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icwrjohn

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  1. I saw Time Table a few days ago and I agree - there are some nice twists in the plot. Love that first one!
  2. I'm one of the many who have enjoyed this series, May I suggest that TCM schedule at least one film noir every Friday
  3. John Garfield enters in the bright sunshine. He's a modern vagabond, with my thought or worry of the future. He takes any job that suits him and keeps moving on, looking for the perfect job or place. "Man Wanted" at the gas station/dinner. Plenty of time to think of the future, he says. Then we meet the owner and his wife - Lana Turner. Her entrance is drenched in noir. Her lipstick rolls across the floor, a beckoning message to Garfield waiting for his free hamburger. The camera shows her feet first and then she descends the stairs into the camera's view. She's all in white but you can tell the white does not express virginity. She goes back upstairs, closing the door behind her. How did Lana Turner wind up with the husband she has. Does the "Man Wanted" sign have a subtle double meaning? And Garfield, so taken by her, rushes behind the dinner's counter to dispose of a smoldering hamburger. The sign, the lipstick, white, the smoldering food - you can sense there's more here than a man staying for a job.
  4. Watching Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet is watching masters at work. Lorre arrives, happy, nonchalant, expecting to go to bed and soon after opening his door and switching on the light he discovers that his room has been ransacked. He is now - in a second - confused and bewildered. Enter Greensteet, a man as large as his size. He had a gun pointing towards Lorre but yet you feel that there is no implied threat than actual dangers. The two men seem to change before us - Lorre relaxed but is still confused. Greenstreet is searching and has found only a hint. They play cat and mouse and somehow you feel that instead of rivals they may very well become some type of comrade.
  5. Instead of a scene cast is shadows in the opening scene here the setting is bright sunshine with shadows appearing as Greer enters the cantina and sits at table. Is Mitchum on the make or has he been waiting for her? We don't know yet but he tries to interest her but she doesn;t seem interested. But as she leaves she drops a hint t hat she goes to the cantina she mentioned sometimes and Mitchum smilkes and watches her leave. A connection is made. The scene as shot shows that noit doesn't have to be darkness, rain, street lights. The genre by this point had expanded and grown.
  6. Bogart's Marlowe is smoother than his Spade at first appearance. He does radiate a certain dangerous charm, however, and within moments of entering house he's being tempted. When he meets Sternwood he becomes professional and begins to show the type of man he is. At first Marlowe and Spade seem very different but before long you can detect their similarity. Of the two, however, I prefer Spade.
  7. The music at the opening credit is more serious than usual. No jazz, but classical. This sets a more serious tome yet the music is dramatic and strong as the camera moves across the fertile farmlands. The style of camera work reminds us of a documentary, newsreel, or travelogue. In fact, I though the latter as the narrator described the area, an area I have never visited in person. Everything seems abundant but then the camera focuses on migrant workers, far from beneficiaries of the abundance. A barren land. Nearby, Illegal immigrants. Sign saying crossing the border is prohibited. The balance - or lack of it - has been set by music, camera work, narration - all essential parts of film noir. I have not seen this film and I hope to soon and see how the imbalance works out.
  8. The influence of German cinema in this scene can be noticed in the way the entire scene is played out. There is a feeling of something about to happen and camera angles and shadows and light and darkness add to telling the story. When the camera takes us from the diner to The Swedes room we pass through the almost documentary style of realism to the narrative of formalism. A number of arts forms combine in this scene. We see art in the canvas of the diner, hear music that sets a mood, and camera works that adds to tellinh the tale. All of these elements are found singly or in combinations in much of film noir.
  9. Provocative? I'll say. Sexy? You bet? Tempting? And. ..but... somehow there's some other emotion or feeling that runs through her performance. She acts out of control. Drunk? Perhaps. Unlike many a performer who is trying it be sexy and you see right away that he/she is acting, I don't get that feeling here. She is trying and succeeding at really projecting an animal attraction. She's stopped by manager or someone from the club but what (or who) really stops her is Glenn Ford and the slap that completely breaks her down. The heat and beat and passion of jazz set this scene and create a tension that ends suddenly with a slap. Film noir slaps around our reality suddenly, boldly, and with the timing of a jazz combo.
  10. What a lovely family! You can feel the intensity between mother and daughter. There is a passion in their conversation but it is a passion bred by a mutual dislike of circumstances. The slap is like a gunshot! It stuns and wakes you, much like the shot in "The Letter" did. Like many have said, I've never been a big Joan Crawford fan but from what I've heard about "Mildred Pierce" and seeing this brief clip, I've decided I might have a lot to learn. The clip is different from what we've seen so far in lighting and camera angles are concerned but the musical background, the tension, and the atmosphere gives promise to some overbearing event waiting.
  11. The slow swinging of the pendulum presages something and as in M you have a feeling of dread. As the camera rolls away from the clock, across the room, and we see Ray Milland seated and staring at the clock, we have a feeling of release or escape. Shortly afterwards when Milland is actually released from the institution, the camera moves down and towards him before the gate swings open and release is actually achieved. There are comments about Milland's hands and electric shock therapy above. I don't agree with the theory of what caused his hands fidgeting. Closely watch a nervous person or one anticipating something. Often hands reveal the person's anxiety. Milland is anxious for those last few seconds to tick off and he shuts and locks his suitcase with a sense of finality when the time has elapsed.
  12. In the work I do at various courts in New York, I have come in contact with or worked with PI's. None have ever seemed to have any events in their careers that match Marlowe or Spade. And maybe that's why the PI of film noir is so intriguing. They live in a world of deceptions, double-crosses, alibis, crime, and excitement. The writers of film noir - when a PI is the protagonist - use and confuse the viewer and the viewer enjoys the confusion. The real world offers us excitement and adventure, but the PI of film noir takes us one step further. And Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade and whoever the PI is becomes our guide to deceptions, double-crosses, alibis, crime, and excitement. And we love it!
  13. I cannot like Waldo Lydecker. He is pompous and one of those people better than everyone else. Yet his narration that begins "Laura" tells us what has happened and sets the scene. Setting the scene is essential in noir. Often we are informed on what had happened on is happening in one way or another. Lieut. McPherson is a policeman doing his job. He is detached yet curious - his actions examining Lydecker's "collection" tell me that. He is too professional to like or dislike Lydecker at this point. How any kind of relationship or communication proceeds between these two is yet to be determined as the story progresses.
  14. I'm not a big fan of POV but this scene works better than an entire film that was done that way ("Lady in the Lake"?). At least you get a sense of Bogart's escape and what it is like. Having seen this movie, I know the POV device was used because of what comes next. It was probably a bold step to start the film this way and it must have caused quite a stir at the time. The fact that POV was seldom used would say to me that as innovative as it was, it really did not create major changes in the way film noir flourished.
  15. I'm not positive if the opening moments of the scene produce a serene effect. Perhaps it's because I know I'm watching noir that I anticipate something happening. Having said that I have no problem about adding that the next few seconds when the man rushes from the bungalow and gunshots ring out - not one or two but a whole magazine emptying salvo - I am surprised. The fact that the woman doing the shooting stands over the man's prostrate form and fires more rounds into him as she wears an almost unconcerned expression makes the viewer want to know the why of it all. Shadows again set a scene. As a cloud passes over the moon and then reemerges the actress' (Bette Davis) face is almost desperately mad - not angry, but mad in the sanity sense of the word. I have not seen "The Letter" but you can be sure I will.
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