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Everything posted by marshu

  1. I just watched the commentary by Eddie Muller and James Ellory for Crime Wave. I hope Muller will not be a sophamoric on Thursday as he and Ellory were in this commentary. It would be a bad ending to a wonderful class.
  2. The music rises and falls languid and lush, so does the staccato conversation of the lovers with a little poetry in their language and a great deal of emotion in their voices.
  3. Maybe I'm odd, but I don't associate the Salvation Army just with goodness and purity. First, their work takes them to some nasty places to work with some seedy people. Second, they have quasi-militaristic fashion to their religious approach. Yes, they do good work, but seeing them in the first shot of the film makes me expect to see some nasty things.
  4. This film does do something very different than the others--the train sounds begin when the student logo is being shown. It succeeds in highlighting the importance of the train. There are many noir elements: trench coats, fedoras, tough cops, trains, darkness, the train coming right at you, cigarettes, and matches. It also has a soft cop with a broader, more positive attitude. Maybe his getting old. Maybe some critics things film nior is getting old. Personally, I have no problem with this. It's good cop/bad cop with more to come.
  5. Time is of the essence in any heist. You have to know when and where people are during the day-to-day of the location. The music cues the importance of the timing of all movements. I keep thinking of the watchmaker god of the 1800s. The argument for the existence of god was intelligent design. That’s what Foster is trying to do—intelligent design. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you know the design might have been intelligent but not perfect otherwise the story couldn’t be told.
  6. I just watched the documentary: Film Noir: Bringing Darkness To Light. It includes everything we have been talking about during the class. They have directors and actors from the films and some of the authors we have read. This documentary brings it all together in one neat package.
  7. The TV in this scene is showing a movie of the past. It just shows what happened. When the director includes Payne in the scene, he shows the pain (no pun intended) in real time. This isn't just a cold documentary, but real life. The crushed dreams and inability to see a bright future is evident. I kept thinking of Brando's line: "I could have been a contender." The minute Castle thinks she was a contender, Payne knocks her down as if he punched her. He's reeling from her punch his future, and he had to hit her hard.
  8. I suspected someone would say what I saw in the scene by today--and you did. I do want to add one thing about Sam. When he is talking to Walter, he is sitting back relaxed. Walter doesn't have the power, just the position of power. He hasn't frightened Same or even made him feel uncomoftable. You cans see that when he asks for a favor. As you mentioned, he tell Walter: "you will." They are standing on even physical ground with Sam taking a drink from Walter. Walter never had the power in this scene, he just tries to get it through his physical presence. When Martha comes in, she and Sam are thrilled to see each other. It isn't until Sam is ready to leave that Martha becomes anxious. It starts when Sam tells--not asks--Walter: "you will do that thing for me?" Sam reminds Walter he has the real power. Sam even touches Martha's elbow when he leaves. He's not afraid of her. Martha may have the power to make Walter's election a "sure thing," but she doesn't have the power to control Sam.
  9. Maybe this couple was innocent when the bag of money landed in their car, but the innocence evaporated when Jane takes the wheel and drives away. She has to know them money is ill-gotten gains. Those gains must be returned to the owner or terrible things would happen. Jane steals the money. She could have had Allen through the bag out on the street so the oncoming car could pick it up. They could have gotten away and been safe, but this is noir. You don't do the safe thing.
  10. When I first saw the feet, I assumed the flashy shoes would belong to the younger man. When we finally see the two men, it is the slightly older man who wears the flashy shoes. Bruno then shows the tie clip which even he admits is not in great taste. You start to get an idea of the man. He's a bit flashy--why? He doesn't seem confident. He immediatly latches on to the Farley character. It isn't until that moment when you get a creepy feeling. Just that short time tells you Farley Granger--Guy--is going to have problems with Bruno. Even their names tell you about their character. It's not a surprise when you find out Bruno is creepy and Guy will be his victim.
  11. When I examine the beginning of D.O.A., I see the first two minutes as positive. Yes, it's dark and the halls seem endless. The music and O'Brien's movements are so positive. He moves quickly, with a mission. It isn't until he comes into the light to report the murder that you realize this is film noir. His clothing is dirty. He looks exhausted. He's reporting his murder. He knows he has very little time. The only thing he wants to do is tell his story. Rather than having your life flash before your eyes the moments before death, he needs to tell the story of his last 24 hours before his eyes and mind goes black.
  12. I want to respond to the comment about getting dressed up to go to prison. First, women were expected to dress up to go to the corner store in this time period. Even in the 60's when I was a kid, my mom would not leave the house to go somewhere public without lip stick. Second, when they go to prison, who do they leave behind? Woud they care for your best clothes for years? If nothing else, the clothes would be safe in prison. When you are released years later, you have no idea what the fashion will be, but you do know you want to be wearing the best quality clothes you own. I also wanted to make a comment about the prison guard. Before the women plie out, he calls them "tramps." This explicitly implies they are promiscuous women. The guard has no idea why all the women are going to jail except for being found guilty. When a woman is bad, she has to be promiscuous. I am sure the guards in the men's prison are not calling them the male version of tramp--is there one? The use of tramp, especially in this time period, is said to show the women they are not part of respectable society. This is definately mental abuse. If they had any self-confidence, this is fashioned to disolve it immediately.
  13. This clip reminds me of Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” They pick up someone not realizing he’s the escaped murderer. The family is hopeless (although Grandma doesn’t think she will actually be killed) just like O’Brien and his friend. They do what they are told without real hope of living through the experience. Unlike O’Connor, Lupino gets straight to the point—they’ve picked up the wrong man. The only light in the first minute is the one showing the gun. Like spotlight, it lets the men know they don’t have a bright future. I haven’t seen this film, but it can’t end happily—maybe I’m wrong and they survive. The first five minutes doesn’t set you up for anything but a bad ending. You can see it in the men’s eyes; they know they will be used and then killed. O’Brien doesn’t grab the gun, even though he knows he will die. Maybe there is a bit of hope--maybe they are waiting for a better plan. But is there one? I’ll watch the film tomorrow night to see what happens. The beginning does draw you into it. I feel sorry for the guy, and I want to see that maybe this time, they survive.
  14. The lyrics of the song playing in the car capture what is happening in the clip: The night is mighty chilly And conversation seems pretty silly I feel so mean and rot I’d rather have the blues than what I’ve got The room is dark and gloomy You don’t know what you’re doing to me The web has got me caught I’d rather have the blues than what I’ve got All night I walk the city Watching the people go by I try to sing a little ditty But all that comes out is a sigh The street looks very frightening The rain begins and then comes lightning It seems love’s gone to pot I’d rather have the blues than what I’ve got
  15. Lorre exits the elevator saying: “completely immoral, but fascinating.” He has a smile on his face and a look of relaxed interest. I don’t know why he said it, but when he enters his room, he finds Greenstreet searching his room. That’s immoral—but interesting. Although Greenstreet has the gun, Lorre isn’t really afraid. His responses are easy. Lorre asks Greenstreet what he is doing, and Greenstreet is a lost. Lorre knows exactly what he is doing.
  16. I'm struck by the Greer's entrance from the light exterior to the darker interior. Is this a reflection of her interior as well? She plays it close, controling the exchange. She lets Mitchum go on, shotting him down until she is prepared to make a move. She goes there sometime and so should he. Greer is just too slick, too controlling. You can feel the menancing interior. This makes it a perfect nior. We feel the evil and we wait for it to engolf everthing--especially Mitchum.
  17. When Marlowe first sees Carmen, he appreciates the view. He isn’t ruffled by her comment about his height. Marlow’s done his homework—as we see when he talks to the General—so he knows about the women in the house. Marlow plays along but understands the value—or lack thereof. Before he goes in to see the general, he tells the butler: “you ought to wean her, she old enough.” He knows she is playing childish games. Also, weaning is the first step to adulthood and to self-responsibility. Carmen is neither an adult nor a responsible person.
  18. When the narrative is about how irrigation has brought the fertile land to life or about the legal immigrants entering to till the fields, the diagonals go up from left to right. When the narrative discusses the illegal immigrants, the lines are much more horizontal. The legal has a movement to the right, while the illegal is stagnant. Additionally, the narrative makes it clear the illegal lose the money they have worked for in the US when they return home.
  19. In M you don't see the killer's face, just the body. In the Killers, you clearly see the killers. What you don't see is the proposed victim. He's in the dark, and ke is calm. It is as if he doesn't care if he dies or he deserves to die. The two killers are rushed. They actively pursue him, while the victim just waits.
  20. I find it interesting that Lang uses a pendulum clock as his focus at the beginning of “Ministry of Fear.” His shot includes the pendulum and the weights for a long period and then goes to the clock face. Pendulum clocks are powered by the weights. They balance the energy to run the clock. In the beginning, you think the slow passing of time—strengthen by the clock being three minutes slow—but that might not be all of it. As they pan the name of the asylum, you begin to wonder if man leaving is, indeed, sane. Slowly you begin to question why he is there and why he cannot get involved with the police. He said he was going to London to experience the noise and people. He wants the pendulum to swing away from his quiet existence in the asylum—where even the clocks are slow.
  21. I agree that Powell plays Marlow very differently than Bogart. First, he is more graceful. Second, he doesn't have the raw sexual tension of Bogart. Third, Powell is rough/dangerous/gritty. Maybe Powell's previous parts as a nice guy and singer creates. A softer filter of his performance for me. One thing about the Fil Noir PIs is they don't feel confined by the police, but rather their own code of ethics. Marlow will find his client's killer, because he was paid for a job he didn't perform. This is payback. I don't have cable, so I watched The Pay Off with Lee Tracy. I've never liked Lee Tracy. He's fast talking shyster in his earlier movies, and he has elements of that in this movie. I can't understand why The Pay Off is considered a Film Noir. Tracy plays stupid jokes on the phone-changing his voice to show he isn't in his apartment. People are taken in by that. He doesn't play a hard-boiled detective. He's even stupid when his boss says something that obviously shows him as the crime boss. I didn't appreciate this movie at all.
  22. A year ago, I read the novel Laura.. The three main characters in film were so well defined and played, I heard their voices in my head as I read. Having watched the movie serval times before, I was surprised the clock was pointed at the start of the film. Now, I stands out like a catch me if you can hint.
  23. From the moment Bogart's voice is heard, we are a party to his assessment of the situation and plans to escape the police. This is no beginner. When he enters the car, his lies set him apart from the driver. Bogart is quick of mind, while the driver is not. Even when he knows what has happened, he waits until he is being beaten to engage his mind--or is mouth to plead. The one shot show the sign pointing behind the car as the way to San Quentin. The driver has heard the sirens and knows where he is on the road. Bogart enters in a t-shirt—that is extremely unusual in this time period. All the hints of problems, and he misses them. in this first scene, you can see that everyman stands no chance against a seasoned Bogart.
  24. The natives may have seen the last shots, but can they say anything? Notice, only the house servant approaches. When she says their has been an accident, he just takes his orders. Davis emptied a gun into--that's no accident.
  25. The train is sometimes viewed from the side, going forward. It's amazing how close the walls of tunnel are the train. It gives you a feeling of danger. The engineers are so matter of fact in their movement--mechanical. Steel, blood and bones combine to bring the train into Le Harve--safely. The celebratory music builds into a crescendo of successful man and machine arriving at their destination. How close they come to the walls of the tunnel. How dark the tunnel is. They make it through this time, but what awaits them?
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