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martin391

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  1. I too cannot access the link to the certificate. Nor can I find the Canvas in box. What to do? Thanks gm
  2. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers is an excellent illustration for my observations on both TCM and the Summer of Darkness. Just as the Republican Party is aptly named the party of No, so TCM is as aptly representative of the dangers of positive thinking. Often it seems as if TCM has never screened a Hollywood film that it did not consider a “great” film, a forgotten classic, or a work of genius. It has rarely featured an actor who was not touted as the greatest of his era. In reality almost all of their offerings are nothing but commercial Hollywood claptrap; The Strange Love of Ma
  3. Unlike the films noir that we have been seeing the opening of this film lacks the histrionics and the hysteria so common to the genre. Here everything appears “normal” although being a Hitchcock film we know that something is up already. And if we have seen the film, or if we know the work of Patricia Highsmith, from whose novel this is taken, we know that what might seem normal is in fact a coded homoerotic set up: here we have a sexual predator assaying the ability of the other to be his victim. While such a relationship might suggest an unhealthy coupling in the present day, we must remembe
  4. Thank you for including the Porfirio essay on existentialism in your course. It is the finest brief overview of the subject that I have ever read and it relates the philosophy to the arts better than any other. While I admire Camus almost exclusively above all other modern writers, and found the focus here on his work personally satisfying, unfortunately for Porfirio’s argument most of Camus works were written or translated into English after World War II. Other writers might have been mentioned, specifically Fredrick Nietzsche, he of the famous remark: God is dead. That, in turn
  5. In the 50’s one went to the movies knowing, generally, what he was about to see, thanks to Previews and press releases and magazine and newspaper articles. And so when we see the small window with the limited view of “the outside” we can be fairly certain that the camera is in a police van …the siren on the track reinforces this …and that we are on our way to a jail where the passengers will indeed be “caged”. Our expectations are fulfilled. (Thank god …this goes on far too long.) Once the door is opened the film proceeds, a la Warner Brothers with their fast action and dialogue
  6. In a long sequence a man standing outside Los Angeles City Hall makes his way inside and through long corridors to the Homicide office. It is night and we see him only from the back. He asks to see the “man in charge” and he is pointed in the right direction. Two things stand out. 1. This is a very long sequence and so we wonder if it is because the credits scrolling over are so many or if there are so many credits because his trip is so long. 2. As a turnabout of the usual procedure he has not gone to a neighborhood precinct but straight to the head office. Either he is determine
  7. A lot of thought went into this sequence …choreography, lighting, camera placement, rear projection screen …even when the lights are cheated in the sequence behind the car (they come from behind and the left whereas in the car they came from in front and the right) we accept the unusually strong lighting of a dark night on a deserted country road because it maintains the sense of the “mysterious” light source established earlier, mysterious in that it is little pools of flickering light rather than floods or brutes. All of this works because the actors carefully avoid histrionics, this is “rea
  8. Several poor choices by the film makers make it difficult to surrender oneself to the fantasy being presented here. We see a woman running down a dark lonely road, in two shots, and trying to flag down a passing car. We see this same exact set up repeated two more times. One feels that there is a technical problem and that we are watching a loop. The woman is illuminated by a 10k spotlight that appears without rhyme or reason…there is no subtlety in the visual presentation. Although she is running toward the camera she attempts to flag down a car going in the opposi
  9. Especially prevalent in the commentaries accompanying this week’s material are the abundant praises given to Orson Wells, all of which I think should have been more correctly paid to Gregg Toland. The one area of universal praise for Citizen Kane is the cinematography, Mr. Toland’s contribution. As to who suggested what and in which scenes, we will likely never really know, just as we don’t really know who suggested what in the films of D.W. Griffith shot by Billy Bitzer. But it is a certainty that as a novice film maker Wells would not have called for “deep focus” in this scene and not in tha
  10. If you know the film this Harry Lime entrance is effective; if you do not, it means nothing at all. In the first half of the film Holly has come to Vienna to find his friend Harry. He is told Harry has just died and he goes to the funeral. He then asks around as to how Harry really died. He meets a lot of people who regard him with suspicion. (Very noir!) One night on a dark street he is aware that someone is following him or watching him. When a light flashes on the scene, he is shocked to discover that it is Harry. He rushes to him, a truck cuts him off, and Harry runs away. We too are shock
  11. His entrance is long and slow and developed in a series of establishing shots. She appears out of no where. Noir elements: voice over by main character, shadows all here and there, diagonal lines, his outsider status, didactic music track, and her overly stated femme fatale character. MGM house style: cleaned up reality ...perfectly lit perfect compositions, rich tonal values on black and white film, formalism: glamorous and fastidious details the complete opposite of a neorealism film.
  12. Lorre’s entrance is a common elevator, hallway, key in door movie entrance; see Fred Astaire in Top Hat. Greenstreet’s entrance is a common noir entrance …the sinister man in black who appears in a place other than his own. However, once the scene starts it shifts almost immediately into witty repartee. Compared to Falcon/darkness we have abundant similarities: static camera work, Static choreography of the actors, and way too much dialogue. It sounds like a bad Broadway play. (The actors are good Broadway actors. It’s fun to watch them but you lose track of the urgency.) John Ford would have
  13. If we assume that the noir” style” includes darkness and shadows this sequence includes those elements even though it is daytime. The street is a bright sun lit street while the interior of the bar, from our POV is dark. As she enters she passes under an overhead lamp which casts a strong shadow over her. Then she walks into darkness before entering into a pool of light that is fairly standard 40’s Hollywood studio lighting. This light comes from our right suggesting that it is the light around the bar. During this scene at the table Mitchum, sitting between her and the bar, occasionally moves
  14. In Falcon Bogie is all skeleton and sinews …nervous …and just half a step ahead of the law. He is rather cynical and fatalistic. Here, in The Big Sleep, he is suave, relaxed, somewhat debonair, an educated almost equal to the man with the money. They are comfortable together. He is honest and frank without being rude or offensive…or belligerent as in the earlier flick. While I note these differences I also notice that in both films he is Humphrey Bogart. As such I was surprised to hear the line directed to him: You’re not very tall. Bogart wasn’t very tall but I don’t recall anyth
  15. The first clue that we are here to watch another example of film noir is the music over the corporate logo and titles. Unfortunately it is too loud and too obviously histrionic and so many of us might already be lamenting our choice of film for the evening. The fields are being photographed from a low flying plane and as there is no bottom window in an airplane the camera must look out the side …and to one side …as every cinematographer knows. If the camera had been placed to look straight down or straight out there would have been nothing but stobing because of the 24 frames a s
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