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The Glenster

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  1. Why do you think this kind of private detective fits so well within the film noir context? I think Powell's portrayal of Marlowe is I believe a prime example of the film noir protagonist. This is an important distinction because the noir detective is part of the narrative and integral character and not some sort of Deus Ex Machina, like Holmes or Poirot. Marlowe is hard boiled and world weary, but also very clever. He's not just a 'peeper' or gumshoe trailing wayward husbands or wives. He makes valid deductions such as the "Do you do your own typing?" exchange between Marlowe and Ann Grayle. He sees her fingernails are long and manicured, so she can't possibly be a reporter. He also reminds me of Bogart's Sam Spade in "The Maltese Falcon". They both are professionals with a code and a sense of honor. An example of this is Marlowe saying, “I’m just a small business man in a very messy business, but I like to follow through on a sale.”
  2. What do you think about how Preminger introduces the character of Waldo Lydecker in this scene? I believe this to be the most intriguing question about the opening of Laura. How does Preminger indicate that the character of Lydecker is a homosexual in the era of the Hays Code. The Hays Code refers to homosexuality under the umbrella term of, "Impure Love". So Preminger is clever enough to use Clifton Webb an openly gay actor in Hollywood, which most people are aware of. The viewer is given a tour of Lydecker's apartment which indicates through its furnishings a delicate and effeminate sensibility. Lydecker invites the detective McPherson into his bathroom where he discusses the details of the case while he is naked in the tub. Finally when Lydecker stands-up nude and asks Detective McPherson to hand him his robe McPherson (Dana Andrews) looks him up and down and clearly smirks. This indicates that McPherson has reached the conclusion that Lydecker is probably a homosexual, possibly impotent, and clearly incapable of satisfying a woman of Laura's caliber. It's a clever way of Preminger having discourse with the audience about homosexuality and what constitutes it without violating the dictates of the Hays Code.
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