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billybaker

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  1. I love that we hear Marlowe introduce himself before we see him. Excellent entrance for a protagonist. As Marlowe, Bogart is cool-headed and witty. His quick on his feet, too. It's evident the lack of respect he has for Carmen, introducing himself with a fake name and totally immune to her charms. We can tell he's not going to be seduced by her. On the flip side, he displays respect for the general, following the general's requests that he take off his coat, drink brandy, and smoke a cigarette.
  2. After the credits, the music is dreamlike. It almost feels like watching a propaganda newsreel. Of course, we are looking from above, where everything seems perfect. When I hear "monument of the vision of man" combined the music, I'm thinking about the American Dream. This theme stays as we first meet the Braceros, who are waiting for their own little piece of the American Dream. The tone quickly shifts from whimsical to something darker.
  3. I love how the camera lingers outside the diner after a patron enters. Even if he's not speaking, I was immediately drawn to the man on the left. The way this shot is set up, I'm reminded of both Edward Hopper and Weegee. When the music kicks in, it really heightens the tension, signaling a deep sense of urgency. There's an interesting contrast between that sense of urgency and the calm, slow, deliberate speech of the Swede. We move from a sense of urgency to a man who seems resigned to his fate.
  4. I think music has played an essential role in solidifying the feel of film noir. Speaking personally, I have a difficult time separating noir from its music. To take a detour, I went searching for a compilation of jazz noir and found a great one in the "Jazz Noir" box set; I highly recommend it. Whereas a scene like M was able to build tension without music, creating a sense of gritty realism, the music of film noir enhances the formalistic elements. I feel as if the music is a character unto itself. In modern cinema, it seems as though music is often either a distraction, or a cue to inf
  5. Love this opening! Reminiscent for me of La Bete Humaine, at least of terms of grit. Noticeable is the Noir hallmark voiceover. The voiceover puts us in the head of the escapee, and with that identification, he kind of becomes the hero. We root for him - ourselves - to escape the cops, rather than for him to be caught. In fact, we're nervous about getting caught. I find it interesting that this identification is built before we learn why the person we are in the head of was in prison in the first place. As viewers, the first face we meet is not that of the protagonist, but that of the dr
  6. There is so much here that is indicative of noir in terms of score, look and lighting. I especially like the slow zoom in at 1:35 - after the final shot is fired - to the cold look on her face. Also, at 2:13 where the moon exposes her crime into the light. She is so cold and matter-of-fact as she gives directions, another hallmark of noir.
  7. There are some shots and sounds that strike me as influential on the noir look. The first is that hard open with a screech and fire. The shot quickly reveals what is happening, but for a few seconds it is an ominous opening. Also, at 1:20 when the train goes into a tunnel and everything is black (the sound remains); there is a slow build back into the light. This scene lacks the glamor that I associate with film noir, but certainly contains a great deal of grit. Also, with the sounds and the high speed, everything feels dangerous and almost fragile, however, when the scene cuts to the men
  8. I consider dramatic score to be one of the hallmarks of noir, but this opening shows that the power of sound to build tension need not lie only with music. In fact, music would likely remove some of the tension from this opening. The children's game has dark content to build a sense of foreboding. Alas, it could still be a game, until one of the parents says, "as long of we can hear them." As a viewer, I find the cuckoo startling and unsettling. The reaction of the mother, however, shows relief and even joy. The tolling of the bells accompanied by the mother tasting her food heighten thi
  9. I feel that there is real kinship between Mildred Pearce and Stella Dallas. Though both are melodramas, I wouldn't consider the latter to be film noir. One of the main hallmarks of film noir for me in this scene is the dramatic score. What really makes this noir for me is that the scene really gets into the darkness and corruption of the human soul - a young woman who, as her mother points out, will do just about anything for money. Where this has an interesting link with melodrama and Stella Dallas is the class issues, and the broader struggles of single moms.
  10. Much like the opening of M, Lang uses everyday sounds absent of score to build tension beginning with the ticking and toll of the clock. Interestingly, the reveal of the asylum is accompanied practically by silence (only footsteps) rather than dramatic strings. In both openings, the cues for our reactions and responses and removed and we are left simply with honest reaction. Where music is absent, sound still plays an essential role. We wait eternal seconds in silence to hear what the waiting by the clock was about - freedom. There are also interesting references to the type of life Neale
  11. In a traditional police drama, the objective is simply justice. While noir private detectives may also be in the pursuit of justice, they are also in the pursuit of something else. As far as being on the "fringes of the law," Marlowe makes multiple references to calling or going to the police, but doesn't - at least not yet. This is a new kind of detective who chooses when (and how) to involve the police and often uses the support of untrustworthy individuals in pursuit of what they're after. And what are they after? My favorite piece of dialogue is, "I'm just a small businessman in a mess
  12. Our introduction to Lydecker is his voice, but our visual introduction is not to him, but rather to his things. These things are lavish, but they are also fragile; the first words Lydecker says to the detective are, "Careful there, that stuff is priceless." When Lydecker tells the detective, "My version was obviously superior" and "I never bother with details you know," you receive clues that Lydecker is perhaps an unreliable narrator. At 0:54, Detective McPherson seems to hold pose with the masks, all looking the same direction; we soon realize he is looking at the clock. The camera follo
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