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Everything posted by Willireo

  1. - Discuss how the opening of this film exemplifies the noir style and substance. Driving, urgent music accompanies the appearance of the Universal International logo and continues as we see a documentary style aerial shot of Los Angeles City hall. It's the city, the big city (not the anonymous small midwestern city) it's night for night and the city hall dominates a maze of streetlights. Cut to a parking lot and passing cars weave in front of us revealing two people kissing. They talk as passionately as they kiss. The woman is fearful and the may tries to comfort her but he is equal
  2. Sam Levene is one of the great Noir stalwarts. He was in many films of the classic period (The Killers and Crossfire) and always turned in a great performance. As in "Desperate" the scene begins with the victim cowed in the foreground. The Captain's interrogation is cold and becomes increasingly violent. When we cut to the guards playing cards at the table we see their discomfort, even revulsion at what they can hear going on, but they don't do anything to interfere. They need those jobs. The overtones of Nazism had to be significantly felt by filmgoers in 1947. We have a prison, we have
  3. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): -- In what ways does Miles Davis' score (improvised while watching scenes from the movie) work with and contribute additional layers of meaning to Louis Malle's visual design? This clip was a pleasure to hear and watch. These questions are hard to answer because they're filtered through 5 decades of different understanding. Eddie Muller has pointed out elsewhere that strings are more prominent in classic Film Noir scores and we've come to associate smoky be-bop brass with Noir as a later accretion. Still th
  4. I've never seen this movie. This clip has me eagerly anticipating Friday night. Describe how this scene uses cinematography to accentuate the brutal beating of Steve Randall (Steve Brodie). -- How do Mann and Diskant utilize different points of view to heighten the tension in this scene? As the scene opens Steve is foreground left and Walt is in hidden in darkness in the center. When one of the stooges tells Walt they got Steve for him Walt strides into the center of the frame growing in size and threat. He dominates the center of the frame, his bulk squeezing his henchmen on the left
  5. -- Discuss how this film depicts and utilizes this "unnamed city." Additionally, why do you think the film is entitled "The Asphalt Jungle?" ​It's amazing to see a city so deserted. I have the feeling this is very early morning although I don't recall the time being established. The deserted city starts as the stage for two players. A patrol car and an unknown man in a suit. The patrol car passes the unknown man who, almost instinctively hides behind a column as the patrol car passes. We see the many continuing to walk down a rubble strewn alley. The patrol car gets it's closeup as
  6. -- Discuss the role of time and timing in this scene. Time and timing are in counterpoint in this scene. The pace of the opening is leisurely. No quick cuts and no rapid movement on the part of people on the street, John Payne exiting his van, the armored car guards or Foster. Despite this there is an extreme tension built by Foster's concentration, the dramatic quiet music and the pressure of time. We see the bank clock, we see Foster start his stop watch, we see the bank clock we see the stop watch end at one minute we see Foster slowly cross the room and add what appears to be th
  7. We open up as spectators at the fight. The world surrounding the boxers is complete darkness. We're below the action, it would be ringside seats but we're even closer to the action than that. Medium closeups as the fighters exchange blows. Ernie's eye gets cut? A dirty trick by sailor? That's never revealed. Having to protect the eye throws Ernie off and he's knocked to the ropes. We get an extreme closeup of our man on the ropes. That's where we find him as we transition from spectators at the fight to Ernies apartment where he's watching a replay of the fight on television.
  8. It's strange seeing Kirk Douglas in a situation where he's not the alpha male. That said I heard John Wayne criticized him for his portrayal of the weak struggling VanGogh. We open on Sam and Walter getting reacquainted after over a decade has passed. The scene is smoothly lighted without shadowy expressiveness. Walter, on the right dominates the scene. He's larger and taller than Sam although not by much. We learn Sam has spent their time apart as a gambler and, by inference living an adventurous life. Walter has pursued a more conventional path and it's gotten him to be District Attor
  9. We open on a dark car driving on a winding road. It's shot day for night so we see more of the environment and that we're within sight of city lights. The dark car pulls off the road next to an up-thrusting obelisk telling us we're 3.5 miles from somewhere. Cut to a close up of the car. There's a man at the wheel and his face is obscured by a window mounted searchlight is in the foreground. Is this guy a cop? He checks his Gruen. It's 8:30. Cut to a light colored top-down convertible coming down the road. A medium closeup shows a man driving and a woman in the passenger seat. A
  10. i should proof read these things. I meant "cut back and forth between spectators and brogues"
  11. We open on a medium shot of the train station arched entry. I only knew it was a train station because of the film title. I assume this would have been more recognizable to filmgoers of the time. The arch is brightly illuminated while the interior is shadowy. Our POV is the shadowy interior so we're already in the darker world. A cab pulls into the station a porter enters frame from the left and opens the Diamond cab company door. Out comes a leather suitcase followed by a pair of lace up patent leather cap toed spectators that starting walking left. Quick cut to a cab at the mo
  12. Thanks for raising this point. I think there was an essay by Roger Ebert where he says that action screen left or moving screen left generally indicates something bad going on.
  13. We start at the top of the Los Angeles City Hall. A building that's probably been in more films noir than Elisha Cook Jr. It's night so we know we're not there for a zoning appeal. Panning down we find ourselves sharing the point of view of a lone man, left of screen, momentarily stopped & staring at the building. We here purposeful dramatic music as the man moves to center screen and walks forward in a one point perspective shot of a shadowy hallway. He is the only person in the hallway. We see a sign for Police Department. Entering these doors the man stops and asks direct
  14. It's always great to see the Warner Brothers logo. It's the Superman of studios. We're disoriented during the initial run of titles and theme music although we can see from the crispness of the title "Caged" we're watching an A film. As we progress it becomes clear we're in a dark place, moving, looking through chicken wire, going somewhere by force. Cut to the wagon doors opening and a medium shot of an attractive frightened woman seated at the front of the van. "Pile out your tramps. End of the line" A powerful opening and the cruel description contrasts sharply with the well gr
  15. We open on a pair of legs in a wedge of light. A dry wind blows dust across dirty shoes and a sinister brass sounds three notes. Headlights move toward us out of the darkness and a black arm throws a thumb in the air. The arm and thumb cover nearly the entire frame commanding rather than requesting the car to stop. The stranger opens the back door. Light glints across his leather jacket. The sinister implications mount. The jacket looks sinister and could remind audiences of this time of nazi uniforms. The stranger sits in darkness again a wedge of light barely illuminates his
  16. Kiss me deadly opens with disorientation. Christina is running on a divided highway. We don't know why but whatever it is must be bad. She is shoeless so, we infer, naked under the trench coat. She looks around not knowing what to do. In desperation she stands in front of an on-coming car. If she can't escape she's willing to die. Mike Hammer drives a sporty two door and listens to hip music. He has a meanness unlike other male protagonists in films noir we've previously seen. His first concern is his car. He looks angry and is threatening to Christina when he finally speaks to he
  17. -- How are the "entrances" of John Garfield and Lana Turner staged in this sequence? What do their "entrances" reveal about their character? Garfield's entrance begins with a voiceover and the establishing shot of a rural diner/gas station. His tone is matter of upbeat, matter of fact and carefree. He is a man lacking in responsibility or ambtion who has plenty of time to worry about his future. He's found a place where there's a "man wanted" and may his future starts there. I'd like to thank the fellow students who commented about the meaning of the D.A. saying "Maybe I'll see you
  18. I was struck by the description of Marlowe's suit in the novel. Having seen the movie first I had different expectations. Powder blue suit and blue shirt sounds so bright and cheery. Bogart's suit is clearly not powder-blue.
  19. The scene opens with Marlowe's shadow on the door of the Sternwood mansion. He's already a dark presence. Marlowe enters an ornate hallway reeking of wealth. His loose stride and posture is in contrast to the formal hallway. He is polite enough to take off his hat. The flirtatious daughter descends the stairs. Her brightness and energy are also in contrast to the surroundings. She comes on strong to Marlowe but clothes the come-on in childishness. He's not thrown off and not uninterested. He handles the situation adroitly showing he's in command regardless of the situation. His
  20. The Naked City is considered a Film Noir, but I never thought it was. It always felt more like a police procedural and the documentary style enhanced that feeling.
  21. Films Noir are very sympathetic with their characters. They may be criminals morally ambiguous, trapped in circumstances beyond their control, plagued by bad decisions or just trying to survive but, we always feel for them. Something inherited from the socially conscious gangster films. The documentary opening of Border Incident tells us to anticipate a story about the problems of real people in the real world. On the surface it's a world of plenty achieved by industriousness. In the middle there's opportunity for large numbers of people who crowd the border waiting to follow the proce
  22. Sweet Smell of Success was the first film I thought of when music and Film Noir was discussed . The music itself was a strong element of the story as was jazz and jazz musicians as part of the underworld. Martin Milner was a straight-laced guy but no one would question a jazz musician being busted for possession. Made him an easy mark.
  23. Gilda glows with energy and unbridled exuberance in this number. I hadn't previously noticed how she removed her glove like an experienced stripper. She's brassy and so is the music. All the men love it, even the bouncer, but Johnny's jealous and enraged. He pulls her away and she rebels at him stopping her from being honest with the world. She's not proud of what she is, but she doesn't want to hide it. If she was a hard-boiled detective she could be proud or at lease blasé about her experience with the low life.
  24. It was June 8 1949 when the FBI named a number of Hollywood people as members of the Communist Party. The list included John Garfield and Edward G Robinson. Later Congress cited 10 writers and directors for contempt for refusing to disclose their political affiliations. They came to be known as the Hollywood 10 and were convicted and imprisoned. The atmosphere generated by these events is often cited as a contributing factor in the mood of Film Noir of the period.
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