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dVertov

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  1. Hello Morrison Many movie theorists and directors deplored the arrival of sound, since for them cinema was basically telling stories using visual means. They were enough to create impacting images. When I watch a movie by Murnau, Eisenstein, Keaton, and many others, I would agree with them. I also believe Hitchcock was one of these directors, and this passage from the book by Francois Truffaut on Hitch seems to confirm it. Here is what Hitch says on the subject: "The silent pictures were the purest form of cinema; the only thing they lacked was the sound of people talking and the noises. But this slight imperfection did not warrant the major changs that sound brought in. In Many of the films now being made, there is very little cinema. They are mostly what I call ‘photographs of people talking.’ When we tell a story in cinema, we should resort to dialogue only when it’s impossible to do otherwise. I always try first to tell a story in the cinematic way, through a succession of shots and bits of film in between… To me, one of the cardinal sins for a scriptwriter, when he runs into some difficulty, is to say ‘We can cover that by a line of dialogue.’ Dialogue should simply be a sound among sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.”
  2. Thanks again, Professor Edwards. It has been a wonderful experience and I have learned a lot during the course. Many folks at the forums really know what they are talking about and I also have learned a lot reading their posts. Congrats to you, your entire team, my colleagues, Eddie Muller, Canvas and TCM. I hope you can once in a while drop a comment or resource to keep things going. Or even better, a new course. Thanks everybody!
  3. In my only reading of a Mike Hammer's book he slept with all the girls in the story, including his secretary, only one woman escaped this fate, she was ugly and she was a communist. It fits in what we see in the clip and also in the rest of the movie, the cold war hysteria and a guy who doesn't spend much time trying to be a gentleman, who treats his car as his girlfriend and his girlfriends as a "dame" or worse. His ill humor with the situation indicates he is only interested in things he can make a profit of. The jazz music places him as cool guy, who enjoy nice things on life, not a grumpy old fellow with existentialist doubts about the meaning of life. My big question is why he saves Christina from the police.when he finds she is a fugitive from a mental institution. My wild guess? He doesn't like the police or rules, he likes outcasts and outsiders, being one himself and living among those who break the rules all the time. But maybe the best explanation comes from Walking Dead. When she holds his hand, she could be implying she is willing to go to bed with him. And he would gladly do it, why not? After all, she is not ugly and doesn't look like a communist. Professor Edwards talked about symbolism of the staircase, the higher you are on it, more powerful you are. I can see something similar on the sports car, symbolizing power and virility. Christina's fast breaking, the way the tittles are presented, the car suddenly braking. All that adds to a sense of anxiety pervading movies and American society of that time, afraid of the Cold War, atomic bombs and communist invasion.
  4. Many people have commented about the zither music played as theme in The Third Man. I have just found out that there is an entire article about it on Wikipedia. Below I paste the main part of if, but you can read the article on this link. The Third Man is a 1949 British film noir, directed by Carol Reed.[1] One night after a long day of filming The Third Man on location in Vienna, Reed and cast members Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli and Orson Welles had dinner and repaired to a wine cellar. In the bistro, which retained the atmosphere of the pre-war days, they heard the zither music of Anton Karas, a 40-year-old musician who was playing there just for the tips. Reed immediately realized that this was the music he wanted for his film. Karas spoke only German, which no one in Reed's party spoke, but fellow customers translated Reed's offer to the musician that he compose and perform the soundtrack for The Third Man. Karas was reluctant since it meant traveling to England, but he finally accepted. Karas wrote and recorded the 40 minutes of music heard in the Third Man over a six-week period, after the entire film was translated for him at Shepperton Studio
  5. Yes, I agree with you. They don't run away screaming. But where do this fatality this sense of doom, come from? I suspect that at least a part of it has its origins in Europe. Many writers, directors and others artists fled from the hell on earth, Nazism, leaving relatives and friends to die there. I suspect that some carried with them their fears, anxieties and lack of faith in the future into the movies they made.
  6. If i am in a city where corpses pop up once in while here and there, and I notice someone is stalking me I wouldn't stop, I would keep walking. Better yet, I would keep running and screaming. But tougher than me noir guys don't do that. They scream to the other guy hidden in the shadows, allowing us to watch one of most fine entrances in noir movies, which starts just with a man's feet. The cat between the feet adds a creative touch to the entrance, as well the unexpected source of light illuminating the face of Orson Welles, who can't do nothing else than gives us a embarrassed smile. And coincidence or not, the previous clip, from The Postman Always Rings Twice also has a entrance by Lana Turner showing her feet and legs. Who, do you think, has the better legs? Another point to add is Graham Greene, considered by James Naremore as an important contributor to noir in his book "More Than Night" and author of the novel in which the movie is based. Greene is also the author of other works that inspired Ministry of Fear by Fritz Lang, This Gun for Hire, by Frank Tuttle, Brighton Rock by John Boulting and The Fallen Idol, by Carol Reed again. The Third Man (1949) is an important contribution to the bunch of noir movies that have Cold War as background, but not the first one, I believe, since we also have at least one more, Berlin Express (1948), by Jacques Tourneur, made a year earlier.
  7. I tip my hat to the colleagues of this course, they have covered with insightful analysis the most important aspects of the clip. So, I will talk about first about some points I haven't seen discussed much so far. The first one is the sign Man Wanted. Probably I have never seen one with so many meanings in just one movie, Man Wanted by an Employeer, Man Wanted by a Lover/Sexy Woman and finally Man Wanted by the Police. Maybe there are more meanings to that signal, if you are aware of a new one, please let me know. Many people commented that Cora is wearing white, symbolizing purity, a strange idea for a noir woman who usually is related to the dark side. And I believe that many also have noticed that the main female character in the previous clip, Out of the Past, also is wearing white. Both entrances mesmerize their male partners for different reasons. Cora is all about raw sexuality and manipulation, something more primal and primitive. Kathie is also highly manipulative, but in a subtler way, her entering in the cantina seems more an angel descending gracefully from heaven than a woman taking a man to his fall/hell . And she is so good at it that he doesn't even care. And that is the line that got me hooked on Out of the Past. People who watched the movie will understand what I am saying. Finally, I also tip my hat to the scriptwriter of Postman. In a few lines of dialogue they efficiently established who is the main character, his "philosophy of life", we have the law hanging around foreshadowing bad things in the future and then, splah! We watch the sexy bombshell and the power struggle between both and we immediately see the direction the movie is taking. All of this in in four minutes. Oh, boy, these guys are really good.
  8. I have never thought about the transition between formalism and realism in noir movies, even less in The Killers, so it is a new angle to explore. Thanks professor Edwards! And now, watching the scene, it is very clear the transition from the bar and Swede's room, from realism to formalism. And I didn't know about Edward Hopper and his influence over movies and noir in special. He even influenced Blade Runner, according to Wikipedia. So again, another path has been opened. The loneliness of people, even places in Hopper's works seems indeed to have a connection with noir movies. I agree with some colleagues at this course that Swede seemed already dead in his room. And somehow, that scene and many others in noir make me think in the descent to hell or the underworld you see in many myths around the world.You can relate it to the Night Sea Journey as defined by Carl Jung. And doesn't the description of Underworld in the following paragraph fit the mood of Swede, his room and even noir in general? For most souls, life in the underworld was not particularly unpleasant. It was rather like being in a miserable dream, full of shadows, ill-lit and desolate, barren of hope; a joyless place where the dead slowly faded into nothingness. http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Places/The_Underworld/the_underworld.html
  9. I've always been told that this is most famous striptease in the movie history and I agree. I was mesmerized by it since the first time I watched it and I believe the censors at that time felt the same and so they let it go. I can imagine them saying to their angry wives, "But hon, she was only dancing and singing". But we know otherwise. She was willing to do more than dancing and singing. I don't believe she is in control. She seems drunk and falls to pieces after discussing with Ford. She lets her raw sexuality let loose, causing havoc among men. And Ford, poor guy, is barely able to control himself. In fact, both are under control of one our most basic instinct and something so common in noir: desire. That force pulsating under a nice dress or well cut-tuxedo. You can think you can dominate it, but you can't. And when it explodes on your face, then it is just downhill. At least on a noir movie.
  10. Watching the clip I see two guys doing a dirty, menial job. Once in a while they go near hell, sometimes by fire (furnace) sometimes by darkness (the tunnel). I don't expect to see them after work sitting around a croissant discussing the ups and downs of a Platonic love. I expect them to keep being raw and dirty. That's how life treats them. That's how they will treat life and others.
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