just another thought on TOO LATE FOR TEARS. Ostensibly an A production, or close to it in budget range, producer Hunt Stromberg utilized the facilities of Republic Pictures in making the film, according to Michael H. Price and John Wooley in their excellent FORGOTTEN HORRORS surveys. Considered the top in Hollywood's B movies and serials, especially when it came to westerns, Republic was moving toward better-grade product, and like other studios, rented space to independently-made films. TOO LATE FOR TEARS was distributed by United Artists, as it had his earlier efforts such as LADY OF BURLESQ
  10. TOO LATE FOR TEARS ... wow. First saw it 10 years ago in one of those PD copies in a DVD collection. Struck me as quality right from the start. And about that start: we find some of the post-World War II issues come to light in the striking highway sequence. One, the availability of cars and travel opening up social possibilities for the middle-class couple of Alan (Arthur Kennedy) and Jane (Lizabeth Scott). But those opportunities only anger Jane, who yearns for better things. Had she hung in with Alan and the satchel full of money not been mistakenly tossed into their car, they would have ma
  11. Clothing and shoes make a dramatic contrast between Guy and Bruno, telling us a bit about their characters and place in the unfolding noir scenario. The shoes give it away at first. Bruno's two-tone pair indicate a certain flamboyance we soon see when he is seated, suggesting wealth (or a pretense) and a dissolute nature. Guy's Oxfords point to a busy, purposeful yet modest demeanor, a carryover from his own less-than-plush roots. The noir elements come following the credits as cabs enter from bright daylight into the cooler, dimmer light of Union Station. The inexorable movement of Guy and Br
  12. I wanted to say that our readings for this week came in handy on JEOPARDY! On the July 7 show, the question was to complete Camus' statement that the only philosophical question is (blank). We now know from our reading of the material that the answer is suicide.
  13. Similarities between the opening of D.O.A. and other daily doses this week exist as the lead characters all come out of darkness into light, although the illuminated world they enter is hardly reassuring. Rather, the characters are caught up in a world full of peril. But in D.O.A., although we don't immediately know it, Frank's ordeal is over. Trying to make sense of it all is his last task and thus he goes to the police. In a noirish, chaotic world that has brought Frank to this state, he would have left his story untold, and all of what transpired up to then would have been classically meani
  14. Speaking of remakes, Warners did another version of CAGED in 1962 entitled HOUSE OF WOMEN, with Shirley Knight in the Eleanor Parker role. Haven't seen it, but (no offense) the presence of Ms. Knight is worth the price of admission for me.
  15. Prison pictures lend themselves to noir due to the confinement of men (and women), their clashing emotions, longing for freedom and the collision with fate that has brought them to this stage of their lives. CAGED ups the ante of previous Warners jail epics like 20,000 YEARS IN SIGN SING and LADIES THEY TALK ABOUT (both 1933, remade by the studio, respectively, as CASTLE ON THE HUDSON, 1940, and LADY GANGSTER, 1942) with a post-World War II sensibility. Instead of prisoners being escorted to the big house by train and joking about it (as Spencer Tracy does in 20,000 YEARS... and John Garfield
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