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Willireo

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Everything posted by Willireo

  1. This sequence seemed very similar to the opening of the Maltese Falcon. The elevator operator tells Marlowe there's an attractive woman in his office. The secretary at Spade and Archer (sorry forgot the name) tells Spade there's an attractive woman wants to see him. Marlowe doesn't believe she's a reporter from the start. Spade and Archer didn't believe Miss Wonderly. The believed her hundred dollars. Granted Marlowe got the fake identity a lot quicker and no one got killed before he did it. Marlowe operates in a shady world but he has a code and wants to stick to it. Sam Spade had to send his partner's killer away, despite the personal cost because he had a code and had to stick to it. Locking the door. That was a pretty slick shot. I'm not clear this opening sequence contributed anything not already done in The Maltese Falcon.
  2. Shortly after Frank Sinatra's death Pete Hamill wrote "Why Sinatra Matters." One of the reasons he gave is that Frank Sinatra taught men of the post-war era how to behave and handle their prosperity. How true this is I have no idea, but it sounds good. The opening sequence of Laura and some of our earlier viewings made me think that Film Noir how men should conduct themselves in a world of duplicitousness and corruption where success and failure are buy one get one free.. This opening sequence is beautiful. Waldo Lydecker's New York apartment is like fine china. As we pan across this antique showroom we come to Detective McPherson, shabby and disheveled hat worn back. A fly on the teacup. Lydecker's self absorbed dismissive voiceover is as pretentious as the apartment. Dana Andrews only gets his attention when the voyeuristic Lydecker sees him pick up an antique from its showcase. For some reason Preminger chose to obscure Andrews face in this shot. I don't know why and assume there is an expressive reason. The by-play between Lydecker and McPherson shows that McPherson is a tough character of significant courage and accomplishment. Lydecker on the other hand makes a lot of money writing lies (embellishments). Look at the New York penthouse it got him. Still McPherson has his job to do and he shrugs off Lydecker's barbs and pretentiousness to do it. So in this opening sequence there's significant social commentary (Hey guys it's a corrupt world of moneyed jerks. Ignore them) along with the set-up for the story to follow.
  3. Shortly after Frank Sinatra's death Pete Hamill wrote "Why Sinatra Matters." One of the reasons he gave is that Frank Sinatra taught men of the post-war era how to behave and handle their prosperity. How true this is I have no idea, but it sounds good. The opening sequence of Laura and some of our earlier viewings made me think that Film Noir how men should conduct themselves in a world of duplicitousness and corruption where success and failure are buy one get one free.. This opening sequence is beautiful. Waldo Lydecker's New York apartment is like fine china. As we pan across this antique showroom we come to Detective McPherson, shabby and disheveled hat worn back. A fly on the teacup. Lydecker's self absorbed dismissive voiceover is as pretentious as the apartment. Dana Andrews only gets his attention when the voyeuristic Lydecker sees him pick up an antique from its showcase. For some reason Preminger chose to obscure Andrews face in this shot. I don't know why and assume there is an expressive reason. The by-play between Lydecker and McPherson shows that McPherson is a tough character of significant courage and accomplishment. Lydecker on the other hand makes a lot of money writing lies (embellishments). Look at the New York penthouse it got him. Still McPherson has his job to do and he shrugs off Lydecker's barbs and pretentiousness to do it. So in this opening sequence there's significant social commentary (Hey guys it's a corrupt world of moneyed jerks. Ignore them) along with the set-up for the story to follow.
  4. I was shocked the first time I saw this opening. The gun shots surprised me and I was more surprised seeing Betty Davis stride purposefully out of the house emptying that revolver. She never blinked. I didn't know her motivation, but given her dedication to the task assumed cheating was involved. As she fired she was in shadow externalizing her inner darkness. The moon broke through briefly and she momentarily saw and felt what she'd done. It was only a moment. She turned back into shadow and took charge of the situation.
  5. This sequence must have been very exciting on a big screen. It must have felt like being on a roller coaster. We open up on fire. Kind of hellacious in that engineers' compartment. The moving train shots created an impression of speed, danger and claustrophobia. The majority of the train exteriors had the view very close to the left edge of the frame. Things became more claustrophobic when passing through tunnels. There's no margin for error. In this hellacious compartment in a situation where there's no margin for error are two cool guys. They don't talk. They whistle and gesture and smoke cigarettes. They don't need to talk. They're professionals beyond talk. No wonder the music is triumphant when they're able to successfully stop that roaring smoking missile at the station. And likely on time from the way Gabin looks at his watch. These two guys could pull of a heist.
  6. The scene starts of comically with the kids making the awful song part of their game. After that there is an amazing string of ineffective authority figures. The irate mother can yell at the children, but we know they'll continue to sing the song. Mrs. Irate then retreats into the building and the camera lingers on the porch railing. First of the obstructed foregrounds (I think there are two) that is a common Film Noir element. Their living quarters is a prison. Mrs. Irate carries her burden up the stairs. Stairways are almost as common in Film Noir as wet sidewalks. She encounters the exhausted Mrs. Beckmann who's too exhausted to reprimand the children. Her statement about hearing their voices sounded rote. She's lost the fire of Mrs. Irate. Her one joy is Elsa, the clock strikes and it means Elsa's coming homing. The clock sound establishes Elsa's simultaneously leaving school. She almost steps into traffic and one authority figure, the policeman shows up. Helpful but late. She bounces her ball and passes a man reading the paper. An adult who could help, but won't. We see the poster another example of authority doing what little it can. The shadow crosses the poster. We all know it's him. The shadow lengthens and widens across the poster. We all know where it's going. The mothers, fathers, police can't protect the innocent from the evil.
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