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  1. Crime Without Passion (1934) Dir. Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur Lee Gentry is a highly successful, albeit unscrupulous, defense attorney who takes pride in his cleverness. We quickly learn that he is romantically involved with two women and wishes to end it with one and remain faithful to the other. His first attempt to break up with Carmen Brown fails. His second attempt ends in tragedy and now he must cover his tracks. Immediately after the opening credits, the following intertitle is flashed on the screen: Beyond man’s dreams lurk the Furies-the three sisters of evil who lie in wait for those who live dangerously and without Gods A two-minute montage follows, ending with an image of the film’s title. (More on this with # 16) 1. Unusual narration or plot development - Yes Lee Gentry (Claude Rains) imagines hearing plausible criminal charges against him while still in Carmen’s apartment soon after her death. He asks himself, “Where is that legal brain of mine?” His subconscious takes the form of his likeness on the screen as it begins to guide Gentry through the evidence that could do him in. 2. Flashbacks n/a 3. Crime/planning a crime (usually-but not always-murder) - Yes Involuntary homicide; Tampering with evidence. 4. Femme fatale and/or homme fatale n/a 5. The instrument of fate - Yes Gentry’s gift to Carmen will have fateful consequences for both. 6. Angst (for example, guilt, fear, self-doubt, confusion, and so on; in other words, anything that contributes to angst) Yes Carmen is heartbroken and humiliated in the way Gentry entrapped her with lies. She feels abandoned: “How can you humiliate me like this? I haven’t slept in 3 nights. I’m desperate.” 7. Violence or the threat of violence Yes Homicide 8. Urban and nighttime settings n/a 9. Greed n/a 10. Betrayal Yes Lee Gentry is seeing two women at the same time. Caught in a lie by his girlfriend Katy Costello, he boasts, “I live by lies; make money by lies; I’ve become famous by lying.” Carmen too feels betrayed and tells Gentry, “You fooled me. You fooled me.” 11. Philosophical themes involving alienation, loneliness Yes Carmen Brown, becomes distraught when her longtime boyfriend announces that he is leaving her to go with another. She then cries out in an existential manner, “I don’t want to live. I want to die.” 12. Psychology (hypnosis, brainwashing, manipulation, amnesia) Yes Needing a reason to end his two-year romance with Carmen, Lee Gentry concocts a plan to make it look as if she is seeing an old boyfriend behind his back. After a prosecutorial-like argument with her boyfriend, filled with false accusations and innuendos, the heart-broken and confused mistress breaks down: “I never want to see you again. Never as long as I live. Get out before you drive me crazy. Get out! 13. Allusion to postwar or wartime themes n/a 14. Chiaroscuro for black and white films, or intense or muted color or tinting added to black and white films (In either case, the technique is used to enhance the mood and/or the emotional content.) n/a 15. Unusual camera and/or lighting techniques Half Individually, no. But the editing in the opening montage gives the impression that new techniques were being implemented with the camera and lighting. 16. European or U.S. film influenced by European styles (for example, German expressionism, French poetic realism, and so on) Yes The opening montage is mesmerizing. An extreme close-up of an eye is facing the camera as we read the intertitle at the beginning of the film. A slow dissolve then shows another extreme close-up of a hand-held gun, also facing the camera- then back to the eye then we see the gun’s chamber begin to rotate. A shot! The eye shuts in fear. A silhouette of a man standing in the dark, holding something shiny in his hand, CUT TO: a woman in dark clothes falling to the ground, her hands holding her stomach. CUT TO: a single blood drop, splashed on the ground, followed by three Furies flying up from it; all in German Expressionism manner. There is a lot more but words cannot give it justice, and I won’t try further. 17. No stark contrast between “good” and “evil” (characters, forces, emotion, and so on) Yes We learn that Lee Gentry is a good person when his secretary tells him, “You’re the nicest man I ever knew.” Plus, there’s a certain degree of nobility for his profession as he seems to be drawn to ‘completely hopeless’ cases. The press refers to him as being ‘The Champion of the Damned’ and he agrees with them, “I am.” Still, there’s a shady side to him as well and Carmen Brown tells him; “You’re horrible! Horrible!” In fact, he tells us himself, “In love, I am a monster.” 18. Expertise triumphs, perhaps rather than “good” n/a This is a well written story registering 10 ½ Yeses on our template of 18 proto-noir characteristics.
  2. Jack Reacher (2012) dir. Christopher McQuarrie Tom Cruise plays Jack Reacher, the title character in this film adaptation of British author Lee Child’s novel One Shot. Since the film mostly follows Jack, I thought it was best to let the author describe in his own words, his “iconic hero”: “He’s two things in one. On the surface, he is an ex-military cop who is suddenly dumped out into the civilian world. He doesn’t fit in, and he spends his time wandering America, seeing the things that he’s never had time to see before. He’s trying to stay out of trouble, but masterfully once a year getting into trouble. He’s also the descendant of a very ancient tradition: the noble loner, the knight errant, the mysterious stranger, who has shown up in stories forever.” * 1. Chiaroscuro for black and white films, intense or muted color in movies filmed in color (In either black and white or color, the technique is used to enhance the mood and/or the emotional content.) No 2. Flashbacks Yes As Jack Reacher goes over the crime scene and envisions what occurred there, the audience has an opportunity to see what he seeing, on the screen. It helps emphasize several key points and also functions as an excellent visual guide for us. 3. Unusual narration No 4. Crime/planning a crime (usually—but not always—murder) Yes Conspiracy; Corruption; Kidnapping; Murder 5. Femme fatale (and/or homme fatale) Yes At first, Sandy (Alexia Fast) seems an unlikely femme fatale; she is young, unsophisticated, and her quarry shows no interest, yet the results prove just as troublesome for one and deadly for the other. 6. The instrument of fate Yes Multiple victims of a sniper’s attack are chosen at random, a simple case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 7. Angst (for example, guilt, fear, self-doubt, confusion, and so on; in other words, anything that contributes to angst) Yes While visiting with a distraught parent, armed with a hand gun, defense attorney Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike) begins to fear for her life when she is ordered to, “…stay where you are! That man deserves to die, why would you defend him?” As she discusses the evidence, Helen suddenly is stunned when realizing that her life may be in danger because someone she trusts may not have her back. “Whatever happens to me next is on your head. …I’ve given you compelling evidence to investigate. Your next move will tell me which side you are on.” 8. Violence or the threat of violence Yes Murder; Torture 9. Urban and nighttime settings Yes The setting is Pittsburgh. There is a nighttime brawl filmed outside a bar and later a car chase sequence involving Pittsburgh police, also filmed at night. Except for the opening scenes, most of the violence takes place at night. 10. Allusion to post–World War II (or any postwar) themes (optional) Yes Reacher is a veteran of the Iraq, Afghanistan, and Balkans wars. He teams up with former marine sharpshooter Martin Cash (Robert Duval) to help get the bad guys. 11. Philosophical themes (existentialism in particular) involving alienation, loneliness Yes Jack Reacher “is a ghost. No driver’s license- current or expired, no residence- current or former; no credit cards, no credit history, no PO box, Cell phone, email- nothing. After a lifetime in the military he just up and quits and then… simply disappears.” He is alienated, as if abstracted from the world and for most of the story, has no allies. 12. Psychology (hypnosis, brainwashing, manipulation, amnesia) Yes The evidence found at the crime scene has been tampered with and manipulated, in order to draw investigators away from those responsible. The suspect, James Barr, has trouble remembering anything about the incident. “I don’t remember wanting to do it. Look, I am not going to fight this, if they say I done it, then I did.” 13. Greed Yes Corporate greed Here the counselor explains the background story to the plot: Helen: [A Russian corporation acquires] local construction [businesses] just a head of major civic redevelopment projects. They build bridges no one needs, and highways no one uses…They moved 12 times in 15 years, Atlanta, Albuquerque, Austin, Oklahoma City, Sacramento, always amidst allegations of corruption including millions of dollars in missing public funds and yet never an investigation, never even an inquiry! 14. Betrayal Yes Definitely yes, but no SPOILERS here. 15. No stark contrast between “good” and “evil” (characters, forces, emotion, and so on) Yes Jack Reacher is a “brilliant investigator” with good instincts, but he also has “attitude” and often views with contempt, most of the people he engages. His final act in the story calls into question the moral ambiguity of the true nature of his character. Is he a flawed man looking for justice by any means? Or is he an idealist who gets carried away? The viewers must decide. “There’s this guy. He’s a kind of cop; at least he used to be. He doesn’t care about the law, he doesn’t care about proof, he only cares about what is right.” 16. Expertise triumphs, perhaps rather than “good” Yes Jack Reacher’s expertise in pursuing “trained killers” during his service in the military police, goes a long way into solving this case. 14 of 16 neo-noir characteristics for this well written, directed and produced crime thriller. * http://entertainment.time.com/2012/09/19/lee-child-on-his-new-thriller-tom-cruise-as-jack-reacher-and-wandering-heroes/
  3. A film I thought of immediately is Frantic. Frantic (1988) is a suspenseful thriller directed by Roman Polanski and starring Harrison Ford. Soon after arriving in Paris, a married couple checks into a hotel. Concluding that they must have picked up the wrong luggage, the husband takes a shower and soon discovers that his wife has disappeared from the room and hotel. This film is about his search for his missing wife with little help from the authorities and involves murder, spying, and blackmail. Very Hitchcockian. PERSONAL NOTE It has been a great course and I‘ve learned plenty. I really enjoyed reading everyone’s posts. This was my third summer with you (Dr. Edwards and members) I hope there will be a forth. HEYMOE
  4. Body Heat (1981) Dir. Lawrence Kasdan At its core, Body Heat resembles Double Indemnity (1944) and The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946); each begins with an illicit affair involving a married woman, followed by a plot to do away with the husband, and finally, unforeseen complications shake things up. In our film, the couple having the affair are lawyer Ned Racine (William Hurt) and Matty Tyler Walker (Kathleen Turner) who is married to Edmund Walker (Richard Crenna). 1. Chiaroscuro for black and white films, intense or muted color in movies filmed in color (In either black and white or color, the technique is used to enhance the mood and/or the emotional content.) Yes A couple of early barroom scenes shows the red tint popular in neo-noir. Cinematographer Richard H. Kline (Hang ‘Em High, The Fury, All of Me) does excellent with all the nighttime scenes. The color-shades range from bright nighttime explosions (orange/yellow) to a gray, obscuring fog, illuminated by headlights. 2. Flashbacks N/A 3. Unusual narration N/A 4. Crime/planning a crime (usually—but not always—murder) Yes Arson; Conspiracy; Forgery 5. Femme fatale and/or homme fatale Yes Matty Tyler Walker is a true femme fatale. She cleverly lures her men in and then does away with them as soon as they have served their purpose. 6. The instrument of fate Yes We see a chance meeting between Ned Racine and Matty Tyler Walker on a boardwalk and all that goes wrong afterward. Later, Ned mistakes a woman for Matty which will prove troublesome for all. 7. Angst (for example, guilt, fear, self-doubt, confusion, and so on; in other words, anything that contributes to angst) Yes We believe Matty’s angst when she has this discussion with a paranoid Ned: Matty: I couldn’t call. I was afraid to. I was afraid you wouldn’t let me come. Ned: That’s right, you mustn’t call…The phone company keeps records. Matty: I am careful. Ned, I hated it. I hated sitting there with the two of you. I thought I’d scream. Ned: You have to be careful now about the phones. Matty: Why do you say this now? Ned: We can account for a couple of calls. We’ve had some contact. It’d make sense. Matty: Why, Ned? What’s happened. Ned: Because we’re going to kill him. We both know that… Matty: It’s real then? Ned: It’s real. And if we’re not careful, it’ll be the last real thing we do. 8. Violence or the threat of violence Yes Murder 9. Urban and nighttime settings - Yes A boardwalk with an open concert hall, a busy diner with professional looking patrons, and a freeway suggests, at the very least, a big urban town. Nighttime settings are plentiful and well photographed. 10. Allusion to post–World War II (or any postwar) themes (optional) N/A 11. Philosophical themes (existentialism in particular) involving alienation, loneliness Yes Matty and Ned are making decisions that may have long range effects. Their scheme to strike it rich and, “get away from …all of this,” comes with risks neither are considering. Each is struggling to overcome their emotional loneliness. 12. Psychology (hypnosis, brainwashing, manipulation, amnesia) Yes Matty has a plan and with precision, sees it through: “Some men, once they get a (whiff), they trail you like a hound.” There is no question who is in control here. Matty and Ned have obsessions; hers is money; his is needing tending to. 13. Greed Yes “I’m greedy, like you said. I wanted us to have it all.” 14. Betrayal Yes Matty agrees to having her husband killed then throws some friends under the bus. Matty: When I think about it, I wish he’d die. Ned: That’s where we’re at, isn’t it? Matty: What do you mean? Ned: That’s what we’re both thinking. How good it would be for us if he was gone. 15. No stark contrast between “good” and “evil” (characters, forces, emotion, and so on) N/A 16. Expertise triumphs, perhaps rather than “good” N/A 13 of 16 for this really classic-noir-looking neo-noir. The soundtrack by John Barry adds to the overall mood of the film. The opening theme plays like an ode to classic noir with its slow-tempo, soft jazz, piano/sax arrangement. At the time, he had already won three Oscars and would go on to win two more. Here is a sample of the noir banter in this film: Ned, noting a woman (Matty) standing alone on the boardwalk, approaches: Ned: You can stand here with me if you want… …but you’ll have to agree not to talk about the heat. Matty: I’m a married woman. Ned: Meaning what? Matty: Meaning I’m not looking for company. Ned: Then you should’ve said, “I’m a happily married woman.” Matty: That’s my business. Ned: What? Matty: How happy I am. Ned: And how happy is that? Matty: You’re not too smart, are you? I like that in man. Ned: Can I buy you a drink? Matty: I told you, I’ve got a husband. Ned: I’ll buy him one too. Matty: He’s out of town. Ned: My favorite kind. We’ll drink to him. Matty: He only comes up on weekends. Ned: I’m liking him better all the time.
  5. Thanks for the heads-up. I will keep an eye out for Mr. McGraw when I watch The Birds this weekend. You know, he died as a result of an accident involving a glass shower door. How eerie to learn that he played a role in a film best known for its shower death scene.
  6. Marianne, I notice several titles highlighted in purple, was this your doing? If so, what does it mean. ? Or, were these titles contributed by other members and are just carried through in their original colors sent by them? Just curious.
  7. When taken with the time stamp (In the beginning...), Marion's behavior (adulteress, "bad girl") fits well with the story of Eve and the Apple. Could this have been in Hitchcock's mind when he considered the shooting and telling of the story? Was he making a statement on the consequences of our choices- that sometimes, the end doesn't necessarily justify the means. Just a thought.
  8. In response to: [Also, did anyone else notice that the camera shifted to close-ups as soon as Thornhill was told he was seated there on purpose? I think it was because it introduced a level of intimacy to the two characters.] I went back to the clip, and I see what you mean. Your explanation is reasonable and could very well be. I also picked up this oddity- why was Roger Thornhill allowed to say, "... I have no desire to make love to her." Yet, Eve Kendall was prohibited from saying, "I never make love on an empty stomach." The Curator's Notes explains Eve's quotes but never explains Roger's. Just wondering why the double standard by the Production Code Officials.
  9. As always, I enjoy readying the posts and when I reach this point, it seems that everyone has pretty much said what I would have, and so much more. That in mind, I'll share an observation. When I listen to the opening narration to Rebecca and its reference to Manderley, it reminds of the opening sentences of a short story by Edgar Allan Poe: Rebecca Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the Iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter for the way it was barred to me. Then, like all dreamers, I was possessed of a sudden with supernatural powers and passed like a spirit through the barrier before me. The drive wound away in front of me, twisting and turning as it has always done. But as I advanced, I was aware that a change had come upon it. Nature had come into her own again, and little by little had encroached upon the drive with long tenacious fingers, on and on while the poor thread that had once been our drive. And finally, there was Manderley - Manderley - secretive and silent… The Fall of the House of Usher During the whole of a dull, dark and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was - but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit… I looked upon the scene before me - upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain - upon the bleak walls - upon the vacant eye like widows - upon a few rank sedges - and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees… I stood - found myself passed like a spirit through the barrier before me. - a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit change had come upon it. - landscape features secretive and silent - melancholy Both properties are introduced at the very beginning: Manderley - House of Usher leaving the viewer/reader wondering what happened to the first and what will happen to the second.
  10. [I did not recall seeing a prevalent point of view shot or a shot between objects, as he so often does, unless you count the opening letters that scroll by. . . .] from Auburnrebecca, 05 JUL 2017 Marianne, I went back to the beginning of the clip and must say, I see your point. It is certainly within the realm of possibility that the scroll is in actuality, a pan depicting Hannay's point of view as "he is walking to the ticket booth.". Good catch.
  11. I saw it as well on YouTube and was impressed with how well the film looked. Well preserved. I enjoyed it and recommend it.
  12. I believe you got it right- it is part of Mr. Hitchcock's appeal. He worked hard to give audiences the perfect visuals as he saw them in his mind. I was also impressed with his command on answering the questions. Hearing him speak, he oozed of confidence.
  13. I agree with your comments in # 3. As to your additional thoughts concerning the blue tint, I played the clip along side the full film on YouTube (The Lodger (1927) Alfred Hitchcock, 1080p) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qFiw5VtmyI The blue tint in the clip does not appear in the YouTube film. Also, the clip runs 4 minutes 16 seconds and ends. In the film, the same clip lasts 6 minutes and 37 seconds. The clip, I believe is sped up. Now like you, I’m wondering, which edited version was his intention?
  14. ELigner- Every participant is helping by sharing ideas and thoughts. We all are learning from each other. Keep at it- you're doing fine. Thank you for participating. It gets easier.
  15. My favorite part of these courses (my third) are the Daily Doses, where I continue to learn from so many members sharing their thoughts and ideas. There is not much to add- everyone has covered the discussion starters fully, I believe. There are many mentions of point-of-view shot and to that, I would just add that I immediately thought of the scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945) and his great use of this technique in the scene near the end when we see the action from directly behind the gun. Definitely, a Hitchcock touch. Good to be back and see familiar names.
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