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Louis' Friend

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Posts posted by Louis' Friend


  1. Some of the noir elements I saw were the high angle shots of Ryan running through the train yard crossing over the tracks, the superimposed shots of the train wheels and the train headlight over Robert Ryan's face giving the feeling that he can't escape from somthing.  Putting the hammer away seemed meaningful to me, since nothing on the to do list needed a hammer to do it.  Why was it there?  Did he use it to kill the woman in the closet?  Is that why the sign from the Salvation Army is prominent?  "Keep the Pot Boiling" is this murder what is boiling?  Is it going to continue to boil when he arrives at his new destination?

     

    I think this scene reveals noir themes from the 50's with this troubled man on the run from something.  Is he a murderer?  Psychotic? Well I guess we'll find out on Friday.

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  2. Can somebody please tell me if the opening scene here, when the one train passes the other,  is a recycled clip from one of the earlier movies in our course "Crack-Up" with Pat O'Brien.  Not the dream sequence scene when the trains crash, but the later scene when he remembers what really happens.  I could be crazy, but it seems so familiar.  Maybe I've just watched too many of these movies is the last few weeks and they're all starting to run together.  Anyways, it's sad it's coming to an end.  I'll miss talking with all of you.

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  3. I'm afraid I do agree with Hirsch's take that the dialogue sounds like a "parody of the hard-boiled school."  There are times in this scene, especially when the partner is talking to the cabbie, that they talk so fast you can hardly understand what they are saying.  The description of the "dame" they are about to pick up uses every adjective in the book to describe a noir woman.  I've also always thought that Charles McGraw voice was so gravelly and gruff that it always sounded like he was a little over-the-top, no matter what movie he was in.  Great for noirs male characters, but not always fitting for other characters.

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  4. The checking and double checking, over days, of the timing of passing squad cars, arrivals of delivery and armored trucks, the duration of their stays at the florists and bank, the departure times of both trucks.  The plan is synchronized to the tee for the "perfect crime."  When will it occur?  How will the delivery man be involved?  Will it succeed?

     

    We are part of this heist in the POV shots from the window with the architect of this heist.  All the shots of clocks and watches have shown themselves before in our noir studies.  The feeling that something is about to happen.  Sometimes it meant freedom and sometimes doom.  I think we know what is about to come.

     

    I look at criminals a little differently in a heist film, in this particular scene, because we see a more calculating and calm criminal.  Other criminals came off as more crazed and impulsive, driven by passions or greed.  We don't read any of that from this scene.

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  5. In the cinema shots of the fight scene, I found all the noir elements, the low angle shots of the fighters and all the closeups, when they showed the television shots I noticed the camera pull away.

     

    This is a couple clearly dissatisfied with the path their lives have taken.  The flower shop clerk who wanted to be a star and the cab driver who never realized his dream of being a prizefighter. The introduction of the television in the 50's now interrupting the family dinner and the art of conversation. I really don't think she wants to be with this loser, in her eyes, anymore.   Again as in many of the later noirs, the theme being the lack of money and the want of it.  What's to come in the rest of the narrative to achieve that goal?

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  6. The staging at the start of the scene seems to suggest that Walter, the DA in his fancy office, and standing over Sam, has the upper hand, but the dialogue suggests something completely different.  Sam is the easy going, confident character that Walter wants to be better than, but can't seem to be.  When Sam asks Walter to help out Toni Marachek, Walter says he'll have to see, but Sam says  "You will."  Obviously, in their past, Sam held the position of power between the two of them, as Walter slinks off behind the desk.  As Martha enters, Walter is alone and obviously jealous of the interaction between Sam and Martha, this is not a happy man.  Their reunion is the total opposite, happy to see each other, leaning into each other almost giddy.  There's definitely something romantic from their past.

     

    As far as the noir themes go, I'll use Manny Farber's words from his critique of the film, "four people who have lived cataclysmic laughterless lives since they were babies."  I think that pretty well sums up what we find out about these people and what is about to happen to them in this film.

     

    I saw this noir location in the films of "Out of the Past," "The Stranger," "The Killers," and so on and so on and.........

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  7. This dark road with a couple innocently travelling down it, not knowing that fate is lying around the corner. This sulky, spoiled wife trying to get her own way so that she doesn't have endure an evening with a rich, superior woman.  Keep going on Jane...he'll give in...he always does.  What's this?  Something getting thrown into the car?  What could it be?  MONEY!  Our femme fatale emerges in that instant with the greedy little smile of Lizabeth Scott.  She's definitely one of the queen's of the B's.  With great support from Arthur Kennedy as the dutiful, yet irritated husband.  The escape begins, and this woman is now in charge of their fate, with the fearful chagrin of Alan. You can see it in her eyes the whole time they're being chased...just let him try to get this money back from me!  The new woman of America post war? I'm sure not the norm, but a woman finding herself on that fateful night.

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  8. I think the rhythm in this scene is different because I don't feel the foreboding nature and darkness that I felt in the other two films. Here the music is light and almost humorous and there are no dark corners that I'm looking into for something evil lurking.  We know it's coming but not yet.

     

    The beautiful shot of the entrance arches is so noir to me.  The low angle shots of the legs getting out of the cabs and walking in the station, the shots of the people from behind entering the station never seeing their faces.  The shots of the train tracks reminded me so much of the shots in La Bette Humaine.  

     

    With the introduction of our two characters I find the set up of two opposites. The flamboyant, almost feminine like Bruno Antony rambling on about himself and the modestly dressed, private tennis player Guy Haines.  As these continue their story as two opposing forces we will see the introduction of evil and good.

     

    I believe Hitchcock should be a special case for film noir.  I don't find all of his movies have the elements of film noir in it while I believe others do.  So I do agree with many of you on this discussion.

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  9. I've seen this movie many times, every time I fall on it I can't help but watch it again.  Edmund O'Brien plays this doomed man to perfection and although all the film noir traits are evident and incredible, O'Brien's perfomance is outstanding.

     

    I find the parallels of our opening scenes this week all have one thing in common ,"we have no certainty of our destinations." Whether, escaping from an asylum, picking up a murdering hitch-hiker, sentenced to a woman's prison or as in today's scene knowing you are about to die.  How do you escape what is about to happen? Do you?

     

    The noir themes and motifs that I see in this clip, with reference to Porfirio's article, are our protagonist trying to make sense out of his world. "I want to report a murder."..."Who was murdered?"..."I was."  Why is he at a police station? The hopelessness of his situation, is he living despite life's absurdity?

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  10. Looking out of that small wired window, where everything else is in dark shadows seems like we, the audience, are "Caged" with the women who are being transported to the prison.  Where are we stopping? What will it be like there? When are we getting out?

     

    This is definitely a Warner Brothers house style film.  "Pile out you tramps. It's the end of the line"  This is pretty gritty language for the 50's, even in the changing times.

     

    Film noir is perfect for a story set inside a woman's prison.  Hard-edged, tough, fast-talking criminal women, with a setting that's a perfect set up for dark, shadowy camera shots and angles.  With the perfect negative exponent of being "Caged".

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  11. Unlike yesterday's clip of two naked legs running down a dark highway towards headlights, we see two legs hiding in the shadows waiting for his opportunity to flag down a car.  Once in the back seat, the hitch-hiker's face hides in the shadows until he leans forward and shows his cruel looking face with those menacing eyes.  Unlike yesterday, we aren't seeing the fear in a helpless woman, but now in the dread and vulnerability of the two men.  

     

    We are now in the car with these two men.  Feeling that dread and vulnerablility.  As the poster said..."Who will be the next victim...YOU? 

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  12. This opening sure throws you into the action right away.  The film comes off as much darker than the noirs we seen before this.  A half naked woman running down a highway, frantic with fear, running from something terrible that has happened to her...but what? Jumping in front of a speeding car in desperation for help.  So desperate that she's willing to trust this cold, hard, unsympathetic man. I don't see this private eye having the same sense of humor as a Philip Marlowe or a Sam Spade.  He does turn out, however, to be a guy who'll play along with whatever it is she's hiding from the police...again, but what?

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  13. I saw "The Third Man" many years ago and that haunting zither music pops up in my head every now and then.  Hard to forget music like that. Plays so well with the shiny rain soaked streets and Dutch angle camera shots.  You can't tell sometimes if the camera if tilted or the streets are on an angle.  Incredible looking.

     

    Orson Welles does steal that scene.  When that light from the window appears on his face... the look, the acknowledgement and then the smile.  So much expressed in such a short shot. 

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  14. John Garfield enters as the friendly drifter starting his future right now.  Little does he know his future is a little more complicated than a new job. Enter Lana Turner with those legs, that body looking cool and uninterested.  But there's interest there alright...on both sides.  The sexual tension is palpable.

     

    The perfect entrance for a noir... film the narration of the first person POV.  The camera work panning from the lipstick, along the window shaded floor, to the legs...stop. Up to reveal this beauty, this femme fatale.


  15. The entrances of each actor is different with Peter Lorre's POV.  He seems a light character, an innocent, for a change, flipping his hat around and talking about someone he's met.  Greenstreet's enters the room menacingly totally blacked out until we see him...with a gun in his hand.

     

    My favorite shot is a shot I also noticed taken of Sydney Greenstreet in "The Maltese Falcon".  The low-angle shot seems to come up between his legs, to let us catch his very formidable size and get the impression that this is someone not to mess around with.

     

    The banter in the dialogue between Lorre and Greenstreet is very similar to the other films as well as the lighting techniques. I can't believe how closely I'm looking at films now, since I started the course.  Noticing a lot more that I used to before.

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  16. I see the film noir elements in this scene with, of course, the narration and the beautiful shadows and framing shots on the street and in the cantina.  And is that a femme fatale I see before me with an unsuspecting male ready to fall into her trap?  Well we'll have to see on Friday.

     

    I've always thought of Mitchum as a tough guy in most of his movies, but in this scene he comes off as charming and almost shy with a sweet sense of humour.  He won't quit trying to get this girl to be interested in him.  As far as Greer goes, she's mysterious and withdrawn and not giving the boy a nibble.  But when she's ready to leave, " I sometimes go there".  A little smirk from Mitchum as he watches her wiggle her way of of the cantina.

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  17. The first person nod comes at the beginning when we see Marlowe looking at the front door and then seeing his hand ringing the doorbell.  From the moment he saunters into the front room, his confidence, his look, his actions are pretty much on the money in establishing Marlowe's character with that of the first line of the novel.

     

    I find Marlowe much more flirtatious and humorous that Sam Spade.  In control and comfortable, but definitely not as hard edged.

     

    What would film noir be without the hard-boiled, quick-talking detective the likes of a Sam Spade or a Philip Marlowe.

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  18. Like some of you have already mentioned it did sound like the old newsreels or travelogues we would see at movies or what we can still see on TCM.  The voice very matter of fact, with the very lilting music at the beginning and darker when we see the migrant workers running towards the border.  The narration is setting up our story to the seriousness of this problem.  

     

    As far as the style goes, all I can say is lines, lines, lines.  The beautiful shots from overhead of all the diagonal lines, fields or roads all leading to somewhere. The lines of the barbed wire fence with the migrant workers behind it, showing us a more serious moodod and leading us into the final scene of the dark border crossing.

     

    Never was motivated to watch this movie before, but will look forward to see it on Friday with a new outlook.


  19. I see the influences of German Expressionism, with the high shots of Nick running from the diner to the Swede, the long shadows and angles of the buildings.  Once we're in the room, Burt Lancaster's face in the shadows the great shadows being cast, especially when the door is opened.

     

    I think the visual design shifts from the reality of the diner all lit up with people to this somber darkened bedroom.  Lancaster's reaction seems unimaginable to Nick and to us, learning of what's about to happen.  Face in the dark, lying still on the bed, voice monotone resigned to his fate.

     

    This clip embodies film noir to me. The diner, the killers the darkness and angle shots, the protagonist resigned to his fate.  Can't wait to see it all.  Have never see it all the way through for one reason or another.

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  20. Under the angry glare of Johnny Farrell, Gilda performs her striptease-like dance in a dress that's almost not holding on.  Every bump and grind to the beats of the song, the flipping of the hair, the facial expressions are sexy and purposeful.  She may be beautiful and soft looking, but tough, in that she's not afraid of what's coming after that very seductive performance.

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  21. I feel that noir has influenced Mildred Pierce not only by the darkness and camera angles that are evident throughout the film, but I do feel that Veda is a perfect femme fatale.  What it must have been like for moviegoers in the 40's to witness this spoiled, hateful, callous, smug daughter(enough adjectives?).  I'm sure they hadn't seen this kind of mother/daughter relationship before in the movies. The shot on the staircase with Veda on the higher step delivering that slap to Mildred is so powerful.  You're stunned.  The closeups tell us everything we need to know about what these two women are feeling.  I love Joan Crawford in this movie, but I do think that Ann Blyth gives a performance to match.

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  22. The clock on the wall, sitting in the shadows, with the pendulum swinging back and forth, ticking loudly, joined by the very intense music...is setting me up for something foreboding...but what?  Like in "M"  that clock was announcing that something dreadful was about to come.  When you pan back from the clock to see a man sitting in the dark watching the clock...what is he waiting for what is about to happen?  We find out that this man is about to leave this dark place after a long time...freedom.  He's ready to go, but with a warning from the other man take is slow, don't rush into anything.  Be careful of the getting involved with the police and of another charge.  What has happened before and what is coming after he leaves...an asylum?


  23. What I noticed about the interaction between Marlowe and Anne Grayle was that in the outer office he was quite gentlemanly, once he gets her into the inner office, the door locks and the interrogation begins.  As he looks her over and figures her out, he becomes quite rough with her with his questions and his actions.  The fast talking dialogue doesn't give her a chance to think and make up lies, he gets to the truth in no time. All along I find a little bit of humor to all the banter.  I notice that in a lot of the detectives in film noir movies. Along with being on the "finges" of the law I find the detectives of film noir to be very human and able to make mistakes like any of us.

    • Like 2
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