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LadyinBlack

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About LadyinBlack

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  • Birthday February 22

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    Female
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    California
  1. In your own words you've described why this film clip shows self-awareness and borders on parody: "The snappy dialogue may seem a little forced, but I feel like it’s more like the screenwriters were trying to emulate the writing style of Chandler and Hammett." - Unoriginal, unnatural sounding dialogue "The opening has a lot of the film noir elements we’re used to: trains, banter, a dangerous femme fatale (or at least discussion of her), and a hard-boiled detective with his less attractive partner." - A formula for film noir I would say the very lack of originality and use of familiar elements says the filmmaker set out to make a film noir and was willing to use all the cliches available so the viewer would identify it immediately. That is self-awareness to me.
  2. I think everyone else has pretty much nailed down the analysis of this scene but I have one observation to add. Although they're in the elected DA's (Kirk Douglas) fancy office, Walter seems to have the least power of the three people in the scene. Sam (Van Heflin) comes to Walter to ask a favor but assures him that he WILL come through. Sam obviously has something on Walter. Martha, once she recognizes Sam, focuses on Sam and ignores her husband's negative reactions to their overly intimate exchange. Sam feels there's something wrong about Walter calling Martha his wife and she indicates with her comment about missing the circus train that she may not be happy in her marriage right in front of Walter, her husband. Walter tells Sam to "ask Martha" about his chances of winning the election as if it is she and not he who has the power to make that happen. Walter's drinking is further evidence of his weakness. They are all obviously childhood friends but something has occurred in the past that is factoring into the present dynamic.
  3. In this opening, Hitchcock is telling us a lot about his two main characters before we even see their faces or they utter a word. As the first guy exits the cab we see his flashy shoes and patterned suit, almost posing stance and jaunty walk. His battered suitcase says he might be a bit down on his luck, maybe needs money. The second character's dark clothes and nice leather suitcase say he is prosperous, more conservative. The multiple tennis rackets tell us he's a serious tennis player. His posture and stride show he's a bit preoccupied but unconcerned. In contrast to our other film openings - Caged, Kiss Me Deadly, The Hitch-hiker - Hitchcock is setting a lighter mood at the beginning. Two men are arriving at a train station, they are very different types but the music is light and almost playful, they're not in a big hurry, nothing to worry about...yet. But then we're given the POV shot of the train coming to a crossing track and veering off to the right. Something is about to change... I would certainly agree that Alfred Hitchcock was in a class by himself as a filmmaker but he definitely used film noir styling his films. The lighting and camera angles; the existential themes of hopelessness, dread and man fighting against a world he doesn't understand; and the psychological manipulation of his characters and the audience are all there. But Hitchcock used all the tools of noir to create a style/genre uniquely his own so he is a "special case".
  4. My husband, who is a bit challenged in the hair department, used to wear baseball caps all the time to keep his head warm or protect it from the sun. A few years ago, I decided he needed something more professional looking to wear with his business clothes and bought him a cheap soft felt fedora. It fit him perfectly somehow and he loved the look. Long story short, he now owns several fedoras in felt and straw. They're so much more classy and interesting for men than baseball caps, no matter what you're wearing. Now that fedoras and trilbys are popular for women too, I bought my first straw one for summer and plan to buy more. Come on, ladies and gentlemen, bring the fedora back to stay.
  5. Personally, my opinions about Lady from Shanghai apply only to that movie. I like some of Orson Welles' other work very much and don't feel knowledgeable enough to say that he is or isn't a genius. I'm looking forward to seeing Touch of Evil again, which I remember liking, now that I can apply what I've learned in this class.
  6. First of all, DO see The Third Man! It's not an Orson Welles movie. He's hardly even in it and I don't really see his hand in the direction either. It is a great film, that I happen to be seeing in 4k restoration on the big screen tomorrow. It's one of my favorite films. As for Lady from Shanghai, I so agree with everything you said. Dr. Edwards seems to really like this movie and be a big fan of Orson Welles but I felt exactly as you did. The cinematography and production values in general were great, but anything having to do with the actors was off, from the dialogue to the affected speech patterns to the costumes. This film is like a beautifully done painting of an ugly subject. The performances were so over the top. Welles' Irish accent was comical, the weirdly affected way all the other characters spoke was annoying, and how many shots of Rita Hayworth just looking luminously beautiful do we need to establish that she is, indeed, beautiful? (Don't get me started on her sailor suit.) There were embarrassingly silly asides by bystanders in several scenes like the teachers and children at the aquarium and people at the trial. The basic story was ok, but the script was just not that good. Rita Hayworth almost seemed surprised at the ending herself! (Almost threw a spoiler in there . I've seen this movie before and always thought it was someone trying to imitate Alfred Hitchcock. But what Hitchcock does so brilliantly, this film just makes look silly and self-conscious.
  7. This is one of the most famous character entrances in all of film. It had to be dramatic. The whole story is about this character but we don't see him until almost the end of the picture. To heighten the moment, the viewer is given a clue to who it is before the light even hits his face because of the cat. Anna's cat loved Harry Lime (Orson Wells). And when the key light illuminates his face and we see who it is, the music swells louder, he forms that little half smile, and we are completely taken in! The formalistic techniques of dreamy music, tilted camera angles and unrealistic lighting all create a sense of a surreal world, out of balance and out of control for Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton) and so for us too. The most important thing he's been led to believe since his arrival in Vienna is not true! What can he believe now? Who can he trust? What can we believe? There's a sense that normal rules don't apply anymore. We see Harry Lime's shadow running down the alley but we do not see Holly Martins shadow when he follows down the same alley. A sense of some normalcy is not restored until the policemen discover the hidden underground stairway, a possible escape route for the "ghost." We're back on firmer ground again. This is one of my favorite movies and part of a sub-group of films noir made in post World War II Europe showing actual war damage called "rubble noir."
  8. The gimlet was the drink of choice of Terry Lennox, with whom Marlowe had a bromance in The Long Goodbye. I've never had one but plan to correct that oversight ASAP
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