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About cstelmac

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  1. A typical Dragnet type opening. Long hallway, cold feeling, unidentified man walking into the homicide department for unknown reasons. The scene has a documentary feeling as the movie begins. Of course, when we meet our main character we are surprised by the fact that he is declaring his own murder. Certainly a new twist to the noir film. The flashback will not be anything new but rather a familiar technique for noir films. The opening sequence definitely sets a tone and increases the audience's curiosity about the rest of the film.
  2. Mueller was right in the sense that this film is not very stylistic in the aesthetics. However, the femme fatale, the idea of fate changing the course of human events, revealing the dark side of man, etc. The reason post-WWII films were so enamored with fate was because of the WAR. Men and women saw and watched as loved ones went off to war and died. Some made it and some did not. Lives were changed in an instant. People felt the need to "live now" because there were no assurances of the future. The fact that life could be reduced to such trivial proportions by the atomic bomb also had t
  3. While this is a great scene where the characters are introduced to each other (or re-introduced), there is little stylistic feeling of noir at this point. However, the dialogue is brimming with noir features. The ambiguous references from Sam regarding his past, his present, and his future. "I gamble mostly" sets the viewer up for one of the most interesting noir characters we will ever meet. He is Jeff from Out of the Past without the totally negative view on life. Sam believes he can control his destiny, or at least he believes in chance, or the odds breaking his way occasionally. Sam
  4. I agree with most of the posts found here. Desperation, fear, hopelessness, and helplessness are the key ingredients encountered by the viewer as this movie opens. Dark night, woman in distress, lonely road, lonely traveler.....an escapee from an asylum? We get the backward credits, Nat King Cole and his blues, a nearly naked and frantic woman...and our hero Mike Hammer. The suspense of the scene is a bit thwarted by Hammer's entrance because we know he will not be harmed by this woman or by the situation. The remoteness of the lonely highway is strikingly similar to the many lonely and d
  5. Absolutely my favorite film of this genre. There are so many elements of noir present here: narration, slick private eye with wisecracking lines, overhead shots, dirty, smelly city life, bar scene, femme fatale (of course, we do not know how dark she is until later), out of the shadows into the light action, etc. Yet I believe the most interesting aspect of the first 14 minutes of this film is the fact that we do not see Jane Greer until this scene. The anticipation of seeing her and understanding the stark contrast of her physical beauty with that of Jeff's girlfriend on the opening scene
  6. I may be one of the few who appreciate Dick Powell's portrayal of Marlowe. I love the humor and the smirk because that is what true cynics do. It is how they cope with the darkness in life. The first scene reveals humor, detective work, paranoia, and a ruthless side. While he has a penchant for the ladies, he is skeptical first and allured later. His commentary with regard to the police tells the audience that he is a lone wolf, a Lone Ranger of a man who follows his own code of ethics. While he is on the side of "right" he understands the police to be as corrupt, at times, as the crimin
  7. The first scene is disturbing because Waldo is an unusually creepy character. His narration to begin the film is intentionally misleading since he will be the evil character in the end. The lavish lifestyle portrayed reveals a newer take on twisted noir characters. Typically we find down and out desperate characters with little hope. Here we find a successful professional who borders being a serial type killer with an obsessive compulsive desire to "own" another object, Laura. Ironically, Laura is in no way, shape or form a femme fatale type, yet she has the male leads pining over her.
  8. The opening scenes is awesome. Love the contrast of serenity and homicide, light and dark, rich and poor, American wealth and power vs. international poverty and weakness. I'm not sure one could distinguish this as noir just from this scene but it certainly draws the viewer into the film. We all want to know why the brutal execution on the front steps of a plantation in Singapore. Great opening scene panning the landscape and the sky. Shadows, moonlit night, femme fatale of all time a murder, or execution, or mercy-killing? Betty Davis is ruthless in her brief scene as it clearly portrays
  9. The opening is interesting but grows weary after a few minutes. I like the rolling barrel shot and the brief scene where he is walking through the brush. But shortly thereafter it grows weaker by the minute until Bacall shows up. At least then there is something to view. (very poor plot construction here--she just shows up as he is about to whack the guy--which would be out of character since he is not a murderer). After viewing Lady in the Lake which had been released the previous year, this technique could not have seemed unique. Bogart's voice is very distinctive so the viewer can
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