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About IMarriedADeadMan

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  1. I have seen it! Love Stanwyck, too. I've actually seen all the US Woolrich adaptations between 1934-1954, and a fair number of both foreign and US ones after. Barring the TV stuff; I haven't seen much of that. I was a little disappointed that only two of his made it into the line up this summer.
  2. I'm a tremendous Cornell Woolrich fangirl (who'd a thunk it?). Charles Willeford is another fave; Wild Wives is a hysterical genre send-up. Donald Goines wrote some amazing "ghetto" noir.
  3. Philip Marlowe tells Ann Gayle that Marriott paid him $100 to take care of him, and he didn't, which is the reason he gets involved in the fracas that becomes Murder, My Sweet. He's in a "messy business" but he likes to "follow through." Philip Marlowe is motivated by his personal and professional loyalties, as well as a personal code. While he may not be above some matters of questionable ethics (locking a lady in his office to extort information, lying, etc), , his actions are in service of doing right by his client(s). It is Philip Marlowe's strong sense of personal responsibility (which in turn informs his professional loyalties) and morality in a chaotic world in which motivations are ambiguous at best and hideous at worst that make him so appealing a character. The wittiness doesn't hurt, though.
  4. I love that Waldo Lydecker loathes being misquoted, but liberally rewrites the words/histories of others at whim--just as he does with Laura, and the whole tale we're about to see unfold before us. In this scene we already have two charming characters, the supercilious yet amusing Waldo Lydecker and the anything but ordinary gumshoe McPherson. The former may be villainous--and is certainly a coded character, and therefore suspect--but interestingly so. The latter we know is a heroic type (thanks to Lydecker's exposition), but not without humor himself, and a certain sangfroid in the face of Lydecker's colorful ways. Already we know this is no simple story populated by simple types.
  5. I'd agree with others that switching between the POV shots and not (at least in the beginning), take **** out of the POV a bit. Th barrel rolling down the hill is great, but Daves just couldn't resist that great shot of Bogie running away through the mouth of the barrel--not that I blame him. It is a little awkward, though. After that, the POV picks up nicely. I consider it effective once you've seen the film, but at first it does seem a little gimmicky. It does add to the tension, however, by putting us directly into Bogie's seat.
  6. As a contributor to the noir style, The Letter presents the immediate murder, shocking and in your face. It also immediately initiates the mystery of why the crime was committed; we already know who committed the murder, but nothing of her motives, which will be the puzzle of this story, as it would so often be in later works. The contrast between the peaceful, quiet night preceding the murder, and the violence of the act itself mirror the story's concerns with apparent serenity and tensions and high feelings bubbling beneath the surface. All is not as it seems.
  7. Yes. Also, the workers' communal huts are so very alive, people are crammed in on top of one another, and they're hanging out, smoking, playing an instrument, chattering. It's very intimate and vital. Then the Big House stands alone, at a distance, almost sterile in its emptiness, despite the teeming jungle around it. The only sign of life is death when shots ring out and Bette Davis and her victim come striding and tumbling out. ETA: I meant to also point out how the sterility of the Big House is symbolic of that repression with which Maugham's work is so often concerned. Obviously, we're also viewing the scene through the post-colonial lens, so we may be more sensitive to how problematic some aspects of the story are. I love the fascinating dichotomy between Bette Davis standing above her victim and the workers crowding into the yard; they're mostly male and therefore her superiors, but as the natives, they're inferior, and unable to challenge her. Instead of the one who speaks up taking charge to demand to know what's going on, we have puzzlement and an almost diffident inquiry, and Bette Davis issues her instructions--gently, not stridently. As the boss' wife, she is in absolute control of all the lives on the plantation, and it's her duty to start the wheels of justice turning. Not anger, no. I agree it was more fear of the light exposing what she had done. When the moon comes out from behind the clouds again, it snaps her out of the sort of fugue state she's in.
  8. This is a wonderful way to open La Bete Humaine, one of Zola's powerful psychological thrillers. The images of the locomotive, a massive, well-oiled machine that dwarfs its engineers, and the grimy men working in concert to stoke the engine, as much a well-oiled machine in their teamwork as the locomotive itself, establishes the sort of gritty reality of Zola's naturalism. This will be no fairy tale, there will be no romance or fantasy, just the workings of men and machine. The focus is very intimate, almost claustrophobic, confined to the train on its tracks and the men within, rather than the scenery of the countryside it travels through. Exterior shots tend to be focused on nearness: the tunnel, enclosed within the trestle, the approaching engine. Again, this will be a story closely concentrating upon men (and women) and their intimate and interior lives, not set upon a grand stage. Renoir uses no score until the final moments, which first establishes the realism of the setting, then heightens the glory of the engineers returning to the trainyard at Le Havre, particularly for Lantier, who is all but consumed by his devotion to the locomotive.
  9. Fabulous foreshadowing in this opening scene, particularly the use of the children and their song. There's the obvious diegesis in the song's lyrics, then the remark Frau Beckman makes about knowing they're safe because we can hear them--followed by ominous quiet. But that interplay also comments on the persistence of evil; though the first woman implores the children to stop singing because she doesn't want to hear about the murderer, the children keep on singing once she's out of sight, just as the murderer will continue to stalk the city. Lang layers the dread by then creating a scene of cozy domesticity, which then alternates with views of dangers outside the home; once Elsie leaves the school (that's where the policeman helps her cross the street), she's no longer on the radar to adults, hearkening back to her mother's remark about knowing they're safe. Until she stops at the sign to bounce her ball, no adult acknowledges her, until the murderer does.
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