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Walked Alone

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  1. Given that Vincent Parry undergoes major facial surgery it only makes sense that the director would use the POV approach. We don't see Parry's pre-Bogart face, and we don't need to. Not seeing it only adds to the mystery. All we can gather is that the new face is older than the pre-surgical look. "You'll look older, but feel younger."
  2. How about the film noir classic "Mildred Pierce" (1945) versus the HBO miniseries "Mildred Pierce" (2011). The miniseries is earthier and more faithful to the James Cain novel that comparing the 1945 and 2011 versions is as different as drinking sparkling water and straight bourbon.
  3. There are a couple of lesser-knownversions of "Diabolique". A 1974 made-for-TV movie called "Reflections of Murder" stars Sam Waterston, Tuesday Weld and Joan Hackett. A 1993 made-for-TV movie features Melissa "Half Pint" Gilbert, Bruce Boxleitner and Kate Vernon. (Gilbert and Boxleitner would marry two years later). Never saw that version, which IMDB users rated at 5.4/10. "Reflections of Murder', by comparison, scored at 7.2/10.
  4. Not related to "Mildred Pierce", but I remember a spontaneously hilarious moment when I saw "The Women" years ago at a wonderful theater that showed double features. I don't know what played with "The Women", but the tell-all Joan Crawford book and movie "Mommie Dearest" were released. There's a scene in which Crawford's character Crystal takes a bubble bath while her stepdaughter (Virginia Wielder) reluctantly comes in the bathroom so Little Mary can say a forced goodbye at the end of the custodial visit. The stepmother and stepdaughter have no love for each other, and Crystal resents the chi
  5. I saw HBO's "Mildred Pierce" miniseries when it aired several years ago. Rachel Evan Wood's Veda and Guy Pearce's Monte Beragon look like Sunday school characters. Without the censorship code and 1940s sensibilities the HBO version offers a take-no-prisoners approach leaves you wondering if the film-noir classic and miniseries were cut from the same cloth. I haven't read James Cain's novel, but my sense is that the miniseries offers a closer interpretation to the book. I hate to use the grossly overrated warning SPOILER ALERT, but I do so in the event that somebody wants to watch the miniserie
  6. "Double Indemnity" captured a snapshot of 1940s Los Angeles. On one hand you had the stucco homes with palm trees contrasted with the office where Walter Neff worked and his shabby apartment with the door that swung outside (instead of inside). One of my favorite under-appreciated movies is 1995's "Devil In a Blue Dress" with Denzel Washington. "Devil" is set in post-war Los Angeles and looks at a slice of life of African-Americans in the 1940s. Washington's Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins was your typical hard-core private detective and Don Cheadle steals his scenes as Rawlins' questionable backup man
  7. The first time I saw "Double Indemnity" I was taken aback by seeing the father in "My Three Sons" as the amoral protagonist. Not Robbie, Chip and Ernie's father! It took a couple times seeing the movie before I got over the MTS sticker shock. That being said, I can't imagine Barbara Stanwyck neutering a traditional movie tough guy (e.g., Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum or James Cagney). Burt Lancaster very early in his career, yes, or Kirk Douglas conveying a sense of recognition and irony. But Walter is as dumb as a box of rocks, and MacMurray caught that personification.
  8. Perhaps a gin martini, shaken and bruised. Can't go wrong with scotch or whiskey in a tumbler.
  9. One of my favorites is the underrated "I Walk Alone" (1948). It was the first movie that paired Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. Not as well known as his co-stars (Lancaster, Lizabeth Scott and Wendell Corey), Douglas had fourth billing in the cast. Going toe-to-toe with Lancaster, Douglas established himself as bonafide movie star. Along with the requisite dark shadows and menacing scenes, he movie includes gangsters, sad-eyed songstress and one of the best descriptions of corporate operations.
  10. Did I mention a shut-out for "Dark Passage"? Something bad happens under the Golden Gate Bridge and Bogey rides a streetcar.
  11. I anticipated an ominous occurrence from the outset - this is film noir, after all. I was shocked how much the random clothespins on the laundry line looked like barbed wire. As little Ellie Beckman bounced the pretty ball down the street I shouldn't have anticipated anything as pedestrian as an automobile striking the child. Given the wariness related to the kidnappings I was surprised by how freely Ellie offered her name to the creepy stranger.
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