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NoirAlley

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  1. The femme fatale here is a bit too obvious for my taste. Give me Jane Greer any day. However, the camerawork and direction is perfect for the character development. As the camera follows the lipstick, and then back to the doorway framed Turner, we become hooked into the story. The husband running out to greet him is a bit much.
  2. Lorre's entrance is somewhat abrupt, as he fidgets and walks. When Greenstreet enters, he is momentarily in silhouette, giving the viewer a brief feeling of dread. Lorre plays a much different character here than he does in The Maltese Falcon. He is less cowardly, but also less humorous. Greenstreet’s articulate menace is more in line with his Falcon character. Toward the end, the director sets up some extreme low angle shots to emphasize the character’s ominous bulk and his threatening power (as did Huston in Falcon).
  3. Jane Greer may be the best ever femme fatale. Unfortunately she was in only a few films. Both actors are filled with confidence and sex appeal. When she walks away, all eyes are on her, including ours through the well-placed camera's lens. Is there anyone today who could walk that walk?
  4. This is masterful directing on the part of Howard Hawks. All four characters are drawn expertly. The dialogue is close to Chandler, except for the part where she mentions his height. The book Chandler was evidently taller. Martha Vickers is a treat and is one of the most underrated actresses of the day. I often wondered what happened to her career. The set design details are superb, too. The big question, of course, is: Who killed Owen Taylor?
  5. The Imperial Valley is a good name for it, and the imperialists live north of the border. While the narrator talks about the grand harvest and how we need the Mexican workers to help us bring it to market, we see the Mexicans through a fence, being held back. The visuals are telling a different story, setting up an immediate tension, well worhy of film noir. Seems like the title is going to be more that just an "incident."
  6. Did you hear the Dragnet theme? Miklos Rozsa did scores and concertos but will be most remembered for Dragnet. This dialogue is mostly Hemingway's, but the great line, "I did something wrong, once" is not in the short story. It is a great line that is more noir than Hemingway. I don't know if it was written by Huston of Veiller, but it seems to echo in many films noir.
  7. What she does with her hair is tantalizing, but somewhat cliche. The peeling off of the first glove is the best striptease I have ever seen. The dancing is clumsy, but the clumsiness is overlooked by the enthralled.
  8. At least some of the credit for this opening goes to Vera Caspary, the author of the book. Much of the opening voiceover is taken from her book's opening.
  9. Daves does not go entirely first person, which is why this scene works. He knows what he is doing and is certainly one of the unsung masters of the forties and fifites. We know Bogie is in it and we already have an image of him, yet the suspense he initiates here works very well.
  10. The train is going a little too fast. The camera is just a little too close to the oncoming bridges. It seems to portend risk. The slightly unsteady camera adds to the excitement, too. Perhaps best of all is how the editing pulls it all together, and puts the humans right in the middle of it.
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