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Sammy the Shamus

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About Sammy the Shamus

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    Palookaville, MI
  • Interests
    Writer, poet, gumshoe, mug. Player of chin music, locator of cheating spouses. Reasonable rates, plus expenses. Just leave the envelope with Velma on your way out.
  1. The clock immediately adds suspense, as we see it ticking for several seconds before the theme music/title/credits--we're dropped right into a sense of foreboding from the start. The opening reminded me a bit of scenes from Lang's earlier film, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, where we see the mad master criminal in an even more stark asylum, in a similar state to Milland's; almost catatonic in his concentration on something beyond the room. Here the room is dark but livable, almost comfortable (save for the bars on the window--and the incessant ticking of the clock). We gradually learn, in Millan
  2. Marlowe is a new type of detective/protagonist: he's a businessman. Cynical, a bit rough, but a businessman--"a small businessman in a very messy business, but I like to follow through on a sale." His loyalties lie not with the police, and certainly not City Hall, but with the last person who paid for his services. He's good at what he does, to a degree--he wasn't able to keep Marriott from getting bludgeoned to death, but his ethics keeps him looking for the person who did. He's able to see through Ann Grayle's "disguise" pretty quickly, locking the door behind them to keep her in the room un
  3. Indeed: I think Years of restrictions under the Production Code pushed screenwriters, directors, AND audiences toward the style/genre/movement of what later came to be called Noir. It can be argued that all three wanted to change things up from constantly happy movies in the face of not only the Depression but another World War. I enjoyed the question of whether Noir fits one of the three definitions--or can fit all three (which I think it can). But what I glommed onto in the lecture was ... well, France. I knew the term was coined soon after the war but hadn't realized that during the war, Am
  4. I've always had trouble with the POV in Dark Passage--and I think a few others on this forum have found its use in Lady in the Lake to be much better (and I didn't realize until I checked - they both came out in '47!). But for Dark Passage, it does help get it off to an unusual start that we're not expecting--why are we seeing it from this guy's perspective? Why aren't we seeing his face? We find out why later, of course, and Viola! it's Bogart, but still it's a device that should have been obvious even in '47. What I DID like was Lauren Bacall (of course) and the supporting cast: the backstre
  5. Davis is literally a femme fatale in this opening--but also the symbol of class privilige. Class differences/distinction is playing out here--we can see it in other classic Noir films such as The Asphalt Jungle (the newly bankrupt lawyer bankrolling the heist) and in The Big Sleep (General Sternwood and his daughters). Here, Davis is the priviliged wife of a plantation owner. The Camera shows the full moon and clouds, pans through the open sleeping quarters of the rubber plantation workers, and finally the Big House. Davis calmly comes out shooting to death a white man, Mr. Hammond. The worker
  6. To make a connection between the opening scenes of La Bête Humaine and noir film, I'd have to go with chase scenes. no one being chased here, but noir film chase scenes work best when there is no music, as here; suspense sis conveyed through natural sound. Here it's a locomotive, but it could be a loud factory, a busy street scene, or the sound of cars in A chase scene with cars (like the chase scene in Bullit). Loud, fast, full of contrast. and Gabin and his fellow engineer are fully immersed in the running of the engine; dirty, sweaty, making split-second decisions, language reduced to an
  7. [My first post to the class! I'm already two days late, but I think I have enough time to catch up...] There's many good observations already on this board about Lang's use of camera angles, lighting (and shadows), lack of musical scoring, etc--all of which relate to the development of our sense of what constitutes a Noir film. We could go on a long time discussing those, and many have already. What I want to note, briefly, is the game the children are playing. The game itself--someone in the middle of a circle of children, counting off and choosing a new "loser" in each round--foreshadows
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